What Is an Email Track?
An email marketing track (also known as a drip campaign) is a short series of messages created to provide small amounts of information to recipients over time. These messages are usually automated, and the audience receives emails about your product/service in predefined intervals (days, weeks or months).
A few scenarios in which email tracks are employed include:
- Communication to foster sales of big ticket items (e.g. cars, boats and homes that usually require serious consideration time from the buyer).
- Enrollment cycles for education, insurance, memberships, and related programs in which important information and time-sensitive reminders are helpful.
- Trial or introduction periods that involve a “product tryout” on the part of the consumer.
The Value of a Email Track
Email marketers utilize tracks for a variety of reasons. First, they provide a means of maintaining an active presence with the audience in an automated (i.e. low cost) fashion. They allow us to test and measure buying cycle time frames, message effectiveness and the impact of specific features and benefits when shown to the audience. Finally, email tracks are popular because they work. Tracks can provide the right message to the right audience at the right time if executed correctly.
Nearly every email delivery tool offers the ability to create and rollout email tracks with varying degrees of precision. However, what are the expectations for communication at the close of the track? If the email track did not encourage every recipient to act, what is next? How can we as marketers work to secure an ongoing relationship via email or other means with our track participants?
Here are seven options for email marketers who eventually reach the end of the line.
1. Take It Offline
If your email series did not have the desired effect, perhaps it is time to attempt another method with specific audience members. The end of a track can often trigger the sales team to pick up the phone, deliver the message via snail mail or invite prospects to an in-person event as a way to keep communication flowing.
2. Keep Going
Depending upon the length of the email track, it may be worthwhile to keep pushing messages at a regular rate. This option requires careful measurement to determine if your recipients could actually benefit from additional emails. For instance, measuring email clicks on links other than “unsubscribe” could indicate the need for more information and/or more time with your offering. Utilizing your metrics, try to determine specific aspects of your message that resonate with recipients. Perhaps there are certain elements or unique content that can encourage sales-oriented behaviors. If your metrics show zero activity from the recipient, choose another option.
3. Ask, “What Next?”
The close of a track can also present an opportunity to gather more intel. The most important aspect of your email marketing campaigns is and always will be relevance. Improve relevance for individuals on your track list by inviting them to share what they would like to receive and when. This can come in the form of a short survey or a “Profile Center” in which specific interests are updated. Many email marketers include the “Update Profile” link in the footer of every email, but in this scenario, it would be the start of the show.
Fab.com and their preference system powered by SailThru does an unbelievable job of this as seen below.
4. Stall & Rekindle
Your pitch may be superb, but your timing might be off. If you are promoting a product or service that has a seasonal sales cycle, you may choose to halt communications now and reinvigorate your track at a later date. Don’t kill a promising long-term relationship by pushing too hard in the short term.
5. Newsletter Migration
In addition to your track targeted to prospects, you may also have an email newsletter for current customers. If your regularly scheduled customer updates or newsletter will provide legitimate appeal to your sales prospects, include them on your list. However, be very careful about how this migration is communicated and executed. Get permission to send newsletter updates either at the end of the track or (even better) when the track starts initially.
6. Introduce to Social
Similar to email, social media is an excellent tactic for maintaining ongoing communications with an existing or prospective customer base. Near the end of your email track, encourage subscription to your social channels. Here’s an example from Sports Authority:
7. Do Nothing
If you are really hoping to irritate a potential customer, just keep sending irrelevant garbage. Remember, your sales prospect is the object of your affection; Try not to piss her off. Sometimes the best thing to do stay in a prospect’s good graces is to discontinue efforts and let them come back on their own terms.