Drip Marketing: 17 Ways You Can Improve Your Drip Campaigns

By February 17, 2015 Email Marketing

It’s frustrating, isn’t it?17 drip marketing campaign tips

I mean, you spend so much time trying to get new people to sign up.

You’re moving mountains trying to get noticed.

And when they finally do join, you realize the real work is only beginning.

Now you have to wine ’em, dine ’em, and make sure they’re having a good time.

And you’ll have to do it over and over and over again.

That is, if you’re not using drip campaigns.

You see, a good drip campaign could do all these things for you.

It could show people around, tell them how stuff works, and even help out when they’re stuck.

All while you’re focusing on the things that matter.

With drip marketing, you can finally work ON your business instead of IN your business.

That one vowel makes a big difference.

In this article we’ll look at ways to get the most out of your drip campaigns.

You’ll learn:

  • How to find out what your customers want, so you can tailor your drip campaign to them
  • How to keep people interested in your campaigns.
  • How to avoid a deadly mistake that could ruin the whole thing
  • How to increase your conversion rates
  • Much more

Let’s get started

Bonus: This article comes with a free, easy to use checklist so you can reference these tips later on. Click Here if you want to grab it for free.

1.Use user behavior to trigger drip campaigns

Triggered email messages get 119% higher click-through rates than “business as usual” emails (source)

But what does it mean to use behavior as a trigger?

Let’s say you run a software company and someone visits your website, signs up for a trial, and doesn’t do anything else. That could be a trigger for a series of tips that helps them through the process.

This doesn’t limit itself to software, though. You could send people an email if they add something to their cart but don’t buy.

In fact, you can make it as complicated as you want.

Triggered email allows you to send the right email at the right time.

Now, there are a dozen different email programs out there that all have different ways of setting them up. Most  basic email programs allow you to create a simple form of behavioral email. Other, more specialized apps like Vero, give you a lot more options to tie your drip campaign into specific user actions.

If this is the first time, I suggest you simply start out by mapping out where triggered messages could be used

step 1. Map out all the actions your customer needs to take to “convert”.

for example: Visit website – sign up for freebie – click link in promotional email – begin checkout – complete checkout.

Step 2. See where a drip campaign can add additional value.

Let’s say that in our example our visitor visits our product page. We could start sending him helpful tips that complement our product (if they bought), and remind them of our product (if they didn’t buy).

This is obviously a very basic example, but it gets you started.


2.Make sure your emails are readable without images

Over the last few years, companies have started sending out HTML emails. While they look nice, they bring with them a whole new set of problems.

One of them is that some email clients block images by default.. For example, I use Thunderbird as my email client, which doesn’t show images by default.

This is an email I got from a Dutch airline.

email without alt text

Without images – with images

They obviously spend a ton of time making sure their emails look nice. Without the images, however, all their hard work goes down the drain.

The problem with this email is that the alt text (the text that shows up when the images don’t) doesn’t tell me why I should care. It just says “order now”.

In their defense, they did show their deals in plain text later on in the email, but you have to actively look for it. Ideally, you want to immediately show your reader what’s in it for them.

Here’s an example of an email that is optimized to the max.

Really, this is INSANE.

Pizza Express email with alt tags

With images – without images. Jesus Christ that must have taken a long time

Even though the images aren’t showing you can still see the message. Recreating the guy with HTML tables probably is a bit overkill, but it sure looks amazing.


3.Use mini surveys in your welcome email to gain valuable feedback

A good drip marketing campaign is tailored to its reader’s needs.

To do this, you’ll first need to know what goes on inside their heads.

You can use a simple one-question survey in your welcome email to find out. The key is to ask one specific question. If you ask too much you’re not going to get many replies back.

I suggest you ask a question like “What’s your biggest frustration with (subject) right now”.

Here’s an example from Robbie Richards

Robbie Richards welcome email

Easy as hell to implement, but it can get give you valuable insights.


4.Use bullet points to quickly tell people why they should care

Right up there with headlines, bullet points are one of the strongest weapons in a copywriter’s toolbox.

Not because they have some magical ability. They’re cool because…

  • They make things easier to read
  • They stand out
  • They stop people from skimming your email

In short, they’re awesome because they allow you to quickly and clearly convey value.

Note: your ability to write great bullet points will depend heavily on your ability to write great headlines. Here’s an example of from an email from Bryan Harris over at videofruit.

Videofruit bulletpoint example

These type of bullet points are what copywriters call “external fascinations” (hooray for complicated terminology!).

They’re mini-headlines that urge you to take action. In this case, to click the link.

Let’s look a little closer at one of the bullet points Bryan wrote. “The step-by-step strategy you can use to instantly double the effective size of your email list by tomorrow morning”

There’s a couple of important things going on here.

  • It would work as a headline for an article – Like I said earlier, good bullet points are like mini-headlines
  • It’s useful – It has one big benefit in it. Who doesn’t want to double their email list?
  • It’s really specific – Expressions like “step-by-step” and “tomorrow morning” work really well. It tells readers exactly what they can expect from clicking the link.

Adding urgency to it would have made it even more effective, but he made up for it with the other bullet points.

Really though, practice writing headlines.


5.Use different opt-in offers to figure out what people want

This is another way of getting to know your readers.

The way this works is that you offer different freebies in exchange for their email address. When they do, they’ll get tagged and you’ll know that they’re interested in what you have to offer. Here at Conversionbase, you might have noticed that I put up post-specific downloads (aka content upgrades). Here’s how it looks in Mailchimp

Mailchimp Tagging Example

I use Leadpages and mailchimp to get this done.

Here’s how to set it up yourself.  You can do the same thing in Aweber or any other email provider, you just need to be able to create custom fields.

step 1) Log into mailchimp, select your list and go to settings -> List fields and *|MERGE|* tags

Mailchimp Setting

Step 2)Create a new hidden text field.

The different categories are just text fields that are hidden.  When someone downloads something, it automatically fills in the word “yes”

Mailchimp Merge tag

Step 3) Create a leadbox.

Go to leadpages, click leadboxes and create a new one.

Step 4) Put the word “Yes” in the hidden field when they download.

Under “hidden form fields” click advanced setting and check the hidden field you’ve just created.  Also, if you click the hidden field (in this case “example”), you can set the default text the field is going to be populated with.  

Leadpages Tagging

Now every time you use that leadbox and someone downloads your freebie they’ll get tagged. Doing this allows you to have greater control over who receives certain messages. The more targeted you can get the better.


6.Use loads of landing pages

Landing pages are a powerful tool that’s often overlooked.

Even though many people have heard of using landing pages, not a lot of companies use them. A good landing page should only have one clear goal so you can tailor it perfectly to your customer’s needs.

One of the most important things when you’re sending your email subscribers to a landing page is consistency. If you talk about golf in your email, then talk about golf in your landing page. There shouldn’t be any confusion going on. Here’s a good example of what I mean.

Here’s the email

Productivitypack email

and it points to this landing page

Productivity Pack Landing Page

If you want to check out the full landing page, click here

Both the email and the landing page are pretty good. A couple of notes:

  • They’re both crystal clear
  • They’re consistent
  • They both have one clear call to action


7.Create a free email course to gain more subscribers and deepen the relationship

An email course can be an extremely powerful way to both get new email subscribers and to deepen the relationship with existing readers.

And it’s just a basic drip campaign.

An example of such a course is Email1k. The goal of it is to help you double your email list. It does so with the help of different experts. One talks about creating good content, the other about optimization, another one talks about how to create giveaways. In the meantime, it promotes a free marketing tool, Sumome. They show you how it can help you double your email list.

The thing is, it’s not new content.

All the things mentioned in the course have already been talked about by one of the experts. They put their existing content in a nice package and gave it away.

Email1k Course



8.Create multiple drip campaigns to deepen the relationship even further

Soooo, your drip campaign is finished…now what?

If you have multiple products or services, you could cross promote your campaigns.

For example. Let’s say you have a campaign that talks about how to train your dog. Near the end of that campaign, you can offer people another freebie that gets them on another one.

 Drip Campaign Cross Promotion

This allows you to keep building a relationship with your subscribers.

On thing to look out for is that you don’t offer them 5 other things at once. You don’t want to start spamming people with autoresponders.


9.Introduce new readers to older, proven content

The problem with creating content on a regular basis is that the old content gets buried under the new.

All the hard work you’ve put in months ago is being neglected.

Unless you keep promoting it.

Drip campaigns can help you get your old content some new traffic.

You can do this by either just straight up sending your old content to your subscribers or you could link to one of your articles when you’re writing a new post.

Another way is to introduce people to your best content when they sign up.

Promoting old content



10.Use non-openers to test different headlines

Your email list is the most important traffic tool you’ve got.

It holds your most engaged and loyal readers. Like every email list, not everybody is going to read your content.

It sucks, but that’s just the way it is.

This gives us a sweet opportunity to test the effectiveness of our subject line.

A week after our initial message, we can segment the people who didn’t open our email and send them the same content with a different headline.

This is a bit controversial because it sounds like you’re going to spam the crap out of them.

You’ve got to remember that they didn’t open the first email, so they won’t know it’s the same content.


11.Create open loops to keep them hooked

Open loops are a  good way to keep people interested in what’s coming. TV shows use this all the time.

While one story line closes, they open up another one that will be closed in the next episode.

This keeps you watching their show. Drip marketing can be the same way. You can tell people how you did something and tell them how you did it in the next email. Here’s an example from Brian Dean from Backlinko.  

Backlinko Open Loops

When you first read this email you have no idea what CSM and VCM is. You know it’s something Brian used to build his blog (with great success), but you have no idea what it is and you’ll have to wait until next week to find out.

Opening loops at its finest.

So what are some ways you can create loops? Here are a few ideas to get you going:

  • Promise a case study
  • Tell them about a technique you’ve had success with
  • Talk about a problem you had and tell them you’ll explain how you solved it later on.


12.Write for an audience of one

One of the strengths of email is that it feels very personal.

When you use Facebook or Twitter you know you’re part of a group. Everybody’s competing for each other’s attention.

An email, however, is sent to you.  The worst thing you can do is get in the way of that feeling by using expressions like “our customers” or “all of you”. You and I. Just use “you” and “I”. When you do you’re capitalizing on that feeling of being personal.

You’ll get a lot more engagement if you do this.

13.Use stories to draw people in

I used to hate history classes in school.

Every week we had to go through two hours of boring numbers and events.

In 1302 this happened. In 1695 that happened.

It was so mind-numbingly boring most of us had trouble keeping our eyes open.

When I switched schools a couple of years later, I met a history teacher that changed everything.

He didn’t just throw facts at us.

When we were learning about the Egyptians, he would tell stories of how he got lost in Cairo. When we were learning about the world wars, he would tell stories about how his family tried to flee from occupied Belgium. When he was talking about the cold war he would tell stories how he traveled to Eastern Germany.

And we were glued to his lips.

Instead of falling asleep, we couldn’t wait to hear more.

He instilled in us a deep appreciation for history. An appreciation that lasts to this day.

That’s the power of stories. It draws people in and keeps them interested.

In this awesome article, Leo Widrich from Buffer explains what happens to our brains when we listen to stories. Here’s a quick excerpt

When we are being told a story things change dramatically, according to researchers in Spain. Not only are the language processing parts in our brain activated, but any other area in our brain that we would use when experiencing the events of the story are too.

People don’t just read stories, they experience them.

So when you’re creating your drip campaigns, add in any stories you have. Add a story of how you got started. Add a story of the problems you faced and how you conquered them. Add a story of how you completely screwed up.


14.Create urgency and scarcity to beat procrastination

The problem with having a product that’s available all the time is that it’s valued less than a product that’s only available for a limited amount of time (source).

People want things they can’t get. Having it available all the time gives people the chance to think about it for too long.

But there’s a right and a wrong way to create scarcity.

If you’re selling an ebook, supply is basically unlimited. Using scarcity would make you look like a liar in that case.

If you run a course or coaching program that requires quite a bit of time on your end, you CAN use scarcity.

Having too many people on a coaching program can make you spread too thin.

In that case it’s perfectly fine to tell people you’re only going to take on 5 clients.

In other cases, it makes more sense to use urgency.

Think about infomercials. A lot of them offer you a free product if you buy in the next 20 minutes. That time limit forces you to make a decision.

Urgency Example

You can use tools like Leadpages or  CountdownMonkey to create timers.


15.Optimize for mobile

By the end of 2018, worldwide mobile email users are expected to total over 2.2 billion. By this time, 80% of email users are expected to access their email accounts via a mobile device. (hubspot)

As you can guess it’s going to become more and more important to optimize your efforts for mobile users.

We’re still a long way off, though. Just check out this sobering stat:

Only 11.84% of newsletters use responsive design techniques to optimize their layouts for mobile devices. (hubspot)

So It’s all good and well that we should optimize for mobile, but what does it actually mean?

And more importantly, how can we do it?

The most important thing to realize is that mobile gives you waaay less space to make a good first impression. Headlines are even more important on mobile than they already are on desktop. The second thing that’s really important is your first sentence.

Mobile email example

This limited space means we have to be very strategic with what we put first. A couple of other things we need to pay attention to are:

  • The images should be big enough to see properly on mobile
  • Buttons should be big enough
  • Text should be spaced out enough to make it easily readable
  • Using responsive templates


16.Use a real email address

There’s no better way to let people know they’re just a wallet than having a email address that says “No-reply@company.com”

Really makes you feel like a valued human being, doesn’t it?

When you’re a large company, I can understand you don’t want to get swamped with email.

The thing is, it can help you build a lot of engagement.

In a podcast with lifestyle academy, Danny Iny from Firepole Marketing explains how a simple gesture like answering people’s emails helped him build a large following.

Whenever you use a no-reply address, you’re:

  • Missing chances to get valuable feedback from customers
  • Missing chances to clean up your email list (some people won’t click the unsubscribe button but will ask you to remove them)
  • Setting yourself up for a bunch of spam complaints
  • Showing them your relationship with them is purely a one way street


17.Show less options to increase your conversion rate

The more choices we get the less we choose (source)

Especially nowadays we’re bombarded with different offers.

We live in a time where pretty much anything is possible. Yet, since we have so many choices, the fear of missing out becomes bigger and bigger and we have a harder time choosing something.

This can also happen with drip campaigns. If you send an email that offers 5 things at the time, chances are they aren’t going to be able to choose.

In the end, choosing is painful. You have to decide what option you’re going to go with and, inevitably, what option you’re going to leave behind.

Here’s an example of an email with too many options


Costco email example

This is only a part of it. It goes on like this for ages

There are so many things in this email that are trying to stand out that, in the end, nothing stands out.

In this case it would be better to pick one amazing product and promote the hell out of it using a good landing page.

If you combine this with the behavioural emails that we’ve talk about before, you can create an incredibly powerful system.

For example, when people visit a certain product on your ecommerce store but they don’t buy, you can send them a very targeted email a couple of days later, reminding them of the product they just watched

A good way of describing it is what the guys over at Vero call the inverted pyramid method

In short, you’re putting an image that catches attention on top, copy that supports the image in the middle, and a clear call to action at the bottom.

Here’s a good example from Helpscout



Helpscout inverted pyramid

Big image at the top, copy in the middle and a clear CTA at the bottom


Using this inverted pyramid method gives you a very simple and clear email.

Here’s the next step

These 17 tips will help you create better drip campaigns. Pick one and start applying it. You can quickly reference the other tips by downloading the checklist. Here’s what I want you to do now:

  • Let me know in the comments if there’s something I missed
  • Download the checklist by clicking the image below


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