A 5-minute guide to drip campaign marketing


Modern consumer expectations have soared to new heights. The rapid evolution of the internet and the information age have led to a more knowledgeable society. Consumers know exactly what they want and how they want it, but sometimes, they need a gentle nudge. This trend has given rise to the concept of “lead nurturing” through various digital channels.

One particular avenue that has stood the test of time is email marketing. Just when many thought it was fading away, email marketing is a stronger channel than ever. It’s projected that by 2026, there will be a staggering 4.73 billion email users worldwide.

Email marketing will continue to be a part of marketing strategy for a long time because the ROI on it is extremely high. A 2020 study from Litmus indicates that email marketing drives whopping $36 for every $1 spent.

One of the best ways to reach consumers by email is through a drip campaign. An email drip campaign is a direct line to potential customers who are already interested in what you offer. With modern email techniques, you can personalize and automate messages, ensuring you connect at the right moments. This can be a game-changer in keeping your audience engaged, well-informed, and ready to take action. 

So, if you aim for your business to meet customers where they are, convert more first-time sales, and increase customer lifetime value, exploring email drip campaigns is a strategic move worth considering.

What is a drip campaign?

A drip campaign is a form of digital marketing where relevant information is “dripped” to sales leads over a period of time using a marketing automation platform. These messages typically take the form of email, SMS, or push notifications and are based on either a user action or a predefined time interval.

For any given action, a marketer can choose the number of emails, type, and rate at which to send them. These emails can also be personalized with data, such as a prospect’s name or specific references to actions they took or products they’ve shown interest in.

A drip campaign is automation mixed with prewritten messages. Important engagement points are mapped in the marketing automation system, and information is generally sent on a preset schedule in response to a specific action or strategic plan.

Drip actions

Some examples of important actions a consumer might take to trigger a drip campaign include:

  • Purchasing a product or placing an order
  • Subscribing to a newsletter
  • Shopping cart abandonment
  • Not placing an order for a period of time
  • Engaging with customer service
  • Attending a store event
  • Registering for a webinar
  • Downloading a report or white paper
  • Requesting a demo

Anything you can think of where automation easily gets the message across should be suitable for another drip message. There is a ton of opportunity to get creative with your drip campaigns — you don’t need to stick to just the flows you see listed here. Tailor them to your specific product offering, content, and audience.

How are drip campaigns used?

Person looking through binoularsDrip campaigns help you better connect with the right person at the right moment. They are designed for hyper-targeted messaging without manual labor. They accompany every prospect through the sales pipeline and assist them when any snags or challenges occur. The best email drip campaign software will allow you to add in all of these types of flows.

Important dates

Date-based automations help a brand communicate with an audience on days that matter to them. This goes beyond just a birthday. You can also initiate a drip campaign for things like:

  • Subscription renewal
  • Reordering prompts
  • Anniversary of first purchase
  • Major holidays

Anything that can further brand value for the consumer can be added to a timely drip campaign.

User behavior

Some of the most effective drip campaigns are those triggered by a user’s behavior. This includes actions they do or do not take. Here are some examples of the best email drip campaigns based on user behavior:

Welcome email

When a new person joins the audience, use a welcome drip to push them toward a first purchase, share important brand and product information, and provide tips for first-time users. Give new subscribers a solid introduction to your brand and products, while keeping them posted on upcoming events, sales, and other relevant activities.

First order

After someone makes an initial purchase, thank them for their business and confirm order details. Reinforce they made a good decision, and provide some content in case they want more information on product care/features. After a period of time, depending on your product cycle, suggest complementary products for future purchases.

You can also encourage platform adoption right after purchase by highlighting product features and getting people excited about the service they’ve just purchased.


This is a great automated email to boost sales. Recommendation messages can be sent with an order confirmation or shipping details. This is an especially good flow to include dynamic content, so you can

Customer service

Emails that follow up after a customer service or sales inquiry are a productive way to keep your audience engaged. This creates an opportunity to further educate and onboard prospects.

Lead nurture

Drip campaigns are particularly well suited for nurturing active interest in prospects. If someone registers for a webinar or downloads a white paper, this is a cue to send a lead nurture drip email that keeps the conversation flowing.

Abandoned shopping cart

Anytime a prospect fills a shopping cart and then moves away from the page, you want to send them a targeted series of reminders based on the items in their cart. You can encourage people to reassess the purchase or send them offers on similar items.

There are two types of drip campaigns you can use for this — one if they made it all the way to checkout, and the other if they’ve just added items to the cart but haven’t made it to the checkout step yet.

Abandoned browse

Whenever a prospect browses a specific product on your site, you can also send them a series of reminders to bring the product back to the top of mind and recommend similar products. You can take a drip campaign like this even further by adding on branches if a customer browses a product category or even a content piece like a blog post.


Email Drip Campaign Examples

When it comes to the method and style of drip campaigns, there are several archetypes to choose from. Here are some email drip campaign examples:


This type of message keeps leads engaged throughout the sales process.


This includes any relevant data for prospects to help them make a more informed purchasing decision.


These are designed to win back the interest of cold leads.


Messages for new clients (or internally) to move readers through a training program.


Target a competitor’s customers with a better offer or the benefits of switching to your product.


Entice prospects with time-sensitive promotions and special pricing offers.

Integration Based

Make the most of your integrations for rewards, service, and more by creating your own targeted drip campaigns instead of using the generic ones offered in platform. 

List Cleaning

Remove unengaged prospects from your list for better deliverability and to avoid messaging people who may not want to hear from you.

Setting up a drip campaign

Drip campaigns are an automated workhorse that helps a business maintain the marketing, nurturing, and selling that’s essential to success. Setting up drip marketing is not as difficult as one might think. Follow these simple steps:

  1. Choose what will trigger the campaign. Is it a specific date or action?
  2. Identify your audience. Information must be targeted. Where in the pipeline are they?
  3. Tailor your messages. Drip emails don’t need to be long, but they should always be on-brand. Add personalization to increase conversions.
  4. Measure your success and adjust based on performance. Choose metrics to measure based on the email type, audience, and other factors. Clickthrough rates and conversion rates can be great metrics to measure the success of your touchpoints, depending on the goal of the campaign.
  5. Add touc hpoints as the metrics determine — if the end of a flow like an abandoned cart still has very high engagement rates compared to the standard for your industry, consider adding additional emails to the drip.
  6. Save all copy. These messages can be repurposed down the road.

Why are drip campaigns important?

Question mark on a cubeAccording to the GE shopper research study in 2021, 81% of shoppers conduct research online before making a purchase of a product or service. A drip campaign can provide targeted content to supplement their research before purchase. 

Drip campaigns are important because they support a variety of business pursuits. Benefits from this style of digital marketing include:

  • Nurture leads
  • Boost sales
  • Provide relevant and timely information
  • Targeted and custom messaging
  • Increase engagement
  • Bolster brand trust
  • Automate manual actions

Drip campaigns are also one of the easiest forms of digital marketing to track and analyze. All sorts of metrics and user behavior data can be collected to give a brand deeper insight into exactly what people want to see and read.

Best practices for your drip email marketing

When creating a drip campaign, there are a few things to remember.

Design & Content

Follow effective design and content principles to ensure your drip campaign templates have a clear content hierarchy, a single and visible call to action, and eye-catching imagery. When someone opens an email, you only have a few seconds to catch their attention with visual elements and enticing content. Using imagery with people & products in it tends to perform well. Also, make sure not to have too many calls to action in one email — if you have multiple things you want to communicate to your audience, split these into multiple drip touchpoints.

Adjust Preferences

Make it easy for prospects to express their preferences regarding things like the frequency of messages, the type of content, and how they would like to receive it. Never push messages on anyone. That negates the point.

Comply with Local Regulations

Make sure your drip messaging complies with CAN-SPAM in the United States and GDPR in Europe. Research local regulations in your area if you have prospects outside of the US and Europe. Beyond possibly incurring fines, not complying with these regulations can make your drip campaigns much less effective, as the messages could fail to reach the inbox at all. (Psst…learn all about email deliverability by watching this webinar

Targeted campaigns

Always tailor your message to a specific audience in mind. The more targeted your marketing, the more relevant the email will seem to the very person reading it. Consider the average age, gender, occupation, and interests of your audience when crafting content and design. For example, if you know your target audience has an older average age, make sure your text in emails is large and clearly readable to make sure your content lands with your audience.

Use Personalization

If you are collecting information like first name & products purchased, using this information in dynamic email content can increase conversion rates and engagement with the brand.

Test everything

Always monitor and analyze every drip campaign you send. This is how you will test the effectiveness and which aspects of the campaign are working, or what needs to be changed. Review key performance indicators (KPIs), campaign goals, and important metrics like open and bounce rates. Adjust your drip campaigns as needed based on these metrics. Pay special attention to the types of content your audience seems to engage with the most — educational content, promotions, sales, and product launches.

Run A/B tests to find out specifics surrounding what types of messaging, call to actions, offers, and message timing will result in the most engagement and conversions.

Use your tools

Marketing automation tools typically integrate with other platforms that will make your life easier. Consider platforms that facilitate drip marketing, like social media management, CRMs, and analytics. Other features to look for in a marketing automation tool include dashboards and reporting, A/B and multivariate testing, and dynamic list segmentation.

What have we learned?

Drip campaigns are a vital part of digital marketing. The most popular medium is email. This type of personalized messaging provides timely and relevant information to people, just when they need it. Not only does it leverage sales, it stimulates brand trust, and brings your customers closer to you. The best drip campaign software is one that allows you to reach your customers at the right time, with targeted content.

Looking for a marketing automation tool? Choose one that shares a platform with your CRM to get the most value from both applications. Check out Insightly Marketing and Insightly CRM today.