It is 2020, and email marketing remains the best strategy for influencing leads through all stages of the marketing funnel. In fact, 73% of digital marketers say that this tool has allowed them to increase their conversion rates.

However, without having a strategy that allows you to move between the funnel stages, you may end up seeing your contacts pile up at the top.

That's what the email marketing funnel is for. Now, you may be thinking, "Another funnel that I have to worry about?"

The truth is that your email marketing funnel is intrinsically linked to the marketing one, and it is precisely the tool that will help you succeed in converting your leads.

Check out how to design and put your email marketing funnel into practice.

Email marketing funnel: how to design yours

Basically, the email marketing funnel is a representation of how a subscriber goes from prospective lead to your brand's loyal customer through educational email communications.

During this journey, the lead goes through 4 stages:

• Discovery

• Engagement

• Purchase

• Retention

Its function is to know where the lead is, and which message to send, to encourage him to move forward.

The big secret of the email marketing funnel is personalization: by personalizing, you can improve your email opening rate by 26%. By doing this, i.e. treating your lead as a person, and not just a name on your list, you can discover exactly what he needs.

Now that you understand the importance of the email marketing funnel, let's get right to the strategy.

Implementing your email marketing funnel strategy

There are several tactics for encouraging the lead to go through the email marketing funnel, but, in general, they boil down to thinking about what each step of the funnel represents for your lead.

1. Discovery: collecting leads

This step happens when the consumer finds out about your company, what it does, what solutions it can offer and, voluntarily, registers on its platform to receive more information via email.

In order to create a list of quality email contacts, it is important that the addresses are obtained through the users' genuine interest in getting to know your brand.

There are two ways to do this: with registration forms and landing pages with offers. Your website should contain a simple form (with name and email only) for leads to subscribe to your list. Landing pages are focused on an exclusive offer, offering value to the lead, such as an e-book or a free demo.

Also, check out how to ensure that your list has only valid emails at the time of capture.

2. Engagement: keeping in touch

You now have an organically created mailing list. The next step is to keep in touch and nurture those leads.

This is where customization is most important. To do this, you can create segmented lists that deliver value in different ways to each subscriber - for example, with product reviews, discounts, and rich materials, amongst others.

Here, an email automation tool can help you segment the lists considering the information that each lead passed when filling out your form, or what offers they downloaded from your site.

3. Purchase: converting leads into customers

Conversion can happen in different ways, but considering the email marketing funnel strategy, the purchase decision happens when the customer identifies that he has a problem, and that your company has the right solution to solve it.

This is the time to create a sense of urgency and emotional appeal through your emails. You can do this in three ways:

• Retargeting: an example is emails sent after a customer leaves the shopping cart, reminding them of the products they left behind or offering a discount if the action is completed;

• Time-sensitive offers: send offers with a deadline, giving the lead a reason to convert;

• Onboarding: those leads who have signed up for a free trial can be converted once the trial period is over.

4. Retention

Lastly, we enter the last stage of the email marketing funnel. Many teams forget to maintain a relationship with the customers after conversion or when a purchase has been made.

This is a common error amongst those that do not understand the concept of the customer’s journey and the importance of customer retention. After they have made the payment, the treatment they receive is absolutely essential in ensuring that they are an active member of your base. These can be elements like checking if they are happy with the quality, asking for feedback etc.

So how should you improve your customer retention rate? Try to foster a relationship with them, by sending them emails about any updates, or loyalty schemes that you may have. You can also use cross-selling or up-selling techniques, such as offering products that may be related to the initial product/service they bought.

Personalizing your emails for concrete results

After creating your first email marketing funnel strategy, you will probably have more information that you need to improve customer personas and optimize your results even further.

A recommendation is to offer your customers (the ones that reached the end of your funnel) a chance to tell you what were the factors that led them there. This way, you can understand your target audience more and tailor your content and strategies to them.

The same process can be repeated with leads that didn’t make it to the end of the funnel, but may still be interested in receiving relevant content. Always give them the opportunity to provide feedback, and ask for themes that they would like to be covered.

This way, your consumer engagement increases, which in turn, opens new doors for you. Another advantage is that you end up fine-tuning your product and your marketing efforts to its best version.

Maintaining relationships with customers, i.e relationship marketing, is a process that needs to be frequently analyzed and fine-tuned. All valuable information that helps to understand customer needs and expectations, should be studied. The email marketing funnel allows your communication to be done in the right way and at the right time. All this adds up to better results, and isn’t that what we’re always after?  

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