By Syed Balkhi, founder of WPBeginner

Email marketing is one of the most efficient ways to reach your audience in today's fast-paced environment. Not only can people check their email all day on their smart devices, but those who receive promotional emails reportedly tend to spend more when they shop online. 

It's easy to see why there is a dramatic shift toward using email as a viable marketing option. However, we have all dealt with pushy, spammy emails that make us unsubscribe before we even finish reading the copy. That's where drip campaigns come in. Email drip campaigns, which involve sending prewritten messages to prospects over time, are a popular marketing tactic that help you build rapport with your audience, nurture their curiosity and eventually turn them into paying customers.

It's important to note that every business is different, but I have compiled some guidelines and tips so you can successfully start your own drip campaign.

Arrange (or create) your content.

Many business owners like making exclusive content for their email subscribers in an attempt to convert them into full customers. This technique isn't bad, but since there are multiple emails involved in drip campaigns, you may not want to create every single piece of content exclusively for the campaign.

A good rule of thumb is to create a piece of content or two for your drip list, but use some of your more popular (and relevant) blog content as a steady source of information for subscribers. As an example, let's say you own a website that sells gardening gear. You pull in subscribers based on your checklist that every gardener needs to start an organic garden  After the initial checklist, your drip content should focus around growing an organic garden, not another similar niche you may cover on your blog.

You should establish the way your content is going to drip out prior to anyone subscribing. Curating your content early will help you launch a successful campaign right out of the gate.

Develop an email sequence.

After you've come up with your list of content, arrange it in a way that makes sense and builds rapport with the customer. A common method that drip marketers use is called 4:1:1. The 4:1:1 method is the email sequence used to drip content to new subscribers. The sequence features the following six emails.

• Emails one to four provide valuable information and knowledge.

• Email five is transitional (to the final conversion).

• Email six is that attempt at a conversion.

Let's use the gardening example again. Send out four emails over your predetermined time frame (I like two to three days after the initial email) giving the customer blog links and information on growing an organic garden. When you design these email templates, make sure they are personal, friendly and professional. You want to do the best you can to emulate a one-on-one conversion as opposed to a promotional email.

Next, you should send a transitional email. At this point, you should have a rapport with your customer. This is a great time to seal the deal and make the final connection that turns them into a paying customer. Your transition should include transparency and the identification of a problem.

You could say, "I struggled for years to grow a lush, vibrant organic garden, until now." Use this as your transitional piece showing why your products are so successful. Finally, send them email six, which is the closing and hopefully conversion of a customer. "Are you ready to start your dream garden?" would be an excellent closure before the introduction to your product sales page.

Leverage retargeting pixels.

Retargeting pixels are used to draw in interested customers by using behavior detection indicators. You could, for example, set a retargeting pixel to activate on a user when they make it to your checkout page and abandon their cart. But you can also make them appear on any page after a set amount of time.  

After the set amount of time, an ad will appear letting customers know that you have great content in the form of an e-book, a checklist or a newsletter and you would hate for them to miss out. Often times, campaigns like this can skyrocket conversions.

Now you know how to set up a successful drip email marketing campaign, how to organize your content and how to get people interested in your product or service. Every niche has different quirks, but over time you'll begin to notice customer behavior and can make tweaks to your plan that work for you and your subscribers.

Syed Balkhi is the founder of WPBeginner, the largest free WordPress resource site that helps small businesses start their website.