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5 popular email drip campaign examples to activate customers

7 Minute Read

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CordialWe build technology to help brands send a better message.

When companies like Revolve, a fashion retailer and Cordial customer, can earn 8.3x revenue per email from personalized triggered emails vs. broadcast emails, you should take note of the power of well-crafted, personalized messaging for your customers.

Although there are dozens of email drip campaigns you can apply to your email automation, here are five personalized 1-2-3 series of emails that are tried-and-true to convert or win back customers. Jump to any section:

Personalized email drip campaign examples: 1-2-3 series

1. First-purchase activation drip campaign

Although you might have customers who sign up for emails at the point of purchase — and receive a separate welcome email series as a result of a first purchase — here’s an example of a messaging series where the customer signed up for emails without making a purchase or, perhaps, without even browsing individual products or adding any items to their shopping cart.

Message #1

  • Filter: Consumer has not made their first purchase
  • Trigger: X days have passed since sign-up
  • Content:
    • Show recently browsed items, “Did you see something you like?” 
    • Show best-selling items if customer has not browsed items, “Shop our best sellers!”
    • Consider adding a non-purchase CTA for an app or branded content, “Download our app!”

Message #2

  • Filter: Consumer has not made their first purchase
  • Trigger: X days have passed since Message #1
  • Content:
    • Introduce a limited time (48-72 hours) offer, “Get $X OFF your first purchase. NOW through Sunday!”
    • Show a block of new products, “Check out our NEW arrivals…”
    • Consider promoting your mobile app, “Shop our mobile app!”

Message #3

  • Filter: Consumer has not made their first purchase
  • Trigger: Limited offer in Message #2 ends in X hours
  • Content:
    • Create urgency with a last-chance reminder, “Only X hours left to save $X!”
    • Show products from a browsed/popular category, “Recommended for you…”
    • Promote SMS cross-channel, “Email not your thing? Sign up for our texts!”

Curious how leading brands tackle their welcome campaigns? See our roundup of welcome email examples.

2. Low-inventory drip campaign

When a customer browses products that are running low in your inventory, leverage FOMO to create a sense of urgency. Instead of counting down a clock, you can do a countdown of inventory. The tactic can be especially effective for a low-stock item that was favorited or left in an abandoned shopping cart.

Message #1

  • Filter: Customer has browsed an item 2 or more times in last X days
  • Trigger: Stock for browsed item falls to X threshold
  • Content: Show product image with message and CTA, “Hurry! There’s only X left! Order NOW”

Message #2

  • Filter: Customer has not purchased low-inventory item
  • Trigger: Stock for browsed item falls lower to Y threshold
  • Content: Show product image with message and CTA, “These are going fast! Only Y [items] left. Get yours now!”

Message #3

  • Filter: Customer has not purchased low-inventory item
  • Trigger: Browsed item goes out of stock
  • Content: 
    • Include a CTA for a back-in-stock alert, “You missed your chance. Get on the waitlist for another shot!”
    • Show a block of recommended products based on browsing history, “Other options recommended just for you!”

3. Back-in-stock drip campaign

Similar to alerts for low inventory, you can leverage the same sense of FOMO with back-in-stock alerts for items that a consumer has browsed, favorited, or carted at one point but never purchased, whether or not they signed up for a back-in-stock alert.

Message #1

  • Filter: Customer has not purchased, but has browsed at one point
  • Trigger: Browsed, carted, or favorited item is back in stock
  • Content: Show product image and CTA,  “Back in stock! Buy it before they’re gone!”

Message #2

  • Filter: Customer has not purchased and item is still in stock
  • Trigger: X days have passed since Message #1
  • Content: Show product image and CTA,  “These are selling out again. Get yours now!”

Message #3

  • Filter: Customer has not purchased
  • Trigger: Item has gone out of stock since Message #1 or #2
  • Content:
    • Show product image, “You missed your chance!”
    • Promote SMS cross-channel notifications, “Get notified by text when [item] is back in stock again!”

Low-inventory and back-in-stock emails are highly effective to boost revenue. See our roundup of other popular triggered email types.

4. Post-purchase drip campaign

After a new customer makes their first purchase, following up immediately is key to build trust with the customer and to make them feel confident in their purchase. During the time period between purchase and delivery is crucial, especially if any hiccups occur along the way (like a product goes out of stock or a shipment is delayed). Here’s an effective messaging series to employ for an initial purchase, and you can easily add in a message for a loyalty program CTA after a customer meets a certain threshold of purchases or total spend amount. But whatever you do, just stay in touch to nurture valuable customers.

Message #1

  • Filter: Customer is making their first purchase
  • Trigger: Confirmation of first purchase
  • Content:
    • Show product and confirm the purchase, “Thank you!”
    • Detail what they can expect (i.e., estimated delivery date/time)
    • Provide customer support information

Message #2

  • Filter: Customer has made their first purchase
  • Trigger: Product delivery is in X [time frame]
  • Content:
    • Show product and estimated delivery time/day, “Arriving soon! [Time/Day]”
    • Promote SMS cross-channel notifications, “Get a text as soon as it arrives!”
    • Provide relevant product education to built trust and anticipation

Message #3

  • Filter: Product delivery confirmed
  • Trigger: X days have passed since product delivery
  • Content:
    • Ask customer for a review, “How do you like your new [item]?”
    • Recommend related products, “Recommended based on your purchase…”

5. Win-back drip campaign

When you want to re-engage customers that have gone silent for a long time or, perhaps, have shifted their behaviors with much longer periods between purchases, you can try a win-back campaign. However, one caveat when messaging disengaged customers is to watch your deliverability reputation by slowly working them back into your sends and testing re-engagement — and consider scrubbing your email list. One key segment to approach first includes disengaged customers who have made at least one purchase in the past.

Message #1

  • Filter: Customer has made at least one purchase
  • Trigger: Customer has not engaged in X days
  • Content:
    • Test subject lines, offers, and CTAs
    • Test offering a small discount, “We miss you! We want to welcome you back with 10% OFF!”
    • Show fresh products to create a sense of FOMO, “See what you’ve missed! Shop our NEW arrivals!”

Message #2

  • Filter: Customer has made at least one purchase and has not engaged in Message #1
  • Trigger: Customer has not engaged in X days since Message #1
  • Content:
    • Test offering a limited time discount, “Get 20% OFF any item! Offer ends today!”
    • Show recommended products based on browsing history, “You might like…”
    • Help protect deliverability with a helpful reminder, “Get too many emails? Update your preferences.”

Message #3

  • Filter: Customer has made at least one purchase and has not engaged in Message #1 or #2
  • Trigger: Customer has not engaged in X days since Message #2
  • Content:
    • Test offering a “last chance” offer, “Last chance! We’re offering $X on your next purchase.”
    • Promote SMS/MMS and mobile app channels, “Want text updates on special offers?”
    • Help clean your email list with a helpful reminder, “Not feeling us? Update your preferences or unsubscribe.”

As you likely already know, it’s easier to retain and win back current customers than to acquire new ones. See more win-back campaign examples from leading brands.

Related resources on Cordial:

Let us help you optimize your email drip campaigns

Here at Cordial, we can streamline your current practices with our innovative email marketing platform. With automation options equipped with machine learning, advanced email segmentation, and more, we have the right tools for the job.

Request a demo today and see just how we can boost your open and conversion rates while working toward a more engaged and satisfied community.