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  • Writer's pictureSara Wenner

The Anatomy of a High Performance Email Drip Campaign

Email campaigns are a great and relatively inexpensive way to reach your audience. There are no special algorithms to appease and as long as you have good software and great content you can reach every single person on your list for $0 (for lists under 1,000 names).

I’ve worked with many of my clients to create high performing email campaigns and initiatives, usually involving a targeted drip campaign. The primary goals of these campaigns are either to gather emails or sell products or services.

One of my more active email marketing clients is a small product-focused business. Their four-email sequence has seen an average open rate of 34% and an average Click Through Rate (CTR) of 3.5%. With their industry’s average rounding out at about 1.5% CTR and 12% open rate per email, these campaigns have resulted in impressive results.

If you want to create a drip campaign that will keep prospective customers engaged and interested, this is my proven strategy.

What needs to be considered before you begin

Before I even put pen to paper (or rather, fingers to keyboard) I consider some key factors: the industry, the business itself, and what the business wants to accomplish with the campaign. I suggest that you review your previous email campaigns to see what has worked and what might have fallen flat. If you’re starting from scratch, don’t be afraid to sign up on your competition’s mailing lists to see what others in your industry are doing. Conducting research can not only inform, but also give your ideas for an email blast that you hadn’t considered before. You can also ask your current customers what kind of content they might want to get. This will not only help with email campaigns but it can translate to other facets of your marketing strategy.

Email #1: Deliver the goods

Typically, people give you their email in exchange for something. This could be a free gift such as an eBook, or a discount coupon for their next purchase. In this first email you need to deliver on that promise.

In the first email I include a few links to the company website, both directly to product pages, plus the home page. I am then able to track which links are the most successful. This allows me to further optimize the campaign. You can use your website URLs and track it through Google Analytics or use custom links to track clicks. I try to include 3-4 links within each email of the sequence, in addition to the required footer information. One thing you never want to do is create a subject line that includes trigger words like coupon, _% off, or free. This will likely send your email into your reader’s spam filter, and ultimately they will lose out on the product/service they have opted into receiving.

Email #2 Amplify your best seller

In the second email, I highlight the hero product. All you need is a quick, pithy headline, with an eye-catching photo or .gif of the product, and short written blurb below. The image I use is linked to the product page on the website, and I add a “Shop Now” button at the end.

Since it’s your best seller, they may have purchased it already using the original coupon you sent in the first email. If not, opening this email may remind them of their unused coupon that they can use towards a purchase of this product.

Email #3 Complimentary purchases or inform the user

Now that your audience has been sold on your best-selling product, it’s time to go to the next step. Create an email that makes the connection to other complimentary products in your store. You could also send instructions on how to use the best seller. Being informative or helpful, without a sales pitch, is a great way to show your worth to the reader.

If you choose to create an informative email, decide on whether you want to link back to a blog post or compose a long-form email. While both have benefits, linking back to the website is usually my choice, because the more time that people spend on your website, the better they get to know you, and they may even purchase another product or service. The attention span of the average reader is short, so the goal is to get them to your desired result as quickly as possible. Links should be dropped in whenever you mention products, and always include a “Shop Now” button at the bottom.

Email #4 Blog Round Up

Helpful product and/or industry information created by you is a great topic for the final email. Here you will be expanding upon the theme of email #3, except the tone is much more personal. This last email can change each time you use the sequence as you create more blog posts or if your business is seasonal. While the other three emails are for the most part evergreen, keeping this last email current will show that you are a knowledgeable source in your industry. Insert links after a blog summary to direct them to the full article, and as always, include a “Shop Now” button at the bottom.

Final thoughts

Remember to periodically check in on your email drip campaign to see what’s working and what isn’t. Always monitor metrics. Most of the time your first email gets the highest results, but if you can identify and remedy what is causing a drop off in the sequence, it can improve your overall campaign results the next time you use it.  Keep in mind, it’s not always about reinventing the wheel for each email. Sometimes merely changing an email subject line can dramatically increase the open rate.

Ready to add email blasts to your marketing plan? Content & Creativity can help you design a campaign that achieves your goals. Call 610.937.5187 or email me at to learn more.

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