When I first built my email list, I was ready to create some drip campaigns. Just one little problem: I didn’t know what to say. I felt like a salesperson with this perfect prospect, but I couldn’t find the words to convey how I could change this person’s business.

In this article, we’ll help clarify exactly what an email drip campaign is, what they can do, and how you can make your own click-worthy campaigns. And to make things easier, you can jump to the info you need with the links below.

You can make a drip campaign for anything: to nurture a freemium customer, convert a blog subscriber, or deliver relevant content to leads from a certain industry. There are no limits to the type of campaign you can create, although there are a few common types.

Let’s take a look at some drip campaigns you can create to nurture prospects and leads, with some eye-catching email drip campaign examples for more insight.

In an onboarding drip campaign, you can send leads:

This Levi’s email comes in response to a user subscribing to the Red Tab newsletter. Not only is it an acknowledgment of their “onboarding”, but it’s a unique welcome message that entices them to join the Member Program for more benefits such as early access to new clothing releases, free shipping, and a limited discount of 20% off their first purchase.

A retargeting campaign targets users who’ve engaged meaningfully with your content. They downloaded a white paper, visited the same page multiple times, or downloaded an ebook.

To bring them back, you serve them even more specific content that can help them make a purchasing decision. You can also find out what they thought about the resources they accessed.

This would apply mainly to the tech industry, where sales reps often provide product demos to prospects and leads. But if you offer any product that can be demonstrated live, this type of drip campaign would work for you, too.

After a demo, it’s important to re-emphasize the value of your product and bring in success stories from other companies. You can also send guides on how to get higher-ups to buy in.

Here are some content ideas for a post-demo campaign:

In this post-demo drip campaign example, Away, a luggage company provides users with a tutorial on how to use and replace the Carry-On ejectable battery. The lead may not have known of the battery initially but may become more interested in purchasing upon learning more about the product in this type of drip campaign.

“Introductory email messaging is the ‘tip of the spear’ for starting business relationships. The copy you write needs to be sharp yet sincere, showing that you can provide value without inundating them. Ultimately the recipient should feel as if all you want is to improve their day and their business.”

This made sense to me. If I’m more authentic, then the engagement and longevity of my relationships should strengthen. I prodded David further, and soon uncovered his top tips and best practices for creating a drip campaign — plus his three most successful email templates.

Last, your software should be user-friendly and easy to adopt for all of your sales reps.

Are you trying to reengage dormant customers? Nurture new leads? Cross-sell existing customers?

Decide what action you want your reader to take at the end of the drip and determine a road map to get there.

Once you’ve determined your goal for the campaign, think through who will be segmented into this drip. Which brings us to our next section …

You want to make sure that the right people are getting the right message at the right time. So, who will be opting in or being segmented into this drip campaign? Ask yourself the following questions to find out:

Once you’ve answered these questions, you should have a good idea of who you’ll be targeting, how you’ll segment this audience, and how you’ll best reach and provide value to this audience.

You can send more emails than you think you should. Customers want to hear from you — they just want the right content delivered when they need it. With that in mind, you can schedule one email per week. B2C companies can get away with sending a little more, but B2B companies should resist sending more than five emails every month.

Your drip campaign can last from four to eleven emails that are sent four, seven, or fourteen days apart. Decide how many touches you need to effectively nurture your audience and prime them for your offer.

A misconception about drip campaigns is that they’re mindlessly sent mass email that’s neither relevant nor tailored to their audience’s needs. While there are certainly drip campaigns that deserve this classification, this shouldn’t be the case with your drip emails.

It’s possible to create relevant and personalized content that you can send to certain segments in your drip campaign.

Let’s say, for example, you have a drip for businesses that download your company’s case study featuring a customer whose Midwest SMB benefited from your contract accountants. Set up your campaign so that anyone who downloads this case study is automatically entered into a drip you’ve customized for Midwest SMBs seeking seasonal accounting help.

Include a fresh piece of content for your prospects in each of the drip emails you send. For example, you might follow up their initial case study download with a friendly email like this:

Tax season knocking too soon?

Hello,

I see that you recently downloaded our customer case study featuring [Customer name]. I hope you found it helpful.

I thought you might also like this blog post on “Six Simple Things SMBs Can Do Today to Make Tax Season Painless.”

Let me know what you think.

Regards,

[Your name]

The worst experience for a prospect is to take your desired action without being unenrolled in your drip campaign. Let’s say a prospect is enrolled in a drip campaign with the goal of getting them to schedule a demo.

If they schedule a demo on a Tuesday and get another email on Thursday asking them to schedule a demo — that’s a terrible customer experience.

It looks even worse when the drip campaign has been altered so that it looks like you’re sending the emails. This makes it appear that you either don’t remember who your prospect is or have been a fake the whole time.

Feeling ready to create your drip campaign? I’ve compiled a few best practices to ensure each email is in its best shape.

There are a few types of emails where including long-form content is actually useful. For example, if your lead is specifically interested in how you founded your company, you can create an email drip campaign with the story. At the end, you can add a CTA for them to join a webinar on how they can found their own company.

Unless it’s a case like that one, however, you want them to get to the CTA as quickly as possible. That means keeping your drip campaign emails two to three paragraphs long.

Whether you want the lead to schedule a call, tell you who to reach out to, or sign up for a free trial, you’ll need to include a CTA at the end of every drip campaign email. Leads should know what they should do at the end of every message.

While the research can be a nice guidepost, your cadence will ultimately depend on when your leads most interact with your emails. So keep a close eye on performance metrics so you can determine what drives results for your business.

However, the best time for your company will depend on your leads specifically and not on published research. Where is the grand majority of your customer base located? What industry are they in? Do they work from home and tend to work odd hours? If they commute in the morning, do they prefer checking their email during their lunch break?

Like in the previous best practice, you’ll want to use your leads’ engagement behavior to decide when you should send your emails.

Tracking this information not only allows you to determine the best time and day to send your emails, but it also allows you to A/B test the wording, positioning, or design of your CTA. You can also A/B test the effectiveness of your subject lines by looking at open rate.

If you fail to reconnect after several attempts (I recommend trying at least two times), you can then send a “breakup” email and remove the lead from the sequence.

If a lead fails to convert — i.e. they don’t schedule a demo, call the sales team, or sign up for a webinar — send a survey link to the lead. Looking at the metrics is one thing. Hearing straight from your leads on what you can do better is another.

The following drip campaign templates show these best practices in action. Take a look and get inspired.

Hi [Prospect],

My name is [Name], and I’m the founder at Shipping Company. We work with organizations like Sears and Target to hold FedEx and UPS accountable.

We track all your shipments, identify late deliveries, and file claims on your behalf. You only pay when package tracking is credited to your account.

What would be the best way to get 15 minutes on your calendar to explore if this would be valuable to [Company]?

Best,

[Your name]

Pro Tip: A/B Test Your Pitch

Hi [Prospect],

My company, [Shipping Company], gives you real-time visibility into your shipments, lets you know when any have been delivered late, and tracks packages on your behalf.

You pay for performance, so if we don’t save you money, we don’t get paid. Who would be the best person to speak with at [Company]?

Best,

[Your name]

Hi [Prospect],

I wanted to make sure you saw my earlier message. I’d like to learn about the pains of package tracking at [Company].

If you are the appropriate person to speak with, what does your calendar look like early next week? If not, who do you recommend I talk to?

– [Your name]

Learning from David’s examples, I’ve concluded that my drip emails should each follow a few key points.

Time-wise, each drip can be sent anywhere from two days to a week after the previous message.

With the tips, best practices, and templates, you’re well on the way to creating a drip campaign that engages and converts your leads and prospects. By consistently delivering value to your contacts, you can ensure they get the exact content they need to make a purchasing decision. This will help your team sell effortlessly, exponentially increasing revenue at your company.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in October 2015 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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