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What is a Marketing Drip Campaign?

Marketing drip campaigns are automated, sequenced messages sent to users based on specific parameters such as duration between messages, and often, driven by actions the user has taken. Today, the majority of brands use marketing drip campaigns to engage with their prospects and customers. 

Because you can segment your customer list down to an individual level, you can provide highly engaging, personalized content that’s focused on meeting each user where they are in the buying journey. Marketing drip campaigns aren’t limited to email marketing, however. A successful drip campaign will enlist all of the channels that your customer engages with, including email, SMS, in-app push, web push, and direct mail.

As a result of these personalized, automated messages, users are far more likely to respond positively. In Forrester's Total Economic Impact™ study, brands saw a 700% increase in ROI after implementing Iterable’s cross-channel marketing platform to deploy marketing drip campaigns. 

In this article, we’ll dive deeper into what marketing drip campaigns are and how to run them successfully.

Types of Marketing Drip Campaigns

A “drip” campaign simply refers to a sequenced series of messages that is deployed over a period of time. There are many different types of drip campaigns to explore. Here are some of the most common ones:


After signing up for your brand’s email list, a user might get an initial welcome message including a video that talks about your product. Two hours later, they might receive a request to download your mobile app to receive an exclusive discount code. Once the user logs into the app, they’ll receive a notification offering loyalty points for filling out a shopping preferences survey. 

The goal in this welcome campaign is to educate and engage the new customer, providing them with relevant content and offers to encourage them to make an initial purchase, while simultaneously gathering as much data about the user as possible so you can customize future offers to their preferences. 


If a customer is already in your database and has opted in for data tracking online, you’ll be able to track their actions across your web properties and app via their IP address. This will enable you to develop personalized marketing drip campaigns based on specific actions they’ve taken across the web. 

For example:

    • A user clicks on a product link on your website. If the user doesn’t continue on and make a purchase, this action could trigger an email that spotlights that product. If the user still doesn’t make a purchase, the next sequence in the campaign might be an email featuring similar products. 
    • A user visits your pricing page, but doesn’t subscribe. This action might trigger an email asking them to sign up for a free trial or to book a call with a sales representative to learn more. If the user doesn’t respond, they’ll receive a follow-up message a couple of days later, possibly incorporating another channel, such as SMS. From there, they may receive a coupon in the mail.

Cart abandonment

According to Baynard Institute's Cart Abandonment Rate Statistics, in roughly 70% of cases, a customer who adds items to their online shopping cart will fail to make the purchase at that point in time and abandon the cart. A marketing drip campaign tied to cart abandonment is an ideal way to re-engage those customers and encourage them to convert. 

For example, a mattress brand might send a discount to cart abandoners soon after they’ve abandoned the purchase, encouraging them to take advantage of special savings. If they fail to respond, the brand continues with a series of educational emails showcasing the benefits of their mattresses, including customer testimonials and FAQs. 

When to Use Drip Campaigns

It can also be useful to engage multiple channels across this journey, especially because customers are likely to move across channels during the course of making an online purchase. A study by Google on cross-platform consumer behavior found that 90% of people move between devices to accomplish a goal. For example, your initial follow up message may be delivered via email, but if the user doesn’t respond, you can trigger an SMS message offering a special discount. 


If a customer has made a purchase, immediately after the purchase is a great time to both solicit feedback and secure brand loyalty. Your drip campaign might first offer a special discount for leaving a review on your website. Then, you can follow up with a message about your customer loyalty program. You might also send a message recommending similar products. And, if the product is one that will need to be replaced (i.e., skin cream), you can send a follow-up reminder across multiple channels when it’s time to re-order.


You can segment your users based on their activity across your properties. When users have failed to open your messages or click your links within a certain amount of time, it’s time to re-engage them. Re-engagement also comes into play for subscription services, where a user has ended their paid subscription but is still on your mailing list.

In either case, develop drip campaigns that test out different ways to reach your audience via new channels, such as push notifications or SMS. Your re-engagement messages can include a mix of incentives and education. One might include a special limited-time discount, while another might include a video customer testimonial. Your marketing automation platform should track which channels your users engage with, and automatically optimize the campaign to prioritize those channels.


An effective marketing drip campaign should be personalized to prioritize the content and channels that each user cares about. By ensuring that your marketing drip campaigns are set up to deliver personalized content across a range of channels in a cohesive, cross-channel marketing strategy, you’ll be able to drive maximum engagement and ensure a positive customer experience throughout the entire buyer’s journey. 

Iterable is a cross-channel marketing platform that powers unified customer experiences and empowers marketers to create, optimize and measure relevant interactions and experiences customers love. Leading brands, like Cinemark, DoorDash, Calm, Madison Reed, and Box, choose Iterable to power world-class customer experiences throughout the entire lifecycle. Discover our growth marketing solutions for personalization, increasing customer engagement, and more. Discover our platform and schedule a demo today.