Turning leads into buyers online is a subtle art. The hard sell doesn’t work in the information age where trust is central to winning prospects’ loyalty. You can build that trust by providing relevant and informative content in all your communications. A lead-nurturing bulk email marketing campaign is one tried-and-true way of drawing prospects in and inspiring them to turn into customers.
For those who don’t already have extensive experience with email marketing, Mailchimp is the go-to solution for not only startups, but many established businesses as well. Mailchimp offers a user-friendly, yet powerful web based email marketing software with a shallow learning curve, making it one of the most popular professional digital marketing tools, especially in the world of startups.
Here’s a down-and-dirty guide of best practices and a collection of Mailchimp drip campaign examples to inspire your next bulk email marketing campaign.
Effective Mailchimp drip campaigns follow the 4-1-1 rule
The most important thing to remember about the emails in your Mailchimp drip campaign is that they must be helpful to your audience.
Think about what they might want to receive in their inbox: great suggestions, new ideas, interesting perspectives. Those things are likely quite different from what you might be inclined to send, such as “buy now!” promotional communications.
To make sure your Mailchimp drip campaign maintains a good ratio of informative and useful to promotional and self-serving content, follow the 4-1-1 rule. According to this guidance, each set of six emails should include four educational, informative, or inspiring emails; one “soft sell” kind of email, such as an invitation to an event; and one “hard sell,” such as an invitation to sign up for a special offer.
A detailed Mailchimp drip campaign example following the 4-1-1 rule can be found here.
Choose your content and design your lead nurturing emails
The emails in your Mailchimp drip campaign should be designed to direct potential customers to your website, so it’s best to base each one on an underlying piece of your content that you can link back to. Choosing appropriate content and designing your lead nurturing emails is imperative for an effective email marketing campaign.
Creating content for your Mailchimp drip campaign
If your site has a blog, chances are you already have a lot of good content to share. Think about which pieces will be most relevant to your audience; how-to’s and best practices are always useful, as are listicles or success stories that offer surprising insights.
It’s important that the emails feel conversational and personal, even if every prospect is getting the same one. They should be sent from an individual’s account and read as if a friend is popping their head round the door to say hi.
James Scherer, head of inbound marketing at Wishpond, recommends the following formula for your first five emails:
Introduce yourself and offer a simple but relevant resource
Share a business insight you’ve discovered to cultivate a feeling of trust
Offer a resource that brings real value to your prospect’s business
Send a first-person anecdote, such as a story of a mistake and what you learned
Provide an in-depth piece of content that describes how your product can help address the prospect’s pain point
The final email is a hard sell. Though don’t make it too “hard” — it’s better for this to be a special offer, such as a free trial or sign-up discount, rather than a demand that readers make an annual commitment.
Free Mailchimp templates vs. premium templates
Mailchimp is extremely popular for bulk email marketing campaigns, greatly due to the simplicity of designing and starting a drip campaign. Mailchimp offers a variety of unique email design templates for every kind of email you’ll want to include in your drip campaign. Your drip campaign can utilize templates for welcome emails, downloads, product releases, sale promotions and a whole lot more.
These drip campaign example templates are perfect for the 4-1-1 rule outlined above. While the example templates provided by Mailchimp are enough for most, there are plenty of other resources for free professional template designs you can take advantage of in your next bulk email marketing campaign. These 31 free Mailchimp email templates are great examples for building your next drip campaign on a budget, or if you want to get really serious, you might want to consider paying for a premium library of Mailchimp templates.
Create your Mailchimp landing pages
An email drip campaign is sparked by a prospect’s action — usually inputting an email address into a landing page on your site in order to obtain a free resource like an e-book or webinar, also called a lead magnet or call to action (CTA).
Gearing up to create a Mailchimp landing page? It’s a good idea to work backwards, creating that landing page only after you’ve designed the emails that will flow from leads’ engagement with it. This way you can be sure your email campaign is ready to go by the time you publish your landing page, as well as maintain SEO best practices.
The landing page will ideally be short and simple, stating what the visitor will get for inputting their information and including a way for them to proactively opt-in to receive email communications.
Here are 20 landing page examples with a breakdown of what each page has done well to successfully convert visitors into a Mailchimp drip campaign. Some common recurring elements found on high converting landing pages include:
A clear and obvious CTA
Headlines that include a benefit and use compelling words, like “exclusive” and “free”
Minimal copy that encourages visitors to complete the CTA
No outbound links, which might allow visitors to abandon the page before converting
Countdown timers or specific copy that conveys scarcity to the visitor
Bulleted copy that quickly conveys the benefits
Bolded words to draw attention to important sales copy or phrasing
Set up your Mailchimp drip campaign workflow
Use Mailchimp’s email automation service to design a workflow for your emails. This will allow you to set the timing for when emails should be sent and actions that should be taken when certain conditions are met.
For example, if a prospect doesn’t open your final email, they might be automatically moved into your newsletter mailing list. If they click through to see the offer but don’t buy, they can be added to a new more advanced email marketing funnel to develop them further as a lead.
There are tons of post sending actions available for your Mailchimp drip campaign. Whether your drip campaign follows the 4-1-1 rule, or is simply a drip-fed new customer onboarding campaign, post-sending actions are powerful features you’ll want to use in any bulk email marketing campaign. After someone receives an email from your drip campaign, Mailchimp performs these actions to manage your contacts and dictate the content they receive next.
For example, what should you do after a subscriber completes your Mailchimp drip campaign? Post-send actions allow you to change their status, add them to a new interest group, or even start them on a new drip campaign based on their specific activity and engagement.
A/B testing your Mailchimp drip campaign
Setting up an effective Mailchimp drip campaign takes a lot of time, especially if you are doing any A/B testing, designing multiple campaigns to bring your prospects along the marketing funnel, or creating new content to use in the campaign. Every time you create or add additional content to your Mailchimp drip campaign, you may wonder whether your new content is better than the previous. Use A/B testing to test how changes you make in your campaign will affect your end results.
A/B testing is similar to how scientists conduct experiments. There’s a “test” group containing the new changes, and a “control group” containing the original drip campaign. Mailchimp allows A/B testing of subject lines, “from” name, content, and send times while creating up to three variations. Next, Mailchimp generates all the possible combinations and randomly sends a variation to your recipients in hopes of finding a winner.
You determine the winner by selecting either the highest click/open rate, or total revenue generated, whichever key performance indicators (KPIs) you determine are the highest priority. Once the winner is decided, you can then send the winning drip campaign to all, or a percentage of your subscribers.
Final thoughts on email drip campaigns
Don’t try to rush the process or you’ll end up with subpar communications, which won’t win any hearts among your potential new customers. If you take the time up front to make it high-quality, though, a lead-nurturing Mailchimp email drip campaign will be a time-saver in the end as you automatically convert prospects to customers.
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