Drip Campaigns: Definition, Examples, & How-To’s [2024]

January 31, 2024 (Updated) | By Sam Pelton
Chat bubbles and raindrops

Drip... Drip... Drip...

Did you just get an image of a leaky faucet? And can’t you just hear the steady sound of that water slowly drip, drip, dripping?

That image illustrates the idea of a drip marketing campaign (the name reportedly being derived from the concept of drip irrigation).

So what are drip campaigns? And how can you use them for your business?

In this article, we’ll jump into the topic of drip campaigns. Having a thorough understanding of drip campaigns will help you be better equipped to take full advantage of a powerful marketing tool to help grow your business.

What Are Drip Campaigns?

“Drip campaigns” refer to marketing emails (or marketing messages sent through other channels such as SMS) that are “dripped out” to individual prospects automatically over a period of time.

Imagine nurturing potential customers like prized houseplants, offering water-drop doses of valuable information just when they need it most. That's essentially the magic of drip campaigns: a marketing strategy that sends out a series of pre-written, automated messages to individual contacts over time.

Drip campaigns are meticulously crafted sequences, triggered by specific user actions or milestones on their journey with your brand. Each response is tailored to the individual's stage in the buying cycle, gently guiding them towards conversion.

So, what makes drip campaigns such potent marketing tools? Here are some key ingredients:

  • Personalization: Each message is focused on the recipient's actions or location in the marketing funnel, making the messaging more targeted—and therefore, more effective.
  • Automation: Once set up, these campaigns run on autopilot, freeing you to focus on other essential tasks while keeping your leads engaged. Efficiency meets effectiveness, like having a self-watering system for your garden!
  • Nurturing relationships: Drip campaigns aren't just about pushing sales. They build trust and familiarity, gently guiding leads through the buying process step-by-step.
  • Measurable results: With built-in analytics, you can track the results of your drip campaigns, adjusting and optimizing them to make them as effective as possible.
Drip campaign flow chart

Why Use Drip Campaigns?

We mentioned this briefly above, but let’s dig a little deeper into why companies use drip campaigns.

When it comes down to it, the 2 main reasons companies use drip campaigns are because they are automated and time- or action-based.

The resulting benefits of those realities about drip campaigns are that the campaigns can be both efficient and effective.


The automated nature of drip campaigns make them very efficient.

With automated campaigns, all you need to do is the initial setup and then you can let it run and reap the benefits.

Of course, you still need to analyze the results and make tweaks and optimizations.

But managing an automated campaign is a lot easier than having to manually create new campaigns.

Time- and Action-Based

Another reason drip campaigns are so helpful is that they are time- or action-based.

Unlike email and text blasts, which have their place, drip campaigns are contingent either on activity the recipient has done or time that has elapsed.

For example, if someone submits a sign-up form on your website in exchange for a free ebook, that can trigger a drip campaign. So you could have the first email with the link to the ebook, and then you could have a series of follow-up emails.

In some cases, you could even set up separate drip campaigns that will trigger based on further actions the user takes.

Since these campaigns are based on timing or user activity, they can be more effective because they can address more personalized content, as opposed to broad blasts.

Drip Campaign Examples

So the idea of drip campaigns is an interesting concept.

But are they actually useful?

You betcha!

So how can you use them?

Although the possibilities are only limited by your imagination, here are some example use cases for drip campaigns.

Promotional Drips

You can use drip campaigns to send out a series of promotional promotional messages via email and/or SMS.

For example, let’s say you have an extended deal or series of deals. You want to set it up so that when a user takes a particular action, like signing up for your email or text list, they receive a new deal a day for 7 days.

How would you go about that?

The answer: drip campaigns.

Set up a workflow with the deals you’re wanting to include and your campaign will cycle through the messages automatically for each individual recipient.

Just set it up once and you’re done.

Easy, no?


Message 1:

Today only! Download the Rise & Shine app for FREE and get 7 days of unlimited access to personalized workouts and healthy recipes! Get your free week here: [link]

Message 2:

How’s your motivation? Join the Rise & Shine 30-day 'Summer Strong' challenge and compete with friends for exclusive prizes! Check it out: [link]

Message 3:

Did someone say 'free recipes'? Discover delicious and nutritious recipes on the Rise & Shine app. Reply YUM to get a free recipe pack and fuel your healthy lifestyle!

Onboarding (or “Welcome”) Drips

Onboarding new customers, users, or employees can be a tricky thing.

What’s the best way to go about it? How much hand-holding do people need? How much documentation should people have to go through on their own?

An onboarding drip campaign can be a nice tool to help simplify this process.

Through a drip campaign, you can guide people step by step on the next action you’d like them to take.

If you have an SMS drip campaign, you can send out manageable bits of information with each message. Bite-sized chunks of information sent out through texting are digestible and reach people where they’re actually looking (on their phones).


Message 1:

Thanks for signing up for MTA! Here’s your login link: [link]

Message 2:

Have you sent your first messages yet? You can check out this brief walkthrough of how it works to help you get started: [link]

Message 3:

Congrats on making it through the first week of your MTA trial! As a “thank-you” for sticking with us, how’s 25% off sound? Click here to claim the deal: [link]

Educational Drips

Say you have a segment of your audience that needs education about something.

They could be employees or recruits needing training about your company/organization.

They could be customers who want info about a new product or service.

In any case, a drip campaign gives you the freedom to automate a series of educational messages so that you can provide people with the info they need at little hassle to you.

It’s a win-win all around!


Message 1:

Today’s training on growing your business is all about the marketing lingo. Watch the video here: [link]

Message 2:

How has your marketing implementation been going? Your next step is to do a cold outreach to 10 potential clients. Discover how here: [link]

Message 3:

Did you do your cold outreach? If you received any response, reply RESPONSE; if you haven’t received a response yet, reply NO RESPONSE. If you didn’t do the cold outreach yet, reply NOT YET.

Nurturing Drips

Once you have leads, you want to nurture them along so that they become customers.

And once you have customers, you want to nurture them along so that they remain customers.

“Nurturing” drip campaigns are a way to help do that.

As with “Onboarding” drips (mentioned above), you can gently guide people through a series of messages that makes it really easy for them to take the next step (whatever that step may be).

And each step they take is one step closer to conversion or retention.


Message 1:

Hey Sam! You had mentioned feeling overwhelmed by debt – we're here to help! Reply "TIPS" for 3 quick tricks to start managing debt like a pro.

Message 2:

Did you know? The average American carries over [dollar amount] in debt. Our latest blog post breaks down debt management strategies that actually work. Check it out here: [link]

Message 3:

Coffee on us? ☕️ Let's chat about your financial goals and see how Acme can help you reach them. No pressure, just sound advice! Schedule a call here: [link]

Abandoned Cart Recovery Drips

An abandoned cart means someone was this close to buying, but didn’t follow through for whatever reason.

This is a warm lead if there ever was one.

So people who have abandoned their carts are a prime target for a drip campaign that could help convince them to follow through with their purchase.

You can combine both SMS and email for this type of campaign, if you have the right contact info. Automate things so that a follow-up is sent almost immediately after the cart is abandoned, and then you could send out a follow-up or 2 after a period of time has passed.


Message 1:

Hey there, Michelle! We noticed you left something special behind in your Cozy Cove cart - Just wanted to check in and see if our Cozy Cove goodies are still calling your name? Use code "CARTSAVINGS" for 10% off everything in your cart to sweeten the deal! Enter code here: [link]

Message 2:

Hi Michelle! Your Cozy Cove cart is still waiting! :) Use code "SECONDCHANCE" for 15% off and make your home decor dreams a reality. Offer expires in 24 hours! Enter code here: [link]

Message 3:

Last call for your Cozy Cove cart checkout before your cart items expire! View your cart here: [link]

Event Drips

How do you get more people to engage with your events and product launches?

Drip campaigns give you an avenue you can use to remind people about your events, to make announcements regarding your events, and to offer special deals related to your events.

All of this can help build up hype so that you can maximize engagement for your event and have as successful an event as possible.


Message 1:

Hey Andrew! Groove Music Festival is just 1 week away, and the beats are getting louder! Headliners announced - Check out the lineup and snag your tickets before they're gone: [link]

Message 2:

Big news for Groove enthusiasts! Reply "VIP DREAMS" within the next 12 hours for a chance to win exclusive VIP tickets! Winner announced tomorrow.

Message 3:

The wait is over, party people! Groove Music Festival is finally here, and the bass is already bumping. Come join us for a weekend of epic music and unforgettable memories.

When Should You Use Drip Campaigns?

As suggested by the list of examples above, there are several situations in which it would make sense to use a drip campaign.

Some of those situations include the following…

Promotional Drips

Use a “Promotional” drip campaign…

  • When running a long-term promotion
  • When you’ll be running an upcoming promotion
  • When you want to give an exclusive deal to a smaller segment of people

Onboarding (or “Welcome”) Drips

Use an “Onboarding” or “Welcome” drip campaign…

  • If your product or service requires a lot of onboarding training
  • If you receive a new lead
  • If your customer takes advantage of a new product or service that they may not be familiar with

Educational Drips

Use an “Educational” drip campaign…

  • If education is a part of the services you offer
  • If you’re trying to coach people underneath you
  • If your products or services are more complex or are changing

Nurturing Drips

Use a “Nurturing” drip campaign…

  • If you receive a new lead
  • When your prospects are in a trial period
  • If you want more engagement with your current customers

Other Drips

Other drip campaigns, such as “Abandoned Cart Recovery Drips” and “Event Drips” are more self-explanatory.

Anytime you want to engage with your audience in a specific circumstance with more than one email/message you could consider whether or not a drip campaign would be the right way to go.

Best practices when creating drip campaigns

Best Practices When Creating Drip Campaigns

So how do you come up with a plan to create your drip campaigns?

Here are some best practices.

1. Define Your Goals

You’ll first need to decide what the purpose is for your campaign. What are you trying to accomplish? What KPIs are you trying to improve?

Without this as a starting point, you won’t have any sort of guidance on how to plan out the actual campaigns.

2. Think About What Type of Campaign Will Help You Reach Your Goals

If you’ve established goals, you’ll then need to think about what kind of campaign will actually help you reach those goals. (You can see some of the example drip campaigns in the section above for reference.)

If your goal is to convert more trial users, consider an onboarding or nurturing drip campaign.

If your goal is to get more attendance to events, consider an event-specific promotional drip campaign.

If your goal is to get a seasonal boost in sales, consider a product-specific promotional drip campaign.

As you can see, having a clear understanding of your goal will help guide you toward which type of campaign you should be implementing.

3. Think About How Many Messages You’ll Need to Send to Reach Your Goals

Once you’ve determined the type of campaign you’ll be sending, you can then think about how many messages you’ll need to include in your campaign.

You’ll make this decision based on how many messages you think will be necessary to help you achieve your goal.

It may also depend on how many actions you’d like your audience to take.

If you’re not sure how many messages you need right off the bat, that’s OK—you can always run A/B tests along the way to help you determine the best frequency.

4. Determine the Specific Goal for Each Message

After you have the big-picture goal in mind and have decided on the type of campaign you’re sending and the number of messages you’ll be sending, you’ll want to establish a goal for each individual message.

Thinking about your message-specific goal will also help you determine what action you want people to take when they receive each message.

You’ll want to think about message-specific goals that will help you achieve your overall goals for the campaign.

5. Create Message Copy

Knowing your message-specific goals will then allow you to be able to create message copy for each individual message.

The type of message copy you create will vary greatly depending on your target audience, the goals for the campaign, the type of campaign it is, and the stage of awareness of your recipient at each stage of the campaign.

One overall best practice is to make sure you’re making the messaging about the audience rather than about yourself and your business. Show how you can bring a positive benefit to the person you’re messaging.

6. Analyze Results

After your campaign is live, let it run for a while (at least 1 week) and then analyze results.

You can use your messaging tool to research the data for both the overall campaign performance and each individual message performance.

Evaluate whether you’re getting the open rates, click rates, and conversion rates you were hoping for based on the goals you established for the campaign.

7. Test and Optimize

As with any marketing effort, you’ll want to use your analysis results to test and optimize different elements of your campaign.

If you’re seeing low open rates for your emails, can you try different subject lines?

If you’re seeing a low click rate on your SMS, can you create a stronger CTA?

Test different things, see what works best, and optimize your campaign.

How to Set Up Drip Campaigns

Learning new tools can be difficult, even if you know they would be beneficial.

Sometimes you avoid things just because you have so much to think about already. You don’t want to add yet another thing to the plate!

Will drip campaigns be difficult to set up? Will it be time-consuming and stressful to learn the platform, figure out the tool, and make it effective?

As long as you know what messages you’d like to send, you can have your drip campaign set up in minutes.

The setup in each marketing tool you use will be slightly different, although the general steps should be about the same.

As an example, here’s how it works to set up a drip campaign in the Mobile Text Alerts platform…

Step 1: Sign Up for the SMS Platform

In order to utilize the drip campaign function you’ll first need an account on the Mobile Text Alerts platform.

Get a free trial account here to start testing it out.

Step 2: Navigate to the Drip Campaigns Page

Once your SMS platform account is set up, you can navigate to the Drip Campaigns page.

From there, you’ll be able to see a list of any drip campaigns you’ve created. Click the “Add Drip Campaign” button to set up to create a new campaign.

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After typing in the name you’d like to give to the campaign and clicking “Save,” you’re ready to start setting up the workflow for your campaign. Click the “Workflow” icon.

Step 3: Set Up Your Flow of Messages and Delays

From within your campaign workflow edit page, you can click “Add Message” to create your message.

You have the option to select the time of day you want your message to go out if you’d like. You can also include an image in your message.

Once you’ve filled out the message content, you can click “Save.”

You can add delays between messages by clicking the “Add Delay” button. This will allow you to select how many days of delay you’d like there to be before the next message in the workflow sends.

You can position new messages or delays that you add anywhere within the workflow. (You can reposition them later on as well if you change your mind.)

Step 4: Assign a Group to Your Campaign

Once you have your drip campaign workflow all ready to go, you just need to assign a group to the campaign.

“Groups” are organizational segments you can create within your account to help you manage your contacts. You can go ahead and create a group from the Manage Groups page by selecting the “Add Group” button.

Once your group is created, you can go back to editing your drip campaign. Then, select the group(s) from the drop-down menu at the bottom, and the campaign will begin for that selected group.

This means that any of your contacts that get added to the assigned group will be automatically added to your drip campaign as well.

Thus, they will receive the messages you set up for your drip campaign workflow.


And you’re done setting it up!

Rest easy that you don’t need to spend hours figuring out how to get the drip campaign tool to work.

(And support is always willing to help with any questions.)

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Do you have SMS drip campaigns running for your business?

You can get started for free. Just click here to get your free trial now so that you can take full advantage of drip campaigns for your business.

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