Drip Email Automation Teardown: Building a Content Marketing Funnel
Do you use Drip as your email marketing automation tool? I do. My team and I love it.
The automation. The possibilities!
There’s a lot you could do with Drip, but you’re probably wondering what you should do with Drip. Is this you? Well, I’ve got a treat for you today (several treats, actually).
My goal here is to help you build a strategy to put Drip to use when it comes to building out your marketing funnel.
Below, you’ll find:
Looking for more guides on setting up common pieces of your email marketing automation workflows in Drip (and other tools)? Check out Brian’s collection of Automation Guides.
My Drip Automation Teardown
Let’s start with my live Drip teardown. In this 30-minute video, watch me walk through our actual workflows and funnel we have in place to drive leads for our Audience Ops service. (Is the video below not working? Click here to watch it.)
Important notes about this video:
Nurture With Content
Let me expand on that last point. The whole point of using a tool like Drip isn’t to create workflow diagrams that look pretty (although I must say, an embedded decision tree with forks, triggers, and goals sure is sexy).
The point is to nurture your subscribers with content so that they eventually become leads and customers for your business. Otherwise, you’re just sending sales pitches to their inboxes, which will only drive your people to unsubscribe and never return to your site again.
Having the power of behavior-based email automation can be both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, you want to put that engine to work. But you don’t want it to backfire.
Here are five types of content assets you’ll want to have in place (and continuously produce). With high-quality material tailored for your audience, your subscribers will be eager to open—and act upon—the emails they receive from
you your automated system.
Evergreen Blog Articles
Your blog content serves multiple purposes in your marketing funnel:
First, it helps you attract a steadily growing stream of organic traffic from search, social media, and referrals. This is especially true of “evergreen” articles, which are designed to provide value to readers all year long and beyond. They should be educational, insightful, and highly relevant to your best customers, without being date-specific or news-oriented.
You can accelerate the process of growing traffic for your blog content by running paid ad campaigns to promote your best blog articles. In fact, in our tests, we found that the lowest cost-per-click came when pointing ads to free, pillar blog articles—not landing pages, sales pages, webinars, or anything else.
Your articles also serve as free, valuable material that you can send as email newsletters to your subscribers. Doing so provides a great reason for your subscribers to come back to their inboxes on a weekly basis, without coming off as too pushy or salesy. Don’t just send them on the day they publish. Recycle your best performing articles in evergreen email campaigns so that new subscribers always receive your best stuff.
Finally, by growing your archive of evergreen blog articles, you’re growing the number of entry-points where casual visitors can join your email list. Namely, through the use of…
Content Upgrades are specific pieces of downloadable bonus content that are offered along with a specific blog article, in exchange for the visitor’s email address.
For example, if you have an article about best practices for higher-converting checkout pages, you might offer a checklist of 10 optimizations you can make to your checkout page today. The Content Upgrade should be something useful, actionable, and highly relevant to the topic of the article it came with. I recommend creating a unique Content Upgrade for every evergreen blog post you publish.
Speaking of—now is probably a good time to tell you about the Content Upgrade I created for this post. It’s a 10-step checklist and framework for setting up your automation workflows in Drip. Here ya go:
Here are two more resources you might find helpful:
Lead Nurture Piece(s)
You’ll need a way to move someone from being a casual reader or email subscriber, into a lead and potential customer ready to make a buying decision.
This is where your lead nurture piece(s) come into play. Examples of lead nurture pieces might be a multi-day email crash course (dripped out as a Campaign in Drip), a downloadable eBook, or a live or recorded webinar.
Don’t make the mistake that most businesses do, which is to think that simply increasing the word count or length of the piece will result in a waterfall of leads and conversions.
Here are a few strategic tips to follow when assembling your lead nurture piece(s):
Sales Information Material
Next, we come to the material that potential customers can use to learn about your product and the specific answers to their questions as they make their buying decision.
Examples of sales information assets could be pricing charts, product demos (recorded or live), free samples, product tours, answers to frequently asked questions, etc.
It’s not enough to lay all of this information out on your website for your leads to find on their own. They probably won’t find and read every last word. And if they have incomplete information, this will only delay (or prevent) them from pulling the trigger on buying your product.
What I recommend is to send the key bits of sales information material when they are most relevant to a particular subscriber: As soon as they’ve become a “lead” for your business. I define a “lead” as someone who has taken an intentional step toward potentially buying your product. They’re raising their hand to say, “I’m considering a purchase in the near future”.
In our case at Audience Ops, we consider a person a “lead” when they request a consultation by filling out the form on our homepage. Your business might consider a lead to be someone who has signed up for a free trial or downloaded a demo.
This action should trigger a series of emails aimed at surfacing the most relevant and helpful information to help your customer make a more informed buying decision. Our lead follow-up material includes a mix of case studies about other customers, showing behind-the-scenes processes our team uses when we work together, answers to common questions about our service, and other bits of information.
Most businesses will benefit from having some automated content aimed at customers who’ve recently made their first purchase. The goal of this content could be to drive retention or repeat sales. Or it could be to encourage your customers to recommend your product to others.
Examples could be educational pitches for related products or upsells, asking customers to fill out a survey, inviting customers to a private community, and so on.
Through a mix of Drip workflows, campaigns, automation rules, and one-off emails, you can ensure that all subscribers are funneled into the right content pieces at the right time, depending on how far they’ve made it through your funnel.
See my video above to see how I weaved these pieces together, and feel free to steal some of those ideas for your own Drip workflows.
Drip Tips & Best Practices
I want to give you a few tips I built up through working with Drip these past few years.
Don’t confuse this with specific docs on how to use Drip. For that, check out Drip’s Knowledge Base or contact their customer support (they’ve always been super helpful in my experience).
I’ll break my tips down by the main features within Drip:
Here’s what my set of Workflows for my Audience Ops Drip account look like at the time of this writing:
Building Your Funnel in Drip: Where to Begin?
So I showed you what my funnel looks like in our Drip account for Audience Ops. And I gave you my tips for working inside the Drip platform.
But where should you begin when building out your marketing funnel?
Obviously, every business is a bit different. The way you structure your Drip workflows will depend on the type(s) of product(s) you sell and which content assets you’ve created (or are in the process of creating).
That said, I want to give you an approach you can take to get started and gain momentum so you can stand up your Drip automation system sooner rather than later.
Here’s the basic process:
For a more detailed process to follow and use as you build out your Drip system, download the cheatsheet I put together for you here:
Need quality content assets, articles, and lead magnets to fill out your Drip campaigns? Audience Ops is here to help.
This content was originally published here.