Email marketing can be an incredibly effective way to connect with potential customers and drive conversions. But simply sending out a few promotional emails now and then won't cut it. To get the most out of your email marketing efforts, you need to create an optimized email marketing funnel.
An email marketing funnel uses a series of strategically timed and targeted email campaigns to guide prospects through the buyer's journey and turn them into customers. This step-by-step approach allows you to provide value to subscribers, build relationships, and ultimately generate more sales. Let's look at how to build an effective email marketing funnel that converts.
Step 1: Build Your Email List
The first step is building a targeted email list of potential customers who are likely to be interested in your products or services. There are several ways to build your list:
Offer a lead magnet like a free guide, ebook, checklist, etc. in exchange for an email address. This incentive gets people to willingly join your list.
Use social media, guest blogging, and other marketing tactics to generate exposure and drive list sign-ups.
Prompt website visitors to join your list with pop-ups and list sign-up forms.
Partner with or purchase a list from a reputable source with subscribers who fit your target audience.
No matter how you build your list, focus on quality over quantity. Relevant and engaged subscribers will convert better. Check out this guide for tips on Creating email list from scratch.
Step 2: Send a Welcome Email
Once someone subscribes, send them a welcome email to confirm their opt-in and officially onboard them. This first impression sets the tone for your relationship. Use the welcome email to:
Thank them for subscribing and offer additional value like a special discount code for signing up.
Introduce yourself, your business, and what they can expect from your emails going forward.
Clearly explain how often you'll be emailing them, the types of content you'll send, and how they can get support if needed.
Encourage them to add your email to their contacts so your future emails don't get marked as spam.
A thoughtful and helpful welcome email builds trust and primes subscribers for future messaging.
Step 3: Send Educational Content
Next, begin nurturing your list by sending a series of emails focused on educating subscribers. Helpful content establishes your expertise and credibility while addressing customer challenges and needs.
For example, you could create an email series that sends one educational email per week covering topics related to your product or industry. Mix up content formats like:
Blog articles and case studies
Ebooks and guides
Webinars and videos
Infographics, checklists, and templates
This early content should focus on being informative, not overly promotional. Build the relationship first. Once a subscriber is engaged, they'll be more receptive to marketing messages down the road.
Step 4: Promote Products and Services
After warming up your list with valuable content, start weaving in carefully-crafted promotional emails that feature your products or services as helpful solutions.
Dedicate a portion of your ongoing emails to relevant special offers, product announcements, service spotlights, or company news they may find interesting. Just keep the overall ratio of educational to promotional content balanced - don't switch entirely to all sales pitches.
When introducing an offer, focus on how your product or service can benefit them rather than just stating features. Help them understand the value they'll receive.
Step 5: Convert with Offers and Calls-to-Action
Now that you've generated interest and desire through your educational and promotional content, it's time to drive conversions with compelling offers and clear calls-to-action.
Provide an irresistible lead magnet or limited-time special offer to incentivize sign-ups and sales. Discounts, free trials, and bundled packages work well.
Craft descriptive and action-driving subject lines like "Act Now: 25% Off Summer Special." Catch their attention.
Use urgency and scarcity wisely, but ethically. Statements like "3 Days Left for 50% Off" can prompt action.
Place clickable call-to-action buttons prominently in each email. Make them eye-catching through color, size, etc.
Drive traffic to strategically designed landing pages that focus visitors on converting.
With each email, make your desired next step crystal clear. Guide them down the funnel.
Step 6: Deliver Excellent Post-Purchase Experience
Your job isn't done after the sale. Provide post-purchase emails to onboard customers, educate them on using your product/service, offer helpful resources, and encourage repeat purchases.
Welcome new paying customers with onboarding emails that help them get set up and start utilizing what they bought. Offer tips, product walkthroughs, set-up assistance, account management instructions, and more.
Check back in occasionally with helpful tips, tricks, or advanced techniques for maximizing their purchase. Share upgrades, accessories, or complementary offerings they may be interested in. And incentivize referrals to gain new subscribers.
Caring for customers long-term, not just during the sales process, leads to higher satisfaction, loyalty, and lifetime value.
Step 7: Analyze, Test, and Refine
Consistently analyze email performance and refine your funnel over time for better results.
Tools like open rates, click rates, conversion rates, and unsubscribe rates help you identify what's working well and what needs improvement. Use these insights to adjust email content, cadence, design, etc.
A/B test different email subject lines, calls-to-action, and content types to see what resonates best with your subscribers. Doubling down on what converts will optimize your funnel.
Building a stellar email marketing funnel takes thoughtful planning, segmented lists, valuable content, compelling offers, and continual optimization. Follow these steps to guide subscribers from acquisition to advocacy.