How to Write an Email Sales Funnel

I talk to people about email marketing a lot. And if you’re anything like my clients, you’ve probably heard some advice about building an email list. They say you have to generate leads by blogging, engaging on social media, and occasionally donating an organ in exchange for 500 email addresses. (You do have two kidneys. Just saying.)

But after you do all that, what’s next? How do you convert those leads into sales?

Lucky for you, I’ve got an easy-to-follow formula that you are welcome to steal. Here’s what your funnel should look like:

Email Sales Funnel


If that looks a bit confusing, don’t worry. I’m going to break it down for you. Let’s look at this from two different angles. First, I’m going to show you how to put together a “basic” email sales funnel. That is, one that doesn’t consider user engagement. You can use this if you don’t have the time or capability to segment your email list based on the recipient’s behavior. Next, I’ll show you the more advanced version that you see in the graphic above.

Steps of a basic email sales funnel

  1. Welcome email
  2. Informational “newsletter” style email.
  3. Personal story related to your niche.
  4. Free product offer.
  5. Soft sell.

Welcome email

Regardless of the type of email sales funnel you are using, you must send every member of your list a welcome email. It should look something like this:

Hi there!

Thanks for signing up for [name of your email list]! Over the next few weeks, I’m going to be sharing some information and lessons I’ve learned from my years of experience in [your niche or subject area].

By the end of the month, my goal is for you to know a lot more about [your topic] and feel like you got a ton of value out of this experience. If you read something here and you have questions, please feel free to reply. I love hearing from you! I might even answer your question in a blog post at some point in the future.

Next week, I’m going to share some information about [topic of your second email]. But for now, I want to leave you with this thought:

[Inspirational quote from a famous person in your industry.]

Talk soon,

[Your name]

*Call to action

NOTE: Every email you send should include a call to action. If you have an online store, then link to that. If you have a business website, you can link to that. Or you might include a “contact me” button that simply links to your email address. 

Informational “Newsletter” style email

Your second email should be purely informational. Think of it like a condensed version of a blog post. The easiest way to set this up is to choose one of your evergreen blog posts from your site, paste an excerpt into an email, and include a “read more” link.

If you want to make it a little more valuable for your list subscribers, you could include some information that’s not in the blog post. For example, you could make an infographic with statistics about your post’s topic. An infographic for this blog post would include data such as:

  • The percentage of professionals who prefer email for business communication.
  • The click through rates for B2B and B2C emails.
  • How email ranks as a source of information for B2B professionals.
  • The (super high!) percentage of B2B marketers who say email is their most effective communication tool for revenue generation.


Now I bet you want to know those numbers, don’t you? You’ll have to subscribe to my email list for that! I’ll send you the infographic! (Sorry, I had to.)

November 12

Personal story related to your niche

I want you to brainstorm. What personal stories can you think of that have something to do with your industry? Here are a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing:

  • The story of how you started your business.
  • An embarrassing moment that led to a revelation about your industry.
  • The story of how you landed your first client/sold your first product.
  • A story about losing a client or customer.
  • A favorite childhood memory that illustrates an important message in your niche.
  • The story of how you met your spouse, your wedding day, the day your child was born, the day you bought your first house, or any other significant life event. Just be sure to connect it to an industry-related point.


Free product offer

At this point, you have nurtured your leads quite a bit. Now it’s time to make them an offer. You can’t ask for money yet, though. For now, you have to give them something for free.

What do you have that you can give away for free? Here are a few ideas:

  • A small gift card.
  • A free consultation.
  • A free trial.
  • A printable download.
  • A digital product.
  • An e-book.

Your email should look something like this:

Hello friend,

I want to thank you for sticking with me for the past [length of time since your first email]. As a token of my appreciation, I’m giving you [your free product] absolutely free! No strings attached!

Just click here and [the product] is all yours!

Talk soon,

[Your name]

*Call to action

Soft sell

Finally, it’s your chance to sell. It’s got to be a “soft” sell, though. You don’t want to turn people off with a pushy sales pitch.

Your email should look something like this:

Hi there,

Over the past [length of time], I’ve sent you a few emails that I hope you’ve found valuable. This is the last email in my 5-part series.

If you learned something from my emails and you want to continue our relationship, then I’ve got one more offer for you.

I created [Your product or service] to help people just like you [solve the problem that your product addresses].

If you want to [goal of your product] or [2nd goal of your product], then I think that [your product] would be a great fit for you.

[Here you will put a link to a store where they can purchase your product, or instructions for how to hire you to perform a service.]

And if you want to keep getting my helpful tips and information, you can sign up for my weekly newsletter here. [link to your newsletter mailing list]

Thanks again for spending the past [length of time] with me. I hope to talk to you again soon!

[Your name]

*Call to action


Steps of an advanced email funnel

This is the email funnel I outlined in the graphic above. Basically, it goes like this:

  1. Send the welcome email to everyone.
  2. Send the free product offer to subscribers who engaged with your previous email. (“Engaged” can mean opening the email or clicking a link. It’s up to you.)
  3. Send the “newsletter” style informational email to subscribers who did not engage.
  4. For subscribers who got the “free product” email and engaged, send them the “soft sell.”
  5. If a subscriber did not engage with your “free product” email, send them back into the “newsletter” flow.
  6. At each step of the process, send engaged subscribers to the next step in the left-hand column (“free product” or “soft sell”). Send unengaged subscribers the next “newsletter.”


This work flow can continue in perpetuity until you close the lead. In other words, you can keep sending your subscribers newsletters until they are engaged enough to respond to a sales email.

This is the type of email sales funnel I use for my business. If you’d like me to help you set one up for your business so that you can nurture leads and close sales like a pro, just shoot me an email. I’d love to talk to you about your email marketing needs!


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