The Ultimate Guide to Drip Campaigns (22+ Tips and Tools)

Last Updated on January 19, 2022 by Alex Birkett

All of us at [company name] want to take a moment to express our gratitude to you as a loyal customer. As a token of this appreciation, we’d like to offer you something completely free and of great value…

If you receive an email like this, there are good chances that the brand is targeting you using a drip campaign.

Although, a typical email isn’t so formally worded (for a good reason).

Anyhow, the crux of the matter is that unless you engage your target audience with these occasional emails, they’ll probably forget about your existence – unless you’re selling something completely exclusive.

Even when it comes to first-time visitors, not all will convert on their first visit. Some of them might need to be reminded or presented with a special offer in order to take action.

Drip email marketing is a great way to keep you top of mind with your subscribers while they are busy living their lives.

I thought it would be beneficial to have a complete guide on drip campaigns, including sub-topics like:

  • What exactly is a drip campaign?
  • How to set up a drip campaign?
  • Best drip campaign practices.
  • Some remarkable drip campaign examples.
  • Best drip campaign tools.

Let’s get started!

What is a Drip Campaign?

Drip marketing is a carefully crafted sequence of emails automatically sent to the recipient over a period of time, triggered by the recipients’ actions.

The best way to think about it, if you’re already familiar with email marketing campaigns, is an automation sequence. Each email in the campaign serves as a “step” leading up to a specific action someone takes that brings value to your business.

Drip campaigns target an audience based on their behavior, interests, and interaction with your website.

Email drip campaigns help you with:

  • Engaging your customers.
  • Taking customers down the sales cycle and conversion funnel automatically.
  • Eliminating the need for cold-calling and making marketing more personalized.
  • Lead nurturing.
  • Addressing customer pain points.
  • Onboarding new customers.
  • Increasing brand awareness.

The theory behind the drip campaign is that tiny pieces of information lead your customer through a series of activities that may include purchasing your product and recommending it to friends and family.

For example, every time you follow up with a potential customer who hasn’t purchased yet, you can send them a series of emails encouraging them to buy.

Or, when someone signs up for your email list, they are added to the drip campaign so that you can send them a welcome email. Another example could be putting them in the drip campaign at the three months mark so that you can congratulate them on reaching that point in your email list.

Here’s a real-life example of a drip email sequence:

I used Kajabi’s free trial for a while, mainly to review the tool for my roundup of the best online course platforms. For the uninitiated, it’s a well-known business platform to create and scale your online courses.

And when I stopped using the platform, they started a win-back drip campaign.

The first email was just a reminder of their free trial.

When they realized one generic email wouldn’t be enough, they sent a series of emails with attractive offers for the next couple of weeks.

They sent a couple of more emails advertising their three-month offer and finally ended the drip campaign with this countdown email.

Their drip email approach leans towards dangling an attractive incentive in front of their customers.

And they do it continuously – almost like applying a steady stream of the same message to your target audience over time.

The goal is to keep that stream flowing and growing, inch by inch like water constantly dripping into a bucket, until your potential customer becomes your satisfied customer.

How to Create a Drip Campaign

As email marketing becomes more mature, more sophisticated, and more segmented – marketers realize that they can create drip email campaigns that offer value only to select users via email instead of blasting everyone with the same message.

This is not to say that email blasts are entirely ineffective. They also have their advantage, as we discussed in the previous guide on how to send an email blast.

On the other hand, Drip campaigns are an advanced approach and facilitate personalization.

Follow these quick steps to create and manage your drip campaign.

1. Select the Right Drip Campaign Software.

To build an effective drip campaign, you have to have the right tools.

Here are the top factors to consider when looking at drip campaign software:

  • Automation workflows.
  • Ease of workflow setup (including triggers and conditions).
  • Intuitive email builder.
  • Pre-built templates.
  • Advanced list segmentation features.
  • The ability to evaluate your campaign’s progress.

Based on these factors, my top picks would be Sendinblue, ConvertKit, ActiveCampaign, and HubSpot.

2. What is Your End Goal?

Drip campaigns are composed of several emails to be sent over a period of time. The thing about drip is that you don’t want to clutter your subscribers’ inbox, so this is why it’s essential to have a specific purpose for running your campaign in the first place.

What’s the goal you’re trying to accomplish? I’m talking about customer loyalty, referrals, repeat sales, etc.

Your end goal can be:

  • Increasing product awareness.
  • Welcoming new subscribers/customers.
  • Gathering customer feedback.
  • Cross-selling and upselling.
  • Retaining previous customers or converting new customers.
  • Stopping cart abandonment.

Take this email, for instance:

Here Namecheap intends to retain their previous customers or convert a lead into a paying customer.

You want to make sure your audience takes some specific actions. And to do that, you’re going to need to drive your audience in that particular direction.

3. Identify Your Audience.

Knowing who you’re talking to before designing your drip campaign and creating your first email is essential.

At its core, drip campaigns are built on a foundation of personalized content delivered based on an individual’s behaviors, demographics, and history.

But there is more to it than that; you need to know what your prospects want and how they want it. Until you can plug into their communication style and mindset, you won’t be able to meet them at their point of interest: during the right moment in their decision-making process when they are ready to take action on your service or product.

You’ll have to consider two things right before you get started:

  • You know what your audience needs (Do some research about their concerns, desires, etc.)
  • Ask yourself, who do you want to be your target audience? Your existing customers? Or maybe people who have made an inquiry previously but not requested any other information from your company. And get to the root of what characteristics define their persona.

4. Segment Your Email List and Write a Personalized Message.

It was a hot summer day. I had just finished lunch and was on my way to meet the rest of the team for some water balloon badminton. *Anything to ward off the heat*

I received a notification on my phone that there was an email.

I look at my phone, scroll down, and see an email advertising cashmere sweaters.

Cashmere sweaters? In this scorching weather?

Such a goof-up is inevitable if you don’t segment your email list.

If you can’t segment your email list properly, you’re going to have a hard time finding success. And you’re going to want different segments because your subscribers’ needs will be different across multiple industries and demographics.

Let’s take another scenario.

You get hundreds of subscribers, and you have to reply with “Thanks for signing up!” or “Welcome to Our Newsletter” over and over again.

Before you know it, people are complaining your responses are robotic, and you aren’t taking into account their needs.

If there was one thing that has become clear to me, it’s that there is no such thing as a generic subscriber. Every reader has a different background, mindset, wants, and needs.

Segmenting allows you to deliver more targeted and personalized drip campaign messages, leading to lower unsubscribe rates, higher engagement, and better open rates.

You can create segments based on:

  • Where do your leads and customers come from?
  • Where have they been in your sales funnel? Their location?
  • What content did they open last? What are their past purchases?
  • Geolocation and weather-based patterns.
  • Their demographics, including age, gender, education, nationality, ethnicity, or religion, to name a few.

Segmenting your email list can seem challenging. But with stellar email marketing service providers like Sendinblue, you can segment your customer database in multiple ways — meaning you can better target and personalize the emails you send them.

It lets you add triggers and conditions, both custom and pre-defined.

5. Choose Your Trigger.

Triggering a drip campaign involves setting up events that will trigger an automatic email response.

Email triggers are rules you set in your email marketing software to send specific messages based on certain conditions automatically.

These can be used in many ways.

For instance, a ‘Welcome Email’ that you send after someone subscribes, a template for an order confirmation email, or an autoresponder sequence when someone unsubscribes from your list. Or trigger a series of emails containing coupons to compel a customer who abandoned your cart.

There are usually three types of trigger-based emails:

  • Behavior-based triggers – Trigger emails based on user actions or past behavior. For example, cart abandonment, email opt-in, buying patterns, how they interact with your site, and more.
  • Demographic-based triggers – Trigger automated emails based on your audience’s location, birthdays, device type, gender, and more.
  • Time-based triggers – Have you ever wanted your emails to be sent at a particular time of the day? Maybe you want to send a weekly update to your customers but not every week, or a weekly newsletter that’s only sent once every month (you get the idea).

Here are some of the most popular types of drip campaigns (triggered emails) that companies send:

Luckily, most email marketing companies offer pre-built workflow templates based on different triggers.

Here’s an example of all the workflow templates you get with Sendinblue:

The best part is that trigger-based workflows are categorized based on different end goals. You can also set up a re-engagement email workflow, which includes sending a sequence over time to customers who engaged with your brand but became inactive.

6. Add Conditions.

Adding conditions to workflows help you make the campaign more targeted, allowing you to send different emails to recipients, depending on their actions in previous messages.

Conditions allow you to control the execution of your workflow.

For example, if you want to send a reminder email after someone signs up for your email list, you can set up a condition so that only people who recently signed up are eligible to receive the email.

You can also create a more intricate workflow using the if-this-then-that conditions.

Sendinblue is my top pick when setting up a drip campaign. It’s especially conducive for drip campaigns with multiple touchpoints since it lets you add as many additional conditions as necessary simply by clicking the + button.

7. Determine Timing And Number of Touchpoints.

The path of receiving a customer’s email, routing it through your system, and sending them the right content at the right time can have many different touchpoints.

The touchpoints are the steps along the way, and each one should be factored into a customized experience.

For instance, under the “Prepare for Launch” stage, a new campaign can consist of 4 emails. One email opt-in, one follow-up, a second follow-up, and a final confirmation.

You can have anything between 4-10 emails in your workflow based on the starting point and the end goal.

However, make sure they’re spaced at appropriate intervals.

To prevent users from becoming exhausted by receiving too many emails from you in one day, there is a possibility that having fewer emails might increase engagement by giving your contacts more time to act on the previous message.

Another thing to consider is choosing what time of day to send emails.

Timing your emails correctly will get you better click-through rates and higher conversion rates.

There are a bunch of statistics that proclaim optimum sending time, but there is no one-size-fits-all approach. You’ll have to measure your open rates to determine which time of the day resulted in the best results.

Or you can use leave it to Sendinblue to send your drip email campaigns at the best time using their machine learning-based algorithm,

8. Create Engaging Email Content.

Email marketing is the way to reach a large audience and convert them into leads.

To do this, though, your email has to be engaging. If you send out a plain text email, chances are you won’t be too successful. There’s no way you can stand out IF you don’t create personalized email content.

That is why it’s important to include the user in the email copy – personalization is key!

You’re helping people solve a problem or answer a question they have. In order to do that, you need to treat every single person like an individual, not just as a number on your mailing list.

You need to create compelling email content that your readers will actually want to read. Plus, using A/B testing and split testing helps you understand what works best with your audience and what doesn’t.

9. Measure, Adjust and Reiterate.

As the saying goes, “Measure twice, cut once.” This is certainly true for any kind of advertising. When you start your drip campaign, you must track everything — the more data you have from the campaign, the better.

Tracks metrics like:

  • Did it meet your end goal?
  • Open rate.
  • Click-through rate.
  • Conversion rate.
  • Unsubscribe rate.
  • Clicks on your landing page.

You will also need to take a look at who is becoming your customers—is it what you were expecting? You can reevaluate and improve your campaigns perennially by monitoring these key factors.

You should also track customer interaction using UTMs (more on this later).

Drip Campaign Tips and Best Practices

Drip campaigns are a great way to nurture leads and move them down your sales funnel. Here are some tips and best practices when working with drip campaigns.

1. Include a Compelling CTA Button.

A call to action (CTA) button encourages users to take a specific next step in the sales funnel.

You can compel your visitors to find you via Twitter or Facebook, schedule a call, or head to your landing page. Your CTA should align with your end goal and tell your audience exactly where they can go to get more information.

Email buttons aren’t just for looks. They’re an important part of your email design that needs to be planned out before sending it to anybody.

Campaign Monitor even conducted an A/B test comparing an email with a regular link vs. one with a CTA button.

The Result? Using a CTA button in the place of a text link got them a 28% increase in the click-through rate.

You want to make sure that you are writing a compelling call-to-action that is likely to entice readers to click.

Your CTA button should:

  • Create a sense of urgency.
  • Have discounts and offers.
  • Focus on a benefit.
  • Look like a button.
  • Have striking colors that align with your brand.
  • Be ensconced in enough chunk of whitespace.
  • Avoid friction words like download, submit, buy, and order.

The CTA button in the below email campaign by Dropbox ticks all the boxes:


2. Leverage UTMs to Track User Interaction.

Have you ever sent out an email campaign to only crickets and tumbleweeds in response? Me too.

You probably agonized for hours over the subject line and crafting the perfect email before sending it out, but to no avail.

Unfortunately, measuring metrics like open rate and click-through rate isn’t nearly enough to assess how effective the campaign actually is. Or went wrong with the email.

This can lead to wasted time and money on campaigns that do not work.

When it comes to email tracking, campaign reporting, and ROI estimating, UTMs can help.

UTM (Urchin Tracking Module) is a code that you can insert in your URLs to help you track your site’s referral sources. With UTMs, you are able to track user interactions on your landing page or email by giving them each a unique ID (which must be linked with Google Analytics).

This allows you to see where your traffic is coming from (like Facebook or Twitter), which social media pages they came from and how long they stayed on that page.

You can even use email marketing platforms to automatically append UTM parameters to all of your broadcasts.

For instance, ConvertKit lets Google Analytics track traffic and activity from URLs in emails. You just have to enable automatic UTM parameters in your ConvertKit dashboard.

3. Set up a Follow-up Series When You Don’t Hear Back.

There are many ways to make sure your email remains at the top of your potential client’s mind. But what happens if you don’t get a response after the first email? You send a follow-up email, that’s what!

The average response rate for an email is 9%. And according to Woodpecker, even a single follow-up can bring a response rate of 13% from the second email.

It’s pretty easy to see that follow-up is a game-changer in sales.

In fact, you must know how yours truly bagged this writing gig.

By following up – that’s how.

I sent a simple follow-up email within 2-3 days of my original email, and voila ended up with this gig.

And this isn’t the first time that following up with a potential client has led to a rewarding gig.

From personal experience, it’s usually a good idea to wait at least 2-3 days to give your prospects some time to ponder on your offer.

And while there’s no specific count, 2-3 follow-up emails in a sequence is optimum.

As long as your follow-up emails don’t come off as too pushy, it’s usually well received by recipients.

But how can you make sure the follow-up email gets read?

I recommend offering an incentive in exchange for the recipient taking the intended action.

If you want your subscribers to follow through and buy what you’re offering, you need to up the ante. Think about it…if you were at a store and they told you they had an offer that was too good to refuse, wouldn’t you be inclined to go ahead and purchase it?

Fiverr’s drip email with the subject line “20% off. Just. Like. That” is an excellent example:

If you fail to get a response even after three follow-ups, it’s your cue to send them a final email and remove the lead from your drip email sequence.

4. Craft Personal, Precise Messages.

Have you ever been on a drip campaign and received emails from the sender which were seemingly out of nowhere with no connection to what you’d previously communicated?

This can be quite confusing and give a wrong impression of the company.

To avoid this situation, craft personalized emails.

Personalized emails are perceived as more valuable, so they typically lead to better engagement with your readers and customers.

Drip email campaigns are not just about sending automated emails. They help you stay engaged with your users and allow you to communicate at certain times and on specific channels in a personal way to give a better end-user experience.

The need for personalizing emails comes about, especially for small businesses that want to inform customers about their products and services.

5. Send Your Emails on Fridays.

Friday is the best day to send emails. Why? Because it’s when your audience is most engaged, data shows.

The research report by Campaign Monitor suggests that Friday is the best day to send emails, with the highest open (18.9%) and click-through rates (2.7%).

On the other hand, the worst day to send emails is Saturday, with the lowest email open rates (17.3%) and click-through rates (2.4%).

Nevertheless, keep a close eye on your own metrics as well. Every audience is different, and it’s not always necessary that your target audience also give extra preference to Fridays.

6. A/B Test Your Emails

A/B testing is a staple of Internet marketing and advertising. It’s a great way to increase open rates, click-through rates, and even sales.

Sometimes you might find yourself wondering, “Does my email work?” or “Does this subject line get read?” The easiest way to find answers to questions like these is by A/B testing your email.

Send out one of two versions of an email and see which performs better. The goal is to test different versions of an email and tweak different elements (send time, subject line, CTA buttons, language) to figure out the one that works best.

7. Include Social Media Channels

When potential customers like or subscribe to your channel or business, it opens up a new channel for you to positively influence them. It can help companies to translate relationships into sales at a later stage. So, don’t forget to include social media handle links in the email.

8. Entice Leads With Freebies

People all over the world love something extra. Companies across the globe are increasingly utilizing the concept of small freebies as a token of appreciation and incentivizing purchases. It also makes an impact on the customer’s subconscious.

You could offer discounts, “BUY 1 GET 1,” or even 20% off coupons.

Drip Campaign Examples

Drip campaigns are a great way to send content to your customers periodically.

Check out these drip campaign examples below that you might be using.

1. Welcome Drip Marketing Campaign

First Impression is everything; this is what you have to remember when you are creating a great welcome email campaign.

This email goes out to visitors who join your list through a landing page or opt-in form. It’s important to start building a relationship with your new subscribers right away. And this way, you can start right away by offering them an incentive (for example, an ebook or access to an exclusive webinar).

Skinny Dip does it really well:

Their welcome email has everything to woo a new lead – even the one sitting on the fence.

Discount code? Check!

Compelling CTA? Check!

Direct links to products, blogs, and social media? Check!

Visually appealing? Check!

Product recommendations? Check!

Don’t know about you, but I’m sold.

2. Limited Offer Drip Campaign

So you have this sale/offer-you-can’t-refuse or something like that, and you just have to let some people know—and fast.

What do you do?

Bust out that tried and true canned email marketing message and automate the routine? I bet you feel pretty confident those recipients will be eager to take advantage of the offer.

And you’re not wrong. These email campaigns do perform well since they’re known to invoke a sense of urgency and FOMO in your potential leads.

Take this limited offer campaign with the subject line “Only a couple of days left,” for instance:

They even infuse their limited offer campaign with a festive offer.

31% off with their code HAPPYHOLIDAYS31?

Happy Holidays, indeed!

3. Cross-selling Campaign

So you’ve landed a new customer — amen.

Wait, stop the celebration. You’re missing out on an ample opportunity: cross-selling them.

Cross-selling and up-selling are all about encouraging your customers to purchase more products and in larger quantities than they previously did.

I loved this personalized cross-selling campaign by Sambag, an online retailer:


This campaign aims to provide their customer with something else they might want but don’t know about yet.

The best part about it is their customized product recommendations based on previous orders (and other factors). This way, shoppers who are new to the site can buy more, and loyal customers will also feel rewarded for their purchases.

4. Cart Abandonment Campaign

Don’t let your sales leak out of your shopping cart.

The cart abandonment drip campaign is an effective way to recover potential customers that abandoned their shopping carts. The right message (with the right offer) can make the difference.

Here’s an excellent example:


Note how regardless of the order value, the brand is offering a free shipping option in their cart abandonment email to incentivize customers to complete their order.

The email is also well structured and has a notable CTA button.

Drip Campaign Tools

As some who relies on the marketing world (albeit indirectly) for their bread and butter, I’ve learned that it’s imperative to send targeted emails that are segmented in order to engage more of your audience. Drip campaign tools make this possible.

Here are my top picks for the drip campaign tools:

1. Sendinblue

Sendinblue has all you need to set up and send drip campaign workflows, set multiple triggers and conditions, optimize send-time, A/B test campaigns, manage your contacts, and so much more – all in one place.

You can map ready-to-use customer journeys and add as many conditions as you want to your drip campaign.

Key features include:

  • Prebuilt templates for emails with drag and drop builder.
  • Full-fledged CRM functions.
  • Heat map and real-time reporting.
  • Advanced segmentation with criteria like gender, purchase history, geography, etc.
  • Machine learning-powered send-time optimization.
  • Up to 300 emails per day with the free plan.

It’s also one of the few email marketing tools that enable transactional emails, SMS marketing, and live chat functionality. I’d also recommend Sendinblue to anyone looking for a great MailChimp alternative.

Pricing: Starts with $25/month with a monthly limit of ten thousand emails.

2. ActiveCampaign

ActiveCampaign empowers companies to personalize and automate their drip email campaigns and sales funnel.

You get access to a whopping 270 automation workflows that include multiple triggers, starting points, conditions, actions, and more. You can even combine multiple conditions and triggers to create an intricate drip campaign.

Other key features include:

  • Send-time optimization.
  • A whole lot of pre-built workflows and email templates.
  • Advanced segmentation.
  • A full-fledged CRM tool.
  • A/B testing.
  • Direct integration with Shopify, WooCommerce, among other ecommerce platforms.
  • Define conditions for sending emails with a drag-and-drop condition editor.

It also has a dependable email deliverability rate and attractive template that rival even MailChimp, known for its striking email newsletters.

(You might want to go through my detailed ActiveCampaign Vs. MailChimp comparison to make the final decision.)

I promise it wasn’t a brazen attempt at self-promotion. You’ll thank me later (hopefully!)

*Awkward laugh*

Pricing: Starts from $9/mo with a 14-day free trial.

3. ConvertKit

ConvertKit is a simple email marketing automation tool that starts you off with the basics.

Although, it has all the core features you’d need to set up your drip campaign, including autoresponders, click-tracking, segmenting, and the ability to map workflows with triggers and conditions.

The workflow editor also lets you tag buyers, conduct surveys, track purchases, add CTAs, and more.

Other key features include:

  • Send automated emails based on your subscriber’s journey.
  • Add tags based on your contacts’ actions.
  • Create customizable segments with easy filtering and custom criteria.
  • Measure metrics like average open rate, average click rate, etc.
  • A/B testing.

While there are a lot of email marketing tools out there, what I like about ConvertKit is that it’s super simple. They also claim to have a high delivery rate of up to 98% and an average open rate of 30%.

However, it doesn’t have all these extra bells and whistles, including an extensive list of pre-built email templates.

Pricing: Starts with $9/month for up to 300 subscribers.

Your Turn to Create a Drip Campaign That Converts Like Mad!

Congratulations! You are on your way to becoming a drip campaign master!

A drip campaign is an effortless way to keep an audience engaged with your business, product, or message.

The great thing about it is that it’s automated so that you can direct one campaign to a group of people and a completely different campaign to a different group of people the next day.

All you need to make this work is to find the right software, identify subscribers, and craft appropriate content suited for multiple audiences.

We’ve covered pretty much everything you’d need to send a drip marketing campaign of your own…some points are basic and require little if any code. Others are more advanced and allow you to do some fun stuff.

What’s clear is that the choice is yours – what do you want to achieve?