Drip Campaigns: The Complete Guide to Marketing with Drip Emails

The primary goal of email marketing is to reach the right people at the right time — that’s where a drip campaign comes in. By crafting the perfect series of emails, you can entice your target audience to subscribe to your newsletter, refer a friend, take a survey, make a purchase, and more.

In this guide, we’ll dive deeper into what a drip campaign is, how to create one, and the many types of drip campaign emails that you can use to your advantage.


What is a Drip Campaign?

A drip campaign is a scheduled sequence of automated emails, often triggered by certain customer actions and behaviors. Drip campaigns give you the opportunity to engage your customers in an incredibly efficient and relevant way, serving several key marketing purposes:

  • Nurture leads. Most people aren’t ready to buy when you initially contact them. With a drip campaign, you can smoothly lead prospects through the entire customer journey from awareness to conversion.

  • Engage and retain customers. Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee that current customers will continue to purchase from you. That’s why it’s a good idea to use a drip campaign to keep them engaged with your brand. Providing a stream of emails with helpful information, recommendations, and offers makes it much more likely that you’ll retain customers.

Introduce yourself. A drip campaign can be a great way to introduce yourself to new customers — or inform existing customers about new products and services. Drip campaigns can be educational tools that intrigue your audience and entice them to explore your offerings further.

Download the Definitive Guide to Lead Nurturing


How to Build a Drip Campaign

A strategic drip campaign can do wonders for your organization. When creating one, keep the following best practices in mind.

Nail Down Your Goal

Ask yourself what you intend to gain from your drip campaign. Are you trying to close new leads? Keep old customers coming back? Gather some data to help you make informed decisions? It’s impossible to build an effective drip campaign unless you know exactly what you hope to accomplish.

Use a Marketing Automation Platform

One of the most effective ways to run a drip campaign is by using a marketing automation platform. Marketing automation software is designed to help you streamline your marketing and sales efforts. It can make it easier for you to generate more leads, close more deals, and meet your short- and long-term goals.

With a quality marketing automation platform, you’ll have no problem segmenting your customers, sending trigger-based emails, optimizing your campaigns, and, most importantly, improving the ROI of your marketing efforts.

Offer More Than a Sales Pitch

Remember that the goal of a drip campaign is to slowly but surely convince your customers to take certain actions. Drip campaigns are all about accomplishing goals gradually rather than in a single stroke. This means your emails should be more than sales pitches. Make sure they include useful information that can help your customers, and position yourself as a thought leader by sharing interesting content that they can relate to.

Practice Market Segmentation

Market segmentation involves dividing your customers into certain niches. It can help you create personalized campaigns that target the specific needs and motivations of your customers.

You can segment your market by demographics such as age, gender, location, and occupation. Or target customers based on behaviors such as making a purchase, creating an account on the website, or signing up for a free consultation. A marketing automation platform makes segmentation a breeze.

Determine Useful Triggers

Drip campaigns depend on triggers to achieve success. Triggers are particular actions that customers must take in order to receive an email. If a customer signs up to learn more about one of your services, for instance, you may want to send them emails to keep them interested. And if a customer puts an item in their shopping cart but abandons it, you may want to send emails to convince them to return to their cart and follow through with the purchase. Your emails can include special promotions like free shipping or 5% off if they order by a certain date. Messages may also highlight related products to further pique the customer’s interest.

Include Feel-Good Emails

You want your customers to feel good every time they open one of your emails, so keep things light and positive. Include content that will put a smile on their face and get them excited to hear from you again. Never make them feel bad for abandoning a shopping cart, unsubscribing from your blog, or not buying anything.

Determine Frequency

Think about how often you’d like to send emails. While there is no hard and fast rule on frequency, consider what would be appropriate for your goals and customers. If you’re unsure on frequency, do some testing to uncover the sweet spot for customer engagement.

Finalize Your Sequence

The sequence of your email campaign should align with your objectives. When it comes to how many emails you should send, the only limit is your customers’ patience and interest. The key is to send as many emails as you need to in order to get your message across without fatiguing your contacts.

Create Catchy Subject Lines

If your subject lines are weak, customers will be less likely to open your emails. To ensure your emails get read, keep your subject lines short, catchy, and personalized. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and ask yourself what would grab your attention.

Download the Definitive Guide to Engaging Email Marketing


Example Drip Campaign Emails

There are a number of different types of emails you may want to incorporate into your drip campaign. Here’s an overview of several of them.

Welcome Emails

Welcome emails are a great way to introduce your organization and its offerings. You’ll want to send out a series of welcome emails that highlight your company’s strengths and educate your customers about what they can expect from your brand. These emails may include client testimonials or case studies that showcase your value. They may also offer a free trial, a discount, or a collection of your most popular blog posts.

Retargeting Emails

Retargeting is one of the best ways to turn a lead into a customer. You can use this strategy to reach certain customers based on their online actions. For example, if a customer reads your blog without leaving a comment or puts an item into his shopping cart without making a purchase, you may want to retarget them. Retargeting emails might encourage customers to share their feedback on your post or offer them a discount so they’ll move forward with their purchase.

Post-Purchase Emails

It costs six times more to attract a new customer than it does to retain a current one.  If you want a customer to remain loyal to your organization and continue to purchase from you, post-purchase emails are essential.

Post-purchase emails show that you appreciate your customers’ business and help you create brand loyalty, a must in today’s increasingly competitive marketplace. Your post-purchase emails can invite your customers to join your frequent buyer program, feature similar products that they may enjoy, and provide useful tips that will help them make the most of their purchases.


With newsletters, you can keep your customers engaged and ensure your brand is never far from their mind. You can send newsletters to both current and prospective customers, but make sure your messages make sense for the audience you’re targeting. Newsletters sent to current customers can include information on your frequent buyer program or the latest blog posts to check out. For prospective customers, newsletters may incorporate interesting facts about your business, testimonials, and useful information related to your offerings.

Recommendation Emails

Recommendation emails are important if you’d like to get your customers in the habit of coming back, so it’s no surprise that Spotify, Amazon, and other well-known brands use them to their advantage. Let’s say your organization sells cleaning products — if you know a customer already bought an all-purpose cleaning spray, why not send them a recommendation email with special cloths they can use to apply the cleaner?

By recommending certain products or services to your customers based on their previous buying behavior, you can support customer retention, increase revenue, and introduce customers to offerings that they may find beneficial. Over time, this strengthens your brand’s overall value to your customers, as you are able anticipate their interests and needs.


Alerts and reminders can help you increase customer engagement. Your customers likely lead busy lives, so alerts may be just what they need to re-engage with you. If your business specializes in oil changes, for example, you may want to send your customers reminders every few months informing them that they’re due for an oil change.

In the event you sell a subscription-based product or service, it’s a good idea to send your customers alerts whenever it’s time for them to renew their subscription. A quick message that gives them the option to renew is a great way to boost retention.


Create Winning Drip Campaigns with the Right Platform

A marketing automation platform allows you to easily create and run drip campaigns without having to overcommit your time and resources. Marketo Engage is a powerful marketing automation solution that is just what you need to jump on the drip campaign bandwagon and meet — or even exceed — your goals.

You can use Marketo Engage to get a 360-degree view of each customer across all channels, segment customers based on individual behaviors and preferences, and then use this data in personalized emails that are automatically triggered and sent at the perfect time.

Marketo Engage makes it easy to optimize all your marketing campaigns and measure success. Interested? Take an interactive tour of Marketo Engage today.


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