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Your Email Marketing Funnel Primer

How will you employ email funnels for your email marketing campaigns and boost your business revenue? Read on...

In 2015, Time had called chat software Slack an ‘email killer’. Until 2019, many were proclaiming the doom of email marketing with the advent of chatbots, social media, and instant messaging. But the year 2020 brought to mind everything we had forgotten about why emails work. We realized that even in the age of social media, a good old email will always remain the king of online marketing.

As of 2020, 82% of companies use email marketing to expand markets. From here on, it’s only looking upwards for this classic marketing channel. So, if your company doesn’t have its email marketing funnel in place, it’s high time you hopped onto this ride.

What is an email marketing funnel?

A marketing funnel is a structural representation of the process through which your prospect becomes your customer. An email marketing funnel is where an email subscriber or receiver goes through the same journey. For this funnel to work, you should be able to anticipate subscribers’ needs and send emails at the right time. Email marketing funnels largely follow the four-stage customer lifecycle.

Email marketing funnel prep

Building your email marketing funnel cannot be the first stage. For the funnel to work, an essential need is subscribers. Who else are you putting through the funnel? 

There are three effective ways of getting leads for your email campaigns.

1. Newsletter opt-in forms

There’s a trick that some in marketing circles call the ‘Every Page Rule’. As per this rule, you should treat every page as a landing page and add a CTA to it. Every page should invoke action. Every page is another marketing opportunity. Including opt-in forms is one good way of following this rule. But, it works only if the actual content on your page is also worth your audience’s time.

2. Lead magnets

A better alternative to opt-in forms are lead magnets. These are basically opt-in forms that come along with something of value that you provide the audience in exchange for their contact information. This includes whitepapers, guides, ebooks, reports, tutorials, etc. Remember that the key here is to offer something of genuine value and promote it as enthusiastically as you’re promoting your actual product.

3. Webinars/demos

A demo video can fulfill the dual purpose of educating people about your product, the problems it solves, and more facets of the area; while also gathering contact subscribers. A webinar, on the other hand, can help you engage with your audience in topical and contextual areas. A webinar can be automated to make things easier for you. Gating these events with contact detail requirements is an excellent way of earning your subscribers.

Stages of the customer lifecycle

Traditionally, this cycle has 4 major stages. Here’s what you need to do in order to nail each one of them. 

1. Nurturing

As soon as someone subscribes to your emails, the marketing funnel begins in action. They are past the awareness stage and are now yours to nurture. The first rule of this stage is to not start selling immediately. Let your initial few emails be about thanking your subscriber, making them feel at ease, letting them explore the brand and the space. The welcome mail is the key first impression where there should be a warm introduction and no ask at all.

2. Educating

The very next stage is educating. These, again, should not have an ask. You should train, educate, and get your subscribers well-versed with the space with detailed knowledge. Make sure that it is easy to consume. Empower your subscribers to make conscious choices for the next stage.

3. Convert and close

Now you have what’s called warm leads in marketing speak, who are in the ‘consideration’ stage of their customer lifecycles. This is where your nurturing and educational emails finally give you results.

Of course, every conversion email is not going to yield results. A lot of subscribers might like the education you provide, but not ready to buy your product. However, what you achieved in the earlier stages is that these subscribers will remember you and buy from you when the need arises.

4. Support and grow

Every marketer knows that the funnel simply doesn’t end once a customer starts buying from you. It’s now time to ensure that your customers stick around. You can also upsell and cross-sell at this stage. But the most valuable function of this stage is to provide and demonstrate good service. Let the customer know that you care about them.

9 kinds of emails you can employ for executing the funnel

There are a variety of email types that you can explore for achieving a successful email marketing funnel. These are the 9 essential types that you can begin exploring at first.

1. Nurture emails

Send your subscribers what you promised them in exchange for their email addresses. Write content that establishes your brand authority in the space.

Take this G2 welcome email, for instance. It makes a very strong attempt at not just nurturing and welcoming, but also creating a community.

2. Problem and solution emails

Introduce potential problems that subscribers are facing and how your product can solve them. Conduct deep research for addressing the unaddressed.

Take this Calm email for example. It addresses the problem in a different way and provides a solution backed by celebrity credibility.

3. Pitching emails

Make a clear, concise product pitch with relevant CTAs. Just like this Clare V. email, innovate with features such as design and stick to the point. Don’t be too much, and don’t be too less.

4. Lift emails

So, your subscribers didn’t buy your newly launched product? It’s time to nudge them a bit more with some extra content about the product.

And just like this Patagonia email, keep your extended pitch simple and sweet; don’t take too much time to introduce your sale offer.

5. Social proof emails

Harp about your product’s qualities through testimonials, reviews, awards, and recognition. Just like this Bite email, add a touch of humanization to the brand in order for it to not look like you’re simply pushing your product.

6. Objection killer emails

Make these emails informative and try to solve issues that might have required customers to turn to customer care. A brilliant strategy that you can employ is turning these into detailed recommendations like Fullscript here.

7. Closing emails

This is where you really push for purchases by creating scarcity, mentioning reviews again, making a time-bound offer, and more. Apple has nailed it once again with this closing email where it offers a variety of deals with product details.

8. Last call emails

This is the next email in the scarcity series. You can send this, for example, a day before a sale ends or an online course commences. You can use the ‘3 point formula’ and remind subscribers of the 3 most important things they will be missing if they don’t make a purchase now. Or, just like this good eggs email, you can keep it short and sweet.

9. Retention emails

These are the emails that will help you turn customers into repeat customers, advocates, loyalists, and community members. It cannot be just one email but needs to be a series of engaging emails. Remember that it is easier to retain than to convert. Don’t just stick to product feedback, make it more interesting with hardcore engagement, upsells, cross-sells, and further information.

This email from RGE is a classic retention email without hard selling. It is trying to engage customers and give them updates to maintain recall.

Final thoughts

Automation is key for running a smooth email marketing funnel. Once you automate, you don’t have to worry much about scheduling, tagging, segmenting, and can direct your focus on the content. You can create a sort of dashboard for your email marketing campaigns and manage multiple things in a single place.

Remember that automation is essential for your email marketing funnel, but so is personalization and appropriate segmentation. 
Maintaining high-quality email lists, understanding the degree of awareness of each segment, writing persuasive copy, and creating high-quality content consistently are only some of the prerequisites for making a wholesome email marketing funnel.

Having trouble managing email marketing campaigns? Email Uplers can help.

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Kevin George

Kevin is the Head of Marketing at Email Uplers, one of the fastest-growing full-service email marketing companies. He is an email enthusiast at heart and loves to pen down email marketing content. You can reach him at or connect with him on LinkedIn.



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