Everything You Need To Know About Building Email Marketing Funnels

Everything You Need To Know About Building Email Marketing Funnels
18 May, 2022 • ... • 1163 views
Irene Dmitrieva
by Irene Dmitrieva

An email marketing funnel is an important tool for businesses, as it allows you to see where potential customers drop off and why. By fixing these weaknesses, you can increase your company’s profit.

When creating a funnel, it is important to follow certain rules to get calculated results. This article provides all the necessary information for creating an email marketing funnel, as well as examples of emails at each stage.

What is an email marketing funnel?

The email marketing funnel is the journey a customer takes from their first interaction with a company to making a purchase and even beyond. The top of the funnel is where there are lots of potential customers. Those most interested in what you’re selling make it to the end of the funnel.

Knowing the details, you can predict what your subscribers will need at each stage and create the right email content for them. To visualize these stages, here is a graphical representation of the email marketing funnel:

Stages of email marketing funnel

Email marketing sales funnel and its stages

By understanding what your audience wants and needs at each stage of their journey, you can create content that will improve their experience and increase the likelihood of sales.

The stages of a typical sales funnel are:


As potential customers learn about your company, send emails that will interest and motivate them to find out more about you. Introduce your brand and let the subscribers enjoy all the benefits that come with cooperation.

An example of onboarding email to teach your audience about the value of a product
Source: Really Good Emails

This email makes it clear that when working on the Heroku platform, clients receive access to a variety of features that make their experience more enjoyable.


Here it is important to show the clients the benefits of your product or service so they can see why it’s better than your competitors’. You have to prove your expertise and that it is you who can solve the client’s problem.

So the second stage is time for useful educational content and justification of why your product is better than others and specific tips for solving customers’ problems. That way they’ll see that you don’t just want to sell a product, but to help.

At this stage, include testimonials and case studies from past clients, as well as guides and tutorials. Make your content engaging by incorporating features like gamification and product comparisons.

The Unum team sends emails that share tips on how to improve a social media strategy:

An example of email at the consideration stage
Source: Really Good Emails


Once you have explained the product to your prospects, add a call to action: buying, trying, downloading, or purchasing the product.

The conversion stage is when the customer completes a purchase. You can make your emails persuasive by offering free shipping, demos or free trials, discount codes, or other incentives.

Make the buying process easy and seamless by including clear “Buy Now” buttons in your emails.

An email with a discount on the first purchase
Source: Really Good Emails

Don’t forget to thank users for the order, provide information and offer to give feedback as Chipotle company did:

Thank You email example
Source: Really Good Emails


To retain your customers and keep them engaged with your brand after purchase, continue providing them with supportive content that reinforces their decision. This might include sending them packing lists, tips, and tricks for using the product effectively, or other relevant information related to your industry or niche. You can also schedule cross-sell and upsell campaigns to further engage your customers and encourage repeat purchases.

Creating a connection with your customers will ensure they keep coming back, and providing content that helps them get the most out of their purchases will show that you value their business.

This is how Crate and Barrel uses its confirmation emails to cross-sell products to its clients:

A confirmation email with cross-selling from Crate and Barrel
Source: Really Good Emails


When consumers are happy with their purchase, they spread word-of-mouth advertising which leads to more sales and builds trust with potential customers.

To encourage advocacy from customers, brands can give incentives for leaving reviews, offer repeat purchase discounts, nudge clients with a referral offer, or send them complimentary products.

Below is an example of a referral email marketing campaign from Maude:

An example of a referral email marketing campaign
Source: Really Good Emails

There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to e-commerce business funnels. The goals and needs of each type of business vary, so the funnel will be different in each case. For instance, a B2B business will have a different funnel than a B2C one. B2B buyers typically spend more time researching and comparing different offers before making a purchase decision. The top of the sales funnel is usually narrower for B2B than for B2C.

Why use funnels in the marketing campaigns

An email marketing funnel allows you to focus your efforts on the right people at the right time. This ensures that your marketing campaigns are more effective and efficient. There are many reasons why businesses need a marketing funnel. Some of these include:

Providing more value to your marketing strategy

When you have an email marketing funnel, you know the journey your customers take towards buying your product. This means that you can send emails that are targeted to where they are in the funnel, and move them along to the next stage. Thus, you can develop an email marketing strategy without having to guess.

For example, in the awareness phase, you should not sell your product head-on. Instead, prepare emails that show how great it is to be your customer, and how valuable your product is.

Creating personalized messages

Email marketing funnels are a powerful tool for reaching your audience and engaging them effectively. By collecting data about your subscribers and understanding their needs, you can create custom emails that resonate with each individual person. The personalization strategy provides an increase in open and click-through rates by 139%.

For example, you can personalize your emails based on factors such as a client’s demographics, purchase history, time zone, past behavior, and other interests.

Tracking the performance of your campaigns

Email funnels provide a way to measure and see what strategies work for your audience, as well as to determine why some are turning off at certain points in their journey and make changes accordingly.

For example, if many subscribers are lost just before conversion, the problem may be with the content of the emails or the conversion process itself. By understanding where issues arise, businesses can make necessary adjustments to improve their email marketing campaigns.

How to build an email marketing funnel

When building an email marketing funnel, there are basic steps you need to take to engage and retain your leads.

Map out the customer journey

A customer journey map is a way of representing the diverse steps, emotions, and thoughts that a customer goes through when they are considering and then purchasing a product or service. This can be very helpful for enterprises as it allows them to understand what improvements they need to make in order to better serve their clients.

Additionally, mapping out the customer journey can also help businesses to create more convincing email marketing content. Knowing the different phases that customers go through can help businesses avoid making common mistakes, such as sounding too sales-oriented too early in the process.

Your map might look something like this:

An example of a customer journey map
Source: Medium

Create lead magnets

If you want to get someone’s email address, you need to offer something in return that is of value to them. This is called a lead magnet. It should be something relevant to your target audience so that they are motivated to give you their contacts.

To figure out what would work as a lead magnet, think about what your audience wants or needs, what kinds of solutions they are looking for, and the nature of their problems. Consider how your offer will make their lives better and why they would be interested in it.

Emails at this stage may contain:

  • Quizzes or questions about their interests. Feedback helps you better understand your audience.
  • Content in different formats. It could be documents, webinars, videos, or articles. depending on what gets opened/clicked more often, you can see what your audience prefers best.

By understanding your audience, you can create effective lead magnets that will help you to collect email addresses and reach new buyers.

There are many different types of lead magnets available:

  • PDF cheat sheets and checklists
  • Reports and ebooks
  • Video downloads, webinars, tutorials, templates, and toolkits

Generate leads

There are two ways to collect email addresses: opt-in forms and dedicated landing pages.

  • Opt-in forms are embedded throughout the website and only ask for the user’s name and email address.
  • Landing pages are focused on one lead magnet, like a course or free trial, that educates the user to enter your sales cycle.

The example below shows a landing page designed to get the visitor’s email address.

Close email landing page
Source: Taboola

If you want to get an idea of how you can use an opt-in form to grow your brand, take a look at Bliss. They offer a 15% discount to customers who sign up for their emails. This is also an amazing pop-up form example.

An example of an email opt-in form on the Bliss website
Source: BlissWorld Inc.

Nurture leads

After finding a lead generation tactic that attracts subscribers, continue engaging with them to build lasting relationships. You can create tailored content and messages for each subscriber by making segmented lists and using a product positioning technique. This allows you to send content that is specifically designed for each individual based on their preferences and interests.

While the segmentation task may seem like a complicated process, with the help of an email automation platform, it can become much easier. With this type of platform, you can segment your subscribers based on criteria like lead magnets, forms, website behavior or demographic data.

At this stage, it is necessary to show all the advantages of the product. And to help with the choice, send customers’ testimonials, case studies, success stories, guides, and tutorials. Marketing strategies for lead nurturing might also include a variety of free resources such as webinars or blogs.

The email nurture campaign below emphasizes the importance of finding creative and engaging ways to promote even mundane products. Using clever illustrations and typography can help make the content more compelling and engaging.

The lead nurturing email example
Source: Really Good Emails

Convert leads into customers

As your subscribers move further down the funnel, it’s time to send some more personalized campaigns with a stronger focus on conversion.

At this phase, emails might include product recommendations based on the specific products that a subscriber is interested in, time-sensitive offers such as coupons or birthday messages, and onboarding programs for users who are nearing the end of their free trial period. You can see an example of such a message below.

An email offering to upgrade the subscription
Source: Really Good Emails

Retain customers

To retain customers and build long-term loyalty, it is important to stay engaged with them and promote repeat purchases and referrals. You can do it by:

  • Keeping your customers regularly informed about your products or services with things like progress reports or technology updates.
  • Offering upsells and cross-sells that your customers may be interested in based on their purchase history.
  • Running referral loyalty campaigns that encourage sharing and word-of-mouth advertising through things like earning points or discounts.
  • Sending win-back emails to reach out to people who have stopped engaging with your company.

In this win-back email from Teespring, the company encourages readers to come back by showing a picture of a sad-looking puppy.  In addition to personalizing the message with account-specific statistics, Teespring also appeals to emotions to engage its audience and encourage them to take action.

An example of a win-back email to retain customers
Source: Really Good Emails

Steps to improving an email marketing funnel

To improve your email marketing funnel, start by evaluating your current funnel. Check things off this list to make sure you’re doing everything you can to optimize it.

Set measurable goals

To effectively measure the results of your email marketing funnel, set clear and measurable goals. This can include tracking metrics such as the number of subscribers, click-through rate, download numbers, or ROI. With these measurements in place, you can easily assess the performance of your email marketing efforts and make any necessary adjustments based on the data gathered.

Whether you need to modify your content funnel strategy, decrease the frequency of emails sent, or take other steps to improve your results, having measurable goals will help you achieve success with your email marketing campaigns.

Choose quality over quantity

Focus on sending quality content rather than just loads of emails. Too many emails can be overwhelming and make people unsubscribe. It’s better to send fewer, more interesting emails that will keep people engaged with your brand.

Add value

Include content that will be of value to your clients. This could be a PDF file, whitepaper, educational resource, or giveaway. By adding value, you are introducing your brand and positioning yourself as a trustable source of information. Don’t sell from the first email as this can dissuade potential customers. Instead, take baby steps and start with adding value. This will earn the trust of the customer and eventually lead to a sale.


An email marketing funnel is a strategy that helps businesses create effective email campaigns by streamlining the customer journey and providing personalized content to suit different stages of the journey.

Sales funnels usually have several stages, each designed to motivate potential customers to take action leading to purchase:

  1. Awareness is all about introducing your brand and getting potential customers interested in what you have to offer.
  2. Consideration is when you start showing potential customers the benefits of your product or service.
  3. Conversion is when the customer completes a purchase.
  4. Loyalty is about retaining customers and keeping them engaged with your brand after purchase.
  5. Advocacy is when consumers are happy with their purchase and start spreading word-of-mouth advertising.

Email marketing funnels are beneficial for businesses. The key benefits include improving ROI tracking, engaging customers more effectively, and simplifying the process of creating high-quality emails.

18 May, 2022
Article by
Irene Dmitrieva
As a marketing copywriter, I have experience creating compelling content for websites and social media posts. My background in market research helps me ensure that my copy is both on-brand and data-driven. I am excited to bring my skills and experience to Selzy team and help drive success for this company.
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