How to Use Drip Campaigns to Nurture Existing Customers

Email Marketing


Many marketers understand the power of implementing automated drip campaigns to turn leads into customers by moving them through the sales cycle. Truly successful marketers know the best bang for your marketing buck comes from using drip campaigns to nurture existing customers.


Smart marketers know that it’s easier and more cost effective to sell to existing customers than it is to cultivate new leads. How much easier and more effective? According to the authors of Marketing Metrics, the probability of selling to a new prospect is 5-20% while the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%.

That’s math anyone can understand and it’s a process that begins with onboarding new customers.

Of course, successful customer drip campaigns start with a content marketing strategy that guides your efforts and keeps you focused on what you want to accomplish with your drip. Beginning with a well-defined strategy allows you to create drip campaigns that respond to the specific needs and interests of specific customers.

In this blog, I’ll give a deeper dive into how to create a drip campaign with your existing customers in mind. 

Begin With the End in Mind

When creating drip campaigns set expectations from the very beginning and provide additional value from the start of what should be a long and valuable relationship.

  • Welcome Email
    A well-crafted welcome email should give customers exactly what they’re looking for–plus a little something extra that acts as a “thank you” for becoming a customer. Provide them with all the information they need to get started then offer a link to supporting content or access to educational content such as a white paper or ebook. Sometimes all you need to add is information on how to contact support if the customer needs help or has questions. Another way to welcome and thank new customers is to provide an offer or discount on future purchases. However, don’t underestimate the power and value of simply providing useful content.
  • Blogs
    Welcome emails are also a great way to introduce new customers to your blog.  Provide new clients with a link to a sample blog post that is relevant to them. That blog post should contain links to other posts on the same or similar topics. Evergreen blog posts should be part of your overall strategy because they can be used in multiple ways to help current and potential customers. A great evergreen post can drive valuable traffic to your site for years—both through SEO and in your email nurture program.
  • Segment and Set Rules
    Content segmentation allows you to personalize and tailor campaigns to specific audiences. Use your marketing automation platform to set rules and triggers to ensure you proactively deliver relevant, specific content that matches your customers’ viewing and search behaviors while they are on your website. Serving your customers relevant content can help move them closer to another sale.

Offer Solutions and Establish Thought Leadership

Drip campaigns are excellent for promoting useful content that establishes you as a valued thought leader. Build trust and deepen relationships with well-planned nurtures. Here are a few helpful tips to get you started.

  • Don’t Sell
    If you want to establish long and profitable relationships with your customers, create helpful drip campaigns that educate and inform them on topics, industry issues, and solutions to their problems. By providing valuable information, you’ll reinforce the importance of your relationship and greatly increase the odds that your customer will return.
  • Exclusive Content
    By offering exclusive client-only content, you kill two birds with one stone by taking advantage of the most powerful tools of influence: scarcity and reciprocation. Recipients are more likely to open exclusive content. The fact that it is exclusive suggests the content is extremely valuable. Exclusive content also plays into your customers’ egos. By offering them special, “for-your-eyes-only” content, you’ve made them feel unique and valued. This special offer can increase the odds of reciprocation by your customers through new and purchases or return visits to your site.
  • Link to Important Blog Posts
    Knowledge is power. Providing customers with links to helpful blog posts is one of the easiest ways to give them access to information that can help them succeed. Make no mistake about it, in the eyes of the customer, you haven’t just given them a post, you’ve given them a gift. A simple link gives your customer access to a no-strings-attached gift that helps them and builds goodwill with your brand.

It’s A New Dawn, It’s A New Day, and Your Email’s Feeling Good

Feel-good emails are a great tool for building rapport, trust, and confidence with your customers. What’s a feel-good email? Here are examples of just four proven emails that make your customer feel appreciated and top-of-mind.

  • Anniversary Emails
    Emails celebrating anniversaries and other milestones are great for increasing engagement. The secret to successful anniversary-style emails is to make sure they’re all about celebrating the customer, not your company, product, or service. Done correctly, anniversary emails make the customer feel important, appreciated, and part of the family.
  • Holiday Emails
    The problem with most holiday emails is they just seem to be celebrating Spam Day. Great holiday emails know how to break through the noise by connecting emotionally with the spirit of the holiday. Don’t make your email about just another sale. Make it exclusive to your customer’s preferences through segmentation. Whether you’re offering an exclusive discount, a free gift or unique content, donating proceeds to a charity, or simply seasons greeting, holiday emails should be about the spirit of the holiday and not commercialization.
  • Industry-Related Event Reminders
    Event reminders are thoughtful, useful, and an easy way to get a big relationship return on almost no investment. They provide valuable information that can benefit your customer and let them know you think of them as part of a bigger family. Even if they don’t attend the event, this is one of those emails where it’s the thought that counts.
  • Client Newsletters
    Newsletters are a lot like magicians: most are bad, uninteresting, and intrusive. But the great ones are nothing short of amazing. You can find a lot of examples of great newsletters online. Here are three solid rules of thumb to get you started:

    1. Your subject line is the most import content in your newsletter. The subject is often the determining factor for whether a recipient opens it or not. Spend as much time on your subject line as you do on your content.
    2. 90% of your newsletter should be useful, relevant content, and only 10% should be an offer or company specific.
    3. Make your opt-out easy or all of your content will start looking like spam.

The Write Stuff

Remember: it’s far more cost effective to keep an existing customer than it is to acquire a new one, so customer drip campaigns are not the place to “fake it ‘til you make it.”

Your success relies on providing real, valuable content. Anything less will set off your customers’ insincerity meter and risk creating the perception that all of your content belongs in the junk folder. Give content the short stick and your clients will likely do the same for you.

How have you utilized drip campaigns with your existing customers? What successes have you seen with this engagement strategy? Tell me about your experiences below in the comments.

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