Drip Campaigns…Good Business or Just Drippy?
Diagnosis: Your email drip campaigns are not effective.
Symptoms: The recipients of your drip email campaigns delete them, or – worse – they ask to be removed from the campaign, causing you a loss of direct contact with your potential clients. You fear you may be losing your potential clients to the competition.
The Good, the Bad, the Ugly
When drip campaigns first came out, I, like everyone else, could see their potential value. If you provide good information, what could be the harm? As a matter of fact, I endorsed the idea.
But now, my initial excitement has dulled a bit, and I am not so sure. “Why is that?” you ask eagerly. Well, I’ll tell you.
One reason is that drip campaigns take up space. I have enough email as it is, and this is just one more thing to clutter up my In Box. So when I see these campaign emails come across my platform, I cannot hit the delete key fast enough.
Second, the information that I receive is, for the most part, uninspired, obvious, and generally less than useful.
Finally – and, I think, most important – I started to feel depersonalized. I was just another address on some auto-generated list. Simply put, drip campaigns went from something good, to something bad, and now I am real ugly about it.
Whose fault is it?
I admit that this is partially my fault. I signed up for these automated emails. I knew they were coming. But after a while I found myself deleting them without reading them, and, inevitably, I asked to be taken off mailing lists.
However, I must also blame the purveyor of these email drips. I had an expectation that the information they were sending me would actually make a difference in my business life. Unfortunately, I was being fed unoriginal ideas that provided me with no innovative insights that I could apply to my life or to my business.
The Problem with Technology
Technology is a great thing. I love it. I love the gadgets, the information, all of it. However, as we more and more frequently use technology as a means of communication, we begin to dehumanize people. One of the reasons we use email is because it allows us to avoid talking to others. Let’s face it: If I can send an email to you without you responding right away, I don’t have to immediately engage with you, which saves me time. It’s easy. It’s convenient.
However, while convenient, communicating by email is not personal. What we have created with a drip campaign is a program that sends a previously-written program to a person on the assumption that that recipient has the same agenda, the same type of mental programming. When it comes to staying in touch with your existing customers or potential clients, they don’t want some cute little email telling them you still haven’t forgotten about them. They want to feel important to you. They want to know that they are different than any other potential customer you have. That their needs are unique, and that they are unique.
The Narcissist in All of Us
I know that you have read or heard marketing gurus drill over and over that you need to understand your target market. However, I will take this one step further: you need to understand your target market without losing sight of the individual.
Humans are social beings. That is a fact. We like being with other people. We are designed to not be alone, and actually function better when we are supported by others. If you are one of those people who insist that you are better off alone, I will tell you to your face that you are in denial and you need psychological help. Please find a qualified therapist.
But despite the fact that we are social beings, we are also, for the most part, narcissistic. Each person believes he or she is special. We like it when someone recognizes us amongst others for our individuality. While on one level we don’t want to be embarrassed, we do want to others to notice that we are different.
The narcissist in each of us often drives us to success. Narcissism compels us to find ways for others to seek us out for recognition. The narcissist in each of us doesn’t want to be “just another one of the group”. We are innately intolerant of being lumped into the crowd, of being just like everyone else. We are better than that. We deserve better than that. The narcissist wants to be the best person in the group. Don’t make us feel we are just one of many cattle that you herd to the eating trough.
How did this happen?
Do you want the honest answer or do you want the politically correct answer? If you have read any of my writings in the past you know what you are going to get: honesty. So here it is.
Technology has made us lazy professionals. L-A-Z-Y. Think about it. When we didn’t have all this technology at our fingertips, our business was conducted face to face. We took time out of our lives to make sure that each customer felt that he or she was the focus of our intention and the most important person in the room. Enter technology. We hide behind our monitors. We screen our email, talk to who we want, when we want. At the same time, we still want to communicate with others.
True, the consumer has a narcissistic desire to be in control, but they don’t want to be alone. Technology theoretically gives us the ability to stay in touch with people without bothering them. The problem is that now we have crossed a line. It is much easier for us to set up an automated program that sends information to lots of people at once rather than taking the time to send a personalized email, or letter by mail, or to make a phone call. We just send out some pitiful piece of tripe that the originator has probably never fully read himself. By sending out mass emails, you are basically telling your customers “I am not going to take the time to communicate to all of you, so here is the same piece of information I send everyone else. P.S. I care about you!” Do you really expect anyone to believe that? Do you really think that we – as your customers – believe that you care about us? Hell, no! Furthermore, you can take your pre-written, simultaneously sent, skanky email, and shove it up your processor! “Please Remove.” Delete email. The only thing you have accomplished is to tell your clients that they are not important enough to get your personal attention, and that you are too lazy to pick up the phone and let them know you care.
Be part of the solution, not part of the problem: Make sure your current and potential clients have their own places at the head of the table. Find out what your clients really want, and give it to them. This may mean eliminating your email drip campaigns altogether, or you may have to come up with a customized, more personalized solution.
Do not buy an auto drip campaign: If you feel you must have an email drip campaign, then please write it yourself. Don’t outsource the writing of your campaign. If you didn’t write it, it won’t reflect your voice, and more than likely it won’t get you results.
Be more personal and less technological: We are talking about people here. We are not talking about communicating with a machine. Find out what’s important to your customers. Find out what’s going on with them. Find out what makes them tick. Then enter into their world. You will find that you have a returning customer for life. What’s more, you may even make another friend.
People are emotional, so emote: I think the reason women are the best small business owners and dominate the real estate world is because they don’t mind emoting with their clients. They don’t mind listening to them. They want to understand, they better demonstrate that they want to help, and ultimately women are better at convincing clients that they really care. Now, I know there are exceptions. I just wish there were more men who demonstrated these skills.
Take the time: There is no such thing as “making time”. You have to take the time. If these people are really important to you, than “take” the time to make them feel important.
To the Health of your Business!
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