Lead Generation

Drip Campaign vs Nurture Campaign: What's the Difference?

Carter Edsall
by Carter Edsall / January 23, 2024

Carter Edsall is the founder of Brand Theory, a growth agency that helps businesses eliminate the guesswork from online marketing. Through a career spanning nearly 3 decades, he’s launched and marketed projects for household names like Nissan, Disney and Four Seasons — but remains passionate about helping small businesses scale profitably and predictably. He lives for food, wine, the outdoors and spending time with his family in beautiful Marin County, CA.

As a CEO or entrepreneur, you may have heard of the terms "drip campaign" and "nurture campaign” but do you know the difference? 


Getting familiar with each of these email marketing tools can help you leverage automation and deliver the right message to the right customer at the right time. No more blasting emails into the void and hoping they’ll magically drive sales. Drip and nurture strategies allow for highly personalized content to reach a more open and receptive audience, helping to maximize both your efforts and your budget.


In this article, we'll explore the differences between drip campaigns vs nurture campaigns and help you determine when to use each to help you reach your marketing goals.





What is a Drip Campaign?

A drip campaign is an email marketing tool that allows you to send out a series of automated, personalized emails to specific segments of your audience over a pre-determined amount of time. 


Drip campaigns are characterized by being automated, pre-written, and triggered by a user action or a specific date or occasion - like a seasonal sale, or trade show. These emails tend to be somewhat evergreen and are highly effective – with open rates 80% higher than regular emails. Marketers look to drip campaigns to help convert prospects into customers by educating them about products or services, and they are often instigated the moment a prospect enters their email address on a business’ website. Drip campaigns are part of a lead generation strategy, and include welcome emails, onboarding emails, prospecting emails, re-engagement emails, and renewal reminders as well as referral requests. 


What is a Nurture Campaign?

A nurture campaign is also an email marketing tool that sends out a series of personalized emails in a specific cadence triggered by the lead’s behavior online such as engaging with their website or clicking an ad, but are specifically designed to lead already qualified prospects into and through the sales funnel.


Nurture campaigns are essentially the second tier of email automation, usually following a drip campaign, but are targeted more specifically based on user behavior and the stage of the buyer’s journey. These email sequences are highly personalized, offering prospects tailored information specific to their behavior or stage in the journey with the intent to convert them or build loyalty. For example, a SaaS company might send out an email comparing its solution to a competitor’s following a prospect’s request for a demo. 



What’s the Difference Between Drip and Nurture Campaigns?

Although both types of campaigns leverage email automation to send pre-written emails to specific audience segments, the intent and breadth of these campaigns differ. Drip campaigns are usually sent to a broader list to communicate information in alignment with a specific marketing goal. While nurture campaigns are sent to a more targeted audience, generally marketing qualified leads – i.e., those who have already received a drip sequence and have remained engaged, or taken other actions that then trigger the nurture campaign. The goal of a nurture campaign is to move MQLs through the sales funnel, by personalizing the emails for both the user’s actions and stage in the buyer journey


Drip vs. Nurture Campaigns – Which One is Right for You?

The short answer is both types of campaigns are effective and should be leveraged to help streamline your customer acquisition and email marketing efforts. According to HubSpot, the most effective types of email marketing campaigns leverage audience segmentation, personalization, and automation, and both styles of campaigns use all three strategies. Which to choose ultimately depends on your goals and the characteristics of your existing email list. 


Email marketing remains one of the key channels that both brands and digital marketers can and should leverage to reach their audiences. By automating tailored, personalized messages to existing or potential customers, businesses can make their email campaigns both more effective and efficient.


Understanding the difference between drip campaigns vs. nurture campaigns can help you optimize your email list segmentation, increase the impact of your email marketing efforts, and help your team make the most of its email marketing budget.

At Brand Theory, we leverage automated email marketing through both drip and nurture campaigns to help our clients reach their customers at the right time with the right message. A comprehensive growth partner, we offer data-driven inbound and content marketing services to help brands grow predictably and sustainably. If you’re tired of wasting time and money on ineffective, haphazard marketing efforts, schedule a no-obligation introduction to Brand Theory today.





< Prev Posts
All Posts
Next Post >