Email Drip Campaign: The Secret To Automated Marketing Success

Email Drip Campaign water drop illustration

When an email user opens up their inbox one morning and sees an email from a random shoe or cologne brand asking them to buy products, it’s fairly certain they would immediately delete the email, at least. This is because springing a sales pitch on someone all of a sudden is rude and rarely works.

Imagine if you could talk to a potential lead via email and work your way towards a conversion — that is exactly what an email drip campaign helps you do. It lets you warm up a lead, build a relationship, personalize your sales pitch, and then convert a subscriber. 

Let’s learn all about this wonderful email marketing strategy and discuss ways in which it can benefit you.



Drip Marketing Explained

Drip marketing is a marketing strategy that involves sending a series of pre-planned, automated messages or content to a targeted group of recipients over a specified period of time. The term “drip” refers to the gradual and consistent delivery of these messages — like water dripping from a faucet. 

Drip marketing is typically used in email marketing, but it can also encompass other channels like social media, direct mail, or even phone calls. 


What Is an Email Drip Campaign?

When you use email communication to execute a drip marketing campaign, it is called an email drip campaign. The goal of a drip campaign is to disperse information to a group of subscribers in a slow and controlled manner. Such campaigns use automation to deliver a series of targeted emails over a predetermined time period. 

Different types of campaigns fall under the drip campaign umbrella term, such as nurture campaigns, re-engagement campaigns, and onboarding or welcome sequences.

Let’s look at the key characteristics of email drip campaigns:

  1. Lead nurturing: You can utilize email drip campaigns to nurture leads and guide them through the marketing funnel. They provide a sequence of well-timed and relevant content designed to build trust, educate prospects, and prompt specific actions, such as making a purchase or seeking further information.
  2. Onboarding: For new customers or subscribers, email drip campaigns offer a structured onboarding process. They help these individuals become familiar with your products or services, help them get started, and make the initial interaction a positive one.
  3. Customer engagement: You can keep your existing customers engaged through drip campaigns. By consistently delivering suitable content and enticing offers, you can maintain their interest and encourage repeat business.
  4. Personalization: You can personalize drip email campaigns, tailoring the content of your emails to match your recipient’s preferences, behavior, and position in the customer journey. Personalized messages tend to be more effective and resonate better with the audience.
  5. Automation: Email drip campaigns rely on automation to schedule and send messages at predefined intervals based on triggers or a predetermined schedule. This means you don’t have to intervene manually and ensures recipients receive the right messages at the right times.
  6. Analytics and optimization: You can use analytics to track the performance of drip campaigns, measuring metrics like open rates, click-through rates, conversion rates, and more. Use this data to fine-tune the campaign’s content and timing for better results.

The adaptability and versatility of email drip campaigns make them a valuable tool for guiding them toward specific marketing objectives. While time-based drip email campaigns are common, some can also be triggered by an event — let’s look at a few examples below.


When to Use Email Drip Campaigns

Since the main goal of email drip campaigns is to feed information to your subscribers in a slow and strategic manner, you can use certain points in the sales funnel to kickstart the campaign. Here are some examples:

TriggerExplanation
Subscription or sign-upIf your website analytics tell you about a lead who is interested in a product or service, you can use a drip campaign to inform them of benefits, use cases, offers, and more to attract them toward the point of conversion.
Abandoned cartA lead that abandons a cart is a hot lead. You should use a series of emails to push them towards completing the purchase process.
Product purchaseOnce a purchase is complete, it’s a great opportunity for you to build a relationship with the customer and also inform them of delivery details or other related products they may be interested in.
Lead magnet downloadIf they’re interested in your lead magnets, they’re interested in your content and your products/services. You can create an email drip campaign to engage these warm leads.
Webinar registration Using a drip campaign to convert your webinar signups often gets great results. 
Product/service interestIf your website analytics tell you about a lead who is interested in a product or service, you can use a drip campaign to inform them of benefits, use cases, offers, and more, to attract them toward the point of conversion.
Triggers for email drip campaigns

You can try out the triggers from the table above for your business; depending on your industry, different triggers can perform much better than others. 


How to Use Different Email Drip Campaigns

There are several types of email drip campaigns, each designed to achieve specific goals and engage with recipients in distinct ways.

Here are common examples of drip campaigns and how to use them:

  • Welcome series: You can use this type of drip campaign when a new subscriber or customer joins your email list or signs up for your service. It typically consists of a series of emails that introduce the recipient to your brand, products, or services and helps them get started.
  • Lead nurturing campaign: These drip campaigns educate and engage leads over time. Lead nurturing tracks user behavior and provides relevant content and information to move prospects through your sales funnel and ultimately convert them into customers.
  • Abandoned cart: When a user adds items to their online shopping cart but doesn’t complete the purchase, you can trigger an abandoned cart recovery email sequence. These emails aim to entice the recipient to return and complete their purchase.
  • Post-purchase: You can use a post-purchase drip campaign to make your customers feel special about doing business with you. Send emails thanking them for their purchase and update them on post-purchase steps (like delivery updates); this is excellent for brand goodwill. 
  • Re-engagement campaign: Run a re-engagement email drip sequence to win back inactive subscribers or customers. These emails aim to rekindle interest and encourage your recipients to become more active or make a purchase.

The choice of the email drip campaign type depends on your specific marketing goals and the needs of your audience. You can use different campaign types in combination to create a comprehensive email marketing strategy that guides your subscribers toward desired actions.


Less Popular But Effective Drip Campaigns

You don’t have to stick to the greatest hits; depending on your industry, you may achieve excellent results from the below campaign types as well. 

  • Product onboarding
  • Educational email series
  • Feedback request
  • Drip campaigns for related or new products

Let’s expand on these drip campaign types. 

If you have a complex product or service, a product onboarding email series helps new customers get started. It provides guidance on how to use your product, highlights key features, and offers helpful tips and resources.

Educational email drip campaigns provide your recipients with a series of informative and educational content. These can establish your authority in a specific industry, showcase customer testimonials, and build trust with your audience.

Asking for feedback can make your subscribers feel valued. These emails help gather feedback or survey responses from your customers. You may follow up with reminders and express gratitude for their input.

You can employ email drips for various purposes, including cross-selling related products, announcing product restocks, and promoting new products.

You can always test out these drip campaigns to see if they receive good engagement from your subscribers. Different drip flows can bring interesting results, depending on your industry.


Benefits of Email Drip Campaigns

Email drip campaigns are a perfect way to guide your lead through a sales funnel.

Let’s see why using drip email campaigns makes so much sense for your business:

  • Superior engagement: By having a logical flow to your emails, you are sending emails that your customer is more likely to engage with. By sending personalized and relevant content, you are greatly improving your chances of email opens and clickthroughs.
  • Lead nurturing: By sending emails as a reaction to behavioral triggers, you are approaching your customers at a critical point in the sales funnel. By providing information or offering an incentive, you can nudge your subscriber towards making a purchase at the ideal time.
  • Brand recall: It’s not all about conversions; you can use drip email campaigns to remind your customers about your brand and keep your products fresh in their memory.
  • Reviving inactive subscribers: Drip campaigns are the best way to re-engage your inactive subscribers and potentially loop them back into your sales funnel. You can create a campaign that highlights the value of your products/services, or you can also collect feedback on what turned them away from your business. At the very least, it’s a learning experience!
  • Automated process: An email drip campaign is an excellent example of marketing automation. You don’t have to track every move your customers make and come up with a sales pitch; you can set triggers, write your content, and let your emails do the work. In sales, timing is everything, and email drip campaigns work even when you’re sleeping.
  • Better understanding of your customers: The best feature of drip email campaigns is the information they give you on your end users. By analyzing the performance of your campaigns, you can get an excellent insight into what works for your customers and what doesn’t. 

Sold on the idea of email drip sequences yet? Let’s learn how to create one next!


How to Set Up an Email Drip Campaign

Creating an effective email drip campaign involves careful planning, content creation, and strategic execution. Here are the steps you can take to bring your drip campaign to life.


Define Your Campaign Goals, Audience, and Triggers

Before setting up an email drip campaign, it’s crucial to establish clear objectives. What do you want to achieve with this campaign? Are you aiming to nurture leads, onboard new customers, re-engage dormant subscribers, or promote a product? 

Once you’ve identified your goals and clearly defined the behaviors that will trigger the drip sequences, define your target audience. Segment your email list to ensure your messages are relevant and tailored to your recipient’s needs and interests. Understanding your audience is fundamental to the success of your drip campaign!


Plan Your Email Sequence

Determine the content and structure of your email sequence. Outline the number of emails, the timing between each email, and what content each message should contain. Consider the recipient’s journey and what information is most valuable at each stage. 

Your first email can be a warm welcome, followed by educational content, product recommendations, and calls to action. Personalization can be a powerful tool to influence your reader, so prepare your content with your recipient’s needs and preferences in mind.


Create Engaging Email Content

This stage is where you design and write the content for your campaign emails. Write compelling subject lines to grab recipients’ attention, and ensure your email copy is clear and concise. Add visual elements, like images or videos, wherever appropriate. Include eye-catching graphics or branding elements.

Don’t forget to add effective CTAs in your emails; these guide recipients toward the desired actions, whether it’s clicking a link, making a purchase, or requesting more information. Ensure your emails are mobile-responsive, as many recipients check emails on their mobile devices.


Set Up Automation Rules and Triggers

Within your chosen email marketing platform, set up the automation rules for your email drip campaign. Configure triggers for each email in the sequence, specifying when the emails should be sent. Triggers can be based on actions, such as sign-ups, purchases, website visits, or time-based intervals. 

A secondary task during this phase is to constantly A/B-test your emails. Test the automation in every way possible, to ensure it functions as intended, and create fallbacks in case recipients don’t take the expected actions.


Monitor and Analyze

After launching your email drip campaign, closely monitor its performance. Track key metrics such as open rates, click-through rates, conversion rates, and unsubscribe rates. Use analytics to gain insights into how recipients are engaging with your emails. 

Based on this data, make data-driven adjustments to improve your campaign’s effectiveness. Experiment with A/B testing on elements like subject lines, email content, CTAs, and timing to improve your results. Iterate and refine your email drip sequence regularly to ensure it continues to meet your goals and aligns with the evolving needs of your audience.

By following these steps, you can successfully set up and execute a campaign that engages your audience and guides recipients toward your desired actions.


How Many Emails Should Your Drip Campaign Have?

The number of emails in your email drip campaign can vary based on your specific goals, the nature of your business, and your target audience. A common range for the number of emails in a typical drip campaign is between 3 and 10 emails.

Here are a few factors to consider when deciding the number of emails in your campaign:

  • Campaign goals: Consider the primary objectives of your campaign. If your goal is to nurture leads or onboard new customers, you may have a longer sequence with more emails to provide valuable information and build a relationship. On the other hand, a campaign aimed at a quick promotion or event may be shorter — this is perfectly okay.
  • Audience journey: Think about your recipient’s journey and the stages they go through. Your campaign should align with this journey, offering content that is relevant to where the recipient is in their interaction with your brand.
  • Content relevance: Ensure each email in your campaign delivers valuable and relevant content. Analyze the amount of information you have to share and the time it takes to convey that information effectively, to decide the number of emails. Find the sweet spot!
  • Engagement levels: Study your campaign metrics, such as open rates and click-through rates, to determine if recipients are staying engaged with your emails. If you notice a drop-off in engagement, it may be a sign your campaign is too long or needs adjustment.
  • Timing and frequency: Consider the ideal timing between emails. If you send emails too frequently, recipients may feel overwhelmed, while sending them too far apart might lead to a dip in engagement. The frequency depends on the purpose of the email — you can spread a 7-email welcome sequence over a month, whereas for an upcoming event, stick to about 4 emails, with the first email going out 2 weeks before and the last one 48 hours before D-Day. 

In general, it’s a good practice to start off with a moderate number of emails in your drip campaign, such as 5 or 6. It’s essential to strike a balance between providing value and maintaining the recipient’s interest; tailor the sequence length to your specific objectives and adapt as needed.


Email Drip Campaign Example: E-Commerce Company

Below, we’ve created an email drip campaign to acquire new leads for an imaginary e-commerce business named Apollo Watches, which specializes in high-quality timepieces. This campaign aims to engage and stimulate prospective customers who have shown interest in the brand but haven’t made a purchase yet. 

Here is a table you can customize for your own business, and you can see descriptions further below.

Email No.DayPurpose
1Day 1Welcome and Introduction
2Day 3Showcase your top-selling products
3Day 7Exclusive offer
4Day 10Brand story and values
5Day 17Personalized recommendations
6Day 23Customer testimonials and social proof
7Day 30Create urgency to claim the exclusive offer
Welcome Email Drip Campaign: Sample

Drip Campaign Email #1

Subject line: “Welcome to Apollo Watches — Discover Timeless Elegance”

Description: This is where you warmly welcome the recipient to Apollo Watches. Provide a brief introduction to Apollo’s story and commitment to craftsmanship. Include compelling images of your best-selling watches and encourage the recipient to explore your website and view your collection.


Drip Campaign Email #2

Subject line: “Discover Our Best-Selling Watches!”

Description: In this email, highlight a selection of your top-selling watches, each with a brief description. Emphasize their unique features, quality, and style. Include one-liner customer testimonials for social proof. Also, provide a CTA linking to the product pages.


Drip Campaign Email #3

Subject line: “Your Exclusive Offer Awaits: 25% Off Your First Purchase!”

Description: This is where you entice your customers. Introduce a limited-time exclusive offer for new customers. Explain the discount and any specific terms or conditions. It’s a good idea to include a striking image of a watch alongside the discount code. Encourage the recipient to take advantage of the offer by clicking on the CTA.


Drip Campaign Email #4

Subject: “The Heart of Apollo Watches: Our Story and Values”

Description line: Share a more detailed narrative of Apollo Watches, including the brand’s history, philosophy, and commitment to quality. Highlight any sustainability or ethical practices, if applicable. Reiterate the value of owning an Apollo watch and encourage recipients to be a part of the Apollo Watches community by sharing their love for watches.


Drip Campaign Email #5

Subject line: “Timeless Elegance, Tailored for You”

Description: Leverage recipient data to recommend watches based on their previous browsing behavior or preferences and showcase personalized product suggestions. Also provide insights on why these watches might be the perfect match, and don’t forget to include a clever CTA.


Drip Campaign Email #6

Subject line: “See What Our Satisfied Customers Are Saying”

Description: Feature customer testimonials, reviews, or user-generated content to build trust. Include images and quotes from happy customers who’ve purchased Apollo Watches. Encourage recipients to join the satisfied customer community. Wrap up the email with a CTA to browse the entire collection on your website.


Drip Campaign Email #7

Subject line: “Final Opportunity: 25% Off Expires Soon!”

Description: In this email, remind recipients of the exclusive offer introduced in Email #3. Emphasize the limited-time nature of the discount and its impending expiration. Encourage the recipient to act quickly by clicking the CTA.

This sample email drip campaign engages prospects by providing valuable information and offers, building a connection with the brand, and ultimately encouraging them to become loyal customers of your company.


Email Drip Campaign Workflow: Best Practices

Best practices can help you get the most out of your drip campaigns.

Let’s review a few of them below:

  1. Segment correctly: Defining your audience is critical; segmentation and targeting ensure your emails are relevant to recipients’ interests, leading to higher open and click-through rates, improved conversions, and reduced unsubscribes. 
  2. Personalization: Ensure the content is relevant for your readers — it drives higher engagement, trust, and conversions. When you tailor emails to your reader’s interests and needs, they are more likely to engage with your messages, resulting in increased open rates and click-through rates.
  3. Be concise: Throughout your drip campaign, be clear about the purpose of each email. You must know precisely where the customer is in the sales funnel and tweak your content to get the message across clearly.
  4. Optimize subject lines: Create compelling subject lines that pique your recipient’s interest and encourage them to open the email. And keep that consistent across the board — if your readers skip a few emails in your drip campaign, the later ones won’t be effective.

With these best practices, you can ensure your drip campaigns are effectively influencing subscribers and achieving better conversions.


How to Improve Existing Email Drip Campaigns

If you already have an email drip sequence but you’re not too happy with its performance, here’s a list of steps to try to achieve better results:

  1. Analyze performance: Start by reviewing key performance metrics, including open rates, click-through rates, conversion rates, and engagement metrics. Identify areas that need improvement or have shown a decline in performance.
  2. Segment your lists: Have you segmented your audience correctly? It may be time to review your segmentation rules and confirm if your drip campaign is relevant. Refine your audience segmentation to create more targeted email content. Better segmentation allows you to send personalized messages that are more relevant to recipients.
  3. Review your content: Assess the content of your emails. Ensure it is engaging, provides value to recipients, and aligns with the campaign’s objectives. Consider the following:
  4. Optimize timing: Experiment with the timing and frequency of your emails. Test different send times and days to determine when your audience is most responsive.
  5. Behavioral triggers: Implement behavioral triggers to send emails based on recipient actions or inactions. For example, you can send a follow-up email when a recipient clicks a link or abandons a cart.
  6. Reevaluate the email flow: Consider the sequence’s length, order, and pacing. Ensure it aligns with your objectives and the recipient’s journey. You may need to add or remove emails based on performance.
  7. Optimize your landing pages: If your emails lead to landing pages, ensure those pages are well-optimized for conversions. The messaging and design should be consistent with the email content.

By implementing these strategies and continually optimizing your existing email drip campaigns, you can enhance their performance, drive better results, and maintain a more engaged and satisfied audience.


Drip Email Campaigns With Campaign Refinery

The success of your drip email campaigns depends greatly on your email marketing platform or marketing automation software — find one that has the features and flexibility you need to align with your dream campaign results.

At Campaign Refinery, our clients enjoy maximum flexibility and control with their drip campaigns, thanks to our powerful email sequencing tools and automation logic. Using our Branch & Rule Builder, our customers can design drip campaigns that give incredibly personalized sequences based on subscriber data (such as custom fields, tags, and engagement). Plus, with our Goal feature, our clients can make sure to adapt messages in real time based on whether or not the subscriber has taken the next step in the marketing funnel.

Just the right message, to just the right person, at just the right time. As all great marketing should be.

Our platform also offers features like dynamic audience segmentation, in-depth analytics, an email template library, and integration with thousands of marketing tools for a nearly limitless marketing stack.

Go ahead and dream big about how personal, powerful, and profitable your email marketing can be.

Building an Audience For Your Drip Campaigns 

Before you can run great campaigns, you need a great email list. As the experts on email, we know methods that can attract leads like bears to honey. We’re not exaggerating — you can spike your lead magnet opens by up to 8x.



Lucky for you, we love sharing our knowledge! If you want to see readers clamor to join your subscriber list, sign up for our Lead Magnet Multiplier Course

And don’t worry, it’s completely free. Just ensure you finish the course in a week if you want to retain lifetime access to the 4 mini-trainings.

Make sure you drop us a line to tell us how you liked our course.

Happy emailing!

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