How to Use Drip Campaigns to Grow Your Marketplace Platform

CJ Todd | March 14, 2017

How to Use Drip Campaigns to Grow Your Marketplace Platform


Email marketing is one of the most powerful tools for growing your marketplace platform. But how can you ensure that your best content is reaching your new subscribers? A drip campaign can be the the answer to this problem and it’s easier than you think!

What is a drip campaign?

Drip campaigns are sets of automated emails triggered by certain actions. These actions might be someone signing up for your marketplace, subscribing to your newsletter, or filling out a form on one of your landing pages. Once an action has been taken, a drip campaign is initiated from a queue of emails that you have already written.

Prior to launching your drip campaign, you’ll want to anticipate where people will fall on their buyer’s journey. You can build different series of emails based on criteria you know about people that perform those specific actions.

Let’s say someone just visited your marketplace platform for the first time after seeing a friend tweet about your latest blog. They’re impressed with that blog and decide to subscribe to your mailing list. You now have that person’s email and know they’re at the beginning of their buyer’s journey.


Image courtesy of Hubspot: the buyer’s journey experts

Drip campaigns are effective tools for nurturing your leads down the stages of the buyer’s journey, with the end goal of creating a paying user for your marketplace. You can design specific drip campaigns for:

  • Helping people identify their pain points
  • Educating users on your product or service
  • Showing your marketplace platform’s solutions
  • Helping users find the value of a purchase
  • Rewarding your best customers

Just like segmented email lists, drip campaigns deliver the right information to your subscribers at the right time. According to this Demand Gen Report white paper, automated email workflows can net you 20% more sales opportunities and dramatic improvements to key conversion stages in the sales process.

Let’s take this a step further…

Keeping users engaged with your marketplace is the goal, so thinking of ways to automate this process will save you time and energy while delighting your customers. Here are a few ideas for drip campaigns at specific stages in the buyer’s journey.

  1. Welcoming new subscribers

Welcome email to SEMrush: note the overview of services, and CTA button

Delivering a “welcome” drip campaign is a great way to familiarize a new subscriber with your brand and product or service offering. It can be as simple as one email or structured to deliver multiple emails to communicate the value of your marketplace.

Think of some of the new-user actions that people might take and how you can design an automation to wow them. When someone subscribes to your newsletter, try sending them an email with some of your most successful blogs. Do you offer a trial version of your service? Try a drip campaign that sends trial subscribers how-to articles or case studies of other customer success stories.

Data show that people actually like welcome emails! Autoresponders result in a 58.7% open rate on average, while normal emails only get opened about 14% of the time. When a welcome email is sent immediately after a user performs an action, the open rate skyrockets to just under 90%. So make sure to build a welcome drip campaign with a clear CTA to boost your engagement.

  1. Turning subscribers into customers

A DropBox onboarding email prompting download

This process is called onboarding and it’s what I referred to as moving people down the buyer’s journey. Most (if not all) of your marketing efforts should keep your bottom line in mind. Subscribers and trial users are awesome, but you’ll eventually want to entice those people to sign up for your marketplace platform and begin making transactions.

Onboarding drip campaigns provide offers meant to get potential customers using and paying for your product or service. These offers could be downloading your app, registering for a webinar, or simply becoming a paid user.

  1. Recommending listings or specific features to users

Spotify recommends music in a drip campaign

Even though you may have converted a visitor or subscriber to a user, they might need further nurturing to become an active member of your marketplace community. The more you know about your users, the easier it is to make accurate recommendations.

Something that I’ve found effective in my B2C startup is to collect data through surveys about individual interests and segment users based on certain categories. Then I make sure to send them updates on new listings they’d be interested in. Another way to do this is to look at prior purchase data.

For example, if you know a particular user is interested in renting classic muscle cars for photo shoots, you could send them an automated email every time a listing is created with that tag. Or maybe you have the capability to facilitate buy-sell matching. If so, you could ping a seller each time there’s a buyer looking for their product.

Even though recommendation drip campaigns are typically used to prompt a purchasing action, they could also help users engage with your marketplace. As you well know, community is key to a successful marketplace platform. If there’s a useful community-building function like a user-generated blog, message board, or forum within your marketplace, you’ll definitely want to make it easy for your users to find and participate in. Pick out users that haven’t engaged with that feature and send them emails to get them involved.

  1. Engaging and re-engaging your users

Twitter sends emails to encourage Radsquatch to visit his account

Sometimes marketplace platforms aren’t a daily lifestyle brand and that’s ok. Your niche marketplace might help people buy big ticket items or hire a babysitter for those ever-fading date nights. No matter what kind of product or service you provide, creating engagement drip campaigns can remind your users just how much value you actually provide.

Design emails that are triggered by inactivity to welcome your users back to your platform for a look around. Sending an automated “We miss you” email is a subtle way to remind users that you care.

You can also send emails when certain activities are triggered that require a user’s attention. When you get a notification on Twitter, you’ll receive an email encouraging you to respond on their site. Replicate this process with alerts tied to your internal messaging service or when someone has made a booking or inquiry. Remember, the more time a user spends on your marketplace, the better the chance they’ll spend money.

  1. Saying farewell to unsubscribers

Barneys New York includes a survey to poll unsubscribers

Automated emails have their place in every stage of the buyer’s journey, even when users decide to leave your marketplace platform. A drip campaign that targets unsubscribers could just reel them back in. A simple “We’re sorry to see you go!” email might make them reconsider their decision to leave.

You might even take this chance to push your social media platforms. Afterall, not every users unsubscribe because they hate your brand. They may just want to engage with your marketplace through a different channel.

At the very least, giving them an option to tell you why they’re leaving could be valuable data to help you avoid future defectors. Provide a simple survey or an open-ended question to ask what you could have done differently. Your future subscribers will thank you.

Use this information to think of ways you can incorporate drip campaigns into your email marketing strategy and grow your marketplace platform. Subscribe to our blog at the bottom of this page to receive next week’s email marketing blog, where I’ll be explaining the process of setting up a drip campaign.

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