Drip Retention is an Oxymoron

Today I was minding my own business, just doing a little innocuous web browsing when I stumbled upon a software company that promotes a very … well, perplexing feature. They called it “Drip Retention Communications”—which I believe is a perfect example of an

OX·Y·MO·RON : something (as a concept) that is made up of contradictory elements.

First off, you have to admit that oxymoron is one of those words that just isn’t used enough on a daily basis. Secondly, retention strategies will never be effective if they are part of a “drip” strategy. It simply goes against everything retention stands for—namely promoting solid relationships.

Okay, so let me tell you a little bit about what a drip communication strategy is. The earliest, and perhaps most widely used variety, is known as “drip marketing”. You’ve likely at least heard of the term. The goal here is to automate predetermined content to prospects over time intended to move them through a sales cycle.

With drip marketing, contacts are grouped based on different criteria. For example, their product of interest, or interaction with your website by clicking on a specific link. Because of this prospects usually skip around between threads inside the drip campaign. By design, regardless of where they are positioned in the sales cycle, they are still on a single, linear plane. This works well for prospects because they’re consistently nurtured with useful education and touchpoints to keep you top of mind.

Retention is something completely different than prospecting. Keep in mind that you’ve already established a relationship with the client. You’ve likely communicated with them personally, and they expect that kind of contact moving forward.

Dripping emails over time to clients is like pulling the string on the back of a talking doll. “Hi, I’m Chucky, and I’m your friend ‘till the end!” Does that resonate with you?

Consumers are savvier today than we give them credit for. Their inboxes are bombarded with automated emails. They expect it when they are being sold to, but when it comes to maintaining relationships? That’s a faux pas.

I’m not saying automation cannot be leveraged to aid in retention. Just that a drip (impersonal) approach shouldn’t be used. It’s too linear, it feels cheap, and it won’t have a positive impact on existing clients.

Communicating with clients should be relevant, personalized, and warm ‘n’ fuzzy. That’s why it’s so important to build a profile of your client—to identify who they are—and how they feel about you. This way your message will be on the right wavelength.

The profile can be shaped by the Net Promoter Score (NPS), demographics, previous interactions, products they’ve purchased, among other things. This portrait will ensure that automated communication can be specifically tailored to each of your clients.

Unlike drip communication, profile-driven strategies operate outside of linear planes. They use bits of information to form the most personalized content aimed at influencing action and shaping client behavior. Whether that be increasing referrals or just strengthening relationships and retention.

At Rocket Referrals, we utilize algorithms based on psychology and tweaked with research to maximize relevance and personalization. When it comes to referrals and retention, we’ve found it’s about knowing what to say, and how to say it. Furthermore, the warm ‘n’ fuzzy is paramount when communicating with existing clients. There is perhaps no better way to achieve this than with handwritten cards.

So there you have it, not all communication is created equal. Stay clear of oxymorons. Impersonal and retention never mix.

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