How-to Build an Email Marketing Funnel

Michael Maximoff
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An email has always been a powerful marketing channel for interacting with prospects and turning them into existing customers. Due to this reason, many brands invest heavily in building strong email strategies.

But, have you ever wondered how to generate leads for B2B via email in the most efficient way and ensure higher conversion? If the answer is yes, it’s time to create a solid email marketing funnel for your business!

In this guide, we are going to answer the following questions:

  1. What does an email marketing funnel mean?
  2. What does it consist of?
  3. How does it work?
  4. Why does it matter to businesses?
  5. How do you create effective sales funnels for your email campaigns?

Want to get all the answers? Then, read on! In this article, the team of lead generation experts and digital marketers from Belkins will share with you a thorough beginner's guide that will tell you everything you need to know about marketing funnels for email, their importance, and the keys to building them. Let’s dive in!

What Is an Email Marketing Funnel?

Digital marketers have long been aware of the utmost importance of building email lists and converting the leads they generate into loyal customers. The only question that has always been there is how exactly can you turn email subscribers who have never bought anything from your brand into loyal customers?

An email marketing funnel is an answer. But, what does it stand for?

We bet that you already know what a marketing or sales funnel is, or, at least, have heard about them. An email funnel is very similar. In a nutshell, it is a representation of your customer journey. It basically shows the entire path your email subscribers make from the stage they learn about your brand to becoming paying customers and brand advocates.

By seeing the entire funnel, your marketing specialists can identify the needs of your target audience and create marketing emails that actually convert. Simply put, they will be able to win more customers for your brand through effective email campaigns.

Key Stages of the Funnel

Since email marketing funnels are representations of a customer journey, it is not hard to guess that they must be divided into certain stages, each representing a specific step taken by the customer on their journey. But, what are these stages?

Basically, a standard email marketing funnel consists of five key stages:

Stages of the email marketing funnel

  1. Awareness

    During this stage of the funnel, you raise awareness of your brand among potential customers and help them recognize the value of your offer. The substage is Engagement, which requires understanding the core pain points of your prospects and showing them the possible solutions to their problems.
  2. Consideration

    The next stage implies positioning your brand and its products/services as the best solution to prospects’ pain points. Your task is to highlight the core benefits and other things that distinguish your brand from the competitors to make potential customers consider your products/services as solutions they were looking for. 
  3. Conversion

    This stage of the funnel is all about generating sales. The core task is to nurture leads throughout the entire purchase process to turn them into paying customers.
  4. Loyalty

    The next stage focuses on turning new customers of your brand into loyal customers. In other words, the core goal is to repeat business with customers who bought from you once. This stage consists of several sub-stages. These include Adoption, Retention, and Expansion, during which you set your new customers up for a lasting relationship, ensure a high level of satisfaction, and come up with new methods and solutions for ensuring customer success.
  5. Advocacy

    Finally, the last stage of the funnel implies turning your existing customers who have gone through all the previous stages into real advocates for your brand. This basically means encouraging them to spread the word about your brand and bring new leads into your funnel.

In fact, every email marketing funnel is built to the needs of each particular business. For example, a funnel of an online business will most likely be different from an offline one. Similarly, funnels of B2B and B2C brands will also differ. Therefore, you should feel free to tweak the stages of your funnel to make it match the unique nature of your business and the needs of your prospects.

How Does It Work: An Example of an Email Funnel

That’s what a perfect customer journey looks like. However, don’t think that it is one-size-fits-all.

Customer Journey Map

If you want to drive more sales and decide to use an email marketing funnel for this purpose, the best course of action would be to focus your email strategy on warm leads who have shown interest but haven’t made a purchase yet.

The perfect kind of email lead is someone who opened your email and then followed the link to your landing page. To drive this kind of lead straight to your funnel you have to acknowledge their interest and encourage them to convert. You can use several tactics for this:

  • Tailored promotional message — Remarket your standard message for leads who already opened previous emails and visited your landing pages by sending them another message with a closer look at the product/service and a special discount. This will give them a reason to convert.
  • Abandoned cart reminders — Another way to move a warm lead further through your funnel is to send them personalized abandoned cart reminders several days later with a free gift or discount.
  • Time-sensitive offers — Creating time-sensitive offers is another way to convert a warm lead into a client. Offer them a reward for using your offer before the deadline runs out.

Why Do You Need a Funnel for Your Email Marketing Campaign?

While everyone knows why it’s so important to generate sales leads, not everyone recognizes the real importance of having a solid email funnel.

The truth is that its importance is hard to undervalue. With a solid funnel, you can rest assured that your marketing emails reach the right people at the right time and bring the best results. But, that’s not all.

Here are more reasons why you need your own marketing funnel for email:

  • It Makes Customer Journey Simpler and Better

When it comes to creating an effective email marketing campaign, one of the most important questions to ask yourself is what your next email should look like? However, answering this question isn’t that easy. And that is where email marketing funnels step in.

A solid funnel gives you a clear idea of your customer journey and, thus, helps answer this question. It helps you understand how your customers make decisions and what exactly they are looking for. With this knowledge, you should be able to target your emails better. At the same time, you will be able to simplify your customer journey and minimize the guesswork, and, at the same time, ensure better outcomes for your email marketing efforts.

  • It Allows Personalization at a Deeper Level

Apart from giving the opportunity to streamline the journey, a funnel is also among the best email marketing tools for personalization.

With a solid email marketing funnel, you can deliver personalized messages to your prospects at every stage of their journey. For example, if they are at the awareness stage, you will know that you need to send emails that raise awareness about your brand. Respectively, if they are at the conversion stage, you will want to make them a unique offer that will speed up the sales process and so on. As a result, with a solid funnel, you will be able to take your email content marketing strategy to the next level through personalization.

Why does it matter? The only thing you need to know about email personalization is that personalized promotional emails have a 29% higher open rate and 41% higher click-through rate compared to emails that are not personalized. These numbers clearly show the importance of deep personalization in email marketing.

  • It Boosts Engagement

In a nutshell, the core goal of any marketing or sales funnel is to convert more leads into paying customers. But, this would be impossible without keeping your target audience engaged. And that’s one more reason to create an email marketing funnel — it allows boosting customers’ engagement at every stage of their journey.

With a well-developed funnel, you can interact with your prospects in a more meaningful way and deliver emails that are worth their time and attention. As a result, you will be able to encourage your subscribers to take certain actions. For example, you will be able to entice visitors to your website, generate more sales for your offline or online business, and achieve other goals all through engagement and an efficient email funnel.

Apart from this, with such funnels, businesses can create effective magnets to generate leads with ease.

  • It Is Easy to Measure

Finally, one more reason why your business should care about sales funnels is that they are easy to measure. As you should know, constant analysis of the key metrics and their improvement are the keys to creating a winning email marketing strategy. And funnels make this possible.

With a solid funnel, you will be able to see how every email affects your overall ROI. That is, you will be able to see what works for your target audience and what doesn’t. As a result, having this knowledge, you will be able to tweak your campaigns to ensure better outcomes.

How to generate high-quality leads with a lead magnet

How to Build Effective Marketing Funnels

Now that you know what a funnel is and why it matters, you must be wondering how to create one for your business. Below, you will find a list of basic steps you will need to take to get started:

    1. Map Out Your Customer Journey

      First of all, to get started, you need to know what your customer journey is. Take time to map out the approximate path your prospects make until they become loyal clients. Such a map will help you see your marketing goals more clearly and create a solid funnel.
    2. Generate Leads

      Clearly, if you want to get more customers for your business, you need to get more leads first. So, the second step for building a solid funnel requires you to generate leads that will fill in this funnel. To do this, you need to create content that will drive more website visitors. Then, you should collect email addresses of your new leads. At this stage, be sure to collect the contact data of those website visitors who match your ideal customer image the best. This will help you ensure a better open and click-through rate for your future promotional emails.
    3. Create Opt-in Forms

      In order to use email as a powerful marketing channel, you have to ensure that you have plenty of subscribers that you can reach out to with your emails. Collecting contact data on your own works. But, you should still give prospects the opportunity to subscribe and get into your funnel themselves. Therefore, you should create attention-grabbing opt-in forms and place them on the landing page, in popups, and anywhere else you see fit on your website or blog.
    4. Choose the Right Email Marketing Tools

      Finding the right email marketing tools that will let you automate your interaction with new customers is also an important part of building effective marketing funnels. There are plenty of options that you can try. So, take time to find the best tools for your team.
    5. Create Lead Magnets

      In a nutshell, a lead magnet is what encourages prospects to share their emails with a business. Most often, it is some sort of an offer that drives prospects’ attention and makes them want to subscribe. By placing an effective lead magnet on your website’s landing page, you can generate more leads and, thus, get your funnel up and running.

There are the basic steps that will help you get started. But, what should you do next?

Since building an effective email marketing funnel is a long and complex process, we can’t cover it thoroughly in just one article. But, the team of Belkins has developed a thorough beginner's guide to help you succeed. Get our guide to find the complete description of the process and key steps for developing solid funnels!

The Bottom Line

So, now you know what an email marketing funnel is, why it matters, how it works, and even how to create your own. Hopefully, this article will help you start making the most of your email marketing and drive more sales.

Want to get even more benefits? Then don’t hesitate to get our beginner’s guide on how to build a solid funnel from scratch!