The Email Drip Campaign: Best Practices, Tips, and Tricks

Melanie Balke
February 26, 2024

They’re some of the most common examples of modern email marketing campaigns. If you’re subscribed to any email list, your inbox is likely filled with drip campaigns! They’re as common as cosplay at comic conventions, and it’s time for you to learn what they are.

I’m dedicating today’s blog post to the art of the drip campaign. I’ll be going through some of the most common questions I’ve heard about these commonplace email campaigns, including:

  • What are email drip campaigns?
  • What business goals can a drip campaign help my brand achieve?
  • What tactics are used in drip marketing campaigns?
  • Why should my business use drip campaigns?

I’ll also be weaving in some tips and tricks to amplify your marketing strategy, so keep scrolling to learn more!

What Is an Email Drip Campaign?

A wooden bridge over rubble, circa mid-1940s. “The Basics: What Are Drip Emails?”

I’ll start with the basics.

A drip campaign is an extension of drip marketing. These marketing efforts are regularly scheduled content meant to consistently engage with consumers. Their name comes from that consistency, likened to the steady drip of a leaky faucet. (Yes, sometimes we marketers like to be a bit silly!)

Most drip campaigns are relatively simple. They may not even have a target audience! Ultimately, they’re used to encourage customers to remain aware of the brand.

Some drip emails are standalone messages. These may be as simple as sales announcements or as complex as interactive, personalized emails. Other drip campaigns are part of a flow — a series of pre-written messages — that spans a set amount of time. (Some flows also require additional input from users.)

Either way, the goals are often the same, and the goals form the basis of each campaign.

What Are the Goals of the Typical Email Drip Campaign?

Various pipes on a brick wall. “The Perks: Common Goals for Drip Campaigns.“

And what are those goals?

Like most email marketing campaigns, drip emails can have one (or more) of many different goals. They may have a specific target audience or rely on appealing to the broadest possible audience segments.

However, I want to set aside the issue of audience segmentation. For now, I want to focus on goal-setting. After all, no good business owner will bother with frivolous investments! There must be something worthwhile at the end.

Now, while some email drip campaigns have financial goals, they generally aren’t considered transactional emails. Similarly, they can be triggered or automated emails.

For example, a series of post-purchase drip email campaigns may be sent to consumers after they’ve bought an item for the first time. These would qualify as triggered drip email marketing efforts — the trigger being the purchase.

Conversely, a non-triggered drip campaign strategy might revolve around a specific holiday.

Either way — triggered or not — drip email campaigns must have goals. I can’t possibly list every potential iteration and combination of business goals. That would take too long. Instead, I’ll highlight the most common drip campaign outcomes.

1. Increase Brand Awareness (And Boost Multiple KPIs)

The most obvious perk of a good email drip campaign is heightened brand awareness.

(As a refresher: Your brand awareness is a measurement of your brand’s renown. Immediately recognizable brands have high awareness scores; newer and less established brands have lower scores.)

Aside from (hopefully) garnering more sales, your brand awareness boosts your sales funnel. Heightened awareness often translates to consumer value and — by extension — your subscribers’ trust. Think of it as a two-for-one deal. On the surface, you work on lead nurturing and customer relationships. Dig a bit deeper, and you’ll find a perfectly balanced sales cycle and buyer’s journey.

Improving your brand awareness also bolsters a variety of KPIs, including:

  • Click-Through Rate (CTR): Looking to buff up those click-through rates? Pack your drip sequences with valuable content! Build a reputation for delivering valuable information instead of generic mass emails. This will ease the buyer journey and increase the likelihood of consumers opening your email campaigns.
  • Conversions: Don’t expect to increase sales immediately. You must still work on lead nurturing before you generate revenue. Nonetheless, with time and effort, your drip campaign can yield surprising dividends! Build a relationship with your subscribers and focus on delivering relevant content. Then, encourage readers to invest in your product.
  • Engagement: Once you’ve established your reputation, your brand becomes a welcome facet of a subscriber’s inbox. They expect your content, and that expectation will boost engagement.

2. Improve the Customer Journey

Stretch your imagination.

If you can build brand awareness with drip marketing, can you not also inform consumers?

Everyone knows what welcome emails are. They’re those cordial subscription notices that begin every customer journey. However, their status as one of email marketing’s best practices is just the beginning. Stretch those welcome emails into an entire email sequence, and you have an educational drip marketing campaign!

It’s an ingenious concept, really! Every email marketing strategy needs a beginning. This is the entry point for your sales funnel and your first interaction with prospective customers.

For many brands, this introduction is as simple as offering a coupon code and directing subscribers to some relevant landing pages. But you can do much more than that! Back up that initial welcome email with some onboarding emails. Those subsequent emails are now part of an email sequence and — you guessed it! — part of a drip email campaign.

Now, what if you pack those drip emails with important information, irresistible deals, and product FAQs? Well, you’ve just guaranteed your subscribers receive everything they need to know at just the right time! You’ve also given yourself more room to breathe. You can slow down and dedicate space to those essential pain points without worrying you’ll lose your subscribers’ interest.

3. Ease Your Support Team’s Workload With Strategic Drip Campaigns

Stretching those welcome emails into an in-depth email sequence also boosts consumer awareness. It may not be necessary for simple consumer goods (e.g., clothes or plush toys), but that extra informational space is a must for complex products.

Even without complex setups and different segments, a basic email drip campaign is the perfect way to deliver informative content. Again, think about your product’s FAQs. Drip sequences deliver targeted email campaigns to the right audience. More importantly, they give subscribers plenty of time to get to know your product.

Increased familiarity means decreased consumer concerns. Consumers quickly understand the basics of a product, and more involved questions can be forwarded to your support team.

4. Cover the Entire Customer Journey With Email Drip Campaigns

You’re keeping that email length within the guidelines established by email marketing’s best practices, of course. You’re using your drip campaign to space out information and divide content into more palatable chunks. Essentially, you’re giving yourself more room to craft a truly effective drip campaign. Each individual email becomes part of a story, paving the way for future drip emails.

For example, let’s assume you’re selling a new type of bathroom cleaning wand. New subscribers have already shown interest by signing up for your emails. However, they don’t understand your product’s value. You could send a massive welcome email, but that’s not the best practice. Instead, you’ll want a simple drip sequence, and it will look a bit like this:

  1. The Big Picture: Start with a general overview. This welcome email will probably include a discount code to entice leads and convert particularly eager consumers. For the example business, I’d include basic information and stunning product photography in this initial email campaign.
  2. The Brand Story: Did those first few landing pages fall flat? Don’t worry! Woo your new subscribers with some brand storytelling. This is the perfect opportunity to mention eco-friendly manufacturing or social causes your business supports.
  3. Product FAQs: Consumers have never seen a product like yours! Educate them. Use this third email to turn skeptics into paying customers. Emphasize your product’s benefits over competitive equals. Consider soliciting some customer feedback to fill in this part of your drip campaign. This is also a good spot to put “product best practices” and care guides.
  4. The Final Push: Your final entry should be a compelling call to purchase the product. Boost the efficacy of this final sales pitch by adding some unique touches to make these feel like personalized emails. (Even something as small as including the subscriber’s name is a plus!) These final entries should cater to loyal customers and will likely feel like promotional emails. You’ll want flashy, vibrant call-to-action links and eye-catching subject lines for these marketing emails.

(There are dozens of ways to fulfill your needs, so know that this simple marketing plan is just an example! You can mix and match or add more drip campaign emails to the formula.)

Don’t Let Drip Marketing Campaigns Weigh You Down

Overlapping leaves. “Find a Pro: Get Professional Email Support.”

It’s a lot of information to take in, and I’m barely scratching the surface.

Drip campaigns are just one of many subsets of email marketing. They’re a tool to consider adding to your arsenal, but they’re far from essential. You can spend months developing a gorgeous drip email marketing campaign, deploy the content, and realize your audience neither needs nor wants such a thing! Ye-owch!

Unfortunately, a simple blog post won’t be enough to tell you if you need drip emails.

You’ll need professional help for that!

Schedule a free consultation today.

Let me evaluate your business and show you how my team, The Email Marketers, can amplify your drip marketing campaigns. I’ll show you a personalized marketing plan. More importantly, I’ll show you how a team of on-demand professionals can ease your business’ burdens.

Let us handle your email drip campaigns, and trust our combined decades of digital marketing experience! We’ll tackle your financial goals and wow your target audience. All you have to do is run your business.