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What are email drip campaigns?


Oct 20, 2020
Read Time: X Min
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Whether you’ve noticed it or not, chances are you’ve received various email drip campaigns throughout your email tenure. If you didn't notice that you were receiving a drip campaign—even better! This type of email marketing is intended to guide you through the sales funnel in a subtle and personalized way, which is what makes it so effective.

What exactly is a drip campaign? It’s a series of automated emails that are “dripped” or sent out to targeted recipients on specific days and times. Not only that, but this type of email campaign is triggered by certain actions that users take throughout the buyer journey.

If you’re already feeling like this topic seems a little too complicated, don’t worry! We’re here to discuss what this type of email campaign is and why your business may need one. We’ll even show you some strategies to create and implement successful drip campaigns. We’ll wrap up with some examples of companies who got their drip emails right and we’ll tell you which email marketing software has the best drip email capabilities.

At a Glance: 

  • What Are Email Drip Campaigns & Why Your Business May Need One
  • Strategies for Creating & Implementing a Successful Drip Campaign 
  • 5 Killer Examples of Companies Who Got Their Drip Campaign Right
  • Kajabi Drip Campaign Capabilities 

Let’s get into it and talk about the all-important drip campaign!  

Why your business may need an email drip campaign

You’ve been here before: 

  • You sign up for a brand’s newsletter
  • Which signals the first email right after you opt-in
  • Followed by a second email providing more information on said brand
  • Followed by a third email with a call to action (CTA) asking you to complete the buyer journey. 

Voila! You just experienced an email drip.

You, the prospective customer, took a specific action (subscribing for a newsletter). This action triggered a series of emails you interacted with, which brought you to a final email to purchase a product or take advantage of an offering. Did you do it? If the email campaign did its job, the answer should be “yes!”.

That’s just one example of how this type of email campaign works. But you still might be asking yourself “what’s so special about this type of email marketing?” Well, drip campaigns are highly regarded because it allows a business to control the amount of information customers receive.

For instance, when you subscribe to a company’s newsletter, a lot of times you simply submit your email and that’s it. You’re all set to receive the next newsletter. But what about all the other information that company provided to its subscribers in the months or years before you opted-in?

This is a prime example of where an email drip campaign can come in super handy. If a company has an automated email campaign in place, signing up to receive a newsletter should set off a series of emails. Each email should be designed to nurture a specific behavior with clear next steps to fulfill an end goal.

This type of campaign allows companies to influence how prospective or current customers interact with their brand. In other words, companies get to control the narrative with targeted messaging.

Why might your business need to implement an email drip campaign you ask?

For starters, marketers who implement segmented campaigns see as much as a 760% increase in revenue. Automated email workflows can help companies net 20% more sales opportunities as well. This is because segmented, automated emails offer the most timely and relevant information to users.

A customized and well-timed approach feels good to prospective or current customers. It also aims to improve email open rates, click-through rates, and ultimately conversion rates.

Recall a time when you gave your email to a company only to receive a one-size-fits-all email some days (or even weeks) after first subscribing. It felt impersonal, right?

Now think about a time when you provided your email and you had a great experience. You may have received a discount code or newsletter and eventually purchased. The best drip campaigns guide you through the buyer’s journey and feel natural.You may not even remember this because it’s just part of a natural flow. Interactions between a business and its customers, whether digital or in-person, all matter. This means companies need to be extra mindful about how they communicate.

7 step strategy for creating & implementing a successful drip campaign

Email marketing automation is critical to creating and implementing an email drip campaign. Shifting away from a manual process will allow you to create email workflows that are automatically triggered.

Using an intelligent, automated email service can also help you do several key things:

  • List segmentation: Send emails to only certain segments of your list based on geography, gender, or purchase history
  • Campaign creation: Access a variety of tools needed to design and build each email in advance
  • Optimize send times: Launch emails based on specific attributes including day, time, or user behavior to achieve optimal open rates

By now you should know what drip campaigns are. Next, we’ll discuss seven things to consider before you fire off any emails: 

1. Determine the goal

Think about what you’re trying to accomplish with this type of email campaign (shoot for qualitative and quantitative objectives). Some common goals are to:

  • Get more people to register for an upcoming event
  • Drive user engagement 
  • Get valuable customer feedback and testimony
  • Promote your newest product 
  • Re-engage dormant customers
  • Increase your brand awareness 
  • Grow your social media following

Consider what your specific goals are for your campaign before going any further. Once you’ve decided on your objective, how can you segment your email lists to target that unique audience?

2. Identify the target audience and segment your email list

As you work on segmenting your email lists, think about how you’ll be targeting people based on attributes like: values, goals, what actions they need to fulfill in order to receive your email campaign, and what they’ll do after receiving your email.

As you create your campaign, plan out the exact steps you’d want your users to take and think about your “why.” This will offer you valuable insight into the process and help you flesh out how you’ll reach your targeted audience with the right information at the right time. Segmenting your audiences is also an important email list management best practice that helps you continuously scrub, refine, and re-target your email campaigns.  

3. Decide how many touchpoints your drip campaign will have

A buyer journey generally looks like the following: awareness, consideration, and decision time. It can take a buyer anywhere between 4 and 11 emails spaced between 4,7, or 14 days apart to complete the journey.

Decide how many touchpoints your email drip campaign will have and how long it will take for prospective or current customers to get from point A to point B. Every business is different, but you can look at previous campaigns and website conversion data to gain valuable insight on how to drive the buyer journey.  So, how will you nurture users to receive your final CTA?

4. Create personalized emails

There’s nothing better than receiving an email that feels like it was tailor-made for you. Be sure your emails have relevant, informative content, are visually appealing, have a strong CTA, and are optimized for all devices. High-quality emails like this not only make your company look great, they also grow your email list.

You don’t have to be an award-winning graphic designer/marketer to create high-impact emails. It’s perfectly acceptable to use email templates and drop in your information. Just remember to think strategically and keep messaging and graphics simple and to the point.

Creating an email with a personalized subject line or greeting is an easy way to improve your campaign results. This can be as simple as including the recipient’s first name in the subject line. According to Yes Life Marketing, personalized subject lines lead to 58% higher click to open rates.

5. Analyze customer behavior

There is no bigger turnoff for a customer than answering a CTA only to receive an email after the fact asking them to do the exact same thing. Keep a close eye on which customers are fulfilling your requests and remove them from that email list. Failing to remove a customer after they’ve completed your ask can seriously hurt your credibility. It may even make a customer regret they bought your product.

Once a customer has converted, consider enrolling them into another email drip campaign to follow-up and educate them on your product or service, provide support, or get them to spread the word.

6. Make it easy to unsubscribe

We know it can feel counterintuitive to make it easy for someone to unsubscribe from your email campaigns. But, it should be easy for users to opt-out of receiving communications. Making it difficult for users to unsubscribe isn’t a great email marketing tactic for several reasons.

First, it damages the user experience if you don’t make it easy to unsubscribe. Give people the option to provide feedback about why they’re leaving your email list and you’ll gain valuable insight to use later on.

Second, it doesn’t help you scrub your lists. You never want a ton of uninterested people subscribed to your emails. Allow disengaged folks to go as they don’t provide value to your company.

Third, you can get marked as spam if you make it hard for people to unsubscribe. Once your emails are marked as spam, it blacklists any future emails. Spare yourself the pain.

7. Test & re-test

Strive to consistently monitor what’s working and what’s not working by focusing on metrics such as: 

  • Open rates
  • Click-through rates
  • Conversions
  • Unsubscribe rates
  • Emails marked as spam
  • Bounce rates

If you see any red flags, like a large influx of people who hit the unsubscribe button after your last email went out, that’s a clear sign something needs to be tweaked. A/B testing is a great way to clarify and resolve email issues by seeing if one strategy works better than another.

Continual testing and optimization delivers results. At Kajabi we’ve tested, and will keep testing, a ton of different factors with our cart abandon drip series. We’ve optimized and tested send times, send frequency, subject lines, email headers, CTA’s, and the offer itself. When we launched our email series, it averaged 11-20% open rates and about a 1% conversion rate. Our testing and retesting increased the open rate to 30-38% and the conversion rate is up to 7%.

Examples of when to implement a drip campaign

By now you should know your “why” for implementing a drip campaign. Here are several examples of when you should put that plan into motion: 

  • Nurturing new leads
  • Introduction/welcome to new customers
  • Item(s) left in a shopping cart
  • Trial period is ending 
  • Re-engagement
  • Renewal reminder
  • Purchase confirmation
  • Recommendations
  • Post-purchase follow-up 

Every company has unique business goals, and your email marketing should reflect that. Think critically about what customer actions you’d like to trigger your newest drip campaign.

5 killer examples of companies who got their drip campaign right

There’s nothing more satisfying than a company who hit it out of the ballpark with their latest email drip campaign! Here are a few examples of companies who’ve done an awesome job at delivering relevant, timely, high-impact emails to their prospective or current customers.

1. Strider bikes – Item left in shopping cart

Strider Bikes for kids gives parents a gentle push towards completing the buyer journey with relatable copy, cute imagery, and by making it easy to return to checkout. What parent wouldn’t want to purchase their kid a bike after seeing this email?

Screenshot of a an email from Strider Bikes for kids

2. Subaru – Post-purchase follow-up

Subaru wants its customers to get the most out of their new car purchase, so this email about optimizing the Subaru experience with the right car accessories is perfectly positioned to get customers to buy more. Well done, Subaru!

Screenshot of an email promoting the 2020 Subaru Outback

3. Calm app – Re-engagement

The Calm app encourages customers who’ve fallen off the mindfulness bandwagon to jump back on with a 31-day challenge during Mental Health Awareness Month. They also drive traffic to their blog by touting its mood-tracking tips and resources. This is a great example of showing users exactly how they can re-engage with a brand.

Screenshot of an email from The Calm app

4. Google Nest – Nurturing current customers as new leads

Google Nest introduced The Daily Special, aimed at providing current Nest users with daily deals on additional Google home products to save energy and stay connected. It’s unique in that it treats current customers as new leads to get them to buy more Google home devices through offering relevant deals. Subscribers can also review past deals that might not be advertised that day but are still available for purchase.

Screenshot of an email from Google Nest

5. Netflix – Introduction/welcome

When it comes to effective email marketing, Netflix always brings it! Here they are welcoming a new subscriber through an email sent by an employee named Anna. This personalization makes users feel like they’re emailing with someone from the company—adding a level of connection that makes a huge impact. Anna provides clear next steps for subscribers to take and reassures them they won’t be billed without first being reminded that their subscription is about to end. Bravo, Netflix!

Screenshot of a welcome email from Netflix

Kajabi drip campaign capabilities

If you’re ready to take on the world of email marketing automation and implement your first email drip, then you’re going to need the right email marketing software and it starts with Kajabi. No matter which Kajabi plan you select, all levels include unlimited marketing emails so you can stay connected with your subscribers and grow your business to new levels. Kajabi email features include:

  • Flexible emails for any occasion. Businesses can send a one-time blast or automate email drip campaigns based on customer behaviors to create a personalized user experience.

  • Templates for every type of email a business could need so you can focus time on your strategy.

  • Built-in email marketing best practices, so emails always look and sound like your company.

  • Intuitive visual editor that makes it easy to customize and preview emails so you can send them with confidence.

  • Rich content elements that help you stand out from the crowd with features like countdown timers, videos, and personalization to wow your audience.

  • Actionable analytics that get you what you need to optimize and increase engagement; historical analytics so you can see what’s worked in the past and replicate; and leading deliverability with no IP maintenance needed.
  • Powerfully personal capabilities so you can personalize your emails to build better relationships; track your lead lifecycle and see what emails people opened; and tagging functionality for designing, organizing, and targeting segments.

Start creating awesome email drip campaigns

Well, there you have it. A drip campaign can be a powerful resource for companies big and small. If you were on the fence about implementing one, we hope we provided you with enough information to go for it!

You should now have all the tools you need to get started. Just follow the strategies outlined and refer to the awesome examples provided.. The only thing still missing might be the right email marketing software – and we got you covered there, too.

We love hearing all about your email marketing tips and tricks, so be sure to comment below to add yours to the Kajabi conversation!

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