Drip Campaigns vs. Nurturing…Similar but Different

If you’re a marketer at one point or another you’ve heard of email drip and lead nurturing campaigns, both of which are often – incorrectly – used interchangeably. Although they do at points overlap and supplement one another they are two separate tactics in a marketer’s toolbox, used to drive engagement and convert leads. To differentiate, drip marketing is more general and ongoing while lead nurturing is positioned to a specific sector or prospect group.

Drip = Time-Based Emails

Email drip campaigns are a series of emails that get sent based only on time and time alone. They work really well when you are looking to educate prospects on your company’s full portfolio. It allows the customer to continually keep your brand top of mind so when the purchase time comes, your company is the one who they go to. If you think about it, you’ve probably received tons of these emails that bombard your inbox with offers. Oftentimes, these emails come off as another sales pitch and can turn off potential buyers, depending on the frequency and level of interest.

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For example, let’s pretend we’re developing an email drip campaign for a clothing retail chain and we’re promoting our new summer line which has just hit the stores.

  • Day 1 – we send out an email announcing the new arrivals to the stores
  • Day 3 – we send an email with a 25% discount for the upcoming weekend
  • Day 6 – we showcase some of the sporty fashions for men, women, and children
  • Day 9 – we would feature “date night” fashions for men and women

Each email in the campaign stands on its own but also builds on the emails that have come before it. All of the emails are strategically thought out and sequenced. The goal of an email drip campaign is to encourage a specific action (start using your product, warm up the lead, etc).

Nurture = Behavioral Based Emails

Lead Nurturing is a series of emails that get sent based on the lead’s behavior. A lead nurturing campaign is where you are using the data gathered from the user’s behavior to deliver timed and targeted information that will help guide the prospect through the buying process. As your prospect receives these emails, the prospect is presented with helpful information to equip them with the needed information to choose your product.

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What’s key in deploying lead nurture campaigns is, the marketer is equipped with crucial data insights such as, what whitepaper’s the prospect looked at on a website, how many times they have visited a website or what webinar they attended, so you are able to deliver content around their interests and need. If done correctly, the email is welcomed, read, and maybe shared.

For example, let’s pretend we are a software company.

  • Day 0 – New lead visits our website and signs up for a free eBook, email is sent with Free eBook
  • Day 10 – The new lead visits the website a 2nd time, email about a free webinar is sent
  • After webinar – The new lead visits your website a 3rd time
    • Your salesperson gets a triggered email about a new “Hot Lead”
    • An automatic email is sent to the new lead to sign up for a “Free Live Demo” that is personally addressed by the salesperson

With nurture emails, they are delivered based on the behavior the prospect has shown. The goal of nurture emails is to deliver useful information to the prospect while they engage with your brand.

Together they are better

So you see they are similar but different. Email drips and lead nurture campaigns are extremely important to helping prospects engage with your brand and equip them with the information needed to choose your company or buy your products.

Alone, they work just fine. But together you’re able to help your sales team close deals faster, keep your brand front and center, and are valuable tools in a marketer’s toolbox.

Be sure to download the whitepaper below for a foolproof checklist to use when planning a successful drip campaign.