What is a Drip Campaign?

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A drip campaign is a popular marketing technique which involves sending automated emails in line with a schedule. When a user subscribes, this triggers the beginning of your drip campaign, which aims to nurture new prospects and convert them to customers.

Often, businesses will begin by sending the recipient an automated email, welcoming them to their website. This is most commonly followed up with a secondary email (a few days later), which contains more engaging content and several other emails thereafter.

When carried out effectively, a drip campaign, also known as a "nurture campaign", aims to cultivate potential customers. The term “drip” refers to the sequence of interactions with potential customers over a set amount of time. This sort of campaign aims to gradually convert users to active and loyal customers. Because drip campaigns are automated (they are also referred to as “automated email campaigns”), businesses are able to prepare all content in advance. This set of automated emails is triggered by a user’s activity on your site, or the timeline that they have engaged in with your business. A report by email marketing platform Emma showed that running a drip campaign in line with a segmented contact list drove 18x more revenue for businesses.

There are 2 main components that differentiate your drip campaign from other email marketing strategies you are running:

  1. The emails have been planned with a specific time frame in mind for the recipient.

  2. Whilst automated, email are sent to individuals in relation to their activity on your website. 

Why should I run a drip campaign?

Drip campaigns aim to keep users engaged with your business, as well as provide recipients with the right information at the right time. Some specific aims include rewarding your customers, educating customers and pushing users who are active on a certain page of your site further along the sales funnel. The most successful drip campaigns target the right, ready-to-buy users and contribute to conversions. Lead nurturing - or drip campaigns - are also a cost effective marketing tactic, decreasing your cost per customer. Research from Marketo concluded that when businesses used nurturing tactics via automated emails, 50% more sales were generated at 33% lower cost.

Running your Drip Campaign

Step 1: Establish your Aim

Before launching your drip campaign, make sure to evaluate what you want from your customers. This is also known as a users’ CTA (call to action). You want your customer to receive the email, open it, understand its contents, understand the CTA and respond accordingly. Your CTA will predominantly aim to increase sales, but drip campaigns aren’t limited to this goal alone.

There are 2 types of CTAs: qualitative and quantitative. Below are some examples:


  • Transforming inactive leads into active ones

  • Engaging existing customers further

  • Moving leads through the sales funnel more quickly


  • Increasing conversion rates by X%

  • Upselling by X%

  • Increasing sales funnel speed by X%

Step 2: Hello and Welcome, Lead Nurturing Emails

Most commonly, your drip campaign will commence with a welcome email.

The welcome

Your content should focus on brand awareness, so include the most essential parts of your sales pitch, and make sure your recipients know what exactly it is you do. Including your USP (Unique Selling Proposition) is a great way to differentiate yourself from competitors, position your business’s authority and convince your potential customer to engage with your brand. Remember: your welcome email is the first point of interaction with a potential customer after they’ve visited your e-commerce store. This is your chance to build a strong relationship with your potential customer.

You can read more about how to craft a successful welcome email here.

Categorise users

Your welcome email also serves as an opportunity to separate users into different categories. At this stage of the campaign, your recipients can select their email preferences so that they receive content that is of interest to them. Common options include: promotional information, new product launches, and your newsletter. Ideally, users will opt in to receiving all correspondences from you, but giving them this option allows your business to target users more specifically.

Drip.com allows you to set up a triggered link in your welcome message. The user’s selection determines the structure for the rest of your drip campaign. Establishing the user’s relevant interests and putting them into different funnels ensures that your targeting is more accurate. It can also prevent users from receiving emails they are not interested in and consequently unsubscribing.


A drip campaign is methodical, but that doesn’t mean it should be general. The most engaging drip campaigns contain customised content, which is much more convincing for the recipient. Always include the customer’s name in the body of the email, and send all exchanges from a personalised domain.

Give subscribers a gift

A user is most interested in your content when they first sign up as a subscriber. This is the perfect time to treat new, potential customers to some form of discount. Offering promotions and discount codes straight up can help to retain subscribers and increase sales. This way, customers will feel more inclined to engage with future email content.

Image source

Get into their inbox

Remind subscribers to relocate your email to their “primary” inbox. When signing up to your contact list from a personal account, prompt users to add your email to their address book to ensure that they are receiving the latest news on new products and promotions. It may sound basic, but ensuring your email is delivered to the correct inbox (and not a junk or spam folder) is one of your biggest battles.

Step 3: On-boarding emails

These emails try to convert free trial users to loyal customers. Most on-boarding emails take on the structure of ‘You didn’t take X action, follow this link to fulfil this…’ In this instance, you are assuming that your customer knows something about your product and might be ready to buy. Instead of making these assumptions, on-boarding emails should be employed to further educate users of the strengths of your product or service, your USP, as well as reminding them to take action. Refer specifically to the recipient's interest in a specific product with copy like “it looks like you spotted one of our most highly sought after products x’’. Often businesses will reward users for taking an action that moves them forward in your on boarding sequence.

Step 4: Data

Whilst drip campaigns are also referred to as “automated email campaigns”, just because something is automated, this doesn’t mean you can afford to sit back and forget about them. Make sure you are closely analysing the results and efficacy of your drip campaign, which is crucial to maximising its results. Make sure you are measuring your conversion rates as well as click rates, open rates and unsubscribe rates. If your email-opening rates are high but your click rates are lagging behind, a simple adjustment of the wording in your email can make a big difference. Ensure you are always effectively communicating your CTA to potential customers.

How to set up a Drip Campaign using MailChimp

  1. Click “Create a campaign”

  2. Create your email – design and copy write your drip campaign email. Once you’ve established the template and frequency of your drip campaign, you can focus on the content. 2 essential factors here include personalisation and keeping it short. Your CTA (call to action) needs to stay at the crux of your message, so establishing this in advance will prevent your users from receiving pointless emails, that will inevitably lead to users unsubscribing. Remember - your drip campaign should nurture individuals through the sales funnel.

  3. Ensure it is selected as “automated” – this will save time and ensure your campaign is effective. 

  4. Select which automation you require. An “automation” describes the user-activity that will trigger your drip campaign. Some options include: welcome messages, abandoned cart emails, sharing your latest news, etc.

  5. Launch your campaign.

    Some examples of successful drip campaigns

    1. RedBubble

    RedBubble are an e-commerce site, representing independent artists. Their welcome email includes a discount code - a small gesture to entice potential customers when their interest in your business is at its peak (as soon as they sign up).

    2. Drift

    Drift is a live chat application. Their welcome email redirects engaged users to their most popular articles. By redirecting users to information that is relevant, Drift aims to retain subscribers and move them through their sales funnel. Providing links to articles, along with the number of views (00,000s), alerts a reader to information that is of interest to them. Their compelling copy sets the tone for their welcome email as well as the rest of their drip campaign.

    3. Holstee

Holstee is an e-commerce site selling products relating to mindfulness, wellness and inspiration. One of the biggest problems that e-commerce merchants face is cart abandonment. To counteract this problem, Holstee designed a drip campaign, which is triggered when a transaction is not completed. This automated email acts as a reminder to the potential customer, prompting them to return to their shopping cart. The tone of Holstee’s copy is polite and courteous (in line with their brand). They gently suggest customers get in touch if they are having any problems with their checkout experience, and remind them to complete their order.

    Ready, set... go!

    Ready to get started with your drip campaign? For more information on email marketing campaigns and maximising your conversion rates, get in touch with Elkfox. We’ve got the latest digital knowledge and techniques for Shopify merchants looking to grow their e-commerce stores.

    * Image via MailChimp