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Automation 101 – How to Create
a Basic Email Sales Funnel

First of all, do you need an email sales funnel?

Yes! You need an email sales funnel if you:

      • • Sell a product (physical or digital)
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  • • Offer a service, online or in person
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  • • Market a hybrid of product + service
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  • • Want to be an authority or influencer in your market
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  • • Started your business today
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  • • Began your business years ago
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  • • Want to find out if your business idea has legs
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There is no business situation in which an email sales funnel will not help you attract more of your ideal customers, nurture them along the buyer’s journey, and close more sales.

And here’s why: We call the road from awareness of a problem to the purchase of the solution the “buyer’s journey”, as if it’s some sort of map with a definite beginning and end.

However, in reality this journey can be a looping adventure with so many side roads and distractions the buyer never makes it to your destination—if you leave the navigation up to them.

Because your toughest adversary in landing a sale is not your competition—it’s buyer indecision.

Decision-making is stressful, and when you leave it up to the buyer to figure it out for herself, she’ll often choose not to. (Who wants to add more stress to life?)

An email sales funnel takes away the stress for buyers by automatically guiding them to a decision with almost no effort on their part. And low stress leads to higher sales!

Are you ready to create a more predictable income stream from your email list with email automation?

This 3-part overview of the technical, marketing, and “what the pros know” aspects of creating an automated email sales funnel means you can create a basic funnel one in less than one day.

How to Craft Emails For Each Stage of the Buying Process (The Marketing Piece)

Build Excitement For Your Offer With a Landing Page

Before you write your emails, you’ll want to create a compelling offer for contacts describing the value so they’ll opt in. This is done through a landing page.

A good landing page has:

  • • A main headline and a supporting headline
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  • • Your unique selling proposition
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  • • The benefits of your offer (why should they download it?)
  • • Images or video of you or your offer
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  • • Social proof, like a great testimonial or icons of past clients
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  • • A call to action inviting them to sign up for your offer
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• You’ll use this landing page for your ads, social media posts to support your campaign, and even in calls to action on block posts or popups on your website.

Deliver Value With Education Content In The First Email

You promised a lead magnet to your potential subscriber on the landing page, and now is your opportunity to deliver it. Simply check the box next to Attachment in the email setup box before you write your content and upload your lead magnet.

The content of your email should include:

  • • Thanks for requesting your lead magnet
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  • • A quick tip(s) on how to implement the lead magnet in a fast or effective way
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  • • A teaser about how this information fits into the bigger problem the reader might be experiencing
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  • • A reminder to look for the next email for the solution to the bigger problem

It might look something like this:

Promote Your Authority In The Second Email

This is where you show you’re more than your lead magnet. You got the lead in the door, and now it’s time to show why it’s worth sticking around.

The content of your second email should include:

  • • A check-in on how helpful they found the lead magnet
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  • • A description of the bigger problem the lead magnet does not address
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  • • How you’ve helped someone solve this problem
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  • • What most people do wrong
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  • • Where to check out your solution
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The email looks something like this:

Promote Benefits Along With A Strong Call To Action In The Third Email

Now that you’ve laid the groundwork by expanding the problem and addressing a successful solution now it’s time to make a clear and compelling offer.

The content of your third email should contain:

  • • An explanation of the problem
  • What happens when you don’t fix it
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  • • The solution you offer
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  • • The benefits to your solution (what your feature delivers)
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  • • A clear call to action
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  • • A testimonial
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The third email could look something like this:

Boost Your Results With Email Retargeting

Another option at this point is to add a secondary automation funnel referred to as a “retargeting.”

Retargeting allows you to send emails to contacts who click on your landing page but do not take further action. (You set this up before you start your original automation funnel so it works to recapture lost or disengaged leads.)

By inserting a special code on your website, (one you can easily cut and paste from your Sendlane dashboard) you can trigger a second set of emails to contacts who fail to make a purchase or act on your offer.

You can remind them of a special offer, encourage them to come back to the website, or finish placing an order.

Here’s what that first retargeting email might look like:

Best Practices for Email Sales funnels (The "Do it Like a Pro Section)

Knowing how to create an email sales funnel is only half the battle. The other half is uncovering the top tips and tricks of seasoned email marketers to get the best results.

Below are 5 tips to help you see the same type of success as industry veterans—without the messy trial and error.

  1. • Know your goal before you start. What is the one specific end result you’re looking for in your emails sales funnel? Never forget that goal and you’ll stay focused throughout your campaign. If you have more than one goal, go back to the drawing board and keep whittling it down.
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  3. • Limit yourself to one call to action (CTA) per email. Don’t confuse contacts with multiple choices. Your job is to make it easy to say yes, and easy means one action.
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  5. • Test the full automation before activating! Better to find those mistakes before your new lead does.
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  7. • When writing your emails, think about one ideal customer as the focus. If you write to an audience, it shows. And subscribers have a harder time connecting with your offer if it doesn’t feel personal.
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  9. • Don’t be scared to sell to your list. Remember, your contacts signed up to your list because they’re interested in what you have to offer! And people who unsubscribe when you make offers are not your ideal prospects anyway.
Caitlin Hutchinson

Caitlin Hutchinson

Brand Marketing ManagerSendlane
A native of San Diego, California, Caitlin has a passion for developing creative and engaging marketing content. Primarily responsible for overseeing the development, execution and delivery of digital content across all of Sendlane’s channels while maintaining an online presence of Sendlane's team culture. Host of The Marketing Automation Hustle Podcast and Sendlane Youtube Training Channel. Works closely with the marketing team to manage creative projects and develop creative assets/solutions to enhance the brand. Collaborates at the intersection of marketing, product, content, and sales to develop powerful and memorable stories and interactive experiences that bring the Sendlane vision to life.
Caitlin Hutchinson