Best B2B email drip campaign examples: From onboarding to upselling
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Email marketing revenue is estimated to reach almost 11 billion by the end of 2023. By applying drip campaigns in your marketing strategy, you ensure that your prospects are more likely to get to their planned destination while moving along their buying journey. Allowing you to send the right email at the right time and to the right audience, drip campaigns are a great tool in B2B to nurture your leads on a longer conversion path.
Moreover, with tailor-made drip campaigns, your chances to turn back those slipping out of your funnel increase since they receive only personalized and targeted content prepared specially to their preferences.
At Belkins, we launched 16 drip campaigns that consisted of 70+ different emails. Within 2 months, these automated email campaigns brought us 15 new deals and almost 150 nurtured contacts who either replied to our emails or were moved to the next lifecycle stage.
In this article, we will cover top drip campaign types with real-life examples and best practices to help you bring your email marketing to new heights.
Types of B2B email drip campaigns (+ proven examples from Belkins)
There is a set of drip email cases you can create to nurture prospects and leads, but we’d like to share the ones that are proven to bring us the most results. For more insight, we compiled our own B2B drip campaign examples.
1. Nurturing flow for your new leads
Nurturing drip campaigns are geared toward those leads who expressed an active interest in your services, but they are not SQLs or opportunities yet. They are those coming from gated content, webinars, lead forms on your website, and other sources where users voluntarily leave their contacts. In B2B, the main goal of this flow is to explain the specifics of your services and products and push these contacts for a call. Such campaigns are recommended to send emails once in 3–7 days.
It is important to dive deep into your value proposition for your leads. Craft emails addressing their pain points and bottlenecks, and offer them relevant solutions that resonate with their needs and challenges.
The best practice is to nurture them with educational emails, up-to-date newsletters, and emails that introduce you as a company.
Since you cannot automate newsletters as news is time-sensitive, you can surely automate your evergreen educational content, sharing your checklists, e-books, articles, or just any useful insights with your prospects.
Belkins tip: Mix general educational emails with company-focused ones. Do not make them too pushy or too salesy; focus on providing your contacts with something useful and insightful. Nevertheless, make sure you always include CTA in all your emails: a link to book a call/request pricing.
Example of the B2B email nurturing campaign:
A nurturing newsletter that engages readers
2. Reengagement flow for your lost SQLs and opportunities
When working with your sales qualified leads (SQLs) or opportunities, you definitely get plenty of contacts who didn’t convert into clients and moved to your “lost” prospects. They are those who:
Went with your competitors
Don’t have time to dive into specifics at the moment
Can’t allocate the needed budget
In any case, don’t give up on them right away! Create drip campaigns that will help delicately reach out to these prospects. Check the status and engage with them via relevant and useful info on your new services, customer success cases, achievements and awards, trends, etc.
Belkins tip: Tailor the content of such drip campaigns to the reason you lost each particular prospect. For instance, if the reason is a low budget, provide calculations of why your products or services save money and time. Compare to alternatives — or if applicable, offer discounts or cross-sell other products or services.
Example of the reengagement campaign for prospects who went with competitors:
One of the emails we send to prospects who chose competitors highlights the financial benefit of working with Belkins
Boost your sales and ROI with Belkins experts
3. Upsell flows for your existing customers
If you have more than one product or service to suggest, it is always a good idea to upsell/cross-sell to your existing customers, as their conversion rate is much higher compared to the prospects’.
Set up a drip campaign where you cover the main benefits of your alternative offerings and include a CTA to discuss them with your sales team. As an option, you can offer your customers a complimentary product or service to enhance their current results or utilize loyalty discounts to buy a more expensive product or service.
Belkins tip: Once you launch such a drip campaign, make sure you have enough info about your clients to apply it accordingly. Don’t offer them services they have already purchased or those that are irrelevant to their industry/business model, market demands, etc. Think through different scenarios and adapt your campaigns if needed.
Example of the upsell campaign:
We chose CRM integration and consultation as a supplementary service that enhances our clients' sales performance
4. Onboarding flow (community + subscribers)
If you offer your prospects the opportunity to subscribe to your newsletter, community, podcasts, or other related resources or profiles, make sure you do not leave them wondering what they should do next. Create short and informative drip campaigns that onboard your new subscribers, sharing their next steps with them and guiding them through your best materials/channels, etc. If applicable, also remind them about your products or services.
Belkins tip: Our experience shows that emails sent on behalf of a person are more engaging than ones that are sent from a company. So if you have particular managers responsible for your community, blog, etc., it makes sense to send onboarding emails for these channels on their behalf to build strong personal connections.
Example of the onboarding campaign:
Belkins onboards community members with a summary of ongoing activities and benefits
5. Reactivation for unengaged leads
Not your whole database will be engaging with your emails. The best practice is to reactivate your unengaged contacts with several emails and, if they do not get back to you, exclude them from your sending lists. Follow these two steps:
Make a dynamic segment that will include all the contacts who got 10+ emails and didn’t open any of them (or tailor these criteria to your specifics).
Create a drip campaign that will get triggered when a contact enters your “inactive segment” and send 2–3 reminders to confirm their subscription to your emails. If they don’t, mark them as unsubscribed or exclude them from your database.
Belkins tip: Usually, such emails require providing a link that the contact can click to confirm their subscription. Ideally, you will need to create a separate “thank you page” on your website. Don’t simply lead the contact to your main page or elsewhere; make the logic of the process clear for them.
Example of the reactivation campaign
One of the methods we use to reactivate leads is offering them to check out our usefull content
How to create a B2B email drip campaign: A step-by-step process
1. Identify the audiences and choose the triggers
Think about whom you want to target with every drip campaign. Addressing your target audience’s needs will help you craft personalized messages. For example, if users downloaded a case study on your website, you can set up a drip campaign to automatically add them there and send them fresh and relevant success stories.
Once your audiences are identified, it’s time to segment them. Ask yourself, “What can trigger this audience?”
Note: Software like HubSpot allows you to build complex trigger conditions like “Trigger this flow if a contact is on Opportunity stage, has a deal created less than 3 days ago, and was never enrolled into a drip campaign X.” However, not all tools allow this kind of flexibility. Check the features of your platform before you start.
2. Think through your process steps and goals
Imagine how your whole process will look and visualize drip campaign sequences by such criteria as type and goal. If you plan to create more than 1 flow, draft a scheme of your flows in tools like Miro. Check if your emails overlap, what intervals you need to put between them, etc.
3. Select a drip campaign software
If you already have a CRM, it makes sense to check if it also supports creating drip campaigns. Mostly, tools like HubSpot, Salesforce, and others have this feature already available, so you won’t need to connect anything else. Otherwise, you can consider email marketing services that only provide you with features related to marketing and drip campaigns: Klaviyo, Mailchimp, Campaign Monitor, Iterable, and others.
Note: At Belkins, we use HubSpot for sending drip campaigns and consider it flexible enough to cover our requirements. If you need help setting up your CRM and organizing your pipeline correctly, contact us and our sales experts will gladly support you.
Suppression criteria are the rules according to which you remove the contact from your drip campaign. For example, if you need to exclude your existing customers from your nurturing flows, you will need to set up a suppression criterion like “Suppress if the lifecycle stage = customer.”
Ask yourself the following:
Whom do you want to exclude from this flow immediately?
Do you want people to get enrolled more than 1 time if they meet your trigger criteria?
Make sure you build your suppression criteria accurately so that you don’t overwhelm irrelevant audiences with plenty of emails. See the example below:
5. Craft the message for each email
Now, when you understand your flow, it’s time to start creating personalized emails. Write strong copy, prepare visuals, and create HTML templates. Keep in mind mobile adaptation, the actuality of dark theme, and key factors that influence email deliverability.
To ensure you get clean analytics, here are several simple tips:
Make sure you include UTM parameters in all your emails to track their performance in Google Analytics. Many email marketing tools allow you to do that automatically, so we recommend you check for these settings.
Create standardized names for your emails. For instance, use this template for titles: “Type – Audience – Full name of the email – Date.” This helps you sort your campaigns easily to pull relevant stats on their performance.
Once every few weeks, check the performance of all your drip campaigns. Change emails’ order, intervals between them, and other parameters if needed. Run A/B tests if your tool allows that. It is recommended to test subject lines, visuals, text length, tone of voice, CTAs, etc.
When tracking the results of your B2B drip email campaigns, you should take into account the average indicators of email campaigns in general: open rate (OR), click-through rate (CTR), and click-to-open rate (CTOR). So on average, the email performance stats are as follows:
These are average metrics that significantly vary depending on the industry and your company specifics. Here are the other factors that influence your email marketing results:
The conversion and engagement of drip emails that are connected to the recent event will be higher.
However, drip campaigns for inactive leads are likely to bring low results since the audience is passive.
But if your campaign is connected to the prospects’ actions and to the specifics of their segments, traction will be obvious.
In our practice, automated email flows perform better than one-time emails. Moreover, the deliverability rates are higher for drip emails since you are sending them one by one instead of creating bulk campaigns that are more likely to trigger spam filters.
Based on the abovementioned process, we’d like to add some more tips to streamline your drip campaign workflows:
Use your existing data to establish the most profitable segments you can target with drip campaigns.
Think through the sequences’ details. How will your automated flows overlap? What will be the timing? Do you need to exclude them from your one-time campaigns?
Make sure your tech stack supports what you intend to design. We suggest HubSpot for B2B drip campaigns.
Set up the workflows. Decide on your suppression lists, indicate whether you’d like people to re-enroll and whether you want to exclude non-fit subscribers, etc.
Test senders’ persona. Consider whether you should contact recipients on behalf of the CEO, community manager, or content marketer.
Apart from that, test the letter format. Determine whether it should be designed as HTML or a plain text letter.
Belkins tip: Based on our experience, personal emails work better and trigger more responses, but it doesn’t always mean that you need to make them plain, so it’s better to test.
Besides these recommendations, it’s essential to craft email campaigns that are focused on conversion in the long run: booking an appointment, signing up for a demo, buying a product/service, etc. We compiled some useful materials on that topic to help you tune up your emails and close more deals:
The true power of drip campaigns lies in their ability to meticulously segment your email list, allowing you to unleash personalized messages that resonate deeply with your target audience. By understanding their pain points, addressing their specific needs, and offering tailored solutions, you establish a connection that goes beyond mere marketing. It’s like speaking directly to the core of each prospect’s business challenges.
We helped companies achieve 300% YoY growth and 10M+ deals in the pipeline. If you need a boost in your lead generation campaigns and book up to 20 appointments per month, let us help you with the following:
HubSpot setup consultation and support
Lead generation with further systematic cold email sequences
Warm-up of your IPs and domains to increase email deliverability
Due diligence of your current email campaign performance with further recommendations for improvement
If you have any questions or need consultation, contact our experts — they are willing to help you in your cold outreach campaigns anytime.
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Email-Marketing Manager at Belkins
Viktoria is an email marketing expert who designed and implemented email marketing strategies for B2B and B2C companies across numerous industries. Her main focus is email auto pipelines, A/B testing, bulletproof analytics, and creating sales-driving campaigns.
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