Bulk and Drip Email Marketing: What are they?

Bite sized content and mass emails

04 October 2022

6 minutes

Anam Jalil

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Email marketing can be a little confusing: Do you send all of your email list an email explaining an offer or should you send bite-sized content over time to a segmented list based on what they do? 

Basically, this question summarizes the difference in mass email marketing and setting up a drip campaign. Before we get into the specifics, let’s highlight what this article will discuss.

  1. Bulk or Mass Email Marketing

  2. Drip Campaigns

  3. When to send bulk emails or drip campaigns

  4. Examples of great campaigns 

Bulk or Mass email marketing

Let’s keep it simple. First, let’s explore what bulk or mass email marketing is and discuss a few examples. Bulk or mass email marketing is a type of email marketing campaign that sends messages in bulk to a large group of customers without them performing any actions. 

For example, Nike wants to announce their annual sale and sends a mass email to everyone on their email list telling them about the exciting event. They can do the same to announce new store timings, the launch of a new shoe, etc. 

This happens when a large group of people on the email list need to receive the same message and accordingly, the company crafts the message and sends it to the respective list. 

However, this does not mean that bulk email marketing does not segment the email list or there is no criterion to receive an email. 

You definitely can segment your email list. For example, you may be introducing a discount for customers who were added to your list last Christmas. Simply apply the filter to your list, and segment, and send the discount message to that segment of the list. That is a bulk message.

The email can also be personalized with the recipient’s name and other information based on custom fields added in the email (as long as the spreadsheet that contains customer data includes information regarding these fields that need to be filled in). 

Other examples of bulk emails? 

You can send emails to all of your recipients on their respective birthday by automating the process using an email automation tool. This is also regarded as a bulk email campaign because everyone on your list receives the same email when it applies to them without them performing any action. 

Newsletters are also mass email campaigns as they are usually sent to the whole email list once a month or once a week. Therefore, all prominent brands do usually engage in bulk or mass email marketing for some of their campaigns. 

Drip email marketing

Just like a drip, drip email campaigns deliver content or messages one at a time and are usually triggered by a certain action. 

Therefore, these messages are specific to what the prospect is doing on the website or how he/she reacts to previous email messages. 

For example, an abandoned cart email can be the first in a drip sequence, followed by a discount offer if the prospect does not open the first email or return to the cart. Little by little, the prospect continues to hear from the company so that the offer remains top of mind and sometimes the company also sends other content and promotional offers in between. 

Drip sequences are designed according to what the recipient does and how they engage with your email taking them from one stage in the buyer journey to the next. 

Moosend describes drip campaigns as automated emails that are sent out at specific times and dates - the duration between emails is set so everyone who opts in gets drops of content at intervals. 

Let’s dive further into the topic. 

When should you send bulk or drip email campaigns?

How do you decide whether to send a bulk email campaign or a drip email campaign? 

First, let’s explore when you should send drip campaigns. 

Drip campaigns are basically time-based emails and are a series of emails that prospects get, giving them the right information at the right time. Also, the email that the prospect gets is based on their actions: whether they open the email or whether they don’t. 

People who don’t open their emails eventually may stop receiving them but those that open the emails but perhaps don’t convert will keep receiving enticing offers to convince them to take action. 

Here are three times when you should send drip emails: 

  1. Campaign Monitor mentions that most of your email list are not ready to purchase from you when they sign up to receive your emails. So, directly sending them a bulk email with a discount or an offer may not be the best way to convert. In this case, you need to send them bite-sized content regularly to push them forward in the buyer journey and convince them to purchase. Nobody likes hard selling. So, you have to inch your prospects towards the purchase little by little. 

  2. You should send drip campaigns when you need to give your prospect information based on a certain action they take and need a highly customized campaign. For example, you may want to send people who replied to your previous email a bit more information about your offer or offer them a free gift. In this case, you would need to send a drip campaign that sends timely emails based on actions. 

  3. Drip campaigns are best if you have a long-standing offer that isn’t going to change soon. For example, a coaching program, a course, services, or even products that you will be offering for a long time. For example, if you want to tell everyone that you have an exhibition coming up where you will be offering 40% off on your products, a mass email campaign would be better than a drip campaign. 

Now, when is it best to send bulk email campaigns? 

  1. Bulk emails are perfect for when you want to send the same message to your whole list or a large part of your email list to inform them of something or announce something. For example, a big sale this weekend, a change in policies, or a new launch. 

  2. All brands send bulk emails in the form of newsletters: monthly or weekly. Usually, everyone who has subscribed to the email list regardless of their current engagement receives the newsletter. 

  3. A bulk email can be the start of a drip campaign. For example, you can send your whole list a certain email with different CTAs in various sections. Your prospect will be directed to the drip that is linked to the action they perform. 

For example, prospects may register for an event and then receive content related to that or they may click an image/hyperlink pertaining to some information and they would then receive emails in that sequence. 

Therefore, bulk emails can be sent in order to assign prospects to relevant drips.

Both of these methods are effective in their own sphere and your email marketing strategy should be an amalgamation of both of these strategies.

Examples of great campaigns 

Bulk emails are considered outdated by some experts as they allow for minimal customization and segmentation. However, with current email automation tools, extensive segmentation and customization is always possible. 

You can use tools like Mailchimp, ActiveCampaign, Hubspot, or ActiveCampaign. Don’t forget to warm up your email domain before sending emails so that you have a higher chance of landing in the Priority Inbox. 

Pribox can give you the push you need for a better sender reputation so you can reach your audience effortlessly.

As described above, you should use both bulk emails and drip emails in your email marketing strategy in order to reach all prospects.

Let’s talk about some great email marketing examples.

This is a newsletter by Cheddar Up, a SaaS business, on the next Tuesday after Thanksgiving - Giving Tuesday. The newsletter is simple, has 3 options of CTAs, and has clear content that can be processed within a few minutes.

A great example of a bulk email campaign.

Source

One of the most interesting and effective drip campaigns is Netflix’s win-you-back campaign which delivers a series of emails to people who unsubscribe from the service. They use a very soft approach by sending emails for three months mentioning new movies and shows added that match the viewer’s interests. The last few emails sometimes also offer a discount for the first month of rejoining to encourage unsubscribed recipients to re-subscribe.

Here are a few examples from the Netflix drip campaign.

Source (of both)

That sums up our discussion of bulk and drip email marketing and as mentioned above, you need to have a hybrid model including both. However, circumstances may differ from business to business. Good luck converting!