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5 Drip Campaign Examples That Worked (And Why)

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Author photo: Kimberlee Meier

Kimberlee Meier


Do you know what’s worse than not having a drip campaign? A drip campaign that doesn’t work.

In fact, having an ill-structured drip campaign can be very damaging for your brand. Worst case scenario, it can cause your customers to unsubscribe from your email list completely.

So, we’ve found five of the best drip campaigns being sent out right now to show you what works, and why.

Wait, why should I be using drip campaigns in the first place?

Drip email campaigns are incredibly useful for sending different content to segmented leads, and they can eventually help you warm these leads up for a sale.

In fact, EmailMonks found that companies that have managed to master the art of drip campaigns are able to generate 80% more sales while reducing their costs by 33%.

Because drip campaigns work by sending out material based on how a user got on your list in the first place, they can gently nudge leads down your sales funnel at different speeds.

This makes them the perfect tool for lead nurturing because they run on autopilot, depending on what stage of the buying journey your leads are at.

The emails you drip to your email list can be one-off promotions based on your customer’s behavior or a larger campaign to get your leads to the bottom of your sales funnel, faster.

Whatever drip campaign you send, it should have one goal in mind: to nurture and convert. Want to know more about the bare bones of drip marketing? We’ve got the ultimate guide right here.

For now, let’s check out five of our favorite drip campaign examples and dissect why they worked!

1. The customer engagement campaign

In the sales world, if your customers aren’t engaged with your product, you’ve got no chance.

That’s why a customer engagement (a type of customer marketing) campaign can mean big things for your brand—and your bottom line. Your mission is to welcome your customer with open arms, and engage them with your brand from your very first email.

Check out this awesome customer engagement campaign by running app, Zombies Run:

The app itself is trying to make a name for itself in a crowded market (health and fitness), and has been able to stand out by comparing running milestones to escaping a zombie apocalypse. Cool.

Why it worked

It’s personal.

Okay so it might be obvious what’s different about this email… it almost looks like the company has handwritten a note to the user. What’s even better is it’s actually addressed to the user personally.

And not by one of those generic welcome email sendouts. You know the kind, that you can tell have been made to just grab your name from your signup form with the least amount of emotion possible.

No, Zombies Run address the user by using their chosen name on the app, which in the above, is "Runner Five."

By doing that, the email makes them feel included—by making the welcome graphic so unique and including a “handwritten” note, Zombie Run makes the recipient feel included in the app’s community.

The importance of having an engaged list that feels included shouldn’t be overlooked; this is where your die-hard followers come from.

And the seeds for these diehard fans should be sown with your very first email.

It’s not boring… it has a story.

The crumpled piece of paper is more than just a cool graphic on the email; it actually has an emotional trigger in the story as well.

The recipient (Runner Five) is told a story from a fellow Zombie Apocalypse runner, "Molly." This might seem childish, but we bet most runners who received this email have read every word.

It’s not your standard "welcome to the club" email, and that’s why it’s awesome.

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2. The upgrade/upsell drip

This is a standard drip and, depending on how you craft it, will either end up with a lot of clicks to your pricing page, or get sent straight to the trash.

Though this drip is normally part of the onboarding process, it requires a special mention simply because of how effective it is. Check out this simple, yet effective, upsell drip campaign from Hootsuite:

Hootsuite helps people manage several social media channels at once and, with the rise of social media; marketers who work on these platforms are constantly on the lookout for new tools.

Why it worked

It’s urgent.

Yep, it’s the oldest trick in the book, but adding a time-limit to any sales opportunity is a great way to get people to buy in a timeframe that you control.

In this example, I was given just 24 hours, so a smaller window meant that I was under pressure to make a decision. Quickly.

It has a clear call to action.

In fact, there’s nothing else on the email apart from the timeframe and the call to action.

This works because, at the very least, the receiver is going click through to another, more persuasive sales page.

Emails like this can backfire if the offer isn’t good enough, but if yours is, make sure you have a persuasive click-through sales page to backup your hard work.

It clearly communicates how much value is in the deal: Chances are, everybody on the Hootsuite email list has some kind of interest in social media marketing. And they would know that the industry is a competitive beast to land a job as a marketer. So, if they’re offered an ‘industry-recognized’ training program with a three-figure discount, chances are quite a few of them are going to eat it up (with a bit of nurturing, of course).

3. The educational drip

Who doesn’t love awesome free material?

That’s the basic idea behind an educational drip campaign. A company will send out a load of free stuff (that’s actually good) to help build trust with the person receiving the email.

Then, when they’re ready to buy a product in that market; they already have a brand in mind that they trust.

Here’s an example from one of my favorite educational drippers; CoSchedule. The marketing software company literally gives knowledge away through their truly awesome guides, blogs, step-by-step guides, templates—you name it.

Why it worked

It's masterful at building trust.

CoSchedule is super generous with their freebies. By consistently sending their segmented lists educational tips and articles about things that actually matter to them, Coschedule keeps their users engaged. Because when your free stuff is so good, it makes the receiver wonder just what awaits them when they’re finally ready to pull out their credit card.

It’s emotionally smart.

If someone signs up to a CoSchedule’s list, chances are they are interested in or have had issues with parts of marketing before, such as blogging and social media analytics.

CoSchedule’s free material always makes a point to not only dig at these pains, but also try and solve them along the way.

4. Get them back: The re-engagement drip

Did you know that marketers lose nearly a quarter of their list every single year? This should be enough to make any company want to put in a decent effort for their re-engagement drip campaigns.

The good news? Re-engagement drip campaigns can be super effective, because you’re re-igniting a passion in the customer that made them want to hand over their precious email address to you in the first place.

This is a re-engagement drip I received from Grammarly recently, a gentle nudge before they write me off completely:

Why it worked

Simple but to the point.

It turns out that some people disengage with brands because they actually just forget about them. A simple but to-the-point re-engagement might be all you need to remind people on your email list why your product is still beneficial to them.

A good way to do this is to highlight one of the main reasons that person probably signed up to your email list in the first place. If that won’t get them back on board, you might be fighting a losing battle.

It’s got an educational trigger.

Think about a broad reason why a person signed up for your list in the first place and target that. Someone signs up to Grammarly probably because they want a helping hand with their grammar, so the email cheekily digs at this pain point by showing a common grammar mistake.

By showing the recipient how easy it is for them to make a grammatical error, it doubles as a clear call to action to continue to use the product.

And it doubles as an upsell:

Further down the email, Grammarly highlights how many platforms the product is now compatible with. This shows the user how their life can be improved by using the app, no matter what platform they’re writing in.

Well played.

5. The re-targeting campaign

This one is mainly for abandoned cart scenarios, but can still be used in any type of re-engagement campaign.

This campaign is good for customers who are painfully close to the bottom of your sales funnel, but just need a final nudge to buy. (More sales funnel management tips here.)

Take this re-targeting blast from one of the world’s highest-paid public speakers, Russell Brunson.

Why it worked

It’s super persuasive.

This is above and beyond a normal ‘you forgot your shopping cart’ email. It’s persuasive and clearly outlines to the recipient what they’ll gain by making the purchase.

Brunson welcomes them to his “tribe” and tells them that he’s going to help them get their message out. It comes across as a personalized message from him to them.

It’s not shy.

Look at the language that has been used: ‘If you haven’t finished your order yet, you can complete the order here,” “As soon as we get your order, we’ll rush yours out right away,” followed up by a very obvious call to action button.

The conversation is in the same tone as how Brunson handles himself in his public speaking campaigns, and it really drives the reader to just go for it. Even then, the email isn’t overly salesy— it warms them up by saying they’re still signing up.

Your drip campaign partner-in-crime: a CRM

There are many ways to improve a drip campaign, but it takes more than just slapping words on an email and clicking Send. You need to get inside your customers’ heads at every stage of the sales process and manage your leads properly. This needs to happen from the very beginning if you have any chance of converting.

A CRM can assist with drip marketing campaigns by automatically pushing data into your email marketing software while collecting other important information like buyer profiles to keep it all streamlined.

You can also use a CRM to keep your sales team in the loop in terms of what campaign a lead is being sent, when they should be advanced down your sales funnel, and when to put more effort into a lead.

Remember, drip campaigns can really add to your bottom line, so craft them carefully and with your future customers’ needs in mind.

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