How to Build an Email Marketing Funnel?

email marketing funnel

Ask any business owner, and they will tell you the importance of converting their subscribers into loyal and paying customers. While there are many articles that have covered the subject of email marketing, most of them have to do with its importance and not the process behind the buildout which will be our focus here, building an email marketing funnel.

What is an Email Marketing Funnel?

Before we can jump into creating your email marketing funnel, you must first know what it is. An email funnel is a representation of how email communication can be used to turn subscribers from prospective leads to paying customers.

To be successful in creating email funnels, you must first be able to anticipate the needs of your subscribers, then send them emails at the right time to encourage an action. In this way, email funnels that are used by businesses demonstrate the four-stage customer lifecycle; engagement, discovery, purchase, and retention.

Building an Email Marketing Funnel that Converts

While there are multiple ways of pulling subscribers through your email marketing funnel, most email marketing funnel strategies follow four basic steps.

  • Lead Generation / List building
  • Nurturing
  • Lead Conversion
  • Customer Loyalty / LTV

Top of Funnel – Lead Generation, expand your email marketing funnel

It all starts with your email list. But, unlike your followers on Facebook or other social media, you are going to have more control over your communications.  Two of my favorite top of funnel lead generation tactics are the Landing Page + Acquisition (Basically a straight-up ask) and content upgrades (My favorite).

The landing page + acquisition tactic revolves around a direct ask.  For example, if someone searched for “Content Marketing Checklist,” they may see a landing page with some teaser content asking them to provide an email address.  This is popular with the SEM side of google.

The content upgrade tactic is my favorite because it gives you the ability to engage with a user on a deeper level before getting too deep into sales.  The quality of your content is what determines success, and if you align the user’s search query with an appropriate content upgrade, you can see great results.

Middle of Funnel: Nurturing Leads

Once you have been successful in lead generation that helps attract more subscribers, you will need to keep them engaged. This can be achieved by using segmented lists to deliver a relevant value proposition to each subscriber. You can also use the right automation platform that will automate the segmentation process based on various factors, such as the form they signed up for, email behavior, demographic, and so on.

Lead nurturing emails need to be targeted; it balances introducing your organization to the prospect while still providing great content and progressing your knowledge forward. In this way, you can use emails as a new opportunity to build a relationship with the user and introduce them to your products and/or services.

Bottom of the Funnel: Lead Conversion

Once you successfully get subscribers past the first two steps, you will be left with those who are ready for conversion. By offering nothing but value to your subscribers, you will earn a sense of trust.

The types of content that work here are anything that provides readers with valuable and relevant information. You may want to try case studies, reviews, product comparisons, and so on. At this time, it is also okay to ask for a meeting or provide links to purchase.

Rinse and Repeat

Congratulations! Your subscriber has converted into a customer. But, that doesn’t mean you’re job is done. You still need to make sure you retain your newly converted customers. When it comes to loyalty, you need to build long-term relationships with your customers. This will help promote repeat purchases from customers and drive referrals.

While you will be using the same techniques that you did while nurturing your leads, the messaging here is going to be slightly different as you can now talk about your brand more clearly and directly.

You can use new product updates, weekly reports, and so on to keep your customers engaged. You can also match both cross-sell and up-sell products based on your customer’s past purchases. Other options include launching a referral/loyalty campaign that rewards those customers who help spread the word of your brand to others.


The consumer is not fooled by the traditional marketing techniques used by businesses. Furthermore, consumers nowadays tend to get turned off by pushy sales pitches and strategies.

Having a solid email marketing funnel can help businesses deliver the right communication at the right time. This treats your subscribers like individuals rather than a generic name on your email list. This enables you to guide them throughout the buyer’s journey and communicate more effectively.

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