Your target audience is already bombarded with hundreds of emails from competitive brands. You know that your email channel is the most reliable and cost-effective of your digital marketing efforts, outperforming social media conversions by a factor of 40. In an ever-crowded inbox, how do you rise above the competition and capture your subscribers’ attention?

Do you want to get more out of your email marketing? Email newsletters are a great way to keep your subscribers in the loop with your company’s latest achievement, newest developments and provide valuable tips, tricks and advice. However, a single email newsletter is not going to cut it when your end goal is to make a sale. Instead of blasting recipients with the occasional random sales pitch, focus your efforts on crafting an outstanding highly-personalised email drip campaign. 


“Focus on growing your list all of the time as newer subscribers are more engaged adding to healthier open rates and ROI.” – Karl Murray

In this article, we’ll cover the following topics:

  1. What is an email drip campaign?
  2. How to create an email drip campaign?
  3. Email drip campaign best practice
  4. Email drip campaign examples

Let’s dive in.

Striking the perfect balance between building your email lists, crafting the perfect email campaign and keeping your audience engaged is key to an effective email marketing strategy. Building an email campaign is fairly simple and you have the opportunity to reach existing subscribers at any time. However, what happens when new subscribers sign up? They will only receive your new email campaigns and miss on the awesome email copy you’ve shared previously. You can’t bombard their inbox with all your older email campaigns (no matter how relevant they are). It’ll overwhelm them and they might unsubscribe or worst, report your emails as spam. The perfect solution is creating an email drip campaign

Drip, drip, drip – that’s the sound of email marketing gold.

Any email marketer worth their salt understands that email drip campaigns can not only keep prospects engaged but also maintain an open line of communication. Yet, there is a fine line when it comes to email drip campaigns. If you go guns blazing and too heavy with your efforts, you risk blasting your leads with content and consequently, overwhelming them to a point where they will just ignore your email. On the other hand, if you stray too far in the other direction, you risk losing your lead’s attention and being forgotten.

 It’s a very delicate balance to achieve. But, I’m here to teach you exactly how to take advantage of email drip campaigns and use them in your favour.

What Is An Email Drip Campaign?

An email drip campaign is a sequence of pre-created, automated, perfectly-timed marketing emails that work together to lead prospects towards the final destination: a conversion.

The main purpose behind email drip campaigns is to nudge, engage and deliver interesting content to your audience in a friendly, non-committal manner while also being personal and as relevant as possible. Pro tip: Segmentation can help you tremendously in delivering the right content to the right people.

The Benefits of Using Drip Campaigns

There are four main benefits of email drip campaigns – 

1) timely information – deliver the right (and relevant) content exactly at the right time when the recipient needs it the most;
2) lead nurturing – email drip campaigns nurture leads until they reach the sales-ready point;
3) easy automation – don’t work harder, work smarter. With email drip campaigns, you can automate the tedious part of the sales process and consequently, spend more time on closing a sale rather than pitching your products/services, and
4) maintaining an open communication line – your email drip campaign will help you keep a continuous conversation with your recipients so that you can remain at the top of their mind.

Types of Drip Campaigns

There are six popular types of email drip campaigns – 

1) Top-of-mind – it will help you keep your subscribers engaged throughout the sales process;
2) Educational – it’ll provide relevant info about your product/service to the subscribers preparing them for the purchase;
3) Re-engagement – this type of email drip campaigns are designed to win back the interest of your cold or inactive subscribers;
4) Competitive – this type of campaigns target your competitor’s customers detailing the benefits of switching to your product/service;
5) Promotional – they entice prospects with limited-run promotions, special offers or time-sensitive discounts; and
6) Training – as the title suggests this type of email drip campaigns can be utilised for new customers or simply offering existing ones a training program, webinar, “how-to” guides, etc.

Often email drip campaigns can be confused with triggered email campaigns. Why? Both can be sent as a reply to a recipient’s action. However, the difference is that email drip campaigns are a series of pre-created, automated emails while triggered email campaigns consist of only one email.

Do you know why drip campaigns are important? They drive 18 times more revenue, improve click-through rates (CTR) compared to regular email marketing campaigns and help with building trusting relationships with subscribers as well as warming up leads and turning them into loyal customers.

Overall, email drip campaigns can be customised and crafted to fit an infinite number of purposes. Once you have outlined your goals and determined your audience, the rest will be relatively easy to achieve.

How To: Crafting The Perfect Email Drip Campaign

A single text from a person you like won’t be enough to convince you to go out with them, will it? Well, a single email will not be enough to persuade the recipient to purchase either. 

Crafting a perfect drip campaign may seem a bit daunting, however, once you have a strategy in place, and follow these six simple steps, your email marketing job will be a whole lot easier.

1) Identify your goal

Before you even think about designing your email drip campaign, you first need to determine its purpose and what’s the end goal. Are you attempting to re-engage inactive subscribers? Do you want to nurture leads? Or, are you trying to build a sales pitch? Without a clear objective, you will have a difficult time setting your campaign’s parameters.

2) Determine your audience

If you want to make sure the right people are getting the right message at the right time, you need to segment your email list(s). For example, will your “first purchase” email drip campaign go to all new subscribers; or, will it only go to those subscribers who’ve made a purchase over £100? A nicely segmented optimised email list will help you boost conversions and deliver relevant content to the right audience.

3) Define your email frequency

How many emails do you need to craft for your drip campaign? When will each email drip campaign be sent? One size does not fit all. Hence, it’s important to outline your sending schedule before starting work on your campaign. Remember, the number one reason (aside from irrelevant content) for higher unsubscribe rates is that your subscribers are overwhelmed by the number of emails coming from your brand. 

4) Craft your email copy

From your subject line to your call-to-action (CTA), your email drip campaign must be highly-targeted, personalised and relevant to the subscribers’ interests/needs/desires. Most importantly, personalisation is crucial to the success of your email drip campaign. Sometimes less can be more. Thus, there’s no need to overcomplicate your campaign with lengthy text, overwhelm it with imagery and add numerous CTAs. Stay consistent with your brand’s tone of voice, keep the copy relevant and stick to one clear CTA. Ask yourselves when working on your copy: “What do subscribers need to know to take the action I want them to?”

5) Monitor your email drip campaign’s performance and improve (if necessary)

To understand if your email drip campaign is successful it’s important to measure all your email marketing KPIs, not just open and click-through rates. With the help of professional email marketing software, measuring your drip campaign’s performance and making the necessary adjustments will be easy and painless. It’s essential to remember that despite the fact your automated email drip campaign is pretty much on autopilot, it doesn’t mean that you just set it up once and then completely forget about it. After all, that which can be measured can be improved. Thus, evaluate, tweak, repeat. 

6) Know when to remove someone from your drip

As an email marketer, one of the worst possible things you can do is give your subscribers an awful customer experience – and keep doing it time and time again. For example, if a subscriber has been added to your email drip campaign to get them to sign up for a webinar on Wednesday and they’ve done so but then you send them another email on Friday asking them to sign up (again) that’s awfully bad practice. Therefore, make sure once a subscriber takes the desired action, they will be removed from the drip. Otherwise, you risk not only losing them as a customer but also having your emails reported as spam.

Ah, I almost forgot, to craft an effective email drip campaign and monitor its performance, you need excellent professional email marketing software that’s flexible, easy to use and offers automation.

Email Drip Campaign Best Practice

To have a successful drip campaign, you should follow these five best practice points- 

1) Take into account the customer journey

You will increase your engagement rate exponentially by sending drip campaigns relevant to the subscribers and their movement through the sales funnel. Let’s say someone recently became aware of your brand. They are most definitely not ready to buy just yet. But, you can nurture them with an email drip campaign offering educational, valuable content before you make your sales pitch. By knowing your audience and what stages they are at in the customer journey, you can carefully craft highly-personalised, relevant drip campaigns that will strengthen your relationship with them and help you get to the holy grail – a sale.

2) Design a logical and smooth automation flow

Create a consistent email drip campaign sequence. Make sure you maintain contact but don’t overwhelm your subscribers. Too many emails and you may come off as intrusive and annoying which will make a subscriber an unsubscriber; or, worse, report you as a spammer. On the other hand, leaving too much time to pass between drip campaigns and you risk subscribers forgetting all about you. Hence, for an effective email drip campaign automation flow, I recommend determining a schedule and crafting buyer personas (it will help at the segmentation and crafting relevant copy stages). Most importantly, always provide benefit and value to your subscribers with each email hitting their inbox. Ah, and make sure each email drip campaign is tied together smoothly with the previous and next one in the sequence. 

3) Automate as many processes as you can (or want)

The best, and easiest, way to optimise your email marketing strategy is to send different email drip campaigns to various groups of people based on different criteria. From informative newsletter through onboarding email series to abandoned cart and purchase confirmation emails or re-engagement campaigns, a carefully pre-designed email drip campaign will help you create a time-saving automated email process. No need to spend hours upon hours on designing different campaigns for different purposes. By creating email drip campaigns, you’ll have an automation flow ready and waiting to be unleashed into the world.

4) Focus on creating high-quality email copy

Writing email copy isn’t always easy. There is a huge difference between writing content for newsletters, sales campaigns, purchase confirmations, etc. However, there are a few simple recommendations which will make your life a whole lot easier. 

  • Focus on offering value
  • Keep the email short and to the point
  • Be personal and allow your audience to connect with your brand better
  • Avoid spam trigger words, irrelevant imagery and large media
  • Use personalised and compelling email subject lines
  • Create urgency and curiosity
  • Always include one clear call-to-action (CTA)

5) Test, test and test again

Simply because your email drip campaign is automated, it doesn’t mean you should just set it up and neglect it. The answer to fine-tuning and optimising your drip campaigns lies with A/B testing (a.k.a split testing). Sometimes even the smallest thing (like the colour of your CTA) can affect your engagement and conversion rates. Make sure you always test one variable at a time to ensure concrete results. 

Email Drip Campaign Examples

You have everything you might need to create the perfect email drip campaign. Now, it’s time to get your inspiration and your creativity flowing with these 5 email drip campaign examples.

1) The Welcome Wagon 

First impressions matter and your welcome email is exactly that – your first impression on the recipient. Therefore, your email drip campaign needs to be perfect. Did you know that welcome emails have 50% higher open rates than the average for any other email? 

Your welcome email is crucially important as it sets the tone for the whole email drip campaign sequence. Hence, if you want to retain your subscribers and convert them, you must get this right.

What Is An Email Drip Campaign? | EmailOut.com - free email marketing software

Take a look at Google Ads drip campaign. They welcome new users with an email designed to inspire trust, is visually pleasing and a subject line that will draw the recipient’s attention. Moreover, it gives the user a nudge to complete setting up their account and also gives a link to their Help Centre which provides further helpful content. 

2) The Sales Nudge

For any business, no matter the industry, a sales push drip campaign is your bread and butter. Once you’ve carefully crafted your buyer personas and taken into account your customers’ pain points as well as their buyer behaviour, you will be able to design a sales pitch that will hit the bulls-eye.

Two of the most common triggers for sales nudge email campaigns are a customer adding a product to their shopping cart or making a direct purchase. Why? Because these triggers are making it apparent the customer is open and ready to purchase your product.

What Is An Email Drip Campaign? | EmailOut.com - free email marketing software

Take Uniqlo’s campaign, for example. Rather than only sending purchase order confirmations, invoices or requests for confirming payment details, they’ve created an email drip campaign that thrives on cross-selling. With this campaign, they aim to announce that a favourite product which was sold out is finally back in stock. The cross-sell here is clearly visible beneath the main announcement section where customers can see other popular product collections such as new arrivals and men, women and kids attire.

3) The Educational Drip

Occasionally, the point of an email campaign isn’t revenue. Therefore, your drip campaign does not necessarily have to make increasing revenue the goal. Instead, its purpose can be to grow your email lists or share valuable, beneficial content. 

What Is An Email Drip Campaign? | EmailOut.com - free email marketing software

POGO’s email drip campaign, for example, features a visualisation of the drip campaign’s entire email sequence. The campaign also incorporates an early opt-out for subscribers who feel overwhelmed or are no longer interested in their course(s). 

This email drip campaign has all the necessary elements – relevancy, clearly outlined benefits and a clear call-to-action – to grab the subscribers attention and lead them in the right direction by taking the action POGO wants them to take. Click here to see POGO’s full email.

4) The Abandoned Cart 

When we are talking about abandoned cart emails, here are some stats you should consider – 

  • the average open rate for cart abandonment emails is 45%
  • the average click-through rate (CTR) for cart abandonment emails is 21%
  • cart abandonment emails have a conversion rate of nearly 11%
  • out of a hundred people who receive cart abandonment emails, 11 will make a purchase that wouldn’t have done ordinarily.

Most professional email marketing platforms will have a variety of abandoned cart email templates to help you get started. You can use those pre-made email templates for their layout and customise your copy, imagery and design. 

What Is An Email Drip Campaign? | EmailOut.com - free email marketing software
This email drip campaign example from Dyson does several things extremely well – 

  • provide helpful and clear text which is also fun to read – e.x. “all is not lost” and “we saved the contents”
  • shows an image of the product and lists the item still in the buyer’s cart
  • instils a sense of urgency and importance regarding the purchase
  • two clear call-to-action (CTA) asking the customer to take the same action 

Overall, Dyson has achieved a sleek, clean and easy to read engaging design with their abandoned cart email.

5) The Reactivation Drip

Are there subscribers on your email list(s) that have been inactive for quite some time? Do you let them go or try to reactivate (re-engage) them?

The recommended time to send your first reactivation email drip campaign is within 90 days of the subscriber’s inactivity. If you have set up an email drip campaign sequence, it’s recommended to repeat your reactivation email every week after the initial one has been sent. 

What Is An Email Drip Campaign? | EmailOut.com - free email marketing software

Take a look at Glotrition’s reactivation email campaign. It’s adorable, sweet, fun, unexpected and appeals to the recipients’ emotional side. The message is clear, engaging and witty. The CTA is prominent with a spot-on placement making the recipient motivated to click on it. The company’s offered discount also acts as an additional incentive (as if the puppy wasn’t enough) encouraging recipients to start shopping.

Final Thoughts

Regardless of your status as an email marketer – a newbie, a senior professional or a master – it isn’t tricky to note how important email drip campaigns are for your business’s bottom line. 

Email drip campaigns generate three times higher performance than normal bulk email campaigns. They keep subscribers engaged whilst also encouraging them to take action which leads to an increase in conversion rates. But, they require patience. High results don’t just happen overnight.

The email drip campaigns that an email marketer should launch first are a welcome, an abandoned cart and a reactivation (or re-engagement) campaign. They are quite easy to implement and highly effective. 

Remember, once you’ve nailed and mastered the basics of email drip campaigns, you have come one step closer to surpassing most of your competitors and achieving better revenue. But, keep in mind, I can’t “guarantee” success or the best open and click-through rates even if you follow all the best practice. To achieve higher-converting email drip campaigns, you have to implement a trial and error principle. Sure, consider the guidelines, best practice and derive inspiration from email drip campaign examples but… always evaluate, tweak and repeat. 

Are you ready to try your hand at crafting an email drip campaign?

Highly recommended further reading – 

1) Subject Line Mistakes To Avoid
2) How To Write Marketing Emails 101
3) Responsive Email Design
4) Why Using Purchased Email Lists Is A Very Bad Idea

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