Why sometimes we don’t get enough email drip campaign messages

Estimated read time: 3 minutes


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Surprising I know: I’m actually complaining about not getting enough emails here. Specifically, I’m talking about email marketing messages. Usually they are automated. Officially, that’s called email drip campaigns.

Here’s why I have a complaint though and why this is also the reason marketers will likely continue to bombard us with email drip campaign messages. Unfortunately.

What is an email drip campaign

This is when a company sends consumers targeted emails based on what they know about them. For example, I have a membership to the American Airlines Admirals airport lounge and have had that for a couple years. It expires every year. So here’s how American’s drip campaign looks:

  • My membership expires in December
  • So in early November, they start emailing: Renew your membership now
  • Then again. Get the credit card to get the membership for free
  • Then a few days before, one last email.

The last email came at a inconvenient time for me and I deleted it (Mr. Inbox Zero at your service) but just assumed I would get another reminder later.

  • I then ended up using miles to buy the membership.
  • A few days or weeks later I received an email letting me know I could potentially get a refund if I get the American credit card now.
  • That same email came a few more times.

I never signed up for the credit card. No. 1 I just assumed I wasn’t going to get the miles back and No. 2 it seemed too much work at this point, though there likely are other advantages.

When a drip campaign might not work

I hear people complain about drip campaigns usually only when they sent too many emails. Of course, sometimes it’s not too many but bad timing. And other times it’s just too much crap! The one email mentioned above was of high interest to me, but I prioritized cleaning out my email versus saving it for later. I assume I would get another one later.

Of course, that’s easier said than done. How do the marketer know when I’m most receptive to opening and reading my emails? How do they know that I’m sitting at the airport and am bored? All other days I’m in the office at this time in meetings. They don’t and that’s why they sent so many emails and optimize them for times when the biggest mass of people open them.

Related: Designing for the masses is not the future of personalization

Maybe there’s a way for senders to figure out when I open most of my emails and send me important campaigns then. 🙂 Of course, there’s also a difference between opening an email to delete it and opening an email to actually read it.

While there are tools out there that offer personalization and highly optimized send times, it’s hard to get this right exactly for people. Life isn’t a straight line and schedules change.

And maybe it’s not when the email arrived that I didn’t sign up for the credit card. Maybe I’m just not quite to the buying stage. I do know this, though: Had it arrived right before or closer to when I actually renewed my membership chances could have been high for me to sign up.

Drip campaign wrap

We can automate many things in digital marketing, but not much happens automagically.

WIth the right mix of testing, critical thinking and advancement in technology we can get there. Because we don’t really need more emails. We just need more of them to be highly relevant and arrive at the best time for me, the consumer.

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