9 min read

What Is a Drip Campaign?

Mar 2, 2022 2:17:08 PM

Businesses want to draw in and connect with customers. It’s a basic part of their operating strategy, their operating plan. Thanks to email marketing leading, the door of opportunity swings open, allowing the touchpoints to surface and begin building relationships. 

In fact, email marketing leads the way amongst marketing tools to choose from, like 78% of teams across the United States preference them over other methods.

Marketing doesn’t have to feel strenuous or like it's a burden. Cold calls and unplanned emails should be a thing of the past. There are various campaigns to choose from today that facilitate the process and leave businesses seeing results, such as a blossoming email contact list and an interactive audience.

Do you want to learn how to build on that business to customers or business associations through email marketing? Great - then stay tuned as we entertain you about drip campaigns.

Defining a Drip Campaign - What Is It?

A drip campaign is also referred to as drip marketing. It is the process of sending automated messages out on a predetermined schedule, or some call it “dripping” messages to customers' inboxes. It’s even used on social media platforms, making it a versatile tool.

You may be asking, what customers receive these messages? The answer is it depends. The automated messages do not move like a herd of elephants to all of your customers. Instead, they are both personalized and targeted based on your customers’ actions or behavior.

Drip marketing is fancy for nurturing campaigns, automated email campaigns, lifecycle emails, or autoresponders. It doesn’t matter what you decide to call it, but it does matter that you understand its importance and functionality to apply it successfully to your marketing plan.

The History of Drip Marketing - Where Did It Originate?

Bill Persteiner awakened the concept of drip marketing. Bill was a software engineer who walked down a path that led to the creation of WinSales in 1992.

Bill was focused on bringing automation to the sales field. He was referred to a man named Jim Cecil, who was considered to be a specialist in customer communications. This partnership would later bring the concept of drip marketing to life.

Jim developed a product called Action Plan. It was a customizable way for sales teams to enhance customer relationships, focusing on title, industry, level of interest, status, and more. It also allowed them to segment their customer lists.

Although the vision of WinSales failed, drip marketing was born through the efforts of Bill and Jim.

How Are Drip Campaigns Used and When To Use Them

Let’s scale back for a moment and consider the purpose of a drip campaign. As a company, you want to:

  • Inspire loyal customers, those that will make repeat purchases and help sell your brand
  • Encourage engagement with current customers, and foster those of prospective leads
  • Promote products or services your company offers and build brand awareness
  • Be efficient in processes, saving time through automation

Now, let's explore how you can incorporate drip campaigns to achieve the above-desired results.

Welcome Emails

We’ve all received these at least once in our inbox. Customers love them! On average, the open rates for welcome emails are 82 percent, compared to the average open rates on non-targeted emails at 21 percent.

How does it work? On your eCommerce site, customers can sign-up for email newsletters or sign-up for an account. That’s the trigger. Once a customer buys in and provides you with their email interest due to their interest, the process begins.

Welcome emails give your company the chance to introduce itself. These types of emails should include information about the company, such as what sets you apart from competitors. 

You have the power here to set the tone. Keep in mind first impressions make a difference, so design yours to relate to your customers' interests, values, and more.

Other considerations to include are introductory offers, such as a trial period for a service or an initial percentage off of the first purchase. Speak directly to your customer, convincing them that what you are offering is what they are searching for.

Ascension Emails

The definition of ascension is to rise to a higher level. With ascension emails, apply this by guiding a customer through their sales journey, leading them to the purchasing stage of a product or service.

Ascension emails start after a customer pre-qualifies for something. Think of it as similar to an upsell based on their interests and behavior. 

For example, let’s say a customer purchases hiking equipment. It may be safe to say that they are planning a trip where they may also require complementary clothing or other items such as a backpack or a water bottle. 

It may be on the customer’s mind. That’s where ascension emails come in.

Use ascension emails to entice the customer into making their follow-up purchase. Give them ideas about items they may have forgotten or could be of use to overcome the stall of their purchase. If it’s appealing and relevant to the customer, the campaign will pay off.

Engagement Emails

Keeping any type of relationship requires nurturing and support. If the communication is stagnant for too long, the relationship can suffer. That is why it is important to engage with your customers frequently.

Engagement emails trigger when the sales funnel isn’t completed. A customer may visit your eCommerce site but never make it to check-out. 

There may not be a reason, but you can use engagement emails to encourage sales by providing customers with information about the product or service. This can help them make an informed decision that could lead to them making a purchase.

Re-Engagement Emails

If you’ve already been engaging with your customers, do you need to re-engage? The answer here is yes. 

But re-engagement is not meant for your active customers. It is meant for those that have dropped off the grid and are inactive. 

By inactive, we mean to say that the customer resides on the subscription list but is no longer opening emails or browsing the website or those who may have abandoned their shopping cart.

Why do customers become inactive? That could be several reasons either related to or unrelated to the company itself. Try to re-engage with your customers, though, to retain them. 

In re-engagement emails, give your customer a reason to come back by:

  • Offering them an incentive such as an introductory discount or percentage off to restart a service or to return to their shopping cart for items left behind
  • Using graphics or videos that are eye-catching and headlines that relate to them
  • Displaying new products or services that match their purchase habits

Segmentation Emails

Segmentation refers to grouping individuals, or a distribution list, based on a shared feature. This could be based on interest, demographics, age, location, etc. Segmentation emails are slightly different than the other campaigns as they are not sent to customers based on a trigger or a behavior. 

A segmentation email includes a call-to-action (or CTA) that encourages the recipient to click on a link that leads them to the next step. That next step could be to sign-up for a service or dial the customer straight to a product of interest to purchase.

Are Drip Campaigns Successful?

Statistics prove that drip campaigns are effective. They actively engage with customers, turning them from window shoppers to purchasers or even repeat customers. They also awaken the sleeping giants, moving customers out of the dormant stage and into the buyer’s spotlight.

Here are a few statistics to consider as to why you should incorporate drip marketing in your email marketing strategy:

  • When using drip campaigns, open rates rank 80 percent higher than emails sent individually.
  • Drip campaigns also lead to greater sales at a lesser cost due to the increase in open rates and the ability to focus on a target audience versus a broad audience. 
  • Businesses are likely to see a minimum increase of 10 percent in profit within 6 to 9 months using the automated process.

How To Build a Drip Campaign - What To Include

A drip campaign is built through a series of steps. Email marketing or automation services are at your disposal, available to guide you in the setup. 

Here are five steps you can follow to initiate, manage, and maintain your drip campaign.

Step 1: Determine Your Trigger

Your trigger, or audience, is classified as the most important part of the campaign. They are the drivers that set the waterfall in motion. What will you choose, or who will your audience be?

There are two types of triggers to consider here. The first is an action. The second is based on demographic information. 

Action triggers are based on your customers' clicks and activities. This is when you would utilize welcome emails, onboarding emails, or even thank you emails if they make a purchase. The messages are tailored to the customers' behavior, creating an inclusive feeling.

Demographic triggers are those prompted by information the customer provides to you. For example, send them an email to wish them a happy birthday or anniversary. Give your customer a sense of value with an extra incentive too! It’s sure to bring a smile to their face at the very least.

Step 2: Solidify Your Goal

What do you want to achieve through the drip campaign? Or better yet, what is your level of success? The purpose of a goal is to keep you focused, helping you stay on track. One method to consider incorporating is the SMART method. SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based. 

Step 3: Time To Write!

Get those pencils ready, or warm up those typing fingers! It’s time to put your creative ideas on paper (or on-screen) in preparation to automatically send to your customers based on the triggers set up in Step 1.

Craft your messages so that they are personalized and quickly grab the attention of your target audience. Also, include a clear call to action. 

This is designed so that it directs the customer where you want them to interact on your website when clicked on. Most importantly, do not deviate from your core values. Keep your message true to the company’s brand and voice.

Step 4: Draw Out Your Campaign

It’s time to pull those vivid ideas from your head and onto paper. Drawing out your campaign gives you visualization from start to finish. During the planning phase, think about:

  • How many diversified emails do you plan to create and send to your audience
  • Whether or not your target groups and prepared messages compare. Do they sync?
  • What analytics do you want to use to measure success

Step 5: Time For Launch

Don’t let it move on auto-pilot. Review the analytics and watch whether or not the campaign is performing to your expectations, meeting your goals. If it’s not, hone in on where you can make enhancements or tweaks. 

The Bottom Line

Email automation is at the forefront of building your customer base, communicating with customers, and retaining them. It keeps your business top of mind.

Drip campaigns are a nurturing strategy that comes highly recommended. They should be a part of the business marketing plan, giving your business a steady increase to the bottom line when launched effectively. 

People want to be recognized, feeling like they are a part of the business or brand. Use this to your advantage, and remember that you remain in control. Creatively construct pre-written emails that are readily available to your customers at the push of a button.

Are you searching for ways to increase your bottom line, add to your customer base, and extend your company's growth? 

If you aren’t already using email marketing, we recommend adding it to your strategy. Is it effective and achieves the results you desire if you are using it?

Visit us at QuaGrowth to learn how to maximize your results and unlock hidden profits!  


Drip Marketing

The Ultimate Guide to Drip Marketing Campaigns for 2021 [with examples]

10 Email Marketing Stats You Need to Know in 2022 [Infographic]

Do Drip Campaigns Really Work? - Pinpointe Marketing Blog


Written by Jason Boehle