What Email Drip Campaigns Are And How To Use Them: A Complete Guide

This article is a part of A Complete Guide To Email Drip Campaigns series:
Part 1: What’s A Drip Campaign
Part 2: Email Etiquette
Part 3: Drip Campaign Tools
Part 4: Email Sequences
Part 5: Mistakes To Avoid

We either evolve or get out of the game. As harsh as that sounds, we must follow the fast-paced evolution. Not that long ago the same evolution changed email marketing with drip campaigns.


Why drip campaigns are superior

The email campaigns of the past weren’t bad, nor were they ineffective. But they had two big flaws – need for constant management and irrelevance caused by bulk email marketing approach.

Email marketers and salespeople bombarded their entire email prospect lists with the same message, only to follow-up with another generic message. All of this gave email marketing a bad name.

In a way, marketers and salespeople shot themselves in the foot. They had an amazing direct marketing channel and oversaturated it by taking it for granted and abusing the power it provided.

To fix this, email marketing needed a second coming, a second chance to become what it could ideally be. The new methods had to be based on relevance, improved targeting, and smarter techniques. And so appeared email drip campaigns.

Drip campaigns started replacing old bulk email campaigns with a new personalized, relevant, highly targeted time-based approach. Today they’re are accessible, affordable,  and used by companies of all sizes. Plus, you can replicate the drip approach in any other marketing channel, including content marketing, SMS marketing, video marketing, and more.

What is a drip campaign: the 5 cornerstones

Drip campaign is an automated series of emails that are delivered based on the best timing and triggers (aka specific user actions). You only have to tune up your drip campaign once, and it’ll do the rest for you.    

The tool automatically sends campaign messages according to timing preferences, triggers (aka recipient behavior), and set delays. Email drip campaign tools provide the following options to help your email marketing.


If you want your campaign sent on specific days and within specific times, drip campaign scheduling will help. Thanks to this feature, you can forget about endless reminders.

And don’t forget about time zones! If you have an international business, you need to make sure your list is segmented by location so you can schedule emails for times that convert best for that specific location. Don’t forget that the best time to send emails is Tuesdays and Fridays, around 11 a.m.


Every piece of the drip email chain is programmed to be sent at a specific, perfect moment. Triggers help make sure the timing for your follow-up is just right.

Did your prospect open three previous emails and click all the links, yet you got no reply? It’s the perfect time to send them a discount code. Or maybe you want your email delivered exactly as your prospect does their morning email check? Perfect timing could be exactly what pushes your recipient to a conversion.


You can use drip campaigns to nurture early-stage users, subscribers or leads until they are ready for the next step in your marketing journey, sales journey or any other journey. A common scenario is nurturing leads until they are sales-ready.

Simply share content your prospects might find useful, whether created by you or not. This can be a weekly curated content compilation or an occasional webinar invitation. There are so many ways to nurture leads, use your imagination.


Drip campaigns wouldn’t be much better than bulk campaigns without personalization. A minimum of basic personalization is a must. Your goal is to make the recipient feel like they are receiving a personal treatment, even when there are 10,000 prospects in your list. Make sure you can actually provide that special treatment when necessary.

To help drip campaigns automatically personalize your campaign, upload your email list with additional data and use personalization tags in the email copy. It’s best to personalize email copies not only with a name but also with company name, an event name or any other personal info you have.


Last but not least, automation. Automation is a crucial part of every drip campaign. The automation element is what eliminates any need for constant control and management of sending on your side.

Depending on the tool you’re using you can automate the whole outreach from lead generation to campaign sending using. Make sure you use a one-in-all cold outreach automation tool for that.

How to use drip campaigns: cold and warm campaigns

All drip campaigns can be divided into two types – cold and warm.

Cold drip campaigns are email campaigns that are sent to cold leads with the only goal – to nurture and turn them warm or sales-ready. Cold drip campaigns are usually sent to smaller email lists that are pre-generated by either marketers or salespeople.

Drip campaigns like this mostly use timing preferences or basic triggers like email opened/CTA clicked or not. Cold drip campaigns can contain reminders, follow-ups, educational content, invitations to events. The main goal of a cold drip campaign is to lead a person to some action – requesting a demo or a consultation, registering for a webinar, or expressing their interest in the product or service in any other way.

Warm drip campaigns are email campaigns that are sent to registered users, opt-in subscribers or members. Warm drip campaigns can be sent to a bigger audience.

Warm campaigns are also more personalized and targeted because you can gather information about your users or subscribers when they sign up (including their actions on your platform) or opt-in. Drip campaigns of this kind can use many more parameters, triggers, and personalization – it all depends on the marketing flow.

For example, you can create two drip campaigns – the first one pushes the user to register, and then, when they are already active, the second drip campaign nurtures them to an actual purchase of the product or service. Same with subscribers – you engage them with content delivered through drip campaigns, and then, when they are hot, you convert them into a user or a client with a different drip campaign.

Email drip campaigns can be used for almost any marketing or sales scenario, and, as you can see, perfectly replace outdated bulk email campaigns.

Try launching an email drip campaign yourself, it’s completely free for up to 100 recipients.

This article has been updated in April 2019

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