iwc email marketing feature

What is a Drip Campaign and Why Do I Need One?

Much has been lauded about the success of email marketing to augment a comprehensive business plan. Today I’m going to discuss a different type of email program called drip marketing. At first, the name made me think about my leaky kitchen faucet. But I soon realized the name actually derives from the agricultural concept of drip irrigation. Automatically sending seemingly intuitive “next” information (H2O) nurtures leads (seeds) along the lifecycle or path to purchasing (blooming). 

Drip marketing uses an existing database and established timeline to turn out messages in a predetermined course to convert prospects into customers. 

The true nature of the term is a gradual infusion of vitality needed to sustain energy and growth. I guess you could say, giving a gardener (digital marketing agency) a call sounds a lot better than calling a plumber. 

If A, Send B…

There is no finer form of lead nurturing than when applicable messages are dripped in a sequence linked to a certain behavior or status of the reader. At kickoff, a drip campaign already contains a set of carefully prepared emails. Each one in the series is sent out automatically (triggered) based on users responses or behaviors. For example, an initial email may offer subscribers a chance to sign up for an exclusive insider’s membership. Five days later a reminder is sent. The next weekend the incentive is sweetened with a bonus offer and a deadline is set. If the recipient signs up, they get a warm and fuzzy welcome letter. If they don’t, they are designated “not interested” and put into a file where there is an entirely different set of targeted emails ready to go out after a suitable length of time has passed. If at first, you don’t succeed…

How Does Drip Marketing Work?

As stated above, at specified intervals the email service sends out your series of automated messages in response to each action expected along the timeline. The skill behind these auto responsive campaigns is sending consistent-in-tone, supportive emails to move the reader toward a goal. I can’t stress enough how important it is to break down the progression of desired actions and chart them on a timeline. This will be invaluable in writing the coordinated emails when you start.

Here are a few things you’ll need to consider:

  • What is the goal of this campaign?
  • How many emails am I going to send?
  • Does each email have a clear objective?
  • Do emails roll out in a way that moves customers to the next step?
  • How can I overcome objections?
  • How can I build excitement?
  • What is my call to action and how should I ask for it?
  • How will I show appreciation once my goal is achieved?
  • How do I re-engage with those who don’t opt in?

How To Write Drip Campaign Emails

Let’s assume we have an email campaign to order a particular service. As I said, all the emails are written in one session and plotted along a timeline. Since they are automated, these emails can seem generic and robotic in nature. Here are some writing tips to keep them personal, to-the-point and engaging:

  • It’s important to extend a personal-sounding welcome. A pleasant, friendly tone and phrases like “I had the same problem as you”  or “I don’t usually send form letters” have a greater open rate than impersonal correspondence.
  • One thing your email writer can do to personalize the campaign is by using the recipient’s name, not only in the salutation but also somewhere inside the email. Please don’t make it sound awkward or out of the blue.
  • As the emails are crafted, for continuity, you’ll want to reference a few words from what you stated in the previous one and set up what’s coming next.
  • Shorter emails providing only what they need to know are most likely to be read to completion.
  • For emphasis or as a deadline reminder, you can pull out one or two things and put them in the postscript (P.S. and P.P.S.)
  • Setting up an element of suspense like “You wont believe the results” or “There’s a gift for you coming soon” creates interest and prolongs engagement.
  • Every email should include a call to action no matter where you are on the timeline from “Sign up for the eBook” to “Let us know what you think.”

Sample Drip Campaign Email Timeline

Here’s a succession of possible drip email topics you might roll out:

  1. Thanks for filling out the form
  2. Free consult or eBook
  3. Percent off product or service
  4. Link to services
  5. List of differentiators
  6. Link to pricing
  7. Call to action to buy
  8. Invitation to social media
  9. (After they have become your client) Request for review
  10. Ask for referrals

When Should the Drip Drop?

Like so many opportunities to gain new customers, timing is everything. Let’s look at a common situation challenging the e-commerce community–the unpurchased shopping cart. This is fertile ground for drip emails. Just imagine how you could relieve purchase indecision by sending a series of messaging that promotes the contents in that limbo-lingering basket. Reinforcing benefits at the point the customer stopped short of purchasing could be just the incentive they need to “BUY NOW!”

Time for Professional Gardening?

Consistently being in touch with and responsive to new leads with helpful information may be too complex and too time-consuming for small businesses. But industry leaders agree you need messages at a drip’s consistent pace to gently nudge potential buyers through to the final phase of the sales funnel.

If you would like more information on how our digital agency can help you sequence, write and send drip emails, please contact us. After all, with slow, steady watering, every flower grows!


Click the eBook to find out the advantages of outsourcing your email marketing.