Understanding the Email Marketing Funnel

Avatar for Luiza Zeccer Luiza Zeccer
Avatar for Luiza Zeccer Luiza Zeccer

January 18, 2022

6 min read

Understanding the Email Marketing Funnel

Setting, tracking, and achieving goals are some of the principal activities in digital marketing. All marketers understand that objectives cannot be attained without thorough planning and a clear strategy. The same is true when it comes to the email marketing funnel. 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. It’s necessary to implement a coherent and pragmatic strategy with 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, and offer you marketing’s best practices.

Guide to the Email Marketing Funnel

Defining the email marketing funnel

An email marketing funnel is a marketing strategy that connects the various tactics used to promote a product 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.

It’s best to think of the email marketing funnel in three stages. In order, they are:

  1. Awareness stage
  2. Consideration stage
  3. Decision stage

The awareness stage starts as soon as a new subscriber is added to your email database. During this stage, it’s crucial to position the brand in the customer’s mind in a positive light. The goal of this stage is to generate interest in the product that’s being offered. This is achieved by building a relationship with the prospect, creating a sense of urgency, and offering a reward for taking the next step.

The consideration stage is when the customer starts to look at your product or service as something that they need to have in their life. This is when you begin to understand your customer’s needs better. The goal of this stage is to convert the prospect into a lead by providing them with a clear understanding of what you’re offering, as well as how it will help them solve their problems.

Finally, the decision stage involves the customer making a purchase. At this point, they’ve been exposed to everything they need to make an informed decision, so it’s now just a case of providing them with an easy way to order. You can do this directly on your website or through an offer provided by email. Once the purchase has been completed, you can take a quick second to pat yourself on the back.

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 positive. The result should be an increase in the number of leads you generate while decreasing the overall cost per acquisition (CPA).

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. Then you can create different funnels for each customer, depending on their needs. The final step is to establish a measurement system that allows you to track the progress of each action and adjust accordingly.

We have 3 primary customer profiles:

  • First-time customers
  • Repeat customers
  • Loyal customers

The first-time buyer has just heard about your product and decided to check it out. Since they haven’t bought anything from you before, you need to give them a reason why they should trust you with their money. You need to provide value and motivate them through the marketing funnel so they decide to purchase your product.

To determine the crucial information in converting the first-time customer, you need to understand their stage in the purchasing process. In this case, we are dealing with a new prospect who has not yet made up their mind about choosing your product. Once you have identified the first-time customer, you can begin crafting an effective email marketing funnel for them by developing content that will lead them through the decision process. You can also develop a list of potential questions these customers may have about your company and products.

The second profile represents a customer who has purchased your product or service before but isn’t highly engaged. They might be interested in buying more but need more information before making a decision. This customer may have received a promotion from you via email but did not respond. You need to provide them with valuable information that will engage their interest without overwhelming them with too much information. You also need to identify the customer’s stage in the email marketing funnel so that you can personalize your content as much as possible. The more personal you can make the email marketing funnel, the more likely the customer is to make a repeat purchase.

The third customer profile represents a dedicated, loyal customer who makes repeat purchases and spreads the word about your company. These customers should receive multiple promotions from your company because they deserve them. They provide value, not only in their purchases but also through the word-of-mouth advertising they create for your company. The hard part with these customers is that you must continue to keep them enthusiastic about your product, without boring them. You need to figure out creative and fresh ways of engaging them in the email marketing funnel.

Customer-specific strategies

Let’s analyze which strategies work for each of the 3 customer profiles:

First-time customers

New customers are often difficult to acquire. In fact, it’s 10x harder to acquire a new customer than to sell to an existing customer. Acquiring new customers at a low cost is crucial to growing your business.

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 immediately.

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. You can do this by creating useful resources such as videos, ebooks, guides, or whitepapers. The more information you give away, the more likely they will become customers later on.

Repeat customers

Repeat customers are much easier to convert than new customers since there is no need for initial trust-building. All you have to do is re-engage 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 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. This way, you’re creating continual value for the customer from their initial purchase, which makes them more likely to make another purchase.

Another strategy is to offer discounts or special deals exclusively for repeat customers. 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, this year, you can offer them an exclusive discount for a new SEO course. If they decide not to make a repeat purchase now, at least they will understand they’re still receiving value from last year’s purchase and might be willing to buy from you again someday.

Loyal customers

Loyal customers are the ones who have bought from you multiple times and have a strong connection with your brand. They 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. Keeping your brand at the top of their mind is crucial in creating an effective email marketing funnel for loyal customers.

This can be done by sending out offers or special deals exclusively to loyal customers. Loyalty rewards programs, exclusive offers, personalized thank you messages, and anything else that makes the customer feel like part of your team will help you to build loyalty.


Here’s the tl;dr for the Email Marketing Funnel:

  1. Awareness stage - Build a relationship with new contacts
  2. Consideration stage - Convert contacts into leads
  3. Decision stage - Make it easy for leads to become customers

It’s important that you customize the email marketing funnel to each type of customer, depending on where they are in the funnel.

Now, here’s the tl;dr for the Customer Profiles:

  • First-time customers - Build trust without requiring a payment
  • Repeat customers - Re-engage and develop loyalty by rewarding purchases
  • Loyal customers - Get creative, offer exclusive perks, and make them feel welcome

That’s it; that’s everything you need to know to understand the email marketing funnel and the customer profiles within the funnel.

Discover why the world’s largest companies choose us to improve email deliverability

Start Free Trial