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I know how much time and effort you put into building your email subscriber list.

But growing that list is only half the battle.

Now that you have a way to contact these subscribers, you need to make sure your messages trigger a response.

I’ve seen many companies having success with adding customers to their email lists but struggling with the content portion of their email marketing strategy.

Simply put, they don’t know what to write in their emails or when to send them out.

Each message you send needs to be carefully calculated.

Timing is everything.

That’s why I love to use drip campaigns to elicit an action from the recipient.

If you’ve never heard of a drip campaign or haven’t used one, I’ll cover the basics before we move forward.

Drip campaigns are sometimes called:

  • automated email campaigns
  • auto-responders
  • life cycle emails
  • automated email campaigns

Automation is the key term associated with this technique.

Drip campaigns are a series of emails that get sent to subscribers in a predetermined order.

Although it may sound simple, this email strategy is highly beneficial to your marketing strategy.

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Drip campaigns are commonly used to communicate to new subscribers or someone who made a purchase but didn’t join your email list yet, but you can use them at any time.

I’ll give you some tips about the best uses of drip campaigns and show you how to create one.

Here’s what you need to know.

Focus on personalization

Although drip campaigns are automated, you don’t want your message to come across that way.

Subscribers want to hear from you, not some computer.

Make sure your emails don’t sound like cut-and-paste or cookie-cutter templates (even though they might be).

I’m sure you’ve received emails that start with

Dear valued customer,

That’s boring.

You won’t get any actionable response from someone if they don’t even finish reading the message because they got bored.

After the message gets sent, the subscriber needs to:

  1. receive it
  2. open the email
  3. understand the content
  4. identify the call to action
  5. complete that specific action

Personalization can help you accomplish these things.

Marketing experts agree this is an effective tactic:

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Automating your email responses doesn’t mean you should ignore best marketing practices.

A recent study from OneSpot and the Relevancy Group showed personalized emails positively impacted:

  • open rates
  • click rates
  • conversion rates
  • average order amount

Pairing that strategy with your drip campaign is a no brainer.

Use the recipient’s first name within the body of the email.

Try personalizing the subject line as well.

You don’t have to always use their name to accomplish this.

Here’s what I mean.

Which one of these two subject lines sounds more appealing?

“A special offer for a loyal customer.”


“I’ve got a special offer for you.”

The second choice is the clear winner.

It’s personalized from the sender (I) as well as the recipient (you).

You should also end each message with a personalized signature.

Here’s a great example from Ian Blair at BuildFire:

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Ending a message this way will remind the reader it’s coming from an actual person—not an automated computer system.

It’s more effective than saying

Sincerely, The Management Team.”

The email sender field should also come from your personal email address as opposed to [email protected].

Here’s what the sender field looks like in that last example:

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Implement these personalized touches in each email to get a more actionable response from your drip campaign.

Use a drip strategy to grow your email list

You can actually use a series of automated messages to add subscribers to your email list.

I know what you’re thinking.

How is it possible to send someone my drip campaign if they aren’t already on my email list?

Well, it’s possible.

This method works particularly well for ecommerce sites.

Customers can purchase something from your website without signing up for emails.

It’s the perfect opportunity to send them triggered emails so they complete an action.

In this case, the action would be joining your subscriber list.

Here’s how you do it.

Take a look at this part of the checkout process from Lululemon:

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Entering an email address is required for customers to complete the purchase.


The company wants to send you updates about your order.

If the customer unchecks the box that signs them up for promotional emails, these order updates can double as a drip campaign.

Here’s the sequence of messages:

  1. order confirmed
  2. package shipped
  3. items delivered
  4. follow-up

You have four opportunities to get this person to opt in to receive future emails.

Just make sure you execute this drip in a timely fashion.

The order confirmation message should get sent instantaneously.

Have a clear call to action in this message that entices the recipient to join your subscriber list.

Discounts work well.

For example, you could offer them 25% off their next purchase if they join your list.

Even if they don’t do this yet, don’t worry.

You still have three other opportunities to get them to subscribe.

Stick to the script.

Update them on their order status, and remind them about the benefits of your subscriber list.

Remember, you have their name, so don’t be afraid to use it.

As we discussed earlier, adding a personalized touch can help with your conversion rates.

If you’re using a service like MailChimp to contact subscribers, you can create a survey directly on their platform.

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Take advantage of that resource with the fourth message of this drip series.

Ask for the customer’s feedback.

Were they satisfied with the order process?

Was it delivered in a timely fashion?

Are they happy with the performance of the product?

Most importantly, don’t forget to pitch your subscriber list.

This is your final chance to get the customer to opt in.

It’s also a great way to enhance the customer experience, and it shows you’re constantly trying to make improvements.

Send a welcome message to new subscribers

Drips are also effective once you’ve added subscribers to your list.

In fact, the first messages new subscribers get should be in a drip sequence.

Once someone joins your list, you should automatically send them a welcome message.

Set up your double opt-in landing pages the same way.

You can take your welcome message one step further and increase the personalization of future email content.

Here’s what I mean.

Let your subscribers choose what kinds of emails they want to receive.

Do they want promotional messages like flash sales and other discounts?

What about notifications whenever you launch a new product?

Or maybe they just want to receive your newsletter?

Ideally, they want to receive all of the above, but let them decide with your welcome message.

The Drip email marketing service allows you to set this up with a triggered link.

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But I’m sure whatever software you’re currently using has a similar feature.

Here’s an example of what the message would look like:

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What the customer clicks on will determine the rest of the drip sequence.

This keeps all their messages relevant, improving your unsubscribe rate.

They won’t think they’re receiving any irrelevant messages since they are getting exactly what they asked for.

It’s perfect.

The CTA should still be similar in each drip sequence.

Having consistency will help drive the actionable response you’re trying to get from these messages.

Building a drip campaign

Now that you know the basics of drip campaigns, it’s time to create one.

You can do this with your current email marketing software.

Although the wording may slightly vary depending on your service provider, these are the basic steps you’ll need to take.

I’ll use HubSpot’s platform in this example since their navigation is user friendly and easy to understand.

Step #1: Go to the “Productivity” tab, and select “Campaigns”:

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The “Marketing Dashboard” is basically your homepage from the user side of the platform.

Step #2: Create a new campaign:

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Here, you’ll see any previous marketing campaigns or pending messages.

Click on “Create a new campaign” in the top right corner of the screen.

Step #3: Select a template:

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For our purposes, we’ll select the template builder and email options.

Once your template is customized, you can start working on the content of the message.

Remember the points we talked about earlier.


Keep your message short and to the point.

The CTA should be the focal point of this message if you’re trying to elicit a specific user action, whatever that may be.

The tone of your message should reflect that goal.

Step #4: Schedule for automation:

image10 6

Now you can step up the frequency of your message.

For example, you’ll want to make sure your welcome message gets sent to a new subscriber right away as opposed to a day or two later.

Setting up a drip campaign isn’t difficult.

The process is very similar to how you’re currently using your email marketing software.

You’re just not going to send out each campaign individually.

Set it up, and let the triggered response drip the sequence depending on the subscriber’s preference.

Measure your success

Automated messages don’t mean you can just set your campaign and forget about it.

You still need to track your results to see whether each drip campaign was successful or not.

Look at the basics like:

  • open rates
  • click rates
  • bounce rates
  • conversion rates
  • unsubscribe rates

Conversions will be the true measure of the success of each campaign.

While the other factors will help contribute to that number, the conversion has to be your ultimate goal.

Take a look at the possible paths an email can take after you send it out:

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Measuring your results can help you determine what factors are preventing the recipient from converting.

For example, your open rates may be high, but click rates could be low.

Make the necessary adjustments.

Try to reposition your CTA or change the wording to entice an action.

This is a great opportunity for you to start A/B testing your email messages.


Drip campaigns are an effective way to improve your existing email marketing strategy.

It’s easy for you to set up as well.

Even though your subscribers are getting an automated response, it’s important the message doesn’t come across as automated.

Use the personalization tips outlined above, like using the subscriber’s first name and sending the message from your personal email address.

This will help you get more conversions.

While welcome messages are one of my favorite ways to start a drip campaign, you can also use drip emails for people who haven’t subscribed to your email list yet.

Just send them updates when they buy something from your ecommerce store.

Once your campaigns go live, keep track of the results to measure your success.

Make any changes to get optimal results from each campaign.

What kind of personalized CTA will you use in your next drip campaign?

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