Advanced Email Marketing Techniques, Part 6: Email Drip Campaigns

November 20, 2020

Author: Angela Noble

Author: Angela Noble

Email marketing is the most important digital marketing channel, with an ROI of $42 for every $1 spent according to a 2019 report from Data & Marketing Association

Are you ready to start using more advanced features and strategies in your email marketing efforts? Let us show you our top tips on how you can start increasing engagement and getting more conversions.

In this series of Advanced Email Marketing Techniques, we’ll cover the following:

Please let us know if you’d like to see any other topics covered in future series.

Email Drip Campaigns

Marketing is all about delivering the right information and the right time to the right person. Email drip campaigns, also called drip marketing, lifecycle emails, autoresponders, and marketing automation do just that. Essentially, these are a series of pre-made emails that send out one by one over a predetermined time period. Sometimes, they adjust due to user action during the journey.

Email drip campaigns are similar to the other advanced email marketing techniques we’ve outlined in the other parts of this series. They are just another type of automation, meaning you write, design, and set them up once, and they deliver on-going results.

The goal of drip campaigns is to keep users engaged. They could be used to nurture leads, welcome or on-board new subscribers or customers, remind customers about renewals, and much more.

Here’s a great example of a welcome and on-boarding series we were sent from a service we signed up for recently.

On-Boarding Email Drip Campaign

This is a series with 11 parts over the course of one month. I’ve either never seen one this long, or maybe I’ve just unsubscribed prior to receiving all the messages! 

This particular campaign offered value, delighted with engaging branded messaging, and was a good fit for our and our clients’ needs. We stayed engaged throughout the month, ended up completing almost every conversion objective, and are still engaged partners with this company.

Here’s the series:

Email 1: Day 1 – Welcome

I received this welcome email (along with a personal message from the founder) after signing up to become an agency partner with Termageddon.  

This introduced their space mission branded content and gamified the process to complete set up. This was a great way to encourage us to start using and ultimately selling their product to our clients.


Email 2: Day 2 – Setup Step 1

The next day, we received another email reiterating the value proposition. It also explained the first step in more detail.

Email 3: Day 4 – Social Proof

Since we did not complete the first step, in two days we received an email with some social proof to help convince us to get started. This included testimonials from their other customers to build trust.

Email 4: Day 5 – Setup Step 2

They now introduce a different conversion objective with a special offer to further entice action.

Email 5: Day 8 – Special Offer

After a few days of inaction on our part, we’re sent a reminder about the special offer. The email included a countdown for 7 days.

Email 6: Day 11 – Setup Step 3

Now nearly two weeks in, they introduce another call to action for us. By taking a quiz, we can earn a badge to put on our website and be seen as an agency partner.

Email 7: Day 14 – Special Offer Last Chance

Now since we still have not converted, they send us a second reminder to complete the setup process.

Email 8: Day 15 – Goal Completion, Setup Step 4

Finally, we completed setup and are congratulated with a fun email and a final objective.

Email 9: Day 18 – Setup Step 4 Reminder 1 with Social Proof

After 3 days of inaction on our part, we’re sent a reminder to complete the final step. This message uses a similar strategy to Email 3 with the inclusion of social proof in the way of reviews from other agency owners similar to us.

Email 10: Day 22 – Setup Step 4, Reminder 2

Since we still have not completed the objective, we’re sent a second reminder.

Email 11: Day 29 – Setup Step 4, Last Chance Reminder

Finally, we’re sent a last chance reminder to complete the last step. We ended up writing our own email to send out to our clients rather than using theirs, but this leaves us kicking ourselves for not getting the free t-shirt!

There are quite a few takeaways to note from this particular example. Though it was a long drip series, they had varied and engaging messaging along the way. Plus, it was spread out during a one month period. 

A drip series is something you only have to write, design, and set up one time. With that in mind, it’s best to invest extra time in making it perfect. I’d say Termageddon went above and beyond with this effort. And it’s paid off – we’ve probably sold their product to 10 or 20 of our clients!

They used engaging creative and messaging, drove home their value proposition at each turn, and made it easy to understand the onboarding process through a simple step-by-step process. They also used engaging functionality in the email like the countdown timer. You can’t see it in these screenshots, but it’s dynamic and counts down from the current date and time. 

How To Set Up An Email Drip Campaign 

Now that you’ve seen an example of a drip campaign in action, let’s dive into how to set up an email drip campaign. Here are 5 steps to set up and manage your drip campaign (adapted from MailChimp’s Drip Campaign guide). 

  1. Identify your goal. Are you trying to re-engage customers, nurture leads, complete the sales process, educate, gather feedback or reviews, or something else?
  2. Choose your trigger. What specific action, date, or data point will your drip campaign be based on?
  3. Identify your audience. Choose a segment of your subscriber list such as new subscribers, those who have just made a purchase, etc.
  4. Craft your message for each email. Your drip campaign email content should be succinct and on-brand. Remember, you only have to write these once and they will serve you for a long time, so invest some time here.
  5. Measure and adjust based on performance. Monitor how your various emails are working, their click rates and conversion rates, and be prepared to make tweaks based on what you learn. Keep in mind the most important metrics to look at will be based on the type of email you send, its audience, and your specific goals.
  6. Maintain your drip emails. The copy and creative you use may go out of date as your offerings evolve. Be sure to review each message occasionally and adjust as necessary.

An email drip campaign is just one more example of how putting in a little work now can give you an automated marketing system that is continually working for your business.

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