The Quick and Easy Pocket Guide to Drip Email Marketing

Melanie Balke
July 18, 2023

Of the many types of email marketing, drip campaigns may be the most ubiquitous. They’re the bread and butter of your strategy, but many are unaware of their existence!

So, what are these crucial marketing emails? What do they do, and when should you use them?

This blog post aims to answer these questions (and more)! I’ll also include plenty of tips and tricks, so don’t back out yet.

This will be a long post, so let’s dive right in!

What Are Drip Campaigns?

A water droplet. “The Basics: What Is Drip Marketing?”

Think of the drip campaign as a species of email marketing. It’s a big umbrella term that describes many different ideas. Each of these concepts has a unique purpose, and many have unique implementation needs, but they’re all united by one thing: timing.

Email drip campaigns are all about timing. They’re purpose-built to deliver the right information at the right time. They fulfill customer expectations and increase a brand’s overall reputation. It all sounds wildly complicated, but I promise it’s a simple idea!

At their core, drip campaigns work by nurturing leads. They’re the support crew of your email campaigns, providing your ecommerce business the means to connect and re-engage with customers. Thanks to their flexibility, drip campaigns are also an asset to your sales team and support staff!

Some common examples of email drip campaigns include:

(I’ll discuss some of these examples in depth, but let’s get through the basics first.)

Regardless of the specifics, all drip campaigns also tend to have varying levels of automation, personalization, and targeting. These are not one-off responses; they’re pre-written, scheduled content. In most cases, drip campaigns aim to push customers further down the sales funnel, but that’s not always true.

The Benefits of Automated Drip Campaigns

A faucet. “The Perks: The Power of a Drip Email Campaign.”

With the definition out of the way, let’s look at the purpose of these marketing tools.

The perks of a successful drip campaign are diverse. You’ll get different results from newsletters and post-purchase email campaigns. Likewise, you can’t focus on a support request’s metrics when you’re running a lead nurturing campaign.

Nonetheless, all drip campaigns have two definite perks.

Email Drip Campaigns Build Better Customer Relationships

A group of friends. “Relationships: A drip campaign can re-engage customers and nurture growth.”

Drip emails are one of the finest tools in your kit when you’re honing customer relationships. They’re also an invaluable way to boost your brand awareness.

You know how mitochondria are the powerhouse of cells? Well, your drip marketing campaigns are the powerhouse of your lead nurturing efforts. They provide timely intervention, acting as convenient wingmen for every situation.

Do you have a customer who’s been sitting on stock for days? Send an abandoned cart campaign.

Is there a long-time customer you haven’t heard from in a while? Whip out that re-engagement email!

A drip campaign fulfills a purpose. It scratches an itch and lives up to your customers’ expectations. In a way, they’re an expected facet of modern life. A great drip email sequence is set to deploy at the perfect time, just as a customer is about to ask a question.

That Engagement Can Increase Your Profits

Overlapping leaves. “Profit: That increased awareness can turn into pure profit!”

And guess what?

All that relevant content puts your brand at the forefront of a consumer’s mind. Whenever they think of your industry, they’ll think of you. And all that awareness will (ideally) translate to sales. Even simple drip templates have the power to become an earworm for your new subscribers.

Meanwhile, existing customers enjoy action-based responses. This target audience is all about engagement and service, and drip marketing campaigns excel at both.

Your email drip campaigns have the power to convert your target audience into loyal subscribers. Whether they’re prompting users to buy those abandoned shopping carts or asking for customer feedback, drip emails aim to amplify your sales revenue. They’re the perfect tool for your sales team, allowing them to push strong marketing efforts to the right audience as needed.

And, thanks to automation, these emails also save time. After all, you don’t have to send them yourself. They’re a set-and-forget deal. Once you’ve configured your campaign software, all you have to do is sit back and watch the metrics.

How to Make an Email Drip Campaign

Ocean waves. “The Process: How to Make a Drip Campaign.”

So, what’s next?

We’ve seen the benefits and uses. It’s time to turn your marketing automation into a profitable email drip campaign!

Fortunately for everyone, modern campaign software includes all the tools you’ll need. However, the highly variable nature of email marketing software means I can’t give you the exact steps you’ll need to take. You’ll want to consult an online course for your chosen automation tech. But! I can give you a broad overview of the topic.

1. Always Start With a Goal

A dart on a target board. “Step 1: Start every email drip campaign with a clear goal.”

The nature of email drip campaigns is wholly automated.

That means you don’t need to spend time carefully writing every individual email message. Everyone — from new subscribers to returning customers — gets that drip campaign. The main difference is when.

So, like most things in modern marketing, you’ll be starting with a goal. Before you even write the subject line, you’ll need to ask yourself something: What is my goal? The answer will be the basis for your entire drip campaign strategy, so don’t rush your decision!

As you may have guessed from that extensive list of email drip campaign examples, there are many possible goals. I can’t tell you what your individual goal is (unless I’m working with you, of course!), but I’ll jumpstart your planning with a few ideas. Some of the most common reasons to set up a drip campaign are:

  • Addressing pain points
  • Boosting engagement
  • Counseling an existing customer
  • Cross-selling and upselling
  • Customer-centric advertising
  • Event reminders
  • Gathering data and improving segmentation
  • Improving click-through rates
  • Moving a customer through the sales cycle
  • Providing essential information (e.g., account confirmation, opt-ins, and shipping updates)
  • Re-engaging lapsed subscribers
  • Welcoming new customers

Alternatively, your email campaigns have a built-in purpose. Most lead nurturing drip campaigns fall into this category. In these situations, customers have requested a service (e.g., downloadables, online courses, or printables) and expect an imminent result.

2. Deliver What’s Expected

A stopwatch. “Step 2: Use your drip marketing to deliver what users expect.”


You have a goal. Now, you need to deliver.

If you’re nurturing leads, this is when you plan the delivery. Set up a drip campaign that contains the appropriate file, then integrate it into your customer acquisition funnel. You’ll probably want to use a file hosting site, such as Google Drive, as attached files tend to get caught in spam folders.

Otherwise, you’ll need to get creative.

Every goal has a unique association. Click-to-open rates, for example, tend to improve with subject line tweaks. Alternatively, you may be improving your signup process with a new onboarding email drip campaign. Regardless of what you’re doing, the ultimate goal is to give customers what they expect. This provision is critical to your campaign’s success!

So, if you’re honing in on those pain points, consider adding a discount code. Maybe add a follow-up message a few weeks after that initial deliverable email sequence. Encourage the owner of that abandoned cart to take advantage of a “unique” deal.

Think of it as a cause-and-effect scenario. You’re reacting to set user actions, and your messaging should remind customers about your brand’s best qualities!

3. Monitor Those Campaign Results

A person drawing plans. “Step 3: Monitor the results of your drip emails.”

Next, you’ll need to watch that marketing automation.

In addition to checking the results of your campaigns, you’ll also want to look at factors like dropoff and engagement. High bounce rates and low engagement are signs of a weak email campaign. You can fix such problems with creative brainstorming, or you can create unique splinters of your email drip campaigns.

Let me explain.

You can have branching paths in an email sequence. Let’s use a welcome email flow as an example. In this scenario, we have our initial “greeting” message and a few follow-up campaigns. Now, you can absolutely stick to a linear narrative. But, if you want to shake things up, you can also make diverging email campaigns.

Perhaps you’re seeing low click-through rates. You could tackle this by adding a shiny discount to an email, but you don’t want everyone getting the deal! No worries. Just tell your marketing automation software to send that discount to non-engaged users.

A Few Email Drip Campaign Examples

A person snorkeling. “Examples: Drip Marketing Ideas.”

We’re not done yet!

Take a minute before you leave to check out some awesome examples of drip email campaigns. These emails utilize a variety of ideas and designs. Some were built with purpose-made drip campaign templates, while others were designed from scratch. However, they all share the same basic principles.

More importantly, all of these ideas — courtesy of none other than The Email Marketers — are perfect ways to snag a potential customer.

Re-Engaging Those Abandoned Shopping Carts

Let’s start with one of the most ubiquitous examples: the abandoned cart email drip campaign.

These emails are a two-pronged approach to a common problem. On the surface, they’re meant to capture attention and move customers down the sales funnel. However, closer inspection of such email campaigns reveals additional goals, such as furthering the buyer’s journey and raising brand awareness.

An abandoned cart email. The header reads, “Big Flavor, Small Bottle.” Below is body text, “Your cart awaits. Complete My Order.”

This Melinda’s Foods snippet performs all of these duties!

Note the bold, strong colors and vivid imagery. And check out that action-driven CTA! This is a drip email designed for attention. It reminds customers of their orders without being aggressive, and that goes a long way in marketing.

The Anniversary Email Drip Campaign

What about date-based drip campaigns?

An automated email campaign for Hookah-Shisha. The header reads, “The Party’s Almost Over.” The CTA below reads, “Get Your Goodies Now.”

Well, this Hookah-Shisha email fits the bill. Like most event-based drip campaign emails, this message was set to send on a specific date. The exact timing varied, as our campaign software ensured everyone’s email fit their time zone.

So, what do we have here?

We have a visually stunning automated drip campaign with the power to engage customers. Its curiosity-based header promises a great surprise and draws users to the beautiful CTA. Overall, it’s a classic example of old-fashioned tactics at play in modern marketing emails, but that certainly doesn’t make it boring!

The Tried-and-True Welcome Email

We can’t forget welcome emails, and this VeloxBot campaign is the perfect example.

A VeloxBot welcome email. The header reads, “Organizing Just Got Easier.” A sub-header says, “Welcome to the VeloxBot family!”

As with all the others, it’s hard to miss that vivid color palette. Even a quick glance is enough to show how dynamic and fun this product is, and it’s certainly a wonderful way to engage with new leads. And, as far as drip email campaigns are concerned, it’s the perfect blank slate for future follow-ups.

The Win-Back Email Drip Campaign

Finally, there’s the trusty win-back campaign. These emails use attention-catching subject lines and irresistible value propositions to re-engage old subscribers.

A Necklow drip email campaign. “Hey, It’s Been a While.”

This Necklow drip marketing campaign highlights the value of simplicity. Unlike other drip emails, this one’s meant to state the obvious. It’s a gentle nudge, a reminder to check in on their drip marketing emails!

After all, simple campaigns are no less important than their fancy relatives. And, sometimes, those well-designed and understated drip campaign emails even outperform the most complex interactive content!

Amplify Your Email Marketing Automation

Overlapping leaves. “Get a Boost: Let Us Handle Your Email Marketing.”

This post is barely scratching the surface! This is but a launching point for a much bigger topic, and you’ll find much more information throughout my blog, including topics like handling drip campaign software.

But, for now, that’s all we have space for!

Still have questions?

Don’t worry! I’m always happy to help. In fact, I built a whole team to help you! Give me a call to find out how The Email Marketers can amplify your drip campaigns with our expertise. We’ll tackle it all, from your welcome email to your click-through rates, while you enjoy your newfound free time.

Focus on what really matters for your business, and let us do the hard marketing automation.