Emails are the meat on the bones of a drip campaign. The type of email you use and its part in the flow determine the purpose of the campaign and how successful it will be. To build a great email sequence, you first need to decide on your goals.
We’ll focus on the main types of email sequences, from cold outreach to user campaigns, show you examples of email sequence flows per every type, and take a look at the most common types of emails used in email drip campaigns.
- Types of drip email sequences
- Main elements of an email sequence
- How varied should my email sequence be?
Types of drip email sequences
There are hundreds of different types of drip email sequences each with its own purpose. They can be driving a user from registration to a notable action in your service, pushing active users to a purchase, nurturing blog readers, and much more. You can make an email sequence for any purpose – your imagination and business goals are the limit.
It’s impossible to mention every email sequence possible but we can break them into 3 main types:
- Cold campaigns
Targeted at your perfect potential clients whom you can actually help but who are not familiar with the product.
- Subscriber mailings
Email campaigns targeted at subscribers who are not yet your users.
- User campaigns
Multipurpose campaigns targeted at your user base.
Some companies use leads generated organically only. Many B2B companies, however, use cold emailing to help their perfect audience discover their product. This kind of campaign is the most difficult, requires the most preparations, and is usually the shortest.
You only have one shot with your leads, so you need to make sure the leads are actually interested in the product and you’ll be able to satisfy their requirements. The emails must be super-targeted, including custom personalization like the leads’ unique interests and achievements. Your offer should be good enough for leads to not send you straight into the Spam folder.
Download our 10 Cold Email Formulas ebook to find out more about how to create a converting cold email copy.
A cold email campaign can be used for the following purposes:
✔️ Sharing e-books, guides or research with the relevant audience
✔️ Finding new partners and affiliates
✔️ Starting a conversation to get feedback
✔️ Establishing connections with influencers and field leaders
✔️ Inviting speakers and attendees to offline events
✔️ Inviting a relevant audience to a webinar
✔️ Offering a demo of the product or service
✔️ Running link-building campaigns
The goal of the first email is to either start a conversation or to grab the lead. Both scenarios, if successful, then drive to nurturing the lead and helping them convert according to the main goal.
Here’s an example of the flow. Let’s imagine the goal is to invite a lead to an offline event and receive a positive reply.
Drip campaigns for subscribers is a must-have for every corporate blog and media website, offline event page, webinars page, podcast service and so on. Subscriber campaigns are usually run by marketers, not sales. Such campaigns are meant to nurture an audience into becoming users/clients.
Subscriber mailings are very different from cold campaigns. Once a person has subscribed to your newsletter, you can safely say they are your target audience and they’re enjoying the valuable content you’re providing, and that means trust. And it’s so much easier to convert with trust.
The main goals are the following:
✔️ Make subscribers share your content
✔️ Share a valuable piece of content
✔️ Invite subscribers to the product demo
✔️ Invite subscribers to an offline event
✔️ Distribute a special offer for subscribers only
✔️ Nurture subscribers into users or clients
For best results, let the subscriber control the mailings via an opt-in form. Give them an option to chose the frequency (daily, weekly, monthly) and the content (relevant articles, webinar announcements, special deals, etc.).
Here is an example of the flow. Let’s imagine the subscriber opted in for a weekly all-content newsletter, and the goal is to make the subscriber purchase a special deal on an Email Finder tool.
You can use in-app messages, phone calls, and even SMS marketing to interact with users. However, email drip campaigns are the best and the most efficient nurturing method, allowing users to learn more about the product and the industry before making the final decision.
With drip campaigns, you can lead users from one step to another. Every time a simple goal is met, the next drip campaign starts and leads the user further.
Here are the main goals:
✔️ Educate users on how to use the product or service
✔️ Convert a newly registered user into an active user
✔️ Score a user and check whether they are eligible to become a client
✔️ Invite a user to a demo session with a support specialist or a sales representative
✔️ Invite a user to a webinar or any other event
✔️ Make user leave a positive review, testimonial or case study
✔️ Sell product or service through a special offer or one-of-a-kind deal
✔️ Retain existing paying users
✔️ Upsell additional features or services
The main idea is to convert a user from a newly registered beginner to an educated user, and later to a client. Then, retain and make them stay with the company for as long as possible, upsell and retain again, maximizing their LTV.
These flows, just like the subscriber mailings, are infinite – they should come at an exact time preferred by the user (weekly/monthly, etc) until they unsubscribe. Let’s imagine your goal is to sell a new feature. Here’s how you can start the flow:
Main elements of an email sequence
Every drip campaign will differ depending on the goal, business type, product, etc., but there are elements of email sequences that are common for every campaign.
We won’t be covering newsletters, as those are usually pretty straightforward. Instead, let’s focus on more complicated copies.
Initial cold email
The first email of the email sequence for both users and subscribers should radiate friendliness and helpfulness. In a cold mailing campaign, initial email should contain all the information a recipient might need to make a decision. In either case, make the recipient feel important, appreciated, and in control.
Cold follow-up email
Cold follow-ups should provoke the recipient to answer. Ask a question the recipient can answer to make them engage. Keep it short.
This email can and should be used in every type of drip campaigns. Special, relevant, evergreen content is a great way to position yourself as an expert and provide value for the recipient. You can educate with all kinds of content – articles, videos, PDFs, webinars, etc.
Content emails can be, and often are, used as reminders. It’s good to give before you take. Here’s an example of a quick subscriber/user campaign content email. You can also use HTML templates in email drip campaigns if you prefer colorful newsletters.
An invitation email is a good way to pre-convert. You can invite people to both online events (webinars, online demo with an expert), and offline events (exhibitions, forums, seminars). It’s a great way to get more info about the person you’re selling to and actually have a real conversation. When used in subscriber or user campaigns, it’s a chance to convert from one stage to another.
Special deal/offer email
Special deals and offers should be used to convert warm subscribers, bypassing the demo session with a sales rep or an expert. This saves time and can even turn viral if your deal is good enough.
Goodbye emails for subscribers and users should be something of a polite and familiar “We’re sad to see you go”. Give users an opportunity to leave feedback as well.
For cold campaigns, a goodbye email should leave an open opportunity for the recipient.
How varied should my email sequence be?
Please approach sequence building as seriously as you can. Create a sequence you yourself wouldn’t mind receiving – add valuable content, send great offers, and do your best to ignite interest and provide value to the recipient.
Despite what you might think, leads know when you’re half-assing it. But if you give it your all, the results won’t keep you waiting.
This article has been updated in April 2019