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How to Create an Email Drip Campaign for Increased Engagement

Thomas Griffin
Thomas Griffin

If you've never used a drip campaign, here's a step-by-step guide to creating one.

Email marketing is one of the most popular techniques used by bloggers and online storefronts to generate more traffic and boost sales.

Research shows that 61% of bloggers create an email marketing campaign to increase the number of views on their blog. 

One of the most popular ways businesses are keeping in touch with their customers is through drip campaigns. In essence, a drip campaign is a marketing technique that allows businesses to build a rapport with customers and prospects through a long-tail process involving multiple emails with content, conversations and calls to action over an extended time period. 

If you're thinking about creating a drip campaign to increase engagement on your website, we'll explain how to start and run this process using the following steps: 

  • Cultivate a high-quality lead list.
  • Create stellar content for distribution. 
  • Split-test your email copy.
  • Use customer service to keep customers engaged. 

1. Start with a strong lead list.

The first factor you must consider when starting an email drip campaign is your lead list. Every niche has a different type of customer persona, and it's very likely that you'll have multiple personas you want to target under the umbrella of one company. 

For instance, if you owned an online pet shop and wanted to create a drip campaign, you likely want to start with different pet categories based on consumer purchases. You would want to create a list for the people interested in content about dogs and create your emails around that niche. Similarly, you could strategize emails for people who have purchased cat products, bird accessories or rodent supplies – the list goes on. The more you fine-tune your email list, the more likely subscribers are to enjoy and engage with your brand. 

You'll have a better chance of creating a reliable lead list if you begin gathering subscribers as soon as possible. Some business owners gather leads when their website goes live; others collect leads at the start of preproduction with a Coming Soon page. If you're going to create a Coming Soon page to let potential customers know you exist, let them sign up for your email list for future content and offers, which you can deliver through a drip campaign.

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2. Create content with substance.

Content is one of the cornerstones of a high-quality drip campaign. It's nearly impossible to convince a subscriber to become a customer without first offering them something in exchange for their time.

When you're creating your campaign, lead with exclusive content that complements the theme of the emails you'll send to customers. Let's go back to the pet shop example. If you were going to create a targeted list for dog owners, you would want to create content with topics like these: 

  • X Dog Behaviors Explained
  • Best Feeding Regimens for Dogs (by Size) 
  • Guide to Puppy Shots for the First Year 

These three examples are likely to keep customers engaged because they cover a topic they find interesting. But the stakes get higher when you consider the knowledge customers stand to gain by reading each piece of content. Notice that the first two articles apply to virtually every dog owner. If you want to keep your leads engaged, you have to deliver valuable content to their inbox consistently. 

3. Split-test your email copy.

Your content needs to be valuable, but your email copy needs to be approachable and to the point, with an enticing call to action. Most drip campaigns take two to three months to execute and usually include approximately seven to 10 emails. Here's what the email flow typically looks like: 

  • Email No. 1: Welcome them to your email list. 
  • Email No. 2-6: Build a rapport with content and information.
  • Email No. 7: Establish a problem. 
  • Email No. 8: Offer a solution in the form of your product, service or premium information. 

Research suggests that the best length for an email is 50 to 125 words. Emails of this length had a 50% click-through rate. It's almost impossible to include all of the information you find relevant with such a tiny word count. You can experiment by split-testing your email copy for different customers. A split test is when you change one aspect of a campaign and measure the results to see if that one change had any impact on the total number of conversions. 

Because most drip campaigns consist of close to 10 emails, you'll have plenty of opportunities to tweak your email copy to discover the text that yieldd the highest conversion rate.  

The most crucial factor to tinker with when you're split-testing a drip campaign is your call to action (CTA). Your call to action will vary from email to email. In most cases, your CTA will be to convince subscribers to read your content by clicking through the link in your emails. As the campaign comes to a close, you'll want to bring customers to the end of the sales funnel by offering them a product or service from your website.

4. Use customer service to build momentum.

Your customer service team can help you build momentum when you create a drip campaign. There are quite a few ways to use your customer service team and tools to your advantage. For example, chatbots are commonly used on blogs and e-commerce storefronts. In many cases, the chatbot will pop up with a prompt before the prospect even asks a question. You can program a chatbot to ask a customer if they are interested in a specific topic based on the content they've viewed, which could inspire a consumer to sign up for your mailing list and experience your drip campaign.

If you use a customer support team with live people, you could encourage them to ask prospects if they are interested in signing up for your email campaign after someone contacts them for information. Generally speaking, if a customer is interested enough to reach your support team, they are a good candidate for your lead list.


Creating a drip campaign for your blog or e-commerce storefront takes time and effort. You should always work to develop a reliable and robust lead list before starting a campaign. After you've accumulated a fair number of leads, you can begin delivering thought-provoking and engaging content. 

Use your social media platforms and your customer service team to identify and convert prospects who could benefit from your content and offer. Always seal the deal with a fantastic call to action that readers will find irresistible. As you develop multiple campaigns, go back and split-test different aspects of your emails to further your conversion rate and generate more traffic to your website.

Like many forms of marketing, drip campaigns are an art. If you have the right tools and talent, you'll have no problem creating a killer email drip campaign from scratch.

Image Credit: jamesteohart/Shutterstock
Thomas Griffin
Thomas Griffin Member
I'm president and CTO of OptinMonster, a powerful lead generation tool that's installed in over 700,000 websites.