11 min read

Building Email Funnels To Grow Your Business

Jul 10, 2020 4:38:00 PM

You’ve heard about “email funnels” and how you can use them to grow your business. But what is a funnel? How can it help with your customer outreach?

An email marketing funnel is a way to organize your communication approach with your potential customers. It helps you:

  • Send the right emails at the right time, to the right people
  • Establish an engaging customer relationship
  • Build better relationships
  • Drive ROI

Creating and optimizing your email sales funnel creates new opportunities for your business. Let's get into the nitty-gritty of building email marketing funnels to grow your business and you'll start to understand why.

How To Convert Visitors into Subscribers

More marketers give email marketing the highest rating for ROI than any other marketing channel (source). But without subscribers, you can’t have an email marketing campaign. Without an email list of subscribers, you can’t do anything.

An email list is simply the email addresses from past, current, and prospective customers that you obtain through email collection campaigns. Your goal, as a marketer, is to strengthen your relationship with these people and “nurture” them towards making a purchase on your site.

There are plenty of ways to build your email list. Strategies you can use include opt-in forms, lead magnets and webinars/demos. Yes, pop-ups are annoying—but they are also excellent for lead generation. When used correctly, pop-ups can grow your email list faster than any other method.  For example, they can be programmed to show up at the right time and in front of the exact customer who would find it valuable. 

Lead magnets such as case studies, webinars, ebooks, and special offers are perfect for when a person wouldn’t typically sign up because they provide an offer with value. Your site visitor only has to enter in an email address to collect the offer.

Another opportunity to get more signups is at the end of your blogs. Visitors who get all the way to the end of your articles might be interested in signing up. That’s why the end of your blog is the perfect place to ask them to join your mailing list.

Personalization makes opt-in forms and popups feel more friendly. Since you’re trying to build your email list, you won’t have personal information to target website visitors. However, you can personalize the popup based on referral source, for example. If you’ve written a guest post or been featured on a partner website, for instance, you can create a popup specifically for that audience.

You can even create platform-specific campaigns (mobile vs. desktop vs. tablet) to ensure that your visitors are able to fully engage with signup forms and popups.

Your number of subscribers will naturally shrink over time due to subscriber opt-out and/or non-valid email addresses due to individuals changing their email. 

Email lists can also grow as your business grows. This is your goal: growing your subscriber base so your message has the biggest potential for impact.


What is a Marketing Funnel?

What is a marketing funnel? Here is an example.

Courtesy of Track Maven, this funnel model is similar to the “AIDA” model discussed below.


The marketing funnel represents the process of turning leads into customers. Think of a real funnel that you might use in the kitchen or to put oil in your car. Email marketers want to capture as many leads as possible (the top of funnel) and then slowly nurture prospective customers through the purchasing decision. The audience narrows down through each stage of the funnel.

The “AIDA” model involves: 

  • Awareness: The prospect is aware of a problem and is seeking solutions. Email/newsletter content at this stage should appeal to the prospect and make him or her receptive to future interactions.
  • Interest: The prospect shows interest in services or products that solve the problem. Content should help them compare you (favorably) to your competitors.
  • Desire: The prospect begins to evaluate a specific brand (you). You're really demonstrating value at this point, bringing them to the next phase ...
  • Action: The prospect decides whether or not to purchase. A simple process (an easy checkout cart, for example) reduces the risk of cart abandonment at this phase.

“Loyalty” and “Advocacy” are additional stages that can be addressed via email marketing. It’s important to note that there is not a single agreed upon version of the funnel; some have many “stages” while others have few. In the image above, you see "purchase" instead of "action" at the bottom and "evaluation" instead of "desires."

So what does this have to do with your email marketing campaigns?

An email marketing funnel refers specifically to email marketing. So “email marketing funnels” refer to the process of converting prospects into customers using the tactic of email marketing.

To drive ROI with your email marketing, you need a strategy to deliver the right content to the right prospects at the right time. That is what an email marketing funnel can do for you.


How To Perfect Your Welcome Series

Email marketing is a great way to stay top-of-mind. In fact, crafting compelling emails with the right message can actually lead to customer acquisition and excellent ROI.

The top of the funnel is an opportunity to nurture your leads. Most of the prospects here are likely new to your email list. Just like you don’t want to get in a customer’s face with a “hard sell” pitch as soon as they walk through the front door, you need to take your time and gain their trust first.

How do you establish trust over email? The answer: The Welcome Series. This is an automated series you send out after somebody subscribes to your list. It serves as an introduction to your brand. It is not just about welcoming people. Somebody is not likely to make a purchase after a single “thank you for subscribing” email. 

  • The First Email: The value is always presented in the first email. This value could be the free download, ebook, giveaway, or other resource that caused the prospect to sign up in the first place.
  • The Second Email: You delivered your value and the relationship with the first email. With the next email in the series, you need  to position yourself as an expert. Here is where you nurture your leads with more articles, case studies and whitepapers that establish you as a thought leader. Great educational content will make them trust you, and when it comes time for them to buy, they will feel confident about buying from you.
  • The Third Email: Here is where you deliver a sales pitch. Provide a clear explanation of your offer and list its benefits. In case someone is “on the fence,” link to your FAQ page or to a customer testimonials and reviews.

The welcome series is all about nurturing your leads, moving them from the “Attention” phase of the marketing funnel towards the bottom “action” phase.

You’ll also need subsequent email sequences beyond the welcome series. If your subscriber is not engaging with your content, create a re-engagement sequence. If he or she purchased your product, create a nurture sequence to build loyalty and repeat business. If he or she has purchased and continues to engage, create an upsell sequence to further increase ROI.

How To Build an Automated Conversion Funnel

Email workflows need to be set up using marketing automation software. Different software providers offer different features and functionality. A robust email marketing tool lets you build automated workflows that are triggered when a contact gets added to a list, fills out a form on your website, clicks a link in an email, views a page on your blog, clicks on one of your Google Ads, or any other trigger you specify. 

You even set up email workflows based on any demographic or action-based information you have, including what pages of your site the person has viewed, what social channels he or she has visited, what content they have downloaded and more. 

Thanks to email marketing automation software you can automate your sales funnel emails sequence with triggered email funnels, auto responders, drip campaigns and behavioral email workflows.

Triggered email funnels: Automate personalized email campaigns that can get triggered when a contact performs a specific action. You could use this for your lead magnet to send your promised PDF or content upon user subscription. This is also a great way to automate onboarding email sequences and customer support follow-ups

Autoresponders: Autoresponder emails are usually used as confirmation emails after sign up. But you can use them to set up a single email or even a complete drip campaign containing complete email sales funnel.

Drip campaigns: Thisl is a triggered sequence of automated emails sent on a predefined schedule. See the diagram below


Drip campaigns are powerful tools for closing leads at scale.

Image courtesy of Automizly

In the example above, Daniel visits a website and fills a popup form to download a free ebook. The email funnel is triggered to begin! The first email of the drip campaign represents the value (the free ebook). A few days later, Daniel gets another email that establishes authority and builds trust and understanding.

By the third email in the drip campaign (assuming the first two were opened), Daniel is a qualified lead and is more likely to convert.

Behavioral email workflows: A behavior-based email sales funnel will help you to be more accurate with your personalization. For example, by understanding who downloaded your ebook or other offer and who did not, you can personalize your next emails accordingly. There’s a lot of sophistication available here, depending on your email marketing platform and how deep you want to go with your segmentation.

Additional tactics you can use to boost conversions include: lead scoring and audience segmentation (sometimes called “bucketing”). Segmenting your email list is key to success. Personalized emails deliver six times higher ROI. You can only get that type of personalization by segmenting your email list! More personalization means a higher CTR, more customer satisfaction, and ultimately more sales.



Building email funnels means converting more subscribers into customers than through any other marketing channel. It all depends on correctly nurturing the relationships, giving value, and segmenting your audience.

QuaGrowth is a full service marketing automation agency that builds email funnels that engage, convert, and drive business to your website. We build your entire lifecycle strategy from top to bottom. QuaGrowth can help you achieve maximize efficiency on paid acquisition, remarketing, and retention efforts to deliver world class results. Click here to get the conversation started.

Written by Jason Boehle