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Defining the Email Marketing Funnel
9 min read

Defining the Email Marketing Funnel

Defining the Email Marketing Funnel

The setting, tracking, and achieving goals is one of the principal activities surrounding marketing in general, digital marketing, and all adjacent fields related to online marketing. All marketers need to understand if there is one thing that objectives cannot be attained without thorough planning and a clear strategy. The same is true when it comes to email marketing activities. Objectives are important, but so is the strategy that is set out to realize them.

With email marketing being the most successful channel marketers have at their disposal, it is salient that all tactics employed in this area are working together for the same goal. You cannot have impactful email campaigns if they are not connected to an overarching strategy. When it comes to email deployments, we implement a coherent and pragmatic strategy through a little thing called the email marketing funnel. Throughout this article, we are going to discuss the importance of defining the email marketing funnel, give you a step-by-step guide on how to build it up, and offer you suggestions and best practices for transforming it into action points.

Let's start by addressing what an email marketing funnel is and determine its purpose.

The email marketing funnel

An email marketing funnel is a marketing strategy that connects the different tactics used to promote a product or service and uses metrics to measure success. The main goal of the email marketing funnel is to increase brand awareness, generate demand or leads, and create sales.

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There are 3 main stages of any email marketing funnel, starting with the awareness stage, continuing with the consideration stage, and ending with the decision stage. Of course, as with the general marketing funnel, various other secondary stages will be part of one of the main 3, but for the purposes of this article, these are the ones that we will address.

The awareness stage starts as soon as a new subscriber is added to your email database and deals with positioning a brand in the prospect's mind as a serious option alongside the brand's competitors. The goal of this stage is to generate interest in the product or service that is being offered. This is achieved by creating a sense of urgency, building a relationship with the prospect, and offering some sort of reward for taking the next step.

The consideration stage is where the prospect starts to look at your product or service as something that they need to have in their life. This is the time when you start to get to know your prospect, and their needs better. The goal of this stage is to convert the prospect into a lead by providing them with a clear understanding of what they are getting out of the offer, as well as how it will help them solve their problems.

The decision stage involves the prospect making a purchase. At this point, they have already been exposed to all the information that they need to make an informed decision so it's now just a case of providing them with an easy way to order. This is usually done through your website or an offer that you provide through email. Once the purchase has been completed, you can now move onto the next phase of your email marketing funnel which deals with turning leads into customers and customers into repeat buyers.

The purpose of the email marketing funnel is to create a clear path for customers to take when they are interested in your product or service but are not yet ready to buy. This process will help you understand your customers better, and make their experience with your brand more personal and memorable. The result should be an increase in the number of leads you generate while decreasing the overall cost per acquisition (CPA).

Now, that we have defined what an email marketing funnel is and touched upon its purpose, it is time to establish how it works.

Customer profiles in the email marketing funnel

To build a solid email marketing funnel, you need to start by understanding your target audience. Once you know who you are trying to reach, it is time to define your customer profiles. The next step is to understand each customer profile and determine which actions they are most likely to take. Once you know these actions, you can create different paths for each one of them, depending on how each one behaves. The final step is to establish a measurement system that allows you to track the progress of each action and adjust accordingly.

Let's see how all this looks in practice. Here we have 3 customer profiles based on three different stages of the purchase process. First-time buyers, repeat buyers, and loyal customers.

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The first-time buyer has just heard about your product or service from a friend or through another channel and has decided to check it out. Since they have never bought anything from you before, you need to give them a reason why they should go forward with a purchase from you instead of any other company out there. You need to give them value and motivate them enough so they decide to purchase your product or service at least once.

To determine what information you need to provide this type of user with, you must first understand what stage they are in the purchasing process. In this case, we are dealing with a new prospect who has not yet made up his mind about choosing your product or service. Once you have identified this behavior pattern, you can begin the journey towards creating an effective email campaign for first-time buyers by successfully developing content that will lead them through the decision process. You can also develop a list of potential questions these customers may have while going through this process so you can be prepared for any inquiries they may have regarding the product or service.

The second profile represents someone who has purchased your product or service before but did not look into it enough before making his decision. In this case, they might be interested in buying more because they believe there might be value in doing so but they need more information before making a decision. This customer may have received a promotion from you via email but did not respond because they were not entirely sure if he wanted more of what you had to offer or if they wanted something else altogether as mentioned above. You need to provide them with valuable information that will make them want more of what you have to offer without overwhelming them with too much information at once (which can cause them to lose interest). You also need to understand what stage this customer is in the purchasing process so that you can personalize your content as much as possible when interacting with them via email campaigns. They need something that will convince them that buying from you again would be beneficial in some way shape or form.

The third profile represents someone who has purchased your product or service multiple times before and seems very dedicated to doing so in the future as well as spreading the word about you by recommending other potential buyers. This would happen through word-of-mouth advertising channels such as social media or their own blog/website/social media page as well as syndicated review websites. These customers usually receive multiple promotions from your company because they seem very committed to buying your products or services over and over again without significant hesitation. What you must understand here is that while these types of customers seem like an easy target for sales pitches because they already know exactly what they want. In reality, it is much harder than it seems since everything becomes repetitive after a while. And since there is no novelty factor involved anymore when communicating with these types of customers, you will need to figure out creative ways of engaging them.

Tactics for customer profiles

Let's analyze what tactics work for each of these 3 customer profiles.

First-time buyers

New customers are the easiest to acquire. They don't have any preconceived notions about your brand and they are usually open to try new things. That means that you should design a funnel that focuses on acquiring as many first-time buyers as possible.

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How can you do that? The first thing you need to do is build trust. New customers don't know much about your brand, so they won't buy your product or service immediately. To build trust, you need to prove that your business can be trusted and that it is worth investing in.

To build trust, you need to focus on providing value for free. The key is to create content that offers value to your customers by educating them about your product or service. You can do this by creating useful resources such as ebooks, guides, or whitepapers. The more information you give away, the more likely it is that they will become customers later on.

Repeat buyers

Repeat customers are the most important part of the funnel because they are already familiar with your brand and know what to expect from it. This makes them much easier to convert than new customers since there is no need for trust-building or introducing new products/services through an email funnel. All you have to do is re-engage with them in a way that keeps them coming back for more over time.

One way of doing this is by sending out a series of emails with valuable content related to the products/services they bought from you in the past. For example, if they bought a digital course on SEO, then over time you can send out emails with tips and tricks related to SEO that might help them improve their website's search engine rankings or get more traffic from search engines in general. This way they get value out of the product they bought from you before and might be willing to buy from you again in the future.

Another tactic is offering discounts or special deals exclusively for repeat customers only. These deals might include extra discounts or free shipping, but their main purpose is to encourage repeat purchases so that you can upsell them on higher-priced products and services in the future. For example, if a customer bought a digital course on SEO last year, then this year when they see a discount code for a new SEO course offered exclusively for previous buyers only, they might decide to buy it so they don’t miss out on this offer. If they decide not to buy it again then at least they still get some value out of last year's purchase and might be willing to buy from you again someday down the road once they find themselves in need of another product/service from your company.

Loyal customers

Loyal customers are the ones who have bought from you multiple times and have a strong connection with your brand. They are easy to convert to sales because they already know what to expect from you and trust your brand. However, it is important to keep them engaged over time so that they don’t forget about you or lose interest in your products/services. Keeping your brand top of mind is crucial in creating an effective email marketing funnel for loyal customers.

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This can be done by sending out offers or special deals exclusively to loyal customers. For example, if a customer has bought from you 5 times before, then sending them a discount code for 10% off their next purchase might incentivize them to buy again.