Email Etiquette & Must-Haves: A Guide To Email Campaign Best Practices

A Complete Guide To Drip Campaigns: 
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

Sending a campaign is a lot like going to a dinner party: you have to make sure you dress appropriately, bring something to the party that people will find either entertaining or useful, and, of course, observe basic etiquette

These simple points will help you send the best campaign you can. Let’s explore.


1. Respect is in the details
2. Timing is of the essence
3. Base campaigns on recipient behavior
4. Stay friendly and neutral
5. Individual approach
6. Give people the right to unsubscribe
7. Consider the big picture
8. Does etiquette really matter that much?

1. Respect is in the details

Email drip campaigns work great as long as you show respect to the recipients.

Email etiquette

Respectfulness comes in many forms, but these are a few aspects you should pay close attention to:

  • Always allow people to unsubscribe from your list or give them an option to leave the sequence of emails for this particular campaign. Add an unsubscribe link, or exclude that recipient manually if they request so.
  • Respond to all communication, both positive and negative, but especially negative. You must react fast and respond to any message, complaint or inquiry received. Once you receive a message, handle it personally. If you are sending a campaign to cold leads, fast communication is the key to success.
  • Pre-test every email – make sure you’re using the right writing style, correct grammar and spelling. Check that the personalization works properly and the name, job position and any other personal data you’re using is displayed correctly.
  • Treat every recipient as an opportunity. It’s not a bulk campaign, keep that in mind!

2. Timing is of the essence

The second key aspect that makes a good email drip campaign is timing. There are two sides to timing – first, when an email is delivered in the day (basic timing) and, secondly, the intervals between emails.

The timing of your emails is just as important as the content of your email campaign. Timing should be set up when building an email sequence, with the number of emails and the content both affecting the timing.

Email etiquette

For basic timing, you should consider the time zone and the schedule of the buyer persona. For example, the messages can be delivered at 10 AM recipient time, right after they come to work, so as to catch them when they are most open and attentive. Try to avoid messaging people on weekends – respect their private time.

As we’ve mentioned, intervals between messages depend on the email sequence. It is a massive yet common mistake to send 2 emails a day if you haven’t received a reply, just as it is wrong to send daily follow-ups. Make the intervals look natural, imagine you are sending each individual email manually. This will help you decide what the natural intervals for this campaign might be.

Here’s a quick example of a good sequence timing:

Email sequence

If the drip campaign is based on the user’s interaction with the products on your website, make sure you send the messages on time while the user still remembers their own actions. It also makes no sense to congratulate a user on an achievement or a milestone reached in the service days after the fact – do it while they’re hot!

Related: 75 Email Marketing Statistics You Should Know About In 2019

3. Base campaigns on recipient behavior

Reflect user’s behavior in your emails using triggers. Triggers can be set according to your preferences. As a rule, drip campaign tools offer a few options: the recipient opened the email or clicked the link.

Email etiquette

Additionally, you can set the time the system has to wait until the next email is sent, either in hours or days, even after the trigger is activated. This feature is the delay. It helps space out emails evenly instead of bombarding the prospect with consecutive emails every time the trigger is activated. This way the leads’ inboxes don’t turn into the Augean stables and you won’t come across as a spammer.

4. Stay friendly and neutral

This is a crucial part of drip campaigns, which, when done right, makes the campaign look so natural that you want to respond to it right away. Once you make the campaigns feel friendly, you will master the drip approach.

Email etiquette

For best reply and conversion rates, keep the following in mind:

  • Use friendly communication style – it works better than a corporate one. Always imagine you are speaking to an ordinary person just like yourself. Keep the conversation genuine and simple.
  • Stay polite – don’t use excessive slang or cuss words. Keep all emails nice and clean, like a conversation with a good old friend (but not the best friend). Don’t lose your politeness if you receive a negative or aggressive reply. Apologize and move on.
  • Keep it short – don’t try to throw all the information you have into a single email. You have a whole sequence for that! Keep the emails as short as possible, nobody likes reading long salesy emails. My advice is to keep it under 500 characters.
  • Don’t sell – use drip campaigns to create effective communication. You will only scare away a potential customer with a sales offer in the very first email. Offer a consultation, a business conversation, share valuable content, educate each other, but don’t sell! You will have a chance to sell later in the sequence.
  • Don’t overload the email with attachments and distractions – multiple links, questions, CTAs, and attachments will only make the recipient lose their focus. The good practice is to have 1 question/link per email – this will keep the recipient focused on what you want from them and won’t get them overwhelmed by choices.

5. Individual approach

Personalization is what makes the drip campaign stand out from all the bulk email messages in the recipients’ inbox. Focus greatly on personalization of the messages, including both the subject line and the body.

Email etiquette

It’s a good practice to personalize email drip campaigns with not just the name, but also with any other additional info you have. Let’s be honest, a name in an email doesn’t leave an impression as profound as it could in 2012 anymore. Here is an example of what you can personalize the emails with besides the recipient’s name:

  • Their company’s name and recent achievement/milestone
  • Their job, including praise on their work in the position
  • Their industry, including the latest news or changes (that you can later connect to your offer)
  • Name of their product, including questions or comments about it
  • The name of the product they’ve taken interest in with a genuine offer of help, demo, or consultation (if the email is triggered by the user’s behavior)

The more parameters for personalization you have, the more natural and unique the email message will look, and the better it will perform.

Deeper personalization improves open and click-through rates dramatically, making drip campaigns even more effective. So once you’ve built your sequence and thought through the timing, think about personalization.

6. Give people the right to unsubscribe

Respect comes in many forms, and giving a choice is one of them.
When you don’t offer your recipients a choice to unsubscribe, you’re not just potentially breaking international email laws, you’re showing blatant disrespect to the recipient.

unsubscribe gif

Of course, there are a couple of ways you can let people opt out:

  • Add the unsubscribe link. This way is easy to implement, monitor and analyze. Most email senders will allow you to add an unsubscribe link into individual emails or all emails sent from your sender account. You can even try adding it to your email signature.
  • Add a note. You can avoid using a direct unsubscribe link by simply writing something along the lines of “If you don’t want to receive emails from me anymore, please reply to this email”. This option will look more natural in cold emails.

When you let people unsubscribe you show people you value their opinion over your need to contact them, and the recipients will appreciate it. Besides, this lets you avoid the spam complaints, and, of course, violating the aforementioned email laws. Stay safe and respectful.

7. Consider the big picture

Email drip campaign approach is based on sequences of email messages sent to the right person at the right time. The most important word here is a sequence.

You should always pay attention to the whole sequence of emails – what it consists of, how many messages you have, what the goal of the whole sequence is. Make sure every piece of the email sequence improves it and is connected to the previous one naturally.

Email etiquette

The sequence can be based on triggers and/or timing. It’s highly important to double-check that it works as a sequence – one email after another, with every email making perfect sense in relation to the previous one and the goals.

It’s easier to imagine drip campaigns as a natural flow of building a friendship – you start with a “Hello!” and proceed, one step at a time, to reach the goal of establishing an effective conversation.

Does etiquette really matter that much?

No matter how good your drip campaign is, unless you observe basic email etiquette, your campaign will not bring value or convert. The goal is to create a campaign that is flawless and intriguing.

Individual approach, even when automated, can pay off. According to the latest email marketing statistics, 88% of users are more likely to respond to an email favorably if it looks like it’s been created specifically for them. Use personalization to make your prospects feel valued.

Try launching a highly-converting automated email campaign now! Try Email Drip Campaigns for free ?

This article has been updated in April 2019


  1. Finally, I’ve found a complete set of guides on drip emails!
    Helen, thank you so much for this article in particular. However, I’ve got a question regarding the issue of an individual approach and personalization. How can I have all that information on leads?

    1. Thank you, Meghan!
      It’s pretty easy to get the necessary information on your leads to approach them in a truly personal way.
      You can use our Email Finder as it detects all the data that is on open access. So you will have not only the emails and names of people but other relevant data that will help you realize an individual approach in your drip emails.

      Check out our extension here:

  2. Nice to see someone finally mention the importance of timing. Would love to see a detailed guide on that in the future. Keep up the good work, guys!

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