In a drip campaign, marketers use highvalue content to draw potential customers into the sales funnel, then “drip” content through direct mail, email, and other channels over time. For high-value sales, such as financial or medical services, a drip campaign may not start out with the hard sell. It often starts with education about the product category. As contacts are nurtured along, the marketer leads them to the conclusion that, once they are ready to make a purchase, the marketer’s products and services are the best fit for their needs. So what does this look like in action?
Just ask Highmark Health, which wanted to increase enrollments in its Medicare products designed to supplement and extend coverage of Medicare Parts A and B. Highmark started with a direct mail program called “New to Medicare.” The program was not intended to sell Highmark’s services up front, but to help those new to Medicare understand how to enroll simply and efficiently. Call to action on Highmark’s offerings would come later. Because retirees have such a vast array of options when it comes to Medicare plans, Highmark started with distinctive direct mail, including high-quality paper, die-cuts, and hand stamping, to stand out from its competitors.
Each piece included a personalized salutation (“Dear Bob”) and personalized barcodes and response phone numbers for precise tracking. Highmark used this tracking to refine its communications using A/B testing. It tested messaging and offers, mailing formats, and even paper stocks. Then used the information to trigger more effective follow-up pieces. It also asked a lot of questions. Many of its calls to action included requests to fill out a short survey, giving Highmark even more information to personalize its follow-ups. It also continued the education process with additional channels, including email and outbound phone calls. In all, the ongoing campaign averages 10 touches per person. The results? Response rates jumped from 1% to 6% on the first mailing. While the cost per piece is higher, the cost per lead has dropped because the response rates are so high.
This type of campaign isn’t going to work for everybody, but for high-value products and sales with long lead times, it’s spectacular. Do you have the right product to benefit from a drip campaign? Let’s try it! Ed. note: Highmark Health information drawn from the Brand United case study, “Highmark Health’s Personalized Drip Campaign Boosted Response Rates.”