Email Marketing

Email Funnels that Work: Leading Prospects to Conversion

Take them through the slide.. or for a ride?


Wajeeha Gull


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As of 2023, it is estimated that around 347.3 billion electronic messages are delivered every single day. And that's no coincidence, email is the no. 1 method for communicating with clients. Well-curated email funnels allow companies to grow their pool of paying customers.

That said, great products don't always equate to great sales. First and foremost, you must make people aware of what your business offers and work toward convincing them that it's worth it. And this is where email marketing funnels come into play.

In other words, successful email marketing strategies are a prerequisite to high conversions as they enable your brand to compete at the frontlines with other businesses, attract attention, and ultimately, capture leads.

What are email funnels?

An email marketing funnel features a series of email campaigns targeted toward leads at different phases of the customer journey. Depending on the business and its ultimate goal, the content within emails is customized to match the recipient's concerns and needs.

This allows marketers to build relevance and resonate with the target market. These electronic messages are spread across a timeline which is oftentimes prescheduled.

While a majority of email funnels are created with new customers in mind, they aren't solely exclusive to this class of clients. A sales funnel can also be used to build rapport with existing customers to boost retention and advocacy.

Also Read: Get the Highest Email Open Rates!

Let's check out why the email marketing sales funnel is important.

Why the email marketing sales funnel is ever important in 2023

The digital age continues to bring new challenges to the table. Easy access to information, for one, is a double-edged sword. While customers have enough data to support decision-making, they are also overloaded with information. This automatically means greater competition for emerging businesses vying to get noticed.

To get ahead of the herd, your email marketing strategy must be spot on. Because potential customers have so many options to choose from, they're unlikely to go with a product as soon as they're introduced to it. Verily, a successful email funnel features a great sales pitch, offers educational content depending on the complexity of the offering, and banks on timely follow-ups.

Marketing funnel stages: How to ace each one

Smart businesses make peace with the fact that leads don't instantly convert into loyal customers. If they did, digital marketers wouldn't need to fuss. A robust email sequence does not strive to make the impossible happen. Instead, it focuses on enhancing the customer's journey at every phase of the process.

Before we dive further into this, remember, not one email marketing funnel is identical to another. That said, email sequences are typically spread across four stages. To ensure that your business is able to generate leads and convert subscribers, every stage deserves separate attention.


The awareness stage simply focuses on letting potential leads know about the existence of your business and its services. To kickstart email funnels there needs to be some degree of awareness.

Businesses today leverage social media to get the ball rolling and complement that with robust email campaigns to build recall. In the early stages, especially for a new company, reinforcing awareness is essential.

One way to achieve that is through creating an email subscriber list. You can place an opt in form on the website to encourage newsletter signs up and free trial users. Any exciting offer such as a promo code or bulk deals will serve as the lead magnet to lure in a potential customer.

email funnels that take a lead from awareness to interest


Leads that have moved to the interest phase are the ones contributing to your click through rate. They're eager to learn more about your business and products. Therefore, this is where the dilemma comes in - how can a business keep subscribers interested until they finally transition into the next stage?

New customers should be redirected to valuable content that clearly covers the type of solutions your company is known and admired for. Since it is unadvisable to include too many paragraphs in an email, you can link to your website's blog content, landing pages and social media profiles.

To take it up a notch, include links to your business's Google review page, Yelp profile, or Trustpilot review page. Social proof does wonders for all sorts of companies as it shows clients that other people love their products.


The consideration stage is incredibly crucial to the email marketing funnel and later success. This is where customers are eager to know HOW your product can address their pain points and offer a desirable solution.

To create an email that resonates with the target audience, carefully analyse previous communications. You don't necessarily want to go into the nitty gritty of how your services are technically superior. Just focus on high priority touchpoints.

Let's take the example of a business pitching headphones to working young adults who often commute via train. If an important concern is comfort, win street credit by highlighting how the ear bud is made of premium quality material that is neither abrasive nor too slippery.

At the end of the day, leads who reach this phase are already very likely to make a purchase. All they need is a little push and that's where the performance of email sales funnels is put to test.

Pro tip: Add a link to your landing page - the product features' page - and tell customers to visit the website for greater infromation. This is especially useful for techie products or high value purchases that require a lot of back and forth on the customer's part.


Safe to say, the success of the conversion stage is heavily dependant on the previous phases. If your email marketing funnel effectively addresses varying needs throughout the customer journey, conversion rates won't be disappointing.

Bear in mind, high open and click through rates are not an indicator of potentially high conversions. If there's one thing that can directly affect conversion, it's the CTA.

email funnels must have a CTA

A call to action essentially instructs a potential customer to take the next step. This can be practically anything, and when you're nearing the end of the sales funnel, CTAs focus on encouraging subscribers to make a purchase. According to WordStream, emails including even a single CTA skyrocketed sales by 1617%.

If you have been able to engage a potential lead up to the conversion stage, don't skimp on this step. Use the email marketing sales funnel to convince subscribers why they MUST add their favourite products to cart and hit 'buy'.

Effective CTAs go a long way but if you're wondering what can make a call to action worth the money, here are a few tips:

  • Be creative, funny and even sarcastic

  • Attach a solid reason to why following through with the CTA is good for your customer

  • Bank on FOMO especially if your business sells aspirational products

  • Be assertive in language - don't use weak verbs


Contrary to popular belief, conversion isn't the last stage. The customer journey continues beyond the purchase phase, eventually transitioning to adoption. This is where marketers focus on fully onboarding the client by providing access to a wider toolkit exclusive for paying customers.

The adoption stage offers various opportunities to build a stronger relationship with the customer. So, send them value enriched messages with useful resources that can be deployed to extend the utility of your product.


One time purchases don't help businesses grow which is why retention isn't ideal, it's necessary. The goal here is to ensure that converted leads stick around. So, be consistent when it comes to delivering value according to where the client is in their journey.

using email funnels to retain with a discount

A common example of boosting retention is through discount offers. For instance, you can send emails like '15% off your next purchase' just like fast fashion retailer Boohoo. Such campaigns are known for building loyalty by pushing the customer to consider your brand one more time. At the end of the day, higher loyalty always translates to higher return on investment.


There's no better marketing for a business than customer-generated reviews. When clients start spreading good word about your products, success comes naturally.

But let's be honest, it's the 21st century and the average customer has a lot on their plate. Which is why giving them a little nudge pays off. So, don't shy away from asking for feedback, encourage your customers to leave a review, and perhaps even incentivise it.

A prime example of incentive-backed feedback generation is Shein. The popular clothing retailer gives points - that can be later converted for discounts - to buyers who leave reviews.

In any case, all types of positive feedback add fuel to fire so your business can gain traction among a larger audience.

Top tips for effective email marketing funnels

Ready to create a funnel? Here are a few things that you should be conscious of.

Build email lists with the help of your website and socials

Deliver value through your website and social media pages to gain more subscribers. In the instance of the website, always include a subscription link at the end of an engaging blog. And make sure to enable page scrolling so if readers do find something useful and want to stay in the loop, it's easy for them to sign up.

Similarly, use social media to build your subscriber list. Add links and buttons to Youtube videos and run ads on Facebook or Instagram that take viewers straight to the landing page. Also, you can include subscription links in your social media bios and About sections.

Don't ask for too much information

Recognise that people today don't have to time to fill lengthy forms, nor do they prefer sharing every personal detail.

To build an email list, you only need a potential subscriber's name and email address. Anything beyond that is unnecessary and pushing the limit. If anything, you'll end up driving those likely to sign up away.

Use email marketing tools

Marketing automation tools allow experts to scale communications according to the customer journey with minimal manual grunt work. Whether you're new to the world of sales funnels or have been at it for long, invest in a reliable email marketing tool.

Scheduled email sequences not only save time but also ensure consistency which pays off in the long run. Taking on every aspect of the email marketing process leads to burnout and thus, lost conversions.

Top-tier email automation software offers amazing features like AI-supported scheduling, customizable templates, mobile optimization, third-party integrations, performance analytics and more.

GoCustomer offers great email marketing features, such as email warmup, verification, and an AI email writing assistance, and an excellent payment plan.

Leverage the double opt-in

To determine the success of an email marketing funnel, you must be able to gauge its performance. From open rates to engagement stats, everything matters.

Unfortunately, not all subscribers are stand up citizens and various will enter fake email addresses at times. This hurts your analytics and harms decision-making.

With double opt-in forms, businesses receive greater protection against scammers who aren't interested in converting. These also limit issues resulting from typing errors when leads accidentally input the wrong email address.

Measure performance

Once your email marketing funnel is in full swing, divert attention to performance tracking. Check click through and open rates over time, compare conversions of different emails within the funnel and analyse what's working.

Then, compare your results with industry benchmarks to identify weak areas, suggest recommendations and make the necessary changes.

By focusing on key metrics such as subscription rates and repeat buys (customer lifetime value) over time, your business has a better grip on essential factors influencing the trajectory of your campaigns.

How to create an effective email marketing funnel

Here is a step-by-step on what you should do to create an email marketing funnel.

Visualize the customer journey

The road from product discovery to advocacy is different for every business's customer. Your clients have unique needs that must be understood before an email campaign is targeted at them.

In the first step, you should make efforts to find out what solutions your customer is looking for and thus, figure out how to solve them. Align the customer journey with your marketing goals, and define what's considered truly valuable by business leads.

Gather leads

To get the email funnel going, businesses first need to generate leads.

As discussed earlier, there are different ways to gather subscriptions, be it through the landing page of your website or social media. What's important here is that you effectively market your brand to attract leads that have high chances of converting, not just anyone.

Simply put, be careful where to include an opt in form. For example, add the latter in posts that are specifically curated for a filtered niche, rather than general blogs written for the general crowd.

email marketing funnels lead magnet

Use lead magnets

Because potential customers have so many options to choose from, they're unlikely to go with a product as soon as they're introduced to it. And even unlikelier to pick one that doesn't offer any incentive.

What's exceptional about lead magnets is that they push potential customers into sharing their contact details and performing desired actions. Landing page statistics prove that 55% of subscriber information submissions are linked to lead magnets.

Take the example of a brand new website visitor. This person has never bought from you and doesn't trust that your business will offer value. With a relevant lead magnet such as a discount, freebie, or complementary guide, they can be convinced to take the first step.

Write the first email

Formulate a series of introductory emails to welcome the lead. Introduce your brand and briefly go over how email communications will benefit prospects over time.

This is the part where you mustn't be too salesy, rather, set up the foundation of the customer relationship. If recipients notice that you're coming off too strong, they'll stop reading. Research shows that the average bounce rate for emails stands at 2.76% and you certainly don't want your campaigns to represent this number.

Some appropriate things to include in introductory emails are:

  • A sneak peek into upcoming content

  • Your brand's vision and commitment to the client

  • Expected frequency of email marketing messages

  • Recipient's pain points in relevance to your business's proposed solution

Once the first set of emails is out of the way, focus on customising campaigns according to evolving marketing goals and client needs.

Tried and tested email funnels for your business

Not sure what type of email marketing funnel to use? Mind map future projects through suitable drip campaigns focused on achieving different goals.

Whether you're an email marketer or an aspiring entrepreneur, the following sales emails can help put things in perspective.

The first hello

The initial email marketing funnel introduces a business, briefly going over available products and services. This is your first interaction via electronic mail, so, bring out the big guns.

Your ultimate goal should be to make a lasting impression. Remember, there are no existing customers here, you're marking the beginning of a lead's customer journey.

Here's how Tech Radar's introductory email for first-time subscribers nails the objective.

email funnels - TechRadar's email

It's concise, reiterates the benefits of subscribing to their newsletter, and ends with links to the brand's social media pages. Needless to say, you should do the same.

In fact, take it one step further and focus on email personalisation such as adding the recipient's name in the email content.

Delivering the promise

Lead magnets are an excellent way to expand the email funnel. Nothing works better than free value or an exclusive incentive. Think first user discounts and early access.

When visitors on a website enter their contact information in exchange for a promise, businesses must ensure that their email marketing efforts live up to their claims.

Let's look at the email Biossance sends its customers when they sign up for the newsletter in exchange for a discount.

email funnels - Boissance email

The brand effectively communicates what they promised but it doesn't end there. Notice how they sneak in information about their Clean Crew and highlight the benefits of joining the latter.

The conversion seeker

Conversion emails push subscribers to finally make up their minds. Naturally, this phase in the email marketing process is what you and your entire team has been looking forward to.

So, be direct and leverage FOMO. Let potential clients know that time is running out and it's now or never. For example, you're dealing with an existing buyer who is yet to make their second purchase. Send a message that lets them know that of a running sale expected to end in a few hours, days or weeks - whatever applies.

SkinFix, for one, does a great job at creating a sense of urgency.

email funnels - SkinFix example

In your case, feel free to complement such emails with one liners that suggest how fast an item is selling. For instance, 'other customers are buying your favourite items, buy now before stock runs out!'.

Also, take a note out of SkinFix's book to highlight recommended products they should be interested in.

Explore More: Crafting Hilarious Emails to Entertain Your Prospects: Email Funny Strategies

Bottom line

It's no secret that you want every lead in the pipeline to convert.

An effective email marketing sales funnels provides plenty of insulation against various business challenges. It lets your business build direct lines of communication with key customers and that's priceless.

However, to send email funnels, you need a top-tier email marketing service and we have the right solution for you!

GoCustomer has excellent email marketing features with extras such as an email verification tool and AI writing assistant.

An image to showcase the email warmup feature

Reach more customers with your cold emails

Table of Contents

    In a nutshell

    Email funnels, also known as email marketing funnels or sales funnels, are a series of email messages that are designed to guide subscribers through a specific marketing or sales process. The goal of an email funnel is to convert subscribers into customers by providing them with relevant and valuable content that leads them to take a specific action.
    The four stages include visualizing the customer journey, gathering leads, creating lead magnets, and writing the first email.
    The first hello is the introductory stage of the email funnel where a business introduces itself and its products and/or services. This stage is about making a strong impression.
    If you leverage double opt-in, your email funnels will be more successful as your emails will go to people who are interested in converting rather than those who enter fake email addresses or just subscribe to get through gated content, etc.
    The consideration stage in the buyer's journey is the stage where a lead is interested in finding out what your product offers and how it can solve their pain point.
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