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Email marketing is still a very effective marketing tactic with a relatively low cost and high ROI. Of course, emails are not as sexy as Instagram or as trendy as LinkedIn, but email marketing is powerful, with ROI averaging a staggering 4300% in the last year.

One of the most effective ways to use email is still a drip campaign, which is essentially an automated marketing campaign allowing hyper-personalization. There’s no question that using logic and creating a complete campaign will help your business grow, but it is often difficult to deploy. Many businesses just need to get started, and we believe it is better to move forward quickly than sit still over-planning. When nurture programs are designed, they are often overly focused on “if – then” logic that slows execution. To be clear, we aren’t suggesting eliminating all complex nurture programs—we love them! However, we believe sometimes you simply need to get started, and a little drip campaign will probably do the trick and get the ball rolling!

In this article, we offer an in-depth discussion about drip campaigns and how they can become one of your most powerful marketing tactics.

What Actually is a Drip Campaign?

Drip campaigns are essentially an automated email marketing campaign, frequently referred to as “life-cycle emails,” “autoresponders,” or “automated email campaigns.”

The main concept behind a drip campaign is how the automated emails are sent based on a specific schedule or action triggered by users. Indeed, information is more valuable when given exactly when needed by the audience, which is the main idea behind the drip campaign.

Here is a look at some basic styles of drip campaign:

When users initially sign up for your free trial, the drip campaign tool will send a specific email welcoming them and providing a start-up guide. In contrast, the drip campaign will send different emails to users who just visited your site for the third time, possibly informing them about product benefits and encouraging them to sign up for a free trial.

Now that we understand how drip campaigns work, let’s discuss their success. According to Emma, a campaign monitor company, automated drip emails drive 18 times more revenue and receive 119% higher click-through rates. These are incredibly promising figures for any marketer, and the numbers don’t lie.

4 Tips on Setting Up an Effective Drip Campaign

  1. Understanding Your Audience

The key to a successful drip campaign is sending an email to the right audience at exactly the right time. So, the first and arguably most important step is to define the target audience and truly understand their needs, problems, and behavior.

Depending on your industry and/or business model, further dividing the audience into sub-groups may be necessary. In general, drip campaigns are triggered by either user actions or are time-related based on user demographic information.

For example:

  • A user just signed up for your newsletter, so you send an automated welcome message (action-based).
  • A user signed up for a free trial but has not logged in after two weeks, triggering an automated email (time-based).
  • A user purchased a product last summer, so this summer you send an automated email informing of a new product (a combination of action-based and time-based).

In other words, you should determine the important action-triggers and time scheduling and make a comprehensive list.

  1. Develop Valuable Content

Now that you understand all the important trigger points, it’s time to develop the necessary email content according to those triggers. This will be the most manual part of the drip campaign and will likely require the most effort. Nevertheless, if done correctly, the rest of the process will be much easier. Also, as discussed above, you must truly understand your audience to ensure campaign success.

What to consider:

  • Content should provide value to the customer.
  • Content should be relevant, informative, and comprehensive.
  • Content should have a very specific call to action (CTA).

Based on these three principles, emails should be developed carefully, while making sure the messages and content are always aligned with your brand values.

  1. Executing the Drip Campaign

Keep in mind that you don’t need a Ferrari to get to the grocery store, and you don’t need one to send emails. If you generate under 500K in revenue, consider some great tools like Active Campaigns, Mailchimp, or Constant Contact, which are all more than adequate and won’t break the bank. If you’re heading over the million-dollar mark in revenue, you should consider a middle tier product like Hubspot or Ontraport. And if you are making some serious revenue or are in high growth mode, you may want to head right over to Marketo. Of course, there are many other tools available, but I have personally witnessed incredible success with these recommended tools.

What to consider when preparing your campaign:

  • Divide your audience by sub-groups or segments, according to the goal of the campaign.
  • Determine the necessary action-triggers and time schedules per your audience.
  • Decide whether you will need to create a specific landing page for each email.
  1. Monitoring Your Drip Campaign

As with any marketing strategy, monitoring progress, tracking the right metrics as per your goals, and adjusting tactics whenever necessary are crucial steps. Remember that your audience is not a static one, so there will always be changes in behavior and needs. For instance, you might need to re-adjust your sub-groups, triggers, and schedules based on monitored results. Progress should also be measured based on goals. If your goal is increasing conversion, yet you still have unsatisfactory results, you might consider providing more product education before offering CTAs.

The concept of drip campaigns might seem complicated and confusing at first, but they actually are relatively simple tactics requiring minimal effort. The key to a successful drip campaign is careful planning, especially regarding setting the right triggers and schedules. Although the drip campaign is mostly automated, you must monitor progress regularly. Your audience is dynamic, so you should always adjust your drip campaign based on results. Multiple iterations of your email campaign are necessary for improvement and ongoing success!

Michelene Maguire
Managing Director at

Michelene Maguire is a marketer focused in the technology industry. She is the Managing Director of Maguire Marketing Group, a marketing agency taking companies where they want to grow. Her specialty is creating and producing content that engages your audience with you, your brand, or your product. Maguire recently published the book Get More Customers Using Google My Business currently available on Amazon.