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Email Drip Campaign – The ULTIMATE Guide [With 5 Examples]

Have you ever wondered what it takes to turn inactive subscribers into excited fans?

Or switching abandoned carts for repeated purchases?

Email is a very strong marketing method, and yet many people are still underestimating its capacities, by limiting themselves on the bare basics, such as sending weekly newsletters.

But what about the rest?

Email drip campaigns may be the missing piece of your puzzle.

These automated email sequences are very effective when it comes to brand awareness, increased sales, and consistent engagement.

The best part is, we have done the heavy lifting for you. We have sent terrible emails in the past. So we can help you send good ones.

We have discovered how to get your drip campaigns opened and how to increase your click-through rate (CTR).

email drip campaigns high CTR

So, in today’s article, we take a deep dive into email drip campaigns, giving you all the information and examples you need to master the essentials.


What is email drip campaign?

Email drip campaigns are sequences of emails that are sent out on specific dates and times. These automated campaigns are activated when a person responds to a trigger (call to action) that is created specifically for that reason.

For example, one of the most popular email sequences is the “welcome email drip campaign”, which is automatically sent to readers that choose to:

      • Subscribe to your newsletter
      • Register as a user
      • Purchase a product or service

Once they join your list, these people automatically get an email welcoming them to the service or website. After that, the new subscribers will receive a number of different emails, in a timely fashion, usually with the goal of optimizing buyer intent.

An email drip campaign can range from very simple to very complex depending on:

      • Your product
      • The audience you are targeting
      • The audience’s position in the funnel
      • Triggers you have set

To get back to our example, if you sell a simple product like, for example, Iphone cases, your welcome email sequence could be on the shorter side – two or three emails.

After all, your customer already knows what your product is and how it is used.

However, if you sell a complicated or very competitive product like, for example, proteolytic digestive enzymes,  you might need to take a different, more educational approach, to your email drip campaign.

A great example, in this case, is Bioptimizers. The company sells a high-end digestive enzyme and probiotic package which users can buy on a subscription basis.

As this is a very niche product, email campaigns should focus on educating users about the product and its uses.

The author takes time to write lengthy emails explaining the product and its functions to readers, after which he invites them to join a webinar (offering more value). 

When should you use an email drip campaign?

Email drip campaigns cover a broad spectrum of digital marketing strategies. However, as mentioned above, in most cases, the goal is not necessarily to make a purchase but to stimulate engagement and create brand awareness.

In this article, we will analyze 6 occasions in which an email drip campaign could help you communicate better with your audience, and convert them into customers.

These are:

      • Welcoming email drip campaign
      • Nurturing Leads
      • Product promotion
      • Upsell and/or cross-sell sequence
      • Abandoned Shopping Carts
      • Renewal sequence

How to create an email drip campaign

In order to create a successful email drip campaign, you will need to know your potential customer like the back of your palm. Pay attention to the wishes and needs of your list so you can craft beautifully designed emails that will impress your subscribers.

But remember. Nothing worth having comes easy.

Campaigns like these will require you to create a bunch of content beforehand, optimize the email sequences over time, and use it strategically to get people to join your list.

Getting your first subscribers

Think about the goal of your email drip campaign.

  • What type of customers are you trying to target?
  • Do you want to boost your authority, make a sale or educate readers?

When you have these questions answered, write content that can solve the problems and challenges of these specific readers. Offer them value through education.

Write, write and write some more. Create multiple articles to bring traffic to your website and capture them using lead magnets such as ebooks and tutorials.

Here, the goal is not to craft perfect content but to help readers solve one or more of their problems. Let your mind come up with ideas that can potentially offer value to your subscribers.

And if you struggle to connect with your inner creative, there are always solutions to help you push through the boundaries.

My favorite is a somewhat sadistic app, called “The most dangerous writing app”. It will force you into full “writing-mode” and, if you dare to stop for a few seconds, it will delete everything you wrote so far.

Writing high-quality content will help you become an authority in your industry and create a reason for people to trust you more.

As a result of their trust, the may choose to join your list and read more of your content through their inbox.

Write your drip emails

Now that you have enough content to establish yourself as an authority in your niche, it’s time to set up your emails.

1st Step: Select your audience

Not all of your subscribers should receive the same drip campaign. So, your first step is to choose a specific segment so that you can create more personalized emails that solve one or more of their problems.

Your segment can be comprised of:

      • Subscribers of your blog
      • Customers that made their first sale
      • People that downloaded your lead magnet
      • Potential customers that registered for a free trial
      • That’s just to name a few

2nd Step: Decide on your campaign’s goals

Choose a specific goal before writing the actual email in order to get the most out of your email marketing strategy. Your email drip campaign goal can be:

      • Getting more subscribers to sign up.
      • Nurture existing subscribers to increase engagement and conversion potential
      • Cross-sell or upsell subscribers
      • Lower the cost of your paid ads by leveraging the organic reach
      • Make sales (lead conversion)

3rd Step: Setup your trigger

The campaign trigger is one of the deciding factors on whether or not a visitor converts to a subscriber. Whether it is a pop-up window or an inline box, keep these tips in mind when you structure your trigger:

      • Make sure the CTA button is big enough to “catch” the reader’s attention
      • Choose a color that will make your CTA button stand out
      • Keep the text length of your CTA button short and easy to understand
      • Write in a creative and informal tone
      • Create a sense of urgency by creating “limited” offers (e.g. free ebook today only)

4th Step: Create the actual emails

Now that you have created a trigger to kickstart the email drip campaign, its time to craft the content of the emails you will be sending.

In the Mailigen dashboard, click on Automation -> Automation Templates

how to create an email drip campaign step 1

Then select the trigger of your new automated campaign.

To illustrate how this works, we are creating a “Welcome email drip campaign” for new subscribers.

how to create an email drip campaign step 2

Next, you will be prompted to select your segmented list. After you do so, you will be presented with the following window:

how to create an email drip campaign step 3

From here onwards, things are pretty simple. Press on the “+” to add your first email and personalize it with Mailigen’s custom design options.

After creating your first email, it should look like this:

how to create an email drip campaign step 4

Continue adding emails to the sequence until your drip campaign is complete. Start with 3 or 4 emails to test how the method works.

What’s important to note, is that the content of your emails should be easy to read and follow a logical structure. Also, remember to include a strong call to action (CTA) that will lead your subscribers to the next step of their journey.

5th Step: Monitor your email drip campaign

If you have reached this point, you are pretty much set. But don’t get fooled by thinking that automated email campaigns don’t require regular monitoring.

This is probably the most important step of the process, as it will help you get a better overview of what works and what doesn’t.

Keep track of your data by checking Mailigen’s KPIs overview. This will help you understand how your email drip campaign performs, so you can optimize it as needed.

Start by making regular weekly checks on your KPIs such as open rate and click-through rate. Then make small tweaks until you find what works best.

Keep on reading, as we will give you several examples of successful email drip campaigns in the following chapters.

Email drip campaign examples

Here are the best examples from our “top-secret” stash, to help you understand the structure and goals of drip campaigns.

Welcome email drip campaign

The welcome email is the very first email that a new subscriber receives when he signs up to your list. These emails play an important role in the communication process as they set the tone for your entire email campaign.

If your welcome email does not relate to your segment and does not offer any sort of value, it is possible that readers will simply unsubscribe and end your digital relationship right there.

Therefore, and if you want your subscribers to eventually convert to paying customers, make sure that the first impression is going to be a good one.

Here is an example:

example of welcome email drip

Smartsheet, a collaborative and work management tool, uses drip campaigns to educate its users on how to use the product.

The email offers both educational material and useful resources as well as the opportunity to directly contact the team, taking any doubt out of the way and enabling users to confidently use the tool.

The language is informal but also not too relaxed, signifying a professional yet friendly attitude.

This type of email can be followed by:

      • More educational emails (case studies, how-to guides, tutorials)
      • Q&A of existing customers’ problems
      • A discount or other offer for a pairing/complementary product (freemium products, etc.)

Nurturing existing leads

Sending emails with the sole purpose of making sales will quickly turn your list into an empty wasteland. This is why you should consider lead nurturing campaigns.

These are campaigns where selling takes a backseat and engagement becomes the primary goal.

After all, no one likes to be sold to, but everybody like to be heard.

According to research by Demand Gen Report, nurtured leads are 20% more likely to buy your product.

A better way to describe these types of campaigns is by calling them “empathetic”. Start by identifying with your audience’s problem and ask them many questions. That in and of itself can be a great first email in such a campaign.

With campaigns like these, selling can wait. Instead, it may be a great opportunity to offer free alternatives, such as a 15-minute phone consultation, a free trial of your software or a significant discount.

Here’s an example of a nurturing email drip campaign:

Email 1: The question

The first email of this sequence has the intention of engaging customers.

As you can see, in just a few words, the writer establishes authority (One of them brought in over hundreds of thousands in revenue) and involves his readers in the learning process.

The email continues by offering three examples of sales pages.

Email 2: The answer

The following day, the second email of the drip campaign goes out. In this email, the writer wants to show his readers that he reads their answers and that he cares about their opinion. This is an essential trait of successful communication. But the email doesn’t stop there.

The author continues by providing educational value to further elevate his position as an expert (I can show you how we did this).

Email 3: Using empathy

In the third email, the author goes far and beyond to identify with his readers’ problems. The email starts by skillfully showcasing the problems of his students.

The examples above are not random.

Each and every example comes from a person that fits the buyer persona perfectly, making the reader feel an even stronger connection through common challenges.

The author continues his email by showing empathy towards his readers by recognizing their problem.

I’ve faced each one of these challenges” and here is the solution I can offer you.

The email ends with the promotion of the author’s latest product, which promises to solve the reader’s specific problem.

Email 4: The follow-up

If you thought that this drip campaign ends here, you could have been right. But remember that sometimes people simply forget to read your emails, which is why it may be a smart idea to send them a reminder.

Don’t forget to add strong calls to action in your emails to make more readers take immediate action.

Promotion sequence

Promotion sequences are what we can refer to as unapologetically “salesy” emails. There is no specific template to follow when it comes to these types of emails. Some people will promote a holiday sale or a black Friday discount for many days in a row, while others will do it only for a weekend.

Some emails will tap into your emotions increasing scarcity (e.g. offer ends tonight) while others will simply inform you about their sale.

A good way to not annoy your readers but still get your message through is to end each email with your offer and let your readers figure it out for themselves.

Here’s an example of how this is done:

The above example is not the whole email, but simply the end of it.

The reason we are only showing the end of this email is because in this specific email drip campaign, the author is sending daily emails talking about his audience’s problems and challenges, ending each email in the exact same way – a quick link with a mention to his offer (which in this case is an early bird discount).

All emails of this drip campaign look similar and start with a “yes question”, such as:

      • Have you ever wondered how you can solve XYZ problem?
      • Are you sick and tired of XYZ?

Questions like these keep the subscribers engaged and invite them to keep reading until the solution (offer) is presented to them.

Upsell sequence

When you think of upselling, think of restaurants.

They have mastered the art of upselling with “would you like fries with that?” or “would you like an additional soda for $1”?

Asking users to make additional payments may seem like a difficult thing to do, especially since the customer just made a purchase, but as fast food chains have proven time and again, upselling works.

An email is a perfect opportunity to ask for the upsell. You most likely want to avoid mentioning additional products in your “thank you for your purchase” emails, but you can send campaigns to users on specific occasions to prompt upsells.

And to start a conversation of this kind, you need to write an email that taps into your readers’ emotions, offering a solution or additional opportunity to their existing challenge. It is a good idea to convince the reader about your intentions, which is not primarily to sell, but to help.

Here is an example of how you can do this:

harrys drip campaign

Harry’s has a long list of well-groomed men. And as every purchase requires an email address, the company can easily segment their list in categories of individuals that need different products.

In this case, the new subscriber has purchased new shaving razors.

After a “Thank you for your order” email, the company made sure to upsell relevant products to help the customer shave better.

The third email of a sequence like this could be a follow-up email with a small discount to these products to further lead the reader into taking action.

Cart abandonment sequence

You wrote awesome newsletters, offered abnormal discounts, and finally made your reader click on the all mighty “add to cart” button. Then, out of nowhere, the sale is canceled and you are left wondering what could have possibly gone wrong.

Don’t get too emotional about it. Shopping cart abandonment is more common than you think. Mark Macdonald, Shopify’s content manager points out that approximately 67.45% of shopping carts are ditched.

And with numbers like these, it is only a matter of time before it happens to you as well.

Therefore, it may be a good idea to create an email drip campaign that will re-engage and hopefully convert these leads into paying customers.

Here’s how you can do that:

Emails like these can often feel impersonal so make sure the customer knows you care about him.

A good way to do this is to send an email that includes the customer’s first name and an option for him to contact the company with further questions or concerns.

The above example is the first email of a three email sequence that simply reminds the subscriber that his order is still open and pending payment.

And this strategy is not limited to physical products. If you have a “freemium” payment structure on a digital product, you can also target visitors of the premium page, with some follow-up information that may help them with their final decision.

Renewal sequence

Whether a customer renewed his subscription or is close to the end of its existing plan, you can always utilize email drip campaigns to engage them during the renewal process.

For renewals that happen automatically, it may be a good idea to use an autoresponder that sends customers an email before their account is charged.

You can pack these emails with lots of valuable information, contact details for your support team, or invite users to visit pages where they can update their billing details.

These examples are the first of a series of emails that will be sent over a period of days to ensure that users are well informed before making their final decision.

Wrapping up

If you have made it this far, then it’s time to take action.

Whether you are a complete beginner or a seasoned email marketer, you now know how critical email drip campaigns are for your business. The whole process of developing and launching a drip campaign requires empathy, great writing skills and, of course, patience.

Email drip campaigns remind subscribers of your brand and enhance brand awareness. And what better way to remain relevant and important, than to constantly engage with your email list?

In this article we showed you:

      • What are email drip campaigns
      • Why they are important
      • When you should use them
      • How you can create your own
      • And 6 examples to inspire you

So what are you waiting for?

Now you have everything you need to start creating your own email drip campaigns.

So, go get ‘em and let us know, in the comment section below, how it works out for your business. Find out how you can use a CRM to track sales opportunities.

Email Drip Campaign – The ULTIMATE Guide [With 5 Examples]
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