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When you’re in a B2C business, an email marketing “campaign” might be a one-and-done activity. You send out a one-time email for a one-day Flash Sale and then measure results the following day. Maybe you follow up with a “last chance to save” message, but beyond that, your B2C experience tells you you’ll face diminishing returns and risk getting unsubscribed by an annoyed consumer. 

Think like a B2B marketer

But in the partnership recruiting world, you have to think like a B2B marketer. The business partners you are trying to reach may not respond to your message the first or even fourth time. They not only may be too busy to respond the first time, but they also may need more time to digest the offer. That’s why mastery of the automated drip campaign is an important skill if you want to build a partnership program. 

Ask any B2B marketer, and drip campaigns will likely be one of the most reliable weapons in their marketing arsenal. Drip campaigns are essentially sequenced email series that can be queued up and automatically sent out over a span of time or in conjunction with certain triggering events (such as if a user replies to an email or fills out a form). 

Drip campaign workflows allow you to automate the business rules you set up around repeated emailing instead of having to execute this all manually. You can have time-based sequences or conditional based sequences:

  • Time-based sequences. Great for engagement campaigns with existing partners. A common example would be an activation campaign that sends partners who have recently joined your program a series of emails to help them get started on your performance program. A drip campaign allows you to control the sequence regardless of when someone enters a mailing list, always starting with the first email.
  • Condition-based sequences. Great for recruitment campaigns. A common logic would be “If the prospect has replied, then stop emailing them, otherwise, send the next part of the outreach sequence.”

Three tips for partner recruitment drip campaigns

  • Send between 3 to 5 emails. This is the Goldilocks “just right” range. This is an acceptable number of attempts to reach a prospect without giving up too soon. From our experience, the stage with the greatest response rate is often the 2nd email.  
  • Segment your list and sequence by performance potential. Certain high-value strategic partners might receive an initial email that includes a manually personalized 1:1 message. Then you can move them to your normal automated drip campaign afterwards. Smaller partner prospects in the “long tail” can be placed in the automated drip campaign immediately.
  • Vary tactics in the sequence. Try different approaches to get attention in each stage instead of just repeating the same message or upping the urgency. One pattern you can use is Personalize → Check in → News → Humor → Last Attempt, but there are countless storylines you can test out.

For more proven tactics for engaging partners via email, grab our eBook: How to scale your partner recruiting: Lessons from a million outreach emails. Or reach out to an Impact growth technologist at grow@impact.com.

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