Many copywriters make the mistake of thinking of emails as single messages, shot out at their target audiences. Email funnels create a fuller conversation, taking the reader on a journey—and, ultimately, guiding them to your end result.
Today’s question is from Hillary W. who asks, “I keep seeing ads in my Facebook feed about email funnels. What are they?”
Sometimes, the best copywriting can be simply to explain the benefit of a product and say “Buy Now.” But often, a prospective buyer needs to be guided to come to the “I want to buy this!” conclusion on their own.
This may seem like “soft-selling” and in a way it is—but it’s also some of the most effective copy you can write.
An email funnel is a series of emails that gradually guides the reader from one state, (general awareness, for example), to another state (readiness to buy). For whatever reason, many large companies have not yet adopted email funnels; right now, you’ll find them most commonly used among solopreneurs and digital marketers.
Each email in an email funnel is carefully crafted to lead the reader down the desired path.
An Email Funnel Example
Let’s look at an example to help make this clear. Let’s say a business coach’s website offers a free ebook, “10 Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make” and, once people sign up for this, they go into an email funnel with the end result of getting them to sign up for private coaching.
Here’s an overview of how the funnel might go:
Purpose: Deliver ebook; begin to introduce coach and instill trust
Content: Delivery of ebook and welcome, with short bio of coach
Purpose: Convey coach’s mastery of the topic
Content: Tell coaches personal story from trouble/failure with topic to ultimate success
Purpose: Establish that coach’s students can see similar success
Content: Tell student’s story about challenges and success
Purpose: Overcome obstacles to purchasing
Content: Tell story/stories that illustrate how coaching pays for itself, how it leads to greater accountability and success, etc.
Purpose: Introduce one-on-one coaching option
Content: Explain how coaching works, give benefits, offer limited time bonus
Purpose: Give last minute warning with extra push to sign up
Content: Convey that chance to get in on coaching is almost up; offer extra, special bonus
Email Funnel Variables
As you can see, there are a lot of variables in an email funnel, from the messages and the methods of conveying the methods, to the timing of sending the emails and requesting feedback.
There are also a lot of different ways to continue funnels or send people down new ones! For example, the people who purchase in this funnel should be added to a new funnel to help them make the most of their coaching. The people who don’t purchase might be moved into a different funnel that leads to a different kind of product—maybe a lower priced group coaching or a an information product.
Most email funnels rely on a combination of stories and educational bonuses (useful ebooks, videos, etc.) to keep people engaged, interested, and willing to open the next email.
And, as you’d expect, it takes a lot of skill and insight to craft an effective email funnel (which is why it’s the topic of an upcoming Comprehensive Copywriting Academy deep-dive course).
But, with that skill and insight, you can help prospects make intelligent purchase they might otherwise overlook, create a steady revenue stream for your client, and earn rave client reviews that lead to plenty of referrals.
Your turn! Have you ever received an email funnel series? What did or didn’t make it effective? Let us know in the comments below!