Email Drip Campaigns: 8 Best Practices That Will Turn Subscribers Into Buyers (With Examples)

minute/s reading time

If you've ever been on the receiving end of a marketing email campaign, you know how annoying it can be to receive a barrage of messages from a company trying to sell you something. But what if those emails were actually helpful and relevant to your interests? That's the idea behind email drip campaigns.

Rather than sending out a mass email blast to everyone on their mailing list, companies using drip campaigns send out a series of targeted emails over a period of time. They can be used to nurture leads, build relationships, and close sales. And they're incredibly effective:  as per Data & Marketing Association, average ROI of email marketing is 3,800%, or $38 for every $1 invested.

What is an Email Drip Campaign and How Does it Work?

Simply put, an email drip campaign is a series of automated emails that are sent to a subscriber over a period of time. For example, a clothing company might send out an email with style tips for dressing for fall weather, a preview of their new fall collection, and a coupon code for free shipping.

By spreading out their messages and tailoring them to the individual recipient, companies using drip campaigns hope to create a more personal relationship with their customers - and boost sales in the process.

However, there are a number of different ways to use drip campaigns, and not all of them are focused on sales. In this article, we'll take a look at some of the drip campaign best practices for creating successful campaigns. We'll also provide some examples of effective campaigns that you can use as inspiration for your own work.

So whether you're looking to increase sales and engagement or build relationships with your subscribers, read on to learn everything you need about drip campaign best practices. (Related: Top 6 Email Marketing Hacks That Will Boost Conversions & Engagement)

My 8 Drip Campaign Best Practices

The success of your email drip campaign depends on more than just the quality of your content. To ensure your messages are being read and acted upon, you should keep a few best practices in mind. Here are some drip campaign best practices to keep in mind when creating an email drip campaign:

1. Optimize Delivery Time Based on User Activity

I’m going to start off with my favorite one... the one that has exceedingly moved the needle. When you send your emails can be just as important as what you say in them. If you send your emails at the wrong time, they're likely to get lost in the subscribers' inboxes or even sent straight to the trash.

As a starting point, send your emails when you know your audience is engaged. Perhaps it is in the morning when they start their work day. Perhaps it is late in the evening when they are scrolling through their phone before bed. You have to use your intuition of the audience or possibly test different times through the day to see what gets higher open rates!

Deeper than that... Send emails based on activity the user takes. Consider a user that visits your website for any piece of content and use that as a trigger to send them the next email in the sequence in a couple of minutes. At times they are visiting your site, they are thinking about your business and aware of who you are. Serving them a drip campaign driving towards conversion will have a high success rate.

This method using a user action to trigger a step in the drip campaign has brought me a ton of $$$.

2. Define the Most Applicable Audience 

It all starts with an audience. Who do you want to receive the drip campaign? Oftentimes business owners will use ‘all leads’ as the recipients of the drip campaign, but are all leads really going to find value from the campaign and it’s offer.  

A better solution is only dripping to leads that have indicated a certain qualification property. For example as a coach/agency/consultant you might ask on an opt-in form, ‘what is your biggest problem? - A B C D’ and only serve the drip campaign to those that answer ‘B’.

Or as a small business you might ask ‘how soon do you need our solution?’ (non exact words of course) and only drip to lead that answer ‘in the next 3 weeks’. Not only does this keep unqualified leads out of your marketing funnel, but it also keeps deliverability high as the unqualified leads are likely to flag your drip campaigns as ‘spam’.

3. Define an Offer and Focus on it

A low level marketer mistake is simply dripping ‘whatever comes to mind’. Maybe multiple offers. Maybe random content. Instead of doing that, be systematic with. Define specifically what you want to sell to your leads from the drip campaign and focus every email on leading back to that offer.

Not only does it give you a guide for your emails, but it also give you a measurable objective ala ‘how many leads on this list bought this specific product/service’

4. Keep Your Emails Short and to the Point

Long emails can be overwhelming, and subscribers are likely to lose interest before they even get to the end. Instead, keep your emails short and to the point so that subscribers can easily digest the information.

Remember the power of ONE. One email should = one point. Simple wins! For instance, if you're sending a drip campaign about a new product launch, for example, each email should focus on one key aspect of the product. This could be anything from its features and benefits to how it can be used in everyday life.

5. Start with a Strong Subject Line

The subject line of your email is important because it's the first thing subscribers will see. You want to make sure it's catchy and persuasive so they'll open your email. Idioms, puns, and emojis can all be used to great effect in email subject lines.

For example, "Don't miss out!" or "Time is running out!" are both strong subject lines that will grab attention. You can also use emojis to add a bit of fun or urgency to your subject line. Just be careful not to overdo it! Too many emojis in your subject line can be off-putting and make your email seem unprofessional.

The key is to find the right balance for your audience and your brand. Here's a superb example of a hook from Sephora:

6. Use a Mix of Text and Images

Too much text can make your emails seem boring, while too many images can make them seem overwhelming. The best way to strike a balance is to use a mix of text and images in your email drip campaigns.

For example, you could start off with a short paragraph of text introducing the product, followed by an image of the product itself. Then, you could include another paragraph of text explaining some of the key features and benefits.

7. Personalize Your Emails

Personalized emails can capture attention and get open rates up! At a simple level, you can use your subscriber's name in the subject line or body of the email, or segment your list so that you only send relevant information to each subscriber.

On a deeper level, personalizing emails based around important life events such as a birthday, anniversary, or even purchase of a home (that is after all public record), can drive even higher results.  

8. Use a Call-to-Action

Every email in your drip campaign should have a call-to-action (CTA) so that subscribers know what you want them to do next. For example, if you're promoting a new product, your CTA could be to click through to the product page to learn more.

Your CTA should also be clear and concise, and it should be easy for subscribers to find. The best place to put your CTA is usually at the end of the email, but you could also include it in the subject line or in a prominent position in the body of the email.

Examples of Successful Email Drip Campaigns and What You can Learn from Them

Email drip campaigns can be a great way to nurture leads, build relationships, and close sales. But what makes a successful campaign? And how can you create one that achieves your goals? To help answer these questions, let's take a look at three examples of successful email drip campaigns.

The first example comes from HubSpot, which used email drips to increase leads by 7%. The key to their success was relevance: each email in the drip campaign was carefully tailored to the recipient's stage in the buyer's journey. By providing relevant information at each step of the journey, they were able to keep leads engaged and move them closer to conversion.

The second example comes from Moz, which used email drips to increase blog subscribers by 220%. Their secret? Timing. They sent their emails at strategic times - for example when someone had just subscribed to their blog - in order to maximize engagement.

Finally, we have an example from Groove HQ, which used email drips to increase trial sign-ups by 36%. What made their campaign successful was its focus on value. Each email in the drip contained valuable content that educated recipients on the benefits of using Groove HQ. By the end of the campaign, recipients were convinced that signing up for a free trial was worth their time.

These are just three examples of successful email drip campaigns. But what they all have in common is a focus on providing value to the recipient. So if you're looking to create a winning campaign of your own, remember that it's all about giving your audience what they want.

Final Thoughts

Email drip campaigns are one of the most successful strategies to convert subscribers into buyers. Using the best practices indicated in this article, you can design a campaign that will raise your sales and convert more of your subscribers into customers. Start applying these ideas and see how they impact your bottom line.

About the Author

I have been in the 'online business' space since 2009 when I started an eCommerce business selling motorcycle parts (sold in 2012). Since then I have owned and operated several successful online business (and had a fair share of failures), along with owning offline home services businesses. Currently my focus is online businesses that are profitable with paid traffic. As a 'self employed individual' I do not use Linkedin, but you can connect with my on my personal instagram and youtube which largely revolve around my mountain biking passion!