how to set up an email drip campaign

Drip emails (also known as email sequences or email series or autoresponders) is a marketing machine that works tirelessly 24/7 to nurture cold leads →

Into hot prospects →

And eventually turn them into customers →

And finally convert them into loyal fans who promote your brand / products to their friends and peers.

After reading this post, you’ll:

– Learn how to set up an email drip campaign (the tech stuff using an email marketing tool)

– Get to know the 6 types of email drips / sequences

– Understand the 5 things to consider before creating drips

– 5 boosters to maximize your drip results

– Get answers to some FAQ regarding email drips

In a hurry? You can quickly set up an email drip campaign / email sequence with BirdSend’s 1-Page Sequence Builder. If you can find a tool that’s faster at setting up email drips, let us know (click contact button on bottom right of the page) and we’ll give you a paid account, on the house. Try BirdSend free today.

Benefits of email drips

1/ Higher engagement than newsletter / broadcast emails

According to MarTech Zone, drip emails generate 3X more CTR (click through rate) than a regular newsletter / broadcast email.

My own experience of sending emails tells me the same thing. For my welcome emails, the 1st email average open rate is 66%:

open and click rate of 1st email

And the average open rate for the entire welcome drip campaign (13 emails in total) is 43.9%:

open and click stats of entire drip campaign

Compare this to my newsletter / broadcast type emails, which get around 25 – 29% open rates:

engagement stats for newsletter emails

Drip emails get higher engagements (opens, clicks, and sales) than newsletter / broadcast type emails because drip emails are sent based on the subscriber’s behavior (and their needs and their timeline) while newsletter type emails are sent based on our own timeline.

Note: your mileage will vary, depending on many factors such as industries, how passionate your market is, how targeted your audience is, etc.

2/ Nurture cold leads to become prospects to become customers

You help solve some of the problems faced by subscribers by giving them practical, helpful tips.

When they implement your tips and see results, they believe you know what you’re talking about and are more likely to buy your product / service.

3/ Keep your brand / product top of mind

By constantly providing even more value to them, they’ll slowly know, like, and trust you. Plus, they’ll remember you (top of mind).

They might not need your product / service now, but when they need it later or when a friend asks for their recommendation, guess who is the first one they think of?

4/ Make sure customers consume your product

You want customers to consume your product because it increases the chance they’re going to be successful. After all, you’ve taken their money and it’s only the right thing to do.

Secondly, when they’re successful, you can ask them for a testimonial / case study. You can then put them on your sales page to achieve better conversion.

Finally, they’ll tell their friends about how good your product is (free marketing).

5/ No more ghosting new subscribers

New subscribers can get your emails immediately, regardless of when your next newsletter issue comes out. You can simply drip emails to these new subscribers with “evergreen” content.

Most problems in a niche / industry are the same old same old. So it’s wise to create evergreen content based on these problems and then drip these as a series of emails over a period of days.

Additionally, if you wait for your next newsletter issue before emailing new subscribers (could be weeks), there’s a high chance they’ve forgotten about you → they’d be like: “Who is this person spamming me!?” 😅

Drip emails or sequence emails get sent automatically… no matter if you’re snoring or vacationing with your family or you just feel lazy and want to take the day off. The email machine is doing all the work for you once once you’ve written and set up the email drips.

Work once and reap the rewards for a long period of time. This is why I like to call my email machine my “sales slaves”.

6 Types of drip campaigns

There are 6 types of email drips / sequences / email series / autoresponders:

  • Impress A Stranger Series (a.k.a. welcome series)
  • Show Me The Mahhhney Series (a.k.a. promo series)
  • Just 1 Last Step Series (a.k.a. abandoned cart series)
  • Why Did You Leave Me Series (a.k.a. converting churned series)
  • Let’s Break Up Series (a.k.a. reengagement series)
  • I Appreciate You Series (a.k.a. customer series)

I’ve already covered all these series (what they are and how to use them) in this chapter of The Ultimate Email Marketing Guide for Content Creators.

5 things to consider before creating email drip campaigns

Before creating email drip campaigns, it’s important to take some time to plan these:

  1. Goal
  2. Target audience
  3. Strategy
  4. Writing style
  5. Send time

1/ Goal

Why are you doing all these email drips / series / sequences? What are you trying to achieve?

If you run a business, most likely the answer is: you want to increase sales.

Okay, that’s good. But what else?

How about increasing sales without overly aggressive and pushy sales tactics?

How about increasing sales while truly solving customers’ problems?

So how about this for our goal? → Ethically increase sales while providing customers with a great experience so they want to buy from you again and refer you to their friends and peers 😎

But again, this is about you. Maybe you don’t run a business and just treat this as a hobby? In that case, you’d have to figure out how much time and money you’re willing to spend on this hobby.

2/ Target audience

This should be obvious. You’ve already chosen a niche and settled down on a target audience.

I include this point as a reminder to always focus on writing emails that help your target audience solve their problems and pain points.

As the famous saying goes “If you serve everybody, you serve no one”. (don’t know where this originated though)

3/ Strategy

The overarching strategy is pretty simple in theory, but requires a few steps to execute in reality.

Here’s the strategy (you most likely knew already):

Help your target audience solve some of their problems and they’ll buy from you.

Why only some and not all problems though?

Because if you give away the whole farm, then there’s nothing left to sell 😅

Here are a few tips to achieve the above:

A/ Email content that leads to your goal

For example, if you want to sell your product / service, you can showcase testimonials and client results, and paint the “before” and “after” results in the mind of your subscriber.

Or if you want to show you know what you’re talking about (credibility and authority), give a few practical tips that help them solve some of their problems.

Or if you want someone to read your latest new blog post, the email content could contain a teaser on why they should read the post — what’s in it for them? How are they going to benefit?

B/ Sending frequency

In this age of super short attention span, people forget quickly and easily.

Which is why for new subscribers, I recommend sending a high frequency of emails in the beginning and then taper it off gradually.

I suggest sending daily emails — one email a day for at least the first 7 days. After this, you can drip emails once every 3 days until every email in the drip automation campaign has been sent.

After they “graduate” from your email drip / sequence, tag them with “newsletter ready” so they start receiving real-time newsletter emails the next time your new issue comes out.

It’s easy to do this in BirdSend — the email marketing tool content creators use to save 80% in monthly email tool expenses while still achieving good email opens / good email deliverability.

To do this in BirdSend, you simply need to do this:

automation rule to tag newsletter ready subscribers

C/ Entertain in addition to educate

Everyone is already “providing value”.

If you only provide value “as is”, you’ll just be like the next Tom, Dick, and Harry. Subscribers are indifferent towards you or your emails. It’s bland. It’s boring.

If it’s boring → subscribers won’t read your emails.

To get them to open and read, you need to stand out from the crowd.

And you do that by entertaining them. Comedians get much more attention than teachers, right?

But don’t worry, you don’t have to be a comedian or even an extrovert to entertain subscribers.

Thanks to digitalization, you can be an introvert (like me) and still write entertaining emails. I’ve also covered this in point #3 of this chapter.

D/ Subtly sell in every email

Most folks I come across fall into 1 of 2 camps:

  • They’re too afraid to sell because they fear of annoying subscribers and causing them to unsubscribe
  • They’re selling too much and too aggressively and they only care about their own wallets

Both, IMHO, are wrong.

Let’s first talk about the 1st point — too afraid to sell.

Remember why you’re building a list and emailing in the first place? It’s to run a business and make sales, correct?

Unless you’re planning to become a philanthropist, if you’re too afraid to sell because “subscribers will unsubscribe”, then you might as well not a build an email list in the first place.

No selling → no sales → business goes bankrupt.

You not only need to sell… but I suggest you to subtly sell in every email. Most people don’t have a problem with you selling if you do it in the right way. And the right way is in the keyword “subtly”.

How to sell subtly? Provide value first, then sell at the end of the email or in your signature or in your PS.

You should sell in every email because most subscribers will not open or read your emails. The best open rate is 37.2% for faith-based organizations and the lowest open rate is 17.1% for repair and maintenance:

[insert screenshot – new have] [alt text: average email open rate for various industries]

average email open rate for various industries

Screenshot taken from Indeed

This means you don’t know when someone is going to open your emails. So you put the odds in your favor by selling in every email.

Here’s a guideline you can use: sell subtly in the first 4 emails, then sell blatantly in the 5th email. Repeat.

Use the PASOUA email writing framework to sell, and the AIDA framework to write value emails.

E/ Make sure the automated drip emails are sent to the relevant recipients

In other words, don’t send irrelevant emails in your email automation campaigns.

E.g. Don’t send emails promoting product X to people who have already bought product X. Exclude product X customers from the recipients.

Imagine what happens when you send discount emails about product X to those who have purchased at full price?

In BirdSend, it’s easy to do this:

exclude contacts from receiving certain emails

Writing style

Here are some best practices when it comes to writing emails:

Use a simple and lightweight design for your emails

You’re not building a website or landing page. Remember why people subscribe to you in the first place — is it because of how your content is going to help them or because they want to be impressed by how good looking your email design is?

Furthermore, a simple and lightweight design helps with email deliverability (open rates) because the HTML and CSS code is cleaner and lighter — which mailbox providers like.

Use bullets

Folks don’t read word for word, they scan.

Bullets help with scanning so subscribers quickly get your point.

If you’re writing an email with different sub-topics, have a “table of contents” near the top of your email

Like this:

[insert screenshot – new have] [alt text: email table of contents make it easy for readers to navigate]

email table of contents make it easy for readers to navigate

This provides an easy navigation for readers. You’ll never go wrong if you always have their best interest at heart. If you do that consistently, you’ll ultimately win them over.

Use these 7 email writing tips:

  1. The BuWERS writing method
  2. Talk about THEM THEM THEM
  3. Use short sentences & paragraph
  4. Ask questions to engage
  5. Use P.S
  6. Big enough text to be easily read
  7. Mobile responsive / friendly

To learn in more detail about each of these, go here.

Send time

You want to send emails at the time when your subscribers have the highest chance of opening them.

This means you want your emails to appear near the top of their inbox. Because people read from top to bottom, emails near the top are more likely to get opened.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a universal time that is the “best time” for everybody. Each market / industry reacts differently. Even the same market in different countries behave differently.

So test and discover for yourself the best time to send emails for your business.

How to set up an email drip campaign

Because you’re on BirdSend’s site, I’m going to show you create how to create an email drip campaign / email sequence / email series using BirdSend email marketing tool.

Inside the software from the Sequences page, click [New Sequence] button:

how to set up email drip campaign - step 1

You’ll arrive at the following screen:

create email drip - step 2

Simply type your subject line and email body.

After that, click [New Email] on the right sidebar to add a new email to the current sequence. You can add as many emails as you like to the sequence.

Since all emails inside a sequence are controlled on this 1 page, it’s super quick to set up and edit sequence emails. For example, if you have 10 emails in the sequence / drip campaign, you don’t need to go back and forth and load 10 different pages. You just need to do everything on this 1 page.

create email drip - step 3

how to set up an email drip campaign - step 4

create email drip - step 5

how to set up an email drip campaign - step 6

So that’s how you create an email drip campaign / sequence. Were you looking for more steps? Sorry to disappoint 😎

With The 1-Page Sequence Builder, BirdSend is the fastest at setting up email drip campaigns / email sequences. If you can find a platform that’s faster, let us know (click contact button on bottom right of the page) and we’ll give you a paid account, on the house.

Click here to test drive BirdSend free today.

5 boosters to maximize your drip results

1/ Ask subscribers to reply to your email

Getting emails to the inbox is a complex process. Mailbox providers (Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc.) use hundreds, if not thousands, of signals to determine whether to place your emails in the inbox or spam folder.

One of the easiest ways to signal to mailbox providers that your emails are important (to your subscribers) is to ask subscribers to reply to your email.

This tells mailbox providers that conversations are going on, and when they see conversations going on → more likely to place your emails in the inbox.

2/ Resend to unopened

The fastest way to get more eyeballs to your email is to resend your email to folks who haven’t opened the original email.

You can simply write a new subject line and keep the email body the same.

Why only rewrite the subject line? Because it’s one of the first things folks look at before deciding if they want to open your emails.

Again in BirdSend, you can quickly do this in 1-click — for every email in the drip campaign / sequence:

resend to non-openers

3/ Clear CTA (call to action)

At the end of every email, it must be clear what action you want subscribers to take.

Regardless of whether you want them to click and watch your latest YouTube video, or read your latest blog post, or listen to your latest podcast episode… you must guide people to take your desired action.

Here are 6 guidelines to writing compelling CTAs.

4/ A/B test for maximum results

If you have at least 1k recipients, I suggest doing an A/B test for better results.

An A/B test is basically coming up with 2 variations of an email message, and testing against each other to find which one performs better (i.e. the winner).

“Variations of an email message” here means different subject lines.

The winner criteria could be based on:

  • higher open rate
  • higher clickthrough rate
  • higher number of sales
  • higher revenue

In BirdSend, it’s easy to set up an A/B test and specify the winner criteria:

a/b test email

5/ Set up the correct expectations for subscribers

On your opt-in form, tell folks how often you’re going to send emails.

If it’s a daily email, tell them upfront so they’re not surprised when they start getting daily emails.

If it’s a weekly or monthly newsletter, let them know (though I do NOT recommend you entice people to opt-in by saying “subscribe to my newsletter”).

(Bonus) Review performance & improve

To improve, you must know your current performance. So that you can use it as a baseline when comparing against future campaigns.

Email marketing performance is assessed by looking at the engagement stats — open rate, click rate, bounce rate, spam-complaint rate… and most importantly, how many sales and how much revenue are made from emails.

In BirdSend, these stats are easily accessible:

bird’s eye view of stats without clicking

detail stats by clicking any of the box

You can even know the revenue generated for every email and the revenue per subscriber:

track email earnings out of the box with BirdSend

Example of email drips

1/ Ehm… ehm… our own Email Mistakes Challenge

This is for folks who want to up their email marketing game.

In this challenge:

1/ They’re shown the most common email marketing mistakes people make

2/ And how to fix them

The challenge is dripped as a daily email lesson that runs for 13 days straight. So total number of emails = 13.

BirdSend’s email mistakes challenge delivered as an email drip or sequence

Click here to participate in the challenge and up your email marketing skills.

2/ Pam Barnhill’s Learn & Laugh Together

Pam Barnhill’s email drip campaign example

This is for homeschooling folks who want tips, tutorials, and morning time resources they can quickly use to spend meaningful time with their children and build strong relationships. The content is delivered via drip emails.

FAQ about drip email campaigns / automated sequences

How many emails should a drip campaign have? How long should it be? And what should be the interval between each drip email?

As many emails as it takes to achieve your goal. Revisit your goal again and understand the type of email drip campaign you’re trying to create. The most common email drip campaign / email autoresponder is the Welcome Series for new subscribers. For this type, I recommend at least a daily email for at least 7 days.

What makes a good email drip campaign?

One that achieves your goal, which is most likely sales. To that end, while open and click rates are good indicators of your email performance, the most accurate and meaningful indicator of a good email drip campaign is the revenue / earnings from your emails.

What is the difference between a drip and nurture campaign?

A nurture campaign’s purpose is to convert leads → customers.

Not all drip campaigns are nurture campaigns. But all nurture campaigns are part of drip campaigns.

There are other types of drip campaigns, such as the ones previously mentioned:

– Impress A Stranger Series (a.k.a. welcome drip)
– Show Me The Mahhhney Series (a.k.a. promo drip)
– Just 1 Last Step Series (a.k.a. abandoned cart drip)
– Why Did You Leave Me Series (a.k.a. converting churned drip)
– Let’s Break Up Series (a.k.a. reengagement drip)
– I Appreciate You Series (a.k.a. customer drip)

What is a good open rate for drip emails?

Your mileage will vary, depending on many factors such as industries, how passionate your market is, how targeted your audience is, etc.

For my welcome email drip campaign, the 1st email average open rate is 66%:
stats for the first email in a sequence

And the average open rate for the entire welcome drip campaign (13 emails in total) is 43.9%:
stats for the whole email series

I’d say aim for at least 50% open rate for the 1st email in the drip campaign, and at least 40% for the entire drip campaign.

How do I balance sending email drips vs newsletter / broadcast emails?

For new subscribers, don’t send them newsletters yet. Instead, put them into an email drip campaign / sequence to automatically send a daily email for at least 7 days.

After they “graduate” from the drip campaign, you tag them with “newsletter ready” so that they’ll receive the next newsletter issue.

This lets you enjoy the best of both worlds — new subscribers receive your best evergreen content via drips while old subscribers receive your regular newsletter emails.

Want to use an email marketing tool to set up email drip campaigns super fast? Content creators use BirdSend to send 30M emails/month + save 80% in email tool expenses every month while still achieving high email opens (how is this possible?). Try BirdSend free today!

Welly Mulia

👋 My customers (Content Creators) send 30M emails/month via BirdSend. They save 80% in email tool expenses every month while still enjoying high email opens.

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Save 80% every month. High email opens. Super fast email sequence setup.

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