If you’ve been in marketing or work around many marketers, you’ve likely heard the marketing automation terms “Drip Campaign” and “Lead Nurturing”. These terms describe two different types of campaigns, and each one has a specific purpose and strategy.
Drip Campaign = Timed Emails
A drip campaign is a campaign that will follow a set, pre-determined schedule based on when the user entered the campaign. Drip campaigns can also be called follow-ups. Let’s say we run an e-commerce store and we sell water bottles. Here is an example drip campaign:
- Day 0 – User buys a product and enters campaign, send thank you email
- Day 2 – User receives email about product usage and cleaning tips
- Day 5 – User receives email about happiness of product and asking for a review of product on site
- Day 8 – User receives email promoting accessories for the bottle
Drip campaigns can very in length and frequency, but usually have a specific purpose or end-goal. In our example above, our goals would be:
- Show the user interesting features and care for their new product
- Ask for original content in the form of a review
- Cross-sell accessories to drive more sales and improve the user’s product experience
Lead Nurturing = Interest & Engagement Emails
Lead nurturing is different, as it’s a campaign based on activities that the user has done, and may actively be doing. Here’s another example using our water bottle company:
- Day 0 – User gives email for a free brochure on water bottle, brochure is emailed to user, user enters lead nurture campaign
- Day 0 – User reads brochure, visits product page a 2nd time, looks at product reviews, and campaign triggers email touting third-party reviews for product
- Day 2 – User visits product, views shipping policy, campaign triggers email about ordering FAQ’s and no-hassle return policy.
- Day 3 – User visits product page again, campaign triggers a 10% coupon to encourage the sale
- Day 3 – User purchases product, enters a drip campaign
Lead Nurturing campaigns goal is to get the user to “convert” – by purchasing a product, by educating the user ahead of a sales call, or whatever we consider a conversion. These are often used by sales team to educate users prior to a sales call, and different routes can be taken depending on different actions.
Which One Is Right?
If you are starting out on marketing automation, drip campaigns are likely easier to start with. They have very simple paths to set up, and it’s likely that you already have content you can promote and use. Lead Nurturing can require different paths and setup, depending on user actions and analytics. In both cases, having plenty of available marketing content will be necessary to ensure success.