Table of Contents
You’re caught between a rock and a hard place.
We feel your pain.
We, too, remember the days when we were struggling to find enough time in the day to:
- Keep in touch with all our leads and customers and
- Make sales calls and
- Deal with emails and
- Train new staff and
- Do admin on our legacy CRM system.
Here’s a picture from back then:
But somehow, we managed to keep it together and not fall a few hundred meters into the icy waters below… How?
A friendly bot called marketing automation threw us a rope in the form of a drip CRM.
This tech solution helped us automate customer communication, reduce our admin workload, and focus on what matters most to salespeople and marketers: making sales and driving revenue.
Ready to follow suit and leave that beautiful rock be just like God intended it (a.k.a. empty)?
Fantastic, let’s show you the life-saving ways of a drip CRM. We’ll cover:
- The “what, when, and why” of drip CRMs
- Eight best practice tips
- Case studies and examples
- Evaluation criteria to consider before buying a solution
- 2021’s top drip marketing software
Off we go.
What is Drip CRM Software?
The term “drip CRM” refers to a program that combines drip marketing (also known as drip campaign or autoresponder) technology with a CRM system.
And don’t worry just yet if you’re not entirely sure what these two terms mean — we’ll break them down for you.
A CRM (an abbreviation for Customer Relationship Management) system is an enterprise-level technology that optimizes the way companies collect, store, organize, access, and analyze their customer information and interactions.
It’s primarily used by sales, marketing, and customer service teams to:
- Manage the sales pipeline
- Assign scores to customers and prospects based on their behavioral signals
- Improve customer support
- Streamline and automate processes
- Run targeted marketing campaigns
- Keep in touch with prospects and customers
- And much more!
All of these CRM-powered activities have a single goal in mind:
Build robust, lasting customer relationships and drive business performance.
These objectives, along with the desire to simplify tech stacks and reduce billing complexity, drove clever developers to integrate drip campaign software directly into their CRMs.
Drip Campaign Software Explained
Despite the fancy name, drip campaign software is simple.
It’s a program that salespeople and marketers use to plan, create, and send a series of automated messages (sequences) to a targeted group of people at strategic intervals.
This rocking infographic, courtesy of the lovely folks over at Mobile Monkey, gives you a more detailed overview:
Autoresponder technology (memorize this commonly used synonym for drip campaign technology) uses a variety of communication mediums to reach out to contacts:
- Snail mail
- Social media
- SMS or chat services like WhatsApp
These last two communication channels are the cheapest and most effective at building one-to-one conversations with people.
But hold up, why should I even care about drip marketing campaigns?
Because of three interlinked points:
- The Law of 29
This law (more like marketing concept, but potato, potahto) states that:
“Companies must expose consumers to their products and services [...] at least 29 times if they wish to win them over.”
And despite the ongoing debate on whether the magic number is effectively 29 or not, this law’s base principle rings true.
Slowly and gently nurturing leads is the best method for turning them into loyal customers.
But… how will I contact each one of my prospects 29 times? I don’t have time for that!
Enter point 2, automation.
Marketing automation takes the tedious work of contacting thousands of leads and customers off of your plate and places it firmly on a rust-proof robot.
Sounds good, right?
Absolutely. But won’t I annoy the cr*p out of my customers if I hit them up 29 times?
Time for the last point, personalization.
You’ll be fine as long as you treat them like a person (and not a cash machine).
Customers actually look forward to hearing what companies have to say if they’re sending valuable content that’s focused on their interests, desires, and/or fears.
Drip campaign software enables you to do all this — reach out enough times, automate your workload, and keep messages personalized — and that’s why it’s a game-changer.
The stats speak for themselves:
Drip campaigns can reach 70%+ open rates and 30%+ click-through rates (CTR), and that’s well over the email marketing averages of 18-20% for open rates and 2-3% for CTR.
How are companies leveraging this incredible technology?
Let’s find out.
When Are Drip Campaigns Used?
The short answer is pretty much in any type of customer communication.
What did you expect when you equipped crafty marketers and salespeople with such a powerful tool?
And while the sky is truly the limit when it comes to drip marketing, we’ve done our best to compile a short but exhaustive list of the most common scenarios in which companies whip out the old autoresponder.
- Welcoming or onboarding new customers
- Nurturing leads through the sales funnel
- Confirming appointments or meetings
- Educating customers and leads about your products
- Rewarding certain customer behaviors like loyalty and repeat purchases
- Reconnecting with past customers or unengaged contacts
- Guiding people to take a specific action (i.e., sign up for an upcoming seminar)
- Reminding shoppers that they’ve abandoned items in their cart
Getting more and more intrigued by drip CRMs?
Well, wait until you read all about their many business benefits.
The Six Major Benefits of a Drip CRM Platform
1. Save Time and Stay Sane
We’ve already touched on this benefit a couple of times in this post, but it’s so important that we have to repeat it one more time:
Drip CRMs save you and your team a ridiculous amount of time and effort by automating menial tasks and streamlining clunky processes.
You’ll experience increased productivity, more balanced mental health, and lower shrink bills.
What does the research have to say?
Imagine the effects these two sluggers have when they're batting for the same team. Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, anyone?
2. Share Your Brand Values and Grow Awareness
In 2021, being a faceless corporation isn’t going to cut it.
Consumers and B2B customers expect more from the brands they patronize.
In fact, an incredible 56% of people remain loyal to companies who “get them,” and an even larger 89% stick with brands that share their core values.
But if loyalty isn’t a big enough reward in itself, then get this:
43% of consumers actually spend more of their hard-earned cash on brands they’re loyal to.
So don’t sit on the sidelines hoping your customers find their way to your website’s “about” section and go, “aha, this company gets me.”
Take action and leverage a drip CRM’s automated ability to proactively share your brand values with all of your prospects and customers one drop at a time.
Just like Grammarly does so successfully with this playful email:
3. Skyrocket Customer Engagement
Would you take action after receiving that email from Grammarly?
More likely than not, you’d appreciate the ballsy email and click that big red button.
Especially if you’re impressed by the free version of Grammarly, which is something they know thanks to analytics and cookies.
You might not upgrade yet, but unconsciously, you’ll move down the sales funnel and become a much hotter prospect.
And that’s the beauty of drip CRM software:
You can send customer engagement rates surging by delivering personalized, relevant messages to the right contacts at precisely the right time.
All without breaking a sweat.
4. Optimize Your Sales Funnel
Did you know that 79 percent of leads never convert into customers and spend their entire life floating about a sales pipeline until someone loses hope and bins their files?
We know that’s a painful one to read, but chin up and look at the glass half full.
Even a marginal improvement to your sales funnel can trigger a massive increase in the number of deals your team is closing.
And a drip CRM is the perfect way to do just that.
You’ll be able to nurture your leads like never before with features like drip campaigns, a click-to-call VoIP softphone, and a foolproof overview of all your active prospects.
Trust us; it’ll be worth the effort — 80% more sales and 33% lower costs await you.
Speaking of costs...
5. Keep Things Affordable and Easy-to-Set-up
Nobody likes expensive software that’s a nightmare to implement.
That’s a fact.
Luckily, drip CRMs are available as affordable, cloud-based SaaS solutions.
Take our platform as an example:
Ringy only costs $99 a month, and implementing it is as easy as plug-and-play.
Plus, if anyone gets stuck, they can take comfort in knowing that all of our customers have access to hands-on onboarding and setup at no additional charge.
Bye-bye to expensive (and slow) onsite technicians.
6. Make a Big Difference to Your Bottom Line
We’ve kept the best benefit for last:
Businesses that automate lead management enjoy a serious uplift in revenue.
Research from Gartner quantifies this increase at 10% or more in just six to nine months.
*Awkwardly bends down to pick up the mic again*
The low monthly costs of running a drip CRM mean you’re essentially looking at a considerable amount of that 10% growth in revenue turning straight into profits.
Definitely don’t forget to mention that to Finance before you drop the mic!
Five Effective Drip Campaign Tips + Three Pro Tips
It’s time for a bit of “good cop, bad cop” Lethal Weapon-style.
Sgt. Martin Riggs:
Unfortunately, you’ll only be able to unleash these benefits if you know how to use a drip CRM. And that’s no walk in the park, especially for a rookie like you.
Sgt. Roger Murtaugh:
Hold up there, Riggs; no need to scare our suspect.
It’s only hard if it’s you against the world.
But don’t worry about that. We’re here to hold your hand and give you eight priceless pieces of drip CRM best practice.
P.S. Three of these are “hidden pro tips” without a header tag — Riggs convinced us to give people skim reading a slightly harder time.
1. Welcome and Nurture Subscribers Without Overwhelming Them
The welcome sequence is the most important drip campaign in your arsenal.
After all, nothing counts more than an excellent first impression.
To avoid slipping up before you even get started, you need to be 110% sure that you have gathered explicit consent from your contacts.
If you forget or ignore to do so, you’ll be in for a world of pain — expect angry customers and hefty fines from privacy regulators.
Once that’s sorted, you’re ready to build your welcome sequence.
Try something like this:
- Day 0: An initial welcome message once they sign up to your database
- Day 3: A value-packed email
- Day 8: An introduction to your company and your brand values
- Day 12: Another value-packed email
- Day 16: An unmissable offer via drip SMS software (if possible)
- Day 19: Check-in about the offer while offering more valuable advice
The exact frequency of your emails depends on your industry and your final goal.
Unfortunately, we can’t tell you a magic number, but what we can do is give you some solid advice:
Don’t let your drips turn into a waterfall!
Jokes aside, aim to:
- Keep things simple
- Deliver a ton of value
- Analyze your results
- Optimize your sequence as you gain more insights
P.S. It’s time for...
Pro tip 1 — Tease your readers with a “P.S. message” so they know precisely what to look forward to in your next drip.
2. Follow Up on No Responses
People might not open or respond to your drip emails.
Don’t take it as an offense and give up — they’re probably just busy, or maybe they didn’t even see your emails.
Either way, you should have a contingency plan in place.
A fantastic idea is to create a solid follow-up sequence and have your drip CRM automatically activate it after a certain amount of ignored emails.
For example, you could program your CRM to kickstart this hail-mary tactic when one of your contacts doesn’t open three straight emails.
What should this sequence look like?
Three emails: two insanely valuable emails with your best content and offers and one final breakup email that plays on your recipient’s emotions.
Not sure what a breakup email is? Here’s a great one:
If a person takes action after any of these emails, stop the sequence and remove them from the follow-up list. They’ve earned their place back in the regular drip database.
But if they stay silent, simply remove them from your database as there’s no point in them ruining your KPIs and costing you extra budget.
Pro tip 2 — add a short survey to your breakup email asking people, “Was it us? Let us know so we can get better!”
3. Keep Your Drips Short and Compelling
Drip communication should be short and sweet.
Do you know how we can tell?
It’s in the name: drip marketing and not flood marketing.
Your two goals are 1) get a single key message across and 2) ask your prospects/customers to take a single action.
Don’t overcomplicate their lives because they don’t have the time or energy to deal with it.
Pro tip 3 — Mix it up and use multiple mediums to communicate more effectively.
Emails should be your go-to channel for sharing slightly longer-form content, while SMS messages are perfect for one to two-sentence blasts.
4. Always Include One (And Only One) CTA per Message
How do you get your recipients to take a single action after reading a drip?
Simple. Give them a single CTA.
It’s the only way to guarantee people understand what you want them to do.
Check this example out:
Which message is easier to grasp? And which one is more likely to nudge you into action?
Obviously, the second one, so don’t be the chaotic company that sends out the first one.
5. A/B Test Like Never Before
Drip campaigns are a numbers game.
As luck (or savvy developers) would have it, drip CRMs provide you with the perfect analytical toolkit to become a numbers ninja.
Everything’s already there, so all it takes is for you to head over to the analytics tab and dig into the data.
What are you looking for?
The holy trinity of autoresponder KPIs: open rate, click-through rate, and conversion rate.
Once you have a baseline to work from, you should start A/B testing your sequence in the search for the best:
- Send times
- Interval between emails
- CTA text
- Email subject lines
- Content length
- Content-type (text only vs. images)
- Medium mix (email vs. SMS vs. both)
But be conscious that you’ll never be done tinkering — focus on making incremental gains with each month that goes by.
Drip Campaign Software Success Stories
Want to see these tips at work in real-life companies?
Then whatever you do, don’t skip this inspirational table:
Drip CRM Campaign Strategy
Voices created a drip campaign to welcome new jobseekers and potential employers to their platform.
Its goal is to establish trust, build a relationship, and show contacts how to start using their site.
The Kewl Shop sends out three drip sequences:
Smiley Cookie was struggling with cart abandonment, so they implemented a three-email drip sequence:
Also interested in some visual inspiration?
Good thinking; here are three examples to get your brain going.
1. The Voices welcome campaign we discussed in the previous table — pay particular attention to the simple messaging and hero images:
2. Resolving cart abandonment à la Kenneth Cole, where the secret is in the timely follow-up and the super-clear CTA:
3. The down-to-earth Zapier way to nurture leads and turn free trials into customers:
What Should You Look For in a Drip CRM?
If you’re anything like us, you’re itching to get started and become the next drip CRM success story (and do reach out when that comes true; we’ll happily add you to this post).
Nevertheless, don’t rush into evaluating all the different CRM software until you understand what distinguishes a quality platform from the rest.
This table will help you gain precisely that knowledge:
Why It’s Important
Audience management capabilities
Easy to use
Fair monthly price
We could stop here, but why leave you to struggle with tedious online research?
Let’s reveal our picks for the best CRM for drip campaigns and make your life way easier:
Top-Rated Drip Marketing Software + Drip CRM Pricing
- Ringy at $99 per month (includes 1,000 SMS messages and 1,000 voice minutes) + $0.01 per extra text message + $0.01 per extra voice minute + $0.001 per email
- Hubspot CRM from $50 to $3,200 per month
- Agile CRM from $14.99 to $79.99 per user per month
- Zoho CRM from $20 to $65 per user per month
- Pipedrive from $15 to $99 per user per month
And what about if you already have a CRM system and you simply want to add drip campaign functionality to your existing one?
Then check out our two favorite standalone drip marketing programs:
- Drip from $19 (500 contacts) to $369 (25,000 contacts) a month
- Aweber from $19.99 (500 contacts) to $149.99 (25,000 contacts) a month
N.B. Aweber only includes drip email software.
N.B. Having separate platforms might be more expensive than jumping ship and upgrading your current CRM to a drip CRM.
Conclusion: Success One Drip Drop at a Time
Chill the champagne 🍾🍾 — you finally know what it takes to succeed with drip marketing.
- Get explicit consent from your contacts.
- Sign up for a trustworthy cloud-based drip CRM.
- Put these eight tips into practice:
- Welcome and nurture subscribers without overwhelming them
- Follow up on stalled leads
- Keep your drips short and valuable
- Put one CTA into each message
- Become an A/B testing buff
- Tease readers with a P.S. message in your drips
- Add a short exit survey to your breakup emails
- Use both SMS and email to communicate
P.S. Why don’t you request a demo of Ringy and see how our affordable, full-scale CRM can optimize much more than just your drip campaigns?
See what we did there? Of course, you do. Now do the same in your drips.