The value of ‘drip marketing’ for re-engaging existing customers

By Larry AltonLarry Alton

While most businesses are focused on acquiring new customers, savvy leaders understand the importance of tapping into their existing customer base to engage and upsell them. But how can you successfully reach existing customers and encourage them to make another purchase? It all starts with a strategic drip campaign.

Before we get into the intricacies of drip marketing, let’s first discuss the costs of obtaining versus retaining customers. While there’s no perfect mathematical equation or formula for discovering the exact costs of acquisition and retention, many people have attempted to come up with various rules of thumb to show why it’s always easier to retain than it is to acquire.

The general consensus is that it costs between four and 10 times more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep an existing one. And while you obviously need a customer acquisition strategy in place to grow, the data clearly proves that re-engaging and upselling existing customers is paramount to long-term stability and success.

Now that we understand the value in existing customers, let’s take a look at drip marketing. As the name suggests, this form of marketing involves slow, steady drips, as opposed to a fire-hose blast of information. With drip marketing, you gradually send out different marketing messages at specific time intervals, hoping that, after enough drips, the target will feel compelled to move to action.

Drip tips and strategies for existing customers

While drip marketing is generally used in the context of customer acquisition, it can also be used to speed up customer retention. When implementing the appropriate strategy, a drip campaign can increase the likelihood of re-engaging stagnant customers and moving them to action (which is a cost-effective way to grow the bottom line).

With that being said, let’s check out a few drip-based tips and strategies.

  1. Use as many channels as possible.

While modern drip campaigns are usually correlated with email marketing, make sure you realize that there are other channels through which you can send drip messaging. In fact, you should be employing a multi-channel approach whenever possible. Voice is actually a preferred medium.

“Voice messaging enables a higher response rate than using direct mail, yet it is as fast and inexpensive as sending emails,” DialMyCalls explains. “Additionally, it can be used to serve various purposes inside of your business by creating a new bridge of communication.”

  1. Deliver a consistent message.

At the heart of a successful drip campaign is consistent messaging. Even when it feels like you aren’t getting through to a customer, you have to maintain some semblance of congruency from drip to drip. Otherwise, the overarching purpose of the campaign becomes compromised. As soon as you settle on a value proposition or desired action, pursue it with all your energy. It may take time, but you’ll eventually break through.

  1. Nail the timing.

The final aspect is the timing. Remember that this is a drip campaign and not a fire hose campaign. The goal is to drip, drip, drip over a period of weeks and months. Your messaging should be slow and steady. Too much dripping and you’ll frustrate customers, causing them to abandon you. Too little dripping and the customer will forget about you. Find that happy medium and stick with it.

If you’re only using drip campaigns within the context of customer acquisition, then you’re missing out on a massive opportunity to re-engage existing customers and cost-effectively grow your bottom line. A solid drip campaign allows you to reach those customers that may have gone dormant without overwhelming them or compromising your existing relationship. It’s a powerful tool that shouldn’t be ignored under any circumstances.

Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.