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what is an email funnel

Also called a sales funnel, the term “email funnel” can be a bit intimidating for people new to the online marketing world. I know the first time I heard it, I cringed a little and immediately wrote it off as something for people with business degrees. 

The thing is, marketers like to come up with fancy-sounding names for very simple concepts. Trust me, you don’t need a marketing degree to understand this one.

I’m willing to bet you’ve been on the receiving end of hundreds, if not thousands, of email funnels.

Let’s break down what an email funnel is by peeking into your inbox.

Have you ever signed up for a department store’s mailing list in exchange for a coupon? They added you to an email funnel. After that initial coupon, you probably started getting weekly (or daily) emails promoting other sales. 

Ever handed over your email to get a sweet downloadable cleaning chart you found on Pinterest? You just landed yourself in an email funnel. After the freebie download, you probably got a personal email from the author, introducing herself to you.

“Email funnel” is just a fancy marketing term for a series of emails designed for a particular purpose. Most often, that purpose is to make a sale, but not always. An email funnel leads a person along a journey to get to know you, your brand, and your products or services. 

What does an email funnel look like? 

Funnels can be simple 3-4 email series, or they can be super complex. Here’s the most basic path an email funnel takes you: 

➡️A new subscriber signs up for your mailing list

➡️You send them a quick note welcoming them

➡️You continue to send well timed, informative, value-packed emails

➡️Your new subscriber gets to know, trust, and like you

➡️They begin to purchase and become loyal to your products

There are tons of different platforms out there to help you automate this process, so don’t panic if this sounds like a ton of work! They’re actually very easy to set up once you know the answer to a few key questions: 

➡️Who is your ideal audience? 

➡️Why are they joining your list? Are you offering a freebie, valuable information, something else? 

➡️What’s the main goal you have for this funnel? Make a sale, nurture a relationship, build brand loyalty, book a service?

Welcome sequences

This is a series of emails, usually 3-5, designed to welcome your new subscriber and introduce yourself. 

Your only purpose with these emails is to build a relationship! You aren’t selling anything yet, you’re just saying “hey” and telling them about yourself. 👋

Your job is to make an amazing first impression and to nurture a relationship!

Here are some items you should include within your welcome sequence: 

  • An introduction to who you are – make it relatable and personal. Tell a funny anecdote, or reveal something you struggle with. Hint: all of this should be tailored to that ideal audience member I talked about earlier. 
  • Your brand’s story – How did you create this business/product/brand and why?
  • Offer value! Tell them why they should stick around. What’s in it for them? What are the benefits to being on your list? 
  • What makes you different from all the other brands out there? What do you do/offer that no one else can? Don’t be modest here – you really want to stand out! 
  • Sprinkle in some social proof. Add in testimonials from clients, reviews of your products, Facebook comments from happy customers. 
  • Ask your new subscriber to participate through a call-to-action (CTA) in each email. Remember, your goal isn’t to sell something. Just get them used to participating. Ask them to watch a short video, answer a quick poll, follow you on Pinterest – something little!

Easy enough, right? 😎

Sales sequence

This is pretty much what it sounds like! This series of emails is designed to lead your subscriber toward making a purchase.

Once they’ve gone through your welcome sequence, they should be a “warm” subscriber, meaning they know, like, and trust you. They’ve welcomed you into their inbox, and they’ve invited you to stay awhile! 

A sales sequence offers a product or service to your new virtual BFF. There’s a lot that can go into a sales sequence, but the basics include: 

  • An introduction to the product or service you offer, and most importantly, how it can solve a problem for your audience. 
  • An illustration of how the product/service will improve their life. What transformation will take place for them? 
  • A sense of urgency. Is the price going up soon? Will the deal expire? 
  • Social proof. Use real stories from people who have bought this product or service. 
  • Always, always, always, give easy, clear calls to action throughout! 
  • Never forget who you’re talking to – all your emails should be written with your ideal customer in mind. Their struggles, their pain points, and how you can solve their problems. 
  • Ask for the sale! 

Automation is key with these. We’ll talk about ways to automate your email funnels another time. Until then, start writing your welcome sequence! 📋

Still have questions? Drop ‘em in the comments, or come on over to Facebook and say hi! 

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