How to Build a Successful Email Funnel for Your Business

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published May 3, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Building an email funnel can help generate more leads that turn into paying customers. Email funnels can become tools for generating passive leads and increasing revenue. Building a successful email funnel does not necessarily happen overnight but can happen quickly with the right steps. In this article, we explain email funnels and provide steps to build them successfully.

Related: What Is a Sales Funnel?

What is an email funnel?

An email funnel is a marketing channel that provides a pathway for new leads to become paying customers. An email funnel works similarly to a sales funnel because it follows a specific formula to "funnel" customers from having their first interaction with a brand to becoming a paying customer.

A business can bring customers into its funnel by placing an email opt-in form or button on its website. It can then send educational or promotional emails to prospective customers about their offerings to move them through the funnel. This method can help businesses attract new customers and make the conversion process more efficient. When done right, an email funnel can also become a passive sales and leads generator for them.

Related: Understanding the Marketing Funnel and How To Use It

Why is an email funnel important for marketing?

Email funnels are versatile marketing channels that small and large businesses use to increase conversion rates. Some benefits of email funnels include:

  • Faster conversion rates: Email funnels can convert leads faster by removing sales walls and providing a direct call to action alongside brand and product information.

  • Improved communication: Communicating with customers helps keep your brand in their minds and shows that you care about them and their support.

  • Passive lead generation: Setting up an email chain can create passive leads by expanding your brand's reach and offering incentives to customers who advocate for the brand.

  • Greater loyalty: By removing sales walls and providing consistent information and promotions to customers, you can increase their loyalty and advocacy by offering real value to them.

  • A better understanding of touch points: An email funnel allows your business to identify where your touch points are, how they perform and where to make improvements.

Related: What Is Conversion Rate Optimization?

How to build an email funnel

Building a successful email funnel requires having a good understanding of how prospective customers find your brand and what you have to offer them. A business aims to solve problems for its customers, so you can take a closer look at your products or services to identify what problems you solve for customers. You can use the following steps to build an email funnel:

1. Build awareness of your brand and its offerings

You first need to increase prospective customers' awareness of your brand and its products or services. Your first brand email aims to educate these customers about what your offerings can provide to them. It may detail the advantages of your products or services and demonstrate what makes your brand the better choice amongst your competitors. Your goal with this email is to attract strangers to your brand and turn them in visitors to your business's store, website or app.

Related: Brand Awareness: Definition and 6 Ways To Improve

2. Create interest in your offerings

Once you build awareness of your brand, you need to create a sense of interest in prospective customers' minds. When potential customers understand how your brand operates and the problems it aims to solve, it can help them make more informed decisions about purchasing from you.

You can start by listing the specific features and benefits of your offerings. Showing how your product or service can help address customers' pain points can help create a need. When customers see how the product or service can benefit their lives, it may make them more likely to visit your website or business to learn more and potentially make a purchase.

Related: 10 Marketing Strategies To Grow Your Business

3. Convert strangers to visitors to paying customers

During this step, you need to convert your prospective customers into paying customers. Here, you can offer first-time buyer discounts or promotions to entice the recipients to make a purchase. Use a call to action in your email copy to encourage prospective customers to take this step. You may include phrases like "buy here" or "try it today" to create a sense of urgency in their minds, along with a button or link that directs them to your store. Creating a sense of urgency can help spur action, and providing a button or link makes it easy for recipients to follow up on it and purchase the product or service.

Related: 4 Steps To a Winning Call To Action

4. Create long-term brand loyalty and repeat customers

Loyal customers may represent a significant percentage of your customer base and account for a large number of sales. Creating loyalty means bringing value to the customer through the products or services you offer, the prices you sell them for and the level of customer service you provide. After converting individuals from prospective to actual customers, you can send emails that focus on educational material, industry news or promotions. These emails help keep your business in the recipients' minds and maintain their interest in you.

This step in the email funnel may also serve as a good time to send out items like surveys or polls. Gaining feedback from customers can help you understand them better and how they view your brand. You can then use these insights to make improvements and develop customer-focused strategies. When customers feel heard and valued by a brand, it can make them want to make repeat visits and purchases.

Related: 11 Methods for Building Customer Loyalty

5. Generate customer advocacy

Your customers can offer even greater value to the company by becoming brand advocates. An advocate represents an individual who publicly supports or recommends your brand and its offerings. Advocates can represent people who do this professionally, such as influencers, or people who talk about your brand to their family and friends. Having customers advocate for your brand can help generate more interest and funnel more people into your sales and email funnels.

Beyond creating a high-quality product, having a customer-focused approach that identifies and meets customers' needs can help encourage loyalty and advocacy. At this point in the email funnel, you can establish a customer loyalty or referral program and send promotional emails that include details about it. This tactic enables you to transform customer advocacy into new leads by using specialized codes to offer discounts for your customers' friends and family. Some referral programs also offer rewards for customers that refer new leads, expanding benefits to everyone.

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