How to Build an Email Marketing Funnel that Works
Posted On: October 12
Email marketing funnelThere are so many reasons why your company—no matter its size or industry—should have an email marketing strategy. We felt so passionately about it that we made a list of some of the most important reasons you need email marketing.

But one of the most compelling reasons is that your email subscribers are more likely to convert to customers than followers on other platforms. For instance, someone on your email list is 15 times more likely to buy something from you than one of your Twitter followers.

So even if you’re running a successful Instagram account or Facebook page, you’re likely missing out on potential customers. If you’re not backing up your social media content with an email marketing strategy, you’re losing out on potential customers every day.

But just sending emails to people who might be interested in your product isn’t enough. You have to think about the journey someone takes to become a customer. And you can help guide that journey by using a tool called the email marketing funnel.

Want to make sure you’re sending emails that hit every stage of the email marketing funnel? Download our free checklist.

What is an email marketing funnel?

An email marketing funnel is a path you build for email subscribers to lead them to a sale.

Building an email marketing funnel is kind of like building a highway. Your potential customers could find their way to your product by different side streets or avenues. But by building this highway, you can fast track the amount of time it takes for new customers to get there.

Email marketing funnelCreate a nice, clear journey to turn subscribers into customers. Timely emails, helpful information, and exclusive offers are all part of this journey. But what information should you send to people who sign up for your email list? And when should you send it? For answers to these questions, you have to look more closely at the different stages of the email marketing funnel.

What are the different parts of the email funnel?

You can find different variations on marketing funnels depending on who you ask. But most marketers agree on several main marketing funnel stages. Read on to find out what those parts of the funnel and which types of emails are best for each.


Email marketing funnel
Help your subscribers see and understand your business in the awareness stage.

In the awareness stage, you want to remind subscribers and potential customers that your brand exists. Your goal here is to create value for your subscribers. And here’s the trick: and this stage, you don’t necessarily want to ask for anything in return.

The awareness stage is all about creating trust. Potential customers likely aren’t ready for a sales pitch yet. They still need to know what you’re all about and what your company does.

Types of emails to send in this stage of the funnel

  • Welcome emails
  • Introductory educational content


Email marketing funnel
Help your customers start thinking about how your product could benefit them in the consideration stage.

Once you’ve established trust and provided some baseline information about your company, you can start talking more about your products. The goal of the consideration stage is to get subscribers to “consider” your product as something that could help them.

While you still want to focus on trust in the consideration stage, your focus now is more on establishing your company or product’s authority in your space or industry. How does your product compare to others? What makes it different from anything else? Why might it be worth it for a subscriber to consider making a purchase?

Types of emails to send in this stage of the funnel

  • More advanced educational content
  • Product explainers that explore the benefits of your product
  • Webinars
  • Case studies


Email marketing funnel
Nudge subscribers to make a purchase in the conversion stage.

When your subscribers trust you and get the sense that you probably know what you’re talking about, they’re more likely to buy from you. Now is the time to send out your sales pitches to convert the people on your list into customers.

One great way to do that is to send promo codes exclusively to people on your email list. These specific codes can also help you track which subscribers are responding to your different email campaigns. However, even a simple picture of your product paired with an “Add to Cart” button can prompt readers to make a purchase.

Types of emails to send in this stage of the funnel

  • Promotional codes, discounts, limited-time offers
  • Clear calls to action at the end of every email (Buy Now!)
  • Thank you


Email marketing funnel
Focus on retaining customers in the loyalty stage.

Congrats on getting customers! Now it’s time to convince them to come back for more.

Retaining an existing customer costs five times less than acquiring a new one. So fostering customer loyalty is more than just a nice thing to do. It makes good business sense.

Retaining an existing customer costs five tmes less than acquiring a new one. So fostering customer loyalty is more than just a nice thing to do. It makes good business sense. Click To Tweet

To keep existing customers engaged, you should double down on your targeted content efforts. Creating a loyalty program is one easy way to do this. Create exclusive content for customers who make repeat purchases. Or offer a digital punch card so loyal customers can cash in on rewards in the future. Spoiler: those rewards can be more of your cool products.

Types of emails to send in this stage of the funnel

  • Targeted content related to customers’ interests or previous purchases
  • Educational content focused on “getting the most” out of your product
  • Exclusive loyalty program offers


Email marketing funnel
Incentivize customers to recommend your product in the advocacy stage.

Once a customer has made repeat purchases, you could have a brand advocate on your hands. Advocates love your product and want to tell people about it.

At this stage of the marketing funnel, it’s okay to make specific asks of those customers. One creative way to do this is to run a contest of some kind. Create a tag for this contest and ask customers to post creative pictures of your product. You can create tons of buzz around your brand, all for the cost of one grand prize for your contest winner.

Types of emails to send in this stage of the funnel

  • Request for reviews
  • Tag on social media
  • Exclusive offers or content for top repeat customers

How to get leads into your email marketing funnel

Now you know what the funnel is and understand the different stages as a lead moves through it. But how do you get a potential customer into your funnel in the first place?

Two main tools will help you start adding emails to your list.

Lead capture forms

At their most basic, lead capture (or opt-in) forms ask people to subscribe to your list by providing their name and email.

Lead capture forms are flexible, and you can stick them just about anywhere:

  • High-traffic pages of your website
  • Your company’s social media pages
  • Pop-ups before people leave your site
  • In the middle of blog posts.

Since you’re trying to pull potential customers into the awareness phase, this is where your introductory content comes in handy. You can offer readers helpful tools or additional content related to what they’re already reading about. Or if you publish a newsletter, you can promise relevant tips, tricks, and content will land in their inbox regularly.

Landing pages

Landing pages are less flexible than opt-in forms, but they’re also more targeted. If you’re running a sales or marketing campaign, you can create a standalone web page where those who click on your ad will land.

Unlike sending ad visitors to your homepage, landing pages serve them specific information that you alluded to in your ad. In exchange for your offer (educational content, access to a webinar, etc.), visitors give you their email address and other necessary information that will help you cater to their needs and interests.

How to keep your leads in the funnel

Understanding where your leads are in the funnel is the first step to sending them the right content. But just sending subscribers a stream of emails that correspond to different funnel stages isn’t enough.

Your nurturing strategy—the different types of content you put together to keep subscribers engaged—is critical here. But there are a few other best practices you should follow to keep readers coming back.

Start with educational emails

When reaching out to people who have given you their contact information, it’s important to avoid starting with a sales pitch. For your first email, you probably shouldn’t include an ask at all. Instead, send a welcome email followed by a series of educational emails. Once you think a subscriber might be ready to make a purchase, you can start sending emails with clear calls to action.

Stick to a regular schedule

One of the advantages of email as a platform is that you have direct access to your subscribers. Don’t waste that chance at direct attention by neglecting to send emails for months at a time.

Instead, send emails at consistent intervals. A weekly—or even monthly—newsletter is one way to stay on subscribers’ minds. But scheduling different types of emails on a regular schedule can also accomplish this goal.

Engage with subscribers

Especially when you’re growing your email list, you should do your best to respond to your subscribers. Personal responses to questions or comments will help establish trust between you and your potential customers. It will help subscribers see that they’re more than just recipients of an automated email campaign and that you appreciate your attention.

On a more business-minded note, replying to subscribers is also a chance to move them along the funnel. An engaged conversation could be the trigger your lead needed to convince them to make a purchase.

Use existing content to create email sequences

If the thought of writing 10 million emails to run your marketing campaigns stresses you out, take a breath. You can use content you already have—webinar recordings, blog posts, product videos, whatever—and repurpose it for your emails.

Longer content, like an e-book, is perfect for splitting up into smaller, more digestible pieces over several different emails. One longer piece of content can turn into a several week email course or challenge.

Get creative and use what you already have so you’re not doing double the work to create content for email marketing campaigns.

Speak to subscribers at every level of your funnel

When you’re starting your email marketing journey, it’s easy to focus solely on introductory content for new subscribers. And when you’re growing your list, that should be your main focus. However, as your list grows, it’s important to remember that your goal is to move subscribers down the funnel.

Grow your funnel content as you grow your list. Keep asking yourself what the next step is until you end up at a purchase. Speaking to readers at every level of the funnel—and having content ready to go to do so—will help you turn your email list into customers.

Make sure you’re sending emails that hit every stage of the email marketing funnel by downloading our free checklist.

Build a funnel that actually sells

We’ve covered a lot of ground related to email marketing. To summarize, there are three main things to remember when building your funnel:

  1. Capture leads with forms and landing pages
  2. Engage potential customers with educational and promotional emails
  3. Prompt them to purchase your product, but only after:
    1. You’ve created trust between your company and potential customers.
    2. You’ve established yourself as an authority in your space or industry by sharing helpful, informative emails.

The campaigns and strategies employed to guide customers through the funnel will differ for every company. Email marketing software can help a little with crafting those campaigns. You can create visually appealing emails, personalized autosenders, and nurture tracks to keep customers engaged. However, what email marketing software can’t do is create a strategy and funnel tailored to your business. If you want to make sure you’re building a funnel that works for your business, our email marketing experts at Capital Consulting Group can help. Schedule your free strategy call to see how we can work together to create a funnel that works for you.