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Best Practices for Creating Effective Drip Campaigns

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Kristina Lauren

April 20, 2022

A drip campaign can be an extremely effective way to nurture leads and keep them engaged with your brand. But all too often, they're implemented without a solid strategy in place, resulting in lackluster performance. In this post, we'll discuss the key elements of an effective drip campaign, as well as some best practices when it comes to setting up and measuring the success of one.

What is a drip campaign?

Drip campaigns are a series of automated email messages that are sent to your subscribers over a period of time. The "drip" part has to do with the fact that the messages are sent a little bit at a time–drip by drip, with the main purpose of nurturing your leads as they enter your general sales funnel or a specific customer journey. They also tend to be a great way to keep in touch with your subscribers without overwhelming them with too many emails at once.

Why use a drip campaign?

Since drip campaigns are automated email journeys, once you set them up, you can let them work their magic while you focus your attention on other aspects of your business. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t analyze how well your drip campaign is working over time, but because these emails tend to be sent out for more recurring, predictable events, such as birthday wishes or re-purchase reminders, they’re typically evergreen, which means you don’t need to constantly revise them.

How to Create a Drip Campaign

Choose a platform

Since drip campaigns are meant to be automatically sent out at set intervals to large numbers of subscribers, an email automation tool of some kind is necessary to kick off the process. 

Popular ESPs like Mailchimp, Klaviyo, or Hubspot all offer email automation and make it easy for you to set up your campaigns. You can create custom email journeys with all your emails mapped out for easy visualization and you’ll also have the ability to schedule your campaign the way you see fit. Some platforms will even allow you to integrate SMS into your campaigns to boost your reach. But the automation aspect isn’t all you should look for in a platform—you also want to use a tool that allows you to personalize and segment your audiences as you need. Personalizing your campaigns can involve you simply addressing your recipients by their first name, but it can also include making individualized recommendations based on what you already know about an existing customer.

With most email platforms that offer automation, you can even set up your campaigns so that your audience receives different emails depending on certain actions they take. These more personalized drip campaigns are also known as nurture campaigns, and can elevate the performance of your email journeys even more. 

Determine the goal

While implementing multiple drip campaigns can work well, as with most email journeys, it’s best to narrow down each individual campaign to one overarching goal. This will help your marketing team with strategizing to create optimal content and help avoid confusion in the minds of your audience. Start by figuring out what you’re hoping to achieve.

Here are some ideas:

  • Promoting a new product
  • Cross-selling or upselling
  • Increasing brand awareness
  • Advertising events
  • Retaining customers

Timing

Determining the timing of your drip campaign is essential for success. You want to make sure that you're reaching your audience at the right time with the right message. It’s common to hear customers complain about either being bombarded with too many emails or feeling like they’re being left in the dark because of a lack of communication. With your drip campaign, your goal should be finding a balance. Consider the following as you’re getting started:

  • Timing depends on your goals. Are you trying to increase signups? Drive traffic to a holiday sale event? Get people to download an eBook? Each goal may have a different timeline which will directly influence how often you should be reaching out.
  • Examine the buying cycle of your target audience. When are your customers most likely to make a purchase? Where do you notice a decrease in interest? Do you have any existing pain points in your overall customer journey that could affect the performance of your campaign? 
  • Keep track of your data. What times of day are your website visitors or email subscribers most active? What days of the week are they most likely to open an email? Use this data to determine when to send your messages.

Creating the Emails

With the goal of your campaign at the forefront, it’s time to figure out exactly what you want your audience to know. During the process of crafting your content, you should continue to put yourself in the shoes of your potential customers. They’ve already shown interest in what your business does by simply joining your mailing list, and maybe they’ve already converted in other ways, but now you need to focus on getting them to cross the next finish line. 

Ask yourself before you sit down to write and design: “If I were a customer, what would convince me to continue engaging with this brand?” As you dig deeper, revise that question to be even more specific: “Is this e-book offer enough to click-through? Am I highlighting the benefits of this product instead of just the features? Am I providing enough information to entice people to continue onto the next step? Could any of this be perceived as confusing, including the email design itself?”

How to measure the effectiveness of your drip campaign

So how can you tell whether or not your drip campaign is doing what it’s supposed to do? Once again, the process should begin with the goals you created before you launched the campaign. 

For example, one purpose of your onboarding drip campaign could be to turn free trial users into paying customers. So, if you gain the desired number of committed users once the campaign is finished, you can call that a success. However, your purpose for creating a drip campaign may be more subdued. Maybe you just want to attract more people to a certain page on your website or encourage them to engage with your blog more. In this case, you could take a look at the click-through rates of your campaigns as well as how long visitors are staying on your website.

But if you don’t get the results you were looking for, does this mean that your campaign is a total failure? Not at all—even if your conversions weren’t as high as you were hoping for, throughout the course of your campaign, you should have also gathered valuable information about your customers. This includes which emails in the campaign got the most opens or which links were clicked on. You can then use that data to keep refining your strategy and integrate what you’ve discovered into your other marketing efforts. 

A drip campaign can be a powerful tool to help you achieve your marketing goals when used well. By following the best practices outlined above, you’ll be able to craft an effective drip campaign to keep your customers in the know while boosting your conversions over time.

Still looking for a bit more help? Our team at Scalero can assist you with creating a custom drip campaign and even automate it for you. Reach out to us today.

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