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5 Email Drip Campaign Best Practices

August 28, 2019

An email drip campaign (also known as a drip campaign or drip marketing) involves sending information to prospects repeatedly over longer periods of time. Generally, email marketing tools can control the dripping of your content. Some popular tools include Campaign Monitor, Mailchimp and others, but drip marketing is also built into enterprise marketing automation tools like Hubspot, Pardot and Act-On.

The beauty is you can also use drip marketing to educate prospects, share information, and update your current customers on new products, or changes to your product line – all without involving anyone on your marketing or sales teams.

Some examples of when you can use a drip campaign include:

● Welcome email for customer onboarding
● Upgrade customers from free trial to a paid account
● Remind customers about items left in their online shopping cart
● Teach content through an email course
● Communicate upcoming events
● Promoting a special offer
…just to name a few!

Email drip campaigns use timing or behavioral triggers to send automated messages. For example, drip campaigns can send emails to people who download a whitepaper or submit a form, or 3 days after a product demo.

Here are 5 best practices to consider when setting up a drip marketing campaign.

1. Consider all of your customers’ journeys

You might have some current customers or subscribers that have been with you for years. In order to keep them happy and engaged, you need to treat them like you’ve been friends for a long time. What do they need or want from you? Coupons or discounts off current products? Special sneak-peeks of new products? Comparisons of your products to competitors?

Conversely, newer readers who don’t know you or your brand are still at the top of the marketing funnel. You can’t push too hard to sell to them right away. You need to nurture them, get to know them, let them get to know (and trust) you. Maybe they would appreciate content that includes some background info on you, informational downloads, or free trials.

2. Create a Smooth and Steady ‘Drip’

drip email campaign example

How long should a drip campaign be? The answer often depends on your customers. Continue to test your email drip schedule until you’ve hit the sweet spot of messages, open rates, click-through rates and conversions.

Just be sure to keep it consistent. For some, this means a new email every few days for two weeks. For others, it’s a message once a week for a few months. This will vary widely from product to product and depends on the sales funnel and typical length of time until conversion.

Whatever you do, do not send all your campaign emails out in the first 24 hours. That is aggressively off-putting to most and may be treated like SPAM by email providers.

Oh, and speaking of consistency – make sure that your emails are all written by the same person and at the same time, if possible. Even the same person writing at different times can make messages seem disjointed and confusing.

3. Include valuable, engaging content

Too often, we get caught up in the objectives of the campaign and forget the part about being human and engaging our prospects. Some things to remember:

● Always provide significant, valuable content.
● Get personal. Let them get to know you by sharing a story, like the pain point that started your business/blog/passion (which may also align with your customer’s pain point) or anything that helps connect with your content and brand.
● In the beginning, you will want to be personal so they can get to know you but keep the first few messages short. New readers won’t know or trust you enough to invest the time in reading a super long email from you.
● When you do get to the point of sending long emails, however, keep paragraphs short and add white space. More than ever, people are reading your content from a mobile device. Too much text can be overwhelming.
● Use compelling subject lines – but keep away from marketing and sales-y language. Using obvious sales pitches in your emails not only reduces the open rate but decreases deliverability. Email giants Gmail and Outlook will usually flag those emails and send them to the promotions folder.
● Include a call to action and create urgency. Offer exclusive deals, or more value, but set a deadline. You want them to act as soon as possible.

Always leave them wanting more by ending with a P.S. You can tease them with the information that you’ll be sharing in the next email. Get them excited and create some anticipation.

4. Connect your campaign

Don’t keep your drip campaign in its own marketing silo. Connect your emails to your social accounts, paid ads and your website. Even connect them to your email newsletters and blogs when appropriate. But don’t do everything at once, or the call to action might get lost.

The more a customer is positively exposed to your brand, the quicker the conversion. Cross promoting your platforms is also a great way to attract new customers who would not have found you otherwise.

5. Test, test, test!

So, you’ve set up a campaign and it’s running smoothly on autopilot. Congratulations, you’ve just determined your baseline, which means it’s time to start testing – everything.

A/B test with the subject line, content, call to action, tone. Continual testing is the only way to know if you’ve maximized your ROI on a specific campaign.

It also shows you what your customers like and don’t like – which is crucial to continued engagement and sales.

Get Started

The most important thing about setting up an email drip campaign is actually getting started. Start small, with one campaign, and gradually test and build as you gain more practice.

Heather Steel, Marketing Manager, TruStar Marketing, LLC.


TruStar Marketing fuses the art and science of marketing to improve your business. We specialize in health care, insurance and high-tech manufacturing industries. Digital marketing that works stars with a free introductory call.