For your blog to succeed, you don’t just need people to stumble across it. You need them to keep coming back for more.
To become a successful blogger, getting readers is step one. Building a community around your blog that keeps coming back for more and actively engages with your content is the long-term goal you should really aim for.
To stay connected to your visitors and keep them more engaged, use email marketing.
Even if a visitor really loves the first blog post they read on your site, hoping they’ll come back on their own is a long shot. There’s a lot of other content out there and most people will need a nudge to remember to come back to check out yours again.
Promoting your email list gives new visitors a way to let you know they like your stuff enough to hear from you again. And once they take that step, it’s up to you to really seal the connection.
The best way to do that: setting up a solid email drip campaign for your blog.
What is a Drip Campaign?
A drip campaign is a series of automated emails you send to your blog subscribers. Drip campaigns are triggered by a specific event – most commonly, when a new subscriber signs up, but it could also be something like signing up for a course or downloading an ebook.
Pretty much any email marketing software you use should have the option to set up a drip campaign. You can write and design the emails in advance and automate the process of getting them to subscribers at the right time to get and keep them engaged in your content.
4 Benefits of Setting Up a Drip Campaign for New Subscribers
When someone chooses to sign up for your email list, it’s a big opportunity.
They’re showing you they not only like your blog, but they like it enough to actively choose to hear from you about future posts. That’s a big deal and an opportunity you want to make sure you take advantage of.
A drip campaign is a good way to make the most of it for a few main reasons.
1. You introduce subscribers to what your blog is all about.
A new subscriber has probably read a post or two from your blog, but they’re still learning the basics of who you are and what your blog covers. Your drip campaign gives you a chance to provide an introduction to what your blog is all about that makes a case for why they should get on board and pay attention.
It gives you the power to define your blog for them on your terms, which is valuable at this stage in the relationship.
2. You develop a relationship with your subscribers.
If you meet someone once at a party and then don’t see them again until a year later, you’re much less likely to remember them than if you saw them again three or four times in the first couple months after you met them.
In the same way, someone who signs up for your email list and doesn’t see anything from you for weeks is less likely to recognize you and remember their connection to you than someone who hears from you a few times in the weeks after signing up.
If you give people time to forget you, then your emails will look like confusing spam, rather than something valuable they’ve asked for. A drip campaign gives them several opportunities to interact with you soon after they sign up, so you become someone they know and recognize when they hear from you again.
3. You can set it and forget it.
Drip campaigns have the added benefit of being easy. You put the work into creating some really solid introductory emails once, and you can automate the process of sending them to every new subscriber who signs up.
Your subscribers get helpful emails that solidify their connection to your blog, while you can focus more on creating the new blog posts that keep your blog current. Since drip campaigns are automated, you can set it up once and use it for new subscribers for months to come.
4. It helps your most popular posts stay popular.
Some of your blog posts are going to be higher quality and resonate more with your audience than others – that’s just the nature of blogging.
You don’t want those to get buried over time as you keep adding new posts. Your drip campaign gives you a way to get the best content you have in front of your new subscribers so they get a solid first (and second and third) impression of what you can do that makes them more likely to stick around.
7 Ways to Make the Most of Your Blog’s Drip Campaign
If you decide to set up a drip campaign for your blog, make sure you do it right. Here are some of the most important best practices to follow.
1. Make sure your email list is opt-in.
First things first, good email marketing requires that you only contact people who have actively made the choice to join your email list. Buying emails or adding people you found online that you think might be interested will not only result in people deleting or ignoring the drip campaign emails you send, it will get them marked spam – something that could get you booted from your email marketing platform.
Your drip campaign should only be triggered when a visitor to your blog knowingly signs up for your email list.
3. Use it to define your positioning and create camaraderie.
What sets your blog apart from similar blogs out there and makes it worth following? That’s your unique positioning.
Use your first emails to lay out your positioning and humanize yourself to your subscribers. They’ll be more likely to connect with a blogger they feel they can relate to. Don’t be afraid to show some personality.
3. Highlight your best work to get your subscribers on board.
This is your chance to win subscribers over and hopefully turn them into followers for the long term. Break out your best work to show them what you’re capable of.
This helps you impress your new subscribers, as well as a way to drive new traffic to some of the blog posts you’re most proud of.
4. Make it one part of a larger email marketing strategy.
Your drip campaign shouldn’t be the last thing you send your subscribers. Develop an ongoing email marketing plan to keep communicating with your subscribers long after they first sign up. You can email them to alert them to new blog posts, start a monthly e-newsletter, or create unique content just for your email list.
Whatever route you choose; just make sure you stay in touch. That’s the whole point of an email list.
5. Pay attention to your email analytics.
While a drip campaign technically only has to be created once and will keep working for as long as you want it to, you’ll want to revisit it at least once or twice a year to look for ways to improve.
Check your analytics to see which emails people open, which they respond to, and which they click on the links in. You may want to tweak the wording, change subject lines, or update your drip campaign with new content and links based on what the analytics show you.
6. Ask your readers to take action.
Ideally, you don’t just want your subscribers to read, you want them to engage. One way to get them more actively involved is to directly ask for feedback. You can make a survey part of your drip campaign, or include a CTA in your emails asking for subscribers to reply with their input or add comments to your blog posts.
Subscribers that provide feedback are valuable because they clearly care about the direction your blog goes in. And their responses can help you improve your blog and make sure you provide what your audience is looking for moving forward.
7. Personalize your emails.
If your blog covers an array of topics, then you may have some subscribers more interested in one subject area than others. In that case, it could pay to set up different drip campaigns that each emphasize specific topic areas.
That way you can be sure that everyone who signs up is getting information relevant to their interests, which makes them more likely to stick around and stay a subscriber.
Connect with Your Blog Readers
Drip campaigns provide a low-effort way to make a connection with every new subscriber you get. A good drip campaign can sell new subscribers on your content and make them feel like part of your blog community. You probably can’t manually contact every person that reads your blog to show them you appreciate them, so this is the next best thing.
Are you a HostGator customer? Learn more about how you can get started with Constant Contact email marketing.
Kristen Hicks is an Austin-based freelance content writer and lifelong learner with an ongoing curiosity to learn new things. She uses that curiosity, combined with her experience as a freelance business owner, to write about subjects valuable to small business owners on the HostGator blog. You can find her on Twitter at @atxcopywriter.