Tips on Using Email Drip Campaigns to Turn Leads into Customers


Email remains one of the most effective ways to communicate with people in all phases of the marketing flywheel. One of today’s most popular email marketing strategies is the email drip campaign. The purpose behind this email marketing strategy is to reach and entice:


  • Subscribers to become leads
  • Leads to become marketing qualified leads (MQLs)
  • MQLs to become sales qualified leads (SQLs)
  • And SQLs to become a customer (and eventually, a brand evangelist)


Check out this link from HubSpot to learn more about what these terms mean. 


email drip campaign telling you email is number 1


Creating an email drip campaign can be intimidating. Nevertheless, they are essential for lead nurturing. You can develop your own lead-generating email drip campaign using the following tips and tricks. 



But why Is It Called an Email Drip Campaign?


why is it called an email drip campaign cartoon bear questioning


The key to understanding how an email drip campaign works is the “drip.” It’s described as a drip because, rather than flood your lead’s inbox with sales jargon, you lightly drip the information to the lead over time. The end goal of an email drip campaign is to gradually turn a subscriber into a customer. 


In the past, a common tactic was to send a bombastic email a mass list of strangers urging them to “BUY NOW!” In today’s email marketing, this reads as spam. Gmail, for example, will immediately filter these types of sales push emails out to the “Promotions” folder – the one that never gets read. To make sure you land in your lead’s inbox, keep the emphasis on the drip.



Creating The Strategy and Outline


email sequence strategy and outline cartoon bear


To start, think of your email drip campaign in terms of the average lead lifecycle (subscriber, lead, MQL, SQL, customer). What would a person in each of these categories want to know about your business? If the goal is to gain a new customer, think about what information pushes the cycle forward in that direction as they receive these emails. Here’s how it’s broken down in a four-part email drip campaign.


The Subscriber Email


Note: Subscribers are people who know a little bit about your products/services. They found your website and gave you their email.


This email should be addressing the subscribers and nurturing them toward becoming a lead. Consider it an introductory email. This email should answer the following questions:


  • Who are you?
  • What services/products do you offer?


That’s it! In this email, only introduce yourself. You may include links to your website and blog, but do not sell your product/service! This is the most important thing. The first email in an email drip campaign should explain who you are and what you do, in simple, friendly terms.


The Subscriber to Lead Email


Note: Leads are people who know who you are, what products and/or services you offer, and have shown light interest in becoming a customer.


This is the second email in an email drip campaign. At this point, the subscriber/lead knows who you are and what you do. Now it’s time to provide more resources, such as:


  • Blog posts
  • Company news and updates
  • Applicable website/landing pages
  • Upcoming events and workshops


Don’t inundate the lead with too much information. Instead, consider the second email a light touch of information. You don’t want to send any case studies, white papers, or e-books at this point. Keep it casual and informative. Just like the last email, keep the sales tactics at a minimum. You’re writing this email to inform the lead, not hard-sell them. 


The Lead to MQL Email


Note: MQLs (Marketing Qualified Leads) are people who are considering their options – and your business is one of those options! MQLs want to see customer success stories, compare price points, read your more in-depth content, etc.


Now you’ve reached the third email in an email drip campaign. Yay! Here’s where you can do a little bit of selling (but not too much). The tone of this email needs to strike a perfect balance between informative, friendly, and sales-y. It can include:


  • Case studies and customer success stories
  • E-books and white papers
  • Customer testimonials
  • An exclusive offer (first chance) 


This is the moment you’ve been waiting for. Unleash all of your best marketing content in this email! At this stage in the game, your lead is ready to receive it. Show the MQL how delighted your customers are, provide valuable decision-making information, and give them an offer with a deadline. 


The MQL to SQL Email


Note: SQLs (Sales Qualified Leads) are people who are vetted and confirmed by sales as an opportunity. They have the money to buy your product and/or service and are a good fit as a customer of your business. In some business models, this means the person talked to a sales representative, added your product/service to their online cart, or visited your physical store/office. 


The goal of this email is to transform the reader into a lead that:


  • Schedules a consultation
  • Adds your product to their cart
  • Calls for an appointment 
  • Reaches out to your sales department for more information


At this point, you can roll up your sales sleeves and get to typing (within reason). This email should be short, sweet, and to the point. You’ve buttered them up – now it’s time to close the deal. In this email, you should include:


  • Your differentiating factors (what truly makes you different?)
  • Last chance call out of an exclusive offer
  • Convey the end goal of the campaign with a call-to-action (buy now, schedule a call, etc.)
  • Any additional resources not yet given to the MQL


After all of this, it’s up to the lead to make the final move. Once you’ve done the work and executed a successful email drip campaign, it’s time to give the lead some space. 


Tools To Use For Building Email Drip Campaigns 


drip email tools cartoon drawing of letter


There are countless tools available to create an email drip campaign. Hubspot, Mailchimp, SharpSpring, and Constant Contact are a few options for email marketing. Most tools offer:


  • Drag-and-drop email builder
  • Pre-designed templates
  • Contacts database
  • Email personalization
  • A/B Testing
  • Time zone sends 


In Hubspot, you can build out “Workflows” and create an “if/then” model to automate the process and run some A/B Testing during your campaign. You can also organize and track your campaigns using Hubspot’s “Campaigns” tool, which shows you an in-depth overview of your campaigns’ health and efficiency.


Mailchimp is another great, affordable option for people learning to develop an email drip campaign. SharpSpring also offers an email marketing tool, as well as landing page development and campaign management tools. 


Most of these choices are very user-friendly, WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) email marketing tools. It takes some trial-and-error to figure them out in the beginning, but it’s well worth the effort! Email marketing is a fantastic way to show leads who you are and how your products and/or services can help them. 


Creating the Landing Page for Leads


Another essential part of an email drip campaign is creating a landing page for people to sign up for the emails. In the beginning, you can launch your campaign by sending emails to your current contacts who already signed up for email communication. After the initial launch is complete, you can recycle the email drip campaign through new leads who sign up for emails. 


To do this, you’ll need to create a landing page for signing up. This should include a form to fill out that triggers the first email in the campaign to send. The landing page should have some nicely designed graphics, bullet points of information about your business, and the form to sign up.


Do not include excessive information, links to other pages, your website menu, or any calls-to-action (CTAs) aside from the button to submit the form. The focus should be solely on signing up!



What To Do After the Email Drip Campaign


MQLs can be re-engaged through one-off email campaigns, e-newsletters, and sales emails. After an email drip campaign is done, there’s still work to do! Send special offers to the most engaged leads from your drip campaign (most clicks and views), create emails featuring the content your leads engage with the most, and send regular e-newsletters.  


There are a lot of insights to pull from an email drip campaign. You can figure out:


  • Which people in your contact list are most interested in your product/service
  • What type of content your leads are most interested in
  • What types of content your leads are least interested in 
  • How effective your special offers are in the campaign
  • What external links your leads are most interested in 


An email drip campaign is a proactive, consumer-centric approach to marketing, falling within the category of “Inbound Marketing.” This means that rather than reaching out and pulling customers in (a sales-centric approach), you allow the leads to come to you and reach the decision themselves. In Inbound Marketing, your job is to be authentic, transparent, and informative. In today’s consumer market, this is the most effective approach. 


schedule a free email drip campaign consultation with HeartBrain Marketing


If you’re interested in crafting an email drip campaign for your business, you can reach out to me at kelsie at heartbrain dot marketing. HeartBrain Marketing is a boutique digital marketing agency providing services to multi-industry clients all over the world. We work on an hourly basis, with no large deposits or binding contracts.

Reach out to schedule a free consultation at any time!



Kelsie Collins
Project Manager
Kelsie at heartbrain dot marketing




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