What Is Drip Marketing and How Can You Use It?

Christy Walters


February 10, 2022 (Updated: May 4, 2023)

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Most marketers have heard of the Rule of Seven or the Law of 29. Both principles demonstrate the idea that you need to interact with a potential customer a certain number of times before they decide to purchase a product or commit to your company. One way marketers try to follow and beat these rules is through drip marketing. Today we discuss:


What is Drip Marketing?

Drip marketing infographic

Image via Pardot

Drip marketing is a direct marketing strategy where a constant flow of marketing materials disperses to customers over a pre-defined period. It’s called a “drip” because you often send the communications at a slow and steady rate. Most marketers use drips to create sales through long-term repeated exposure to a company, brand, product, or service. They’re popular for emails, social media, and direct mail campaigns.

As the marketer, you can choose how many communications go out and the rate at which to send them. You can also personalize drips, especially emails, with the recipient’s name or references to an action they’ve taken. You may hear drip marketing referred to by other names, including:

  • Drip campaigns
  • Lifecycle emails
  • Marketing automation
  • Behavior emails
  • Auto-response campaigns
  • Automated email campaigns


Why Use Drip Campaigns?

Drip campaigns can help your company increase sales and conversions. The communications can help increase brand awareness for new people and remind previous customers of your existence. This can help build better audience relationships and provide more value as a resource for their needs. You can also easily target and personalize drip marketing. Many studies in the past five years have shown that well over half of consumers may be more likely to make purchases or interact with a company that engaged in personalized marketing.

Related: Hyper-Personalization Marketing: Cute or Creepy?

How Does Drip Marketing Work?

You often base drip marketing campaigns, at least partially, on lead or customer behavior, by presenting the audience with a targeted message at the right time. For example, if a customer opts into communications, they can start a drip, which sends a series of pre-composed emails or communications right to them. The entire series comes over days or weeks, meant to reach the lead or customer at specific times throughout their sales or participation journey. The lead can trigger additional communications by performing certain actions, such as:

  • Visiting a website
  • Making a purchase
  • Adding an item to a shopping cart
  • Attending an event
  • Signing up for a webinar
  • Registering to receive an eBook or white paper
  • Abandoning a shopping cart
  • Interacting with customer service
  • Staying absent from site or account interactions for a certain period


These events often trigger drips because they’re easy for you to track online.

When Should You Use a Drip Campaign?

There are many instances where you can use or start drip campaigns to best reach members of your audience, including:

Welcome Packages

When someone new joins your audience, that’s a great time to start a drip campaign. You can do this with brand new people who have never experienced your brand before. It may also apply to those new to certain aspects of your fold, like long-time buyers who recently joined your rewards program.

With welcome drip campaigns, you can share the best parts of your company that provide the most value to customers through a series of communications. This can help to alert your newest audience members to upcoming events or sales, allow you to share your origin story, or keep people informed about any special information that relates to their situation.

Date-Based Events

You can schedule drip campaigns that start, end, or frame specific calendar dates. For example, some companies engage in “12 Days of Deals” or similar events over the winter holidays. They communicate these sales through regular and pre-scheduled emails or social media posts. The dates and holidays that are important to your audience may vary by demographics and industry.

Subscriptions or Renewals

If you provide products or services that require membership, subscriptions, or renewals, a drip campaign may help people remember when it’s time to take certain actions. You can give information about the subscription to new members and remind people when it’s time for renewal. If subscribers ignore the renewal notice, the campaign can continue. You may send additional communications reminding them of the value they get from being a member or subscribing to your service. You can also share new added features or offerings over time to entice them to stay a member.


Similar to subscriptions, if someone leaves your audience for any reason, you can still include them in a drip campaign. For example, if you run a streaming service and someone doesn’t renew their membership, you can send emails in a few months that ask them to come back. With unsubscribe campaigns, it may be helpful to offer additional value as perks or discounts to bring people back. It’s also helpful to highlight certain features of your service that may interest your audience or outperform your competitors.

Birthdays and Anniversaries

Similar to date-based campaigns, birthday and anniversary drip campaigns are specific to each customer. If you collect customer birthdays upon registration or purchase, you can send communications on those dates. These can range from simple greetings to discount offers or additional perks people can get from engaging with your company on their birthday.

For example, American Eagle offers a discount coupon to members of its Real Rewards program. It’s sent out a few weeks before the customer’s birthday. If the coupon goes unopened or unused, the member receives reminders in-app or from email throughout their birthday month to use the special offer. Subscriber anniversaries are also opportunities to offer similar perks or run related campaigns.

Drip marketing birthday example

Image via Milled

First Purchases

If you collect email addresses or other identifying information from customers upon purchase, you can start a drip campaign for first-time buyers. These drips often include messages that thank the customer for their purchase. They can also provide tips on how to get the most from the purchase and share additional product or service suggestions. You may also use this type of campaign to encourage first-time customers to sign up for your rewards, attend brand events, or take a customer satisfaction survey.

Product Recommendations

Product recommendations may serve as one component of a first-purchase drip, but can also work as its own campaign for any customer. These types of drips may run over months. The communications you send may vary based on industry or the products people buy.

For example, clothing retailers may send product recommendation notifications for accessories to go with certain pieces. They may also share when similar collections drop, or if the stock of related products becomes limited. In another industry—such as makeup, food service, or any that sells products that require refills or replacements—you may send updates when it’s time to order again. You can suggest the right replacements or similar products that fit the same need.


A follow-up drip can take place after an audience member interacts with your team or your systems in some way. This may include after they engage with a customer service representative, upload information to a data repository, or start a training session. You can personalize the communications based on customer experience and feedback from any of these events. Other messaging may include additional tips or insight into the product or service or potential solutions or steps to take to solve a related problem.

Abandoned Carts

You may consider drip campaigns for customers who abandon items in their online shopping carts. These types of campaigns can gently remind customers of their failure to complete a purchase. But they can also help promote items similar to the ones left in the cart that may be a better fit for the individual. Creating this type of campaign may be slightly trickier than others. Consider striking a balance between reminding the customer to complete their action, but without being too invasive of their privacy.

Lead Nurturing

You can use a lead nurturing drip campaign after a potential client or customer takes an interest in your business. Many companies collect email addresses or other contact information from people who download resources from their websites, register for webinars, or sign up for events. Use that information to nurture your leads by sharing your written or visual content, providing updates about your company, or promoting resources and events similar to the original engagement.

How To Create a Drip Campaign

One benefit of drip marketing is that you can set up the framework from the beginning and only have to make minor changes to it over the campaign lifecycle. Otherwise, the campaign runs on its own. Use these steps to learn how to create a drip campaign for your company:

1. Set Goals

As with most other marketing efforts, it’s important to set goals before crafting your full campaign. This is so you can understand what outcomes or expectations to work towards and provide guidance for setup and organization. Consider using SMART goals for your drip campaigns. The acronym SMART stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound


Using this goal-setting method can give you concrete examples to follow and make it easier to track your progress throughout the campaign.

Related: Marketing Goals: How To Set and Achieve Them

2. Pick a Trigger

What events are going to trigger the start of the campaign? What is your customer or lead going to do that sets the communications in motion? It’s helpful to know this from the beginning to structure the rest of your notifications and mark the right starting actions in your apps or programs. You may have multiple trigger points for certain campaigns. For example, you may start a product recommendation drip for first-time customers, returning customers, and people who abandon a cart.

3. Segment Your Audience

Some drip campaign criteria may be broad, but others may benefit from narrowing the target pool. For example, you could choose to start a first-purchase campaign for anyone who buys something from your site. But maybe you’d prefer to try to promote specific products or lines. In that case, you may only start a first-time drip with someone who purchases from those lines or spends a certain amount of money on designated products. Segmentation can help you target a subset of your full audience and attempt to get more conversions in certain areas or increase specific metrics.

4. Plan a Schedule

How long is your campaign going to last? How many communications do you plan to send, and when? Creating a schedule for your drip, whether it corresponds to certain triggers or calendar dates, can help you determine how many pieces of copy to write and what each one targets. For example, you may choose to run your lead generation drip over three months and send five emails in total, each with a specific purpose.

5. Design Each Communication

Once you know how many communications you’re sending and their purposes, you can craft the content. Most drip communications include written text, media elements like images or video, links, surveys, or other interactive elements. Based on each campaign, your target audience distribution channel, and budget, you can decide what makes the most sense to include in each communication.

Are you looking for help in creating the best and most effective drip content for your audience? Start a call with CopyPress! We have experts who specialize in all areas of content marketing, from writing to graphic design. We’re ready and excited to help bring your ideas to life.

6. Measure the Performance

You may engage in drip campaigns for a variety of reasons, either to turn more leads into customers, or get people coming back to your site, or download more resources. You’ve set these expectations up with your goals, so it’s important to use metrics to help you determine if you’re meeting them. Popular metrics to measure may include click rates, open rates, and conversion rates. Tracking the data can help you determine if the campaign is successful and give you insights into elements you can change in the future.

7. Conduct Maintenance

Update your drip copy over time as your company changes. You may revise wording, statistics, links, or visuals if they become outdated or otherwise no longer relevant. It’s also important to do periodic testing to see if what you’ve created still resonates with your audience. If you find it doesn’t, that’s a good indicator that it’s time for a content overhaul.

Sending the right message to the right audience at the right time can be a key factor in helping you increase sales and other conversions. A drip campaign is one tactic you can use that not only helps you make this goal a reality but can also save you time and even money after initial creation because of its automation.

Author Image - Christy Walters
Christy Walters

CopyPress writer

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