Drift’s Email Marketing Platform Just Got Some New Players

Tuesday, July 30, 2019
Michael Zunenshine

How do marketing and sales departments get the most value out of their email?

Drift has not one, but three answers to the question in the form of three new email bots

  1. Lead Offer Bot

  2. Lead Follow-up Bot

  3. Lead Re-Engage Bot

These smart little helpers were created by Siftrock, an email reply management company acquired by Drift last year, to work seamlessly with email marketing automation to help reach, nurture, and turn leads over to sales for that coveted conversion.

Drift’s new bots are ready to talk

Drift has always prioritized conversation over the mere pushing through of marketing material and sales pitches. The difference is, conversational marketing is much more user-centric and focused on customer care, and less focused on short-term sales stats.

These new Siftrock email bots are all perfectly in line with this approach. They are AI virtual assistants designed to exist side by side with Drift’s marketing automation software, and to stay true to Drift’s customer-centric approach. Merely pushing sales pitches is certainly not what they’re intended to do.  

Let’s meet them, shall we?

Lead Offer Bot

The first thing about Lead Offer Bot is that it doesn’t demand anything of the recipient. The Offer Bot wants to start a conversation—true to Drift’s business ethos.

The Offer Bot isn’t just an invitation to click something. It presents information, then asks a question, something as simple as “would you like to find out more?” The recipient then responds to that question, and now a conversation has begun.

Lead Follow-Up Bot

Once a recipient has engaged with your email campaign, it’s safe to say they’ve become a lead. 

The Lead Follow-Up Bot can help determine the seriousness of the lead’s intent to buy, or even help nurture that lead towards the decision to become a customer. Again, its main approach is to ask the recipient to respond to a question, keeping that convo going.

Lead Re-Engage Bot

There are many reasons a lead can go cold, from pure forgetfulness, to the possibility that your initial offering misfired the first time around.

Lead Re-Engage Bot helps determine the reason a lead stopped engaging, and hopefully, as its name promises, will reignite interest based on the feedback it gathers. Like its sibling bots, it begins with questions, not marketing ploys or clickbait.

So robots live inside emails and talk to people?

An email campaign is created using one of these new bots. Perhaps it’s advertising a new product or service, or offering upgrades to a current subscription. Maybe it’s inviting people to join a seminar or webinar.

If and when someone replies, their answers are analyzed by machine learning to gauge the intent of the recipient: whether or not they are interested, and more importantly, how interested they are (low-qualified leads versus higher ones).

Based on the categorization of the responder's email, certain actions can then be taken automatically. For example, if you’re trying to get people interested in signing up for a webinar, and the response is categorized as “very interested,” then they may receive another email showing them how to register.

Additionally, these bots will forward all responses to an appropriate rep, like a sales rep would get CC’d on a good lead, or maybe a customer support agent might get included if the recipient expresses dissatisfaction.

Finally, the responder’s info gets added to a contact card as part of an integration with marketing automation software, like Marketo, Eloqua, Pardot or HubSpot. This way, when you want to get in touch with that person again, you’ll see the bot’s history of engagement with that person.  

The faults in our emails

There are many ways emails just fail to impress folks at the receiving end, and then doubly fail the teams who’ve sent them out in hopes of attracting new customers.

Sometimes emails are way too generic, meaning they don’t seem to target any particular kind of lead, nor offer any specific value as to what’s being offered. Getting those emails can leave the recipient with a foul spammy taste in their inboxes.

Other times, an email may misfire because it’s too targeted or overly specific. This happens when each department is sending out emails without any unified brand message. These emails can be numerous, confusing and ultimately feel like a nuisance.

Another problem is that emails might seem one-sided and pushy. They ask, or demand, that you click here, fill out that form now, or just focus on reading a long-winded text. That’s no way to win over new leads.

Potential customers don’t want their time wasted by old-fashioned blast email campaigns. They want value specifically tailored to their wants and needs. 

Siftrock’s email bots for Drift do just that.

The Drift and Siftrock perfect pairing

Drift acquired Siftrock back in the summer of 2018. It’s not a total takeover, however, as Siftrock will remain a standalone service. It’s just that now, Siftrock will be part of Drift Assistant for sales reps and marketers as well.

Though the two companies are B2B marketers, they found enough non-overlapping areas of expertise between them to make the buyout a winning deal. For example, while Drift specializes in conversational marketing across many channels, Siftrock’s marketing automation focuses on email.

What they have in common, according to Drift founder and CEO David Cancel, is that they both believe that “email marketing is a company’s highest leverage demand generation channel.” 

As far as tools go, email is far from being chucked out the toolbox. However, some companies are always looking to reinvent email’s usefulness. Today’s great news is that there are three new ways to wield this tool, thanks to Siftrock and Drift.