Whilst newsletters are a great staple in your marketing efforts, they are not a client-generating tool. To have success with email marketing you also need to run drip campaigns.

These drip campaigns are also known as marketing campaigns, automated email campaigns, lifecycle campaigns, auto responders and marketing automation.

The marketing is the same. They are emails that you send out to your subscribers. They are triggered by a particular action, set and scheduled to go out over a period of time and are focused on a specific customer journey. Perhaps one email goes out the moment someone signs up to your eBook, and then another the following day, and then 3 days later, and then 6 days later.

Writing and sending these drip campaigns can seem somewhat daunting. In fact it is something that very few accounting firms do because it takes thought and a clear understanding of your ideal client’s frustrations and their needs.

Drip campaigns are about giving the right information at the right time to the right person.

But do drip campaigns really work? Yes – according to research collected by the team behind the email marketing suite Emma, relevant targeted emails produce 18 times more revenue than globally broadcasted ones.

It was also found that people who read your drip campaigns are far more likely to click the links in them, with 119% increase in click through rate. This is a huge change on the effectiveness of your current emails/newsletters.

This is exciting because much of the information you need for your drip campaigns is probably already written. You will (hopefully) already have blogs and articles that educate your audience. You can use your white-papers and eBooks to take your audience on a journey. Most importantly you can say the right thing to the right people when they are ready to buy.

Here are some examples of drip emails that you could include:

Welcome email

Someone has signed up to download your free eBook. The stats show that users actually expect—and like—welcome emails when they sign up for a new service or newsletter. Research shows that these auto responders enjoy a 58.7% open rate on average, while normal emails sit at around 14.6%. When that welcome email is sent instantaneously (i.e. right after the user signs up), the open rate jumps to 88.3%. Craft a great welcome drip campaign and get great engagement. Then keep the momentum going with relevant follow-up messages.

Taster emails

Alongside welcome emails and newsletters a taster email can be sent to get someone to start a deeper relationship with you. A great way to get a company to dip their toe in the water with you is to get them to sign up to your App.

If you have an App in your accounting firm (see MyFirmsApp for a great example for your firm) you can suggest prospects download it and start to benefit from it before they have bought from you. This means you are now residing on the most valuable real estate in the world – their smart phone. You can run a whole taster campaign around your App demo and this can be a great way to get them to sign up with your firm over a competitors.

Other taster emails can include signing up to your webinar, an event or to a series of training emails.

Confirmation emails

Congratulations you have closed the sale and your new or returning client is ready to do business with you again. But your drip work isn’t done. You can also use a drip campaign to nurture new clients and make them feel welcome. A “thank you” email, pre-written and set to go out automatically once they have confirmed the purchase, will ensure they are engaged fully with your accounting firm.

Referral emails

You only get if you ask. You can set a drip campaign to build value for your clients and provide them with more information for their business that helps them. You will become a vital resource for them if you do this well. If you set your business up in this way you can set a drip campaign asking for referrals. But this only works if you are being of huge value to your clients.

Engagement emails

The math here is pretty simple. The more people engage with your website and on your social media the more likely they are to convert into a paying customer. Engagement emails will drive people to your content and your social media updates, getting them to comment more and interact.

To run a successful drip campaign you need to do the following:

  1. Be super clear on your ideal audience. The more niche and targeted the campaign the more effective it will be.
  2. You need to understand the fears, frustrations, wants and aspirations of your ideal clients so you can write relevant emails and articles to include in the drip campaign.
  3. You need to map out the campaign – backwards. Have a clear understanding of what you want your audience to do and then engineer the drip campaign to get your audience to that point.
  4. Set your campaign – load your emails into your CRM system and test the sequence.
  5. Send your campaign. Once you are happy to press go, then press go. Don’t overthink it – remember most accounting firms put little or no effort into their marketing so you will have great success with this different approach.
  6. Measure your campaign. After a while evaluate which emails are getting opened, which links are getting clicked and which articles and whitepapers are receiving the most response.
  7. Expand your campaign. Start with a 45-day campaign and grow from there. I have worked on marketing campaigns with clients that have had up to 2000 emails prewritten and part of a drip campaign. Start small and get confident.

Next: Now you understand how drip campaigns can benefit your firm, you need to choose the platform you are going to use to deliver your campaign. We spoke above of using email CRM platforms but you can also include direct mail, social media and telephone conversations as a way to nurture your audience to become clients. Marketing in this way is powerful- it will dramatically change the future of your firm.