As more and more companies move towards fully integrated marketing automation systems, marketing end-users can sometimes struggle with getting their heads around the more feature-rich email marketing applications, such as SalesFUSION. Many industry pundits believe that single, bulk email blast campaigns are all but useless in the grand scheme of lead management and lead nurturing. I tend to agree and have long since believed that all email marketing campaigns should be based on drip-based marketing philosophy. Fortunately, the average marketer need not be an experienced email marketing guru to run simple and effective drip-based email campaigns. In-fact, some of the most effective drip-based email marketing campaigns are nothing more than bulk-email campaigns with a non-responder component tied to it.

One of the best and most effective ways to begin mastering drip-based email marketing campaigns is to use the “subject swap” technique which has been very successfully employed by retail email marketeers for a very long time. The basic premise of a subject-swap drip email campaign is to send a series of emails that are pretty much copies of each other with a slightly modified subject line to progressive segments of non-responders to the prior email at varying days/times. A simple example of this would look like this:

First email – Main email – Send Tuesday @ 1PM US EDT
Second email – Subject Line Variation – Send Thursday @ 4PM EST to non-responders of #1
Third Email – Subject Line Variation – Send Monday @ 10AM EST to non-responders of #2
Fourth Email – Subject Line Variation – Send Sunday @ 8PM EST to non-responders of #3

The basic concept behind this simplest of drip-based campaigns is to increase the likelihood of your email sitting at the top of the inbox at a time when the recipient is likely to stop, read, open and click through your campaign. Today, the average business professional receives anywhere from 50 to 175 emails per day, many of which are marketing messages. As such, this inbox clutter greatly reduces the visibility of your marketing message as it tends to get lost in the mass of emails. Sending a single bulk email blast and stopping at that point will leave a lot of potential responders on the table if for no other reason than the fact that time/day your email was sent was not optimal viewing time for a particular recipient.

Staggering a series of pre-built drip emails over 1-2 weeks and varying the subject lines and times will more than double, if not triple, the open rates on your original email campaign. The idea behind hitting the non-responders with a slightly modified subject line at a different time of day is to attempt to place your email in the right viewing pane at the right time. Having run these simple drip campaigns for many years, the statistics behind them are consistent to the level of being 100% predictable each time. My basic recipe for a subject swap drip campaign is to pre-build no less than 4 emails with subject lines that range from formal to casual and some leveraging the recipients first name in the email. Examples of subject line styles for a webinar invite may go something like this:

Formal – [Webinar Invitation] Join our company on this date for a webinar
Informal – Supercharge your performance with these great best practices in our upcoming webinar
Personal – Hi [FIRSTNAM], I wanted to share this webinar invite with you
Time is running out – Webinar Alert – Live event tomorrow at 2PM
Using various subject lines in the styles like those above will help you get your message opened at a much higher rate. Ana analysis of over 100 campaigns of this nature, over the last 3 years yields the following open rate pattern
First Email – 8-15%
Second – 4-6%
Third – 3-4%
Fourth – 1-2%

The question I ask many marketers is this. Why would you NOT run at least 2-3 subject swap emails on any campaign?

Marketing automation systems, for all their power and rich feature sets, can overwhelm many marketers who have not had exposure or training on these types of systems. I like to coach new users of marketing automation to begin with simple drip campaigns (simple conceptually as well as technically). Once they see the incremental lift in open and CTR on their campaigns….they are hooked! Management will also greatly appreciate the improvements in response rates.

Systems like SalesFUSION are purpose-built to provide simple and effective drip and nurture marketing capabilities in addition to the other core features such as landing pages, website visitor tracking and social marketing. B2B marketers are experiencing a renaissance of sorts in having more tools and channels available to us than ever before. These are exciting times to be a b2b marketer!

The other factor to consider in all of this is how well the marketing system will integrate to CRM. B2B marketing is much more about the process of capturing and managing leads. Improving your open rates through these type of campaigns and tying the responses into the records inside of Dynamics will give the sales team a real-time view into marketing performance.