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There are three main purposes for email marketing programs – to acquire new leads, to nurture those leads, and to convert those leads into customers by making a sale. Businesses create a variety of email campaigns and messages to help them push prospects through the overall marketing funnel from leads to customers, and building email conversion funnels is a key tactic to do it.
In simplest terms, you can build email conversion funnels at all stages of your overall marketing funnel. Whether you’re acquiring leads, nurturing them, or trying to convert them into a sale, you can build automated sequences of messages (funnels) to motivate them to take specific actions (conversions).
Yes, it gets confusing because you have a big overall marketing funnel and smaller, targeted email funnels operating at any given moment within that overall marketing funnel. In addition, your overall marketing funnel goal is conversions (i.e., sales), which is the same term used to describe the specific actions you want people to take in your email conversion funnels. In other words, in email conversion funnels, the action you want people to take isn’t always making a purchase.
Think of it this way – email conversion funnels that are built for acquisition have a specific conversion action goal, which might be to get people’s email addresses so you can grow your email subscribers list and fill the top of your marketing funnel with leads you can market to.
Email conversion funnels that are built for nurturing would have a very different conversion action goal. In the middle of the funnel, you want to build a relationship with your audience, so actions could include downloading highly targeted ebooks, signing up for webinars, and so on.
Finally, email conversion funnels that are built for sales conversions might offer a discount on a product to persuade recipients to buy right now.
With that said, there are so many types of email conversion funnels that you can use at any point in your overall marketing funnel. In my latest book, Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing for Business, I provide many examples as well as sequencing flow charts, message swipe files, templates, and more. It’s the easiest way to ramp up your email marketing quickly and get measurable results.
To help you get started, here are nine easy to use email conversion funnels for lead acquisition, nurturing, and conversion that I introduce in the book.
Acquisition Email Conversion Funnels
For acquisition, your goal is to offer interesting content that is relevant to your products and services and useful to your target audience. That content must be of equal or greater value than the perceived value of people’s email addresses or they won’t take action. Here are three ideas for acquisition email conversion funnels that are easy to set up and can be extremely effective in attracting leads.
- Low risk lead magnet opt-in funnel: Offer a free checklist, cheat sheet, or template in exchange for people’s email addresses. This works best when the lead magnet is relevant to the product or service you ultimately want leads to buy when they move to the bottom of your overall marketing funnel.
- Contest or giveaway funnel: Give away a prize to people who give you their email addresses. Just make sure the prize is valuable enough to match or exceed the value of their email addresses but not so valuable that you’ll receive entries from people who are outside of your target audience and won’t move down your overall marketing funnel to buy from you in the future.
- Content upgrade funnel: At the end of your blog posts, offer a free PDF version of the content in the post in exchange for people’s email addresses. This works best for long blog posts that are filled with useful information where it would be more convenient for a reader to download a well-formatted PDF than print the blog post.
Nurturing Email Conversion Funnels
For nurturing, your goal is to build and strengthen your brand’s relationship with your subscribers. You can do this by educating, entertaining, and informing them with useful, meaningful content. Here are three ideas for nurturing email conversion funnels that you can start using right away to push people further down in your overall marketing funnel.
- Deep-dive lead magnet opt-in funnel: Nurturing opt-in lead magnets need to provide more information than acquisition opt-in lead magnets. Create an ebook, mini course, or guide that teaches people the next step after your acquisition lead magnet. Try to increase your subscribers’ trust in your brand by providing high quality content that matters to them.
- Webinar funnel: Webinars are an excellent tool to strengthen your brand’s relationship with subscribers. Not only can you provide information they want and need in your webinars, but you can also make your brand more human, build a sense of community, and invite attendees to learn more, request additional information, and more at the end of the webinar.
- New product launch funnel: When you’re launching a new product, you should always create and send a series of messages sharing the news with your subscribers and explaining how the new product can benefit them. You could even include an exclusive discount just for subscribers.
Sales Email Conversion Funnels
For the people who make it to the bottom of your overall marketing funnel, you need to send sales email conversion funnels that will motivate them to take out their credit cards and buy from you. Here are some sales email conversion funnels that you can use to do it.
- Free trial or demonstration funnel: This type of sales conversion funnel works extremely well for software companies and subscription-based product or services companies. By offering a free trial or demonstration, you give people a taste of what your product, service, and brand provides, which is a proven method to close more sales.
- Free call for coaching or consulting funnel: For coaches, consultants, and many other service-based businesses, creating a sales conversion funnel that offers a free call or session is a perfect way to introduce subscribers who are on the fence about whether or not to buy the extra incentive they need to give your business a try.
- Post-purchase upsell funnel: After people buy from you, you should have a sequence of upsell messages ready to go out automatically that promotes products or services that are related to what the customer just purchased. There is no better time to promote a product or service than right after a person buys a related product or service.
Setting up Your Email Conversion Funnels
With the right email marketing tool, you can set up a wide variety of email conversion funnels filled with messages that are sent automatically when contacts meet specific conditions that you predetermine. It might seem overwhelming to set all of these funnels and sequences of messages, offers, and lead magnets up, but it’s worth the time. In the end, your sales will increase!
This article was adapted from Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing for Business by Susan Gunelius (Entrepreneur Press, 2018).