The 8-Step Sales Funnel For Promoting Products Through Your Email List

Do you suffer from low conversion rates? Do you have a product you’re ready to launch but are worried you won’t be able to convince your audience to buy?

What you need is a sales funnel. A sales funnel can ease your product launch and conversion rate woes by guiding potential customers down the sales path.

In this post, we’re going to guide you through an eight-step sales funnel you can use to ensure you start seeing higher conversion rates.

What is a sales funnel?

There are two types of sales marketing when it comes down to it: targeted and untargeted marketing. Untargeted marketing is a sporadic form of sales marketing inexperienced marketers use unknowingly. You may even use it yourself.

You can market your products in your content and advertise on social media and to your email subscribers all you want, but this is a highly inefficient way to market your products. You may even know just how inefficient it is through the low conversion rates you’ve generated for your products.

Targeted marketing, on the other hand, helps you identify members of your audience who are most likely to be interested in purchasing your products. These individuals are called “leads,” and targeting them specifically (as opposed to your entire audience) will help you achieve higher conversion rates and more revenue.

This is what a sales funnel can do for your next marketing campaign.

The relationship between the sales process and your sales funnel

The sales process happens in a consecutive operation that can be broken down into four parts:

  1. Prospect
  2. Visitor
  3. Lead
  4. Customer
Sales Funnel Process - 4 stages

Every individual in the region or language you’re targeting is a prospect, someone who could potentially become a customer. When they browse your site, they become a visitor. When a visitor joins your email list, they become a lead. When that lead purchases your product, they become a customer.

A sales funnel is a strategy you can use to guide prospects through this process and convert them into customers. This means your sales funnel must do the following:

  • Attract prospects to a targeted landing page.
  • Capture visitors who browse that landing page as “warm” leads, meaning they opt-in based on a lead magnet that closely relates to your product.
  • Use a series of emails that nurture your lead with content that relates to your product.
  • Market your product and convert leads into customers.

Pre-sales funnel prep

We’re going to start our sales funnel with the “turning prospects into visitors” part of the sales process. This means you need to ensure you have a few things set in place beforehand.

The first is a compelling lead magnet that acts as a gateway to whatever topic your product covers. Instead of leading prospects to a landing page that promotes your product, you’ll promote a free offer related to it.

It allows you to build a segment in your email list dedicated to warm leads while also giving you a chance to demonstrate the value your business can provide before asking prospects to buy.

Most email service providers that offer automation will allow you to apply tags that can be used to segment your email list. Here’s an example from ConvertKit:

ConvertKit - Applying tags to your subscribers
Source: ConvertKit

Let’s use a blog about blogging as an example for the remainder of this post. Let’s say this blog is promoting the launch of a premium WordPress theme or a course on how to build a WordPress site, both of which are designed for beginner bloggers.

Lead magnet

The lead magnet you use needs to be compelling and irresistible. Most importantly, it needs to solve a problem. Again, leads are more likely to find value in your product when you have a history of providing value to them.

Pinpoint a problem your audience is having that relates to the problem your product was designed to solve. You can even break your product down into smaller problems and use one of them.

Since the theme and course in our examples are intended for beginner bloggers, a really good (and big) problem that relates to both of them is how to start a blog.

A few lead magnets this blog could offer as a solution on how to start a blog include the following:

  • Email course
  • Free ebook
  • Checklist
  • Private video

There are many more types of lead magnets you can create, but let’s use a free ebook on how to start a blog as an example for the WordPress theme product. Let’s use an email course on how to start a blog as an example for the online course.

The latter method makes warm leads that much warmer. By offering a free lead magnet similar to the product you want your lead to purchase, both of which are courses in this instance, you can fill your segment with leads you know are interested in that type of product.

Here’s an example from Blogging Wizard:

Blogging Wizard Landing Page - Twitter Hashtags

Landing page

Next, you need a page to promote your lead magnet on and capture visitors as leads. It’s best to use a stripped-down landing page. This means the page shouldn’t contain the usual menu, footer and sidebar you use.

Landing page plugins like Thrive Architect have blank page templates you can use to strip down your own site’s design. However, you can also use hosted landing pages from landing page builders like Landingi.

Whichever method you decide to use, ensure your landing page has an opt-in form above all else. You should promote your lead magnet on this form with a simple call to action. View landing page examples for ideas on how to phrase your call to action.

Here are a few landing page best practices to follow in the meantime:

  • Use a compelling headline that clearly demonstrates the solution you’re offering.
  • Pick a few features your lead magnet has, and list their benefits.
  • Build a simple design that utilizes whitespace and contrasting colors to emphasize key areas, such as your headline and call to action.
  • Utilize social proof by showcasing customer and/or reader testimonials.

Once you have a compelling lead magnet and an optimized landing page ready to go, you can start building your sales funnel.

The 8-step sales funnel for promoting products through your email list

This sales funnel will take your subscriber through the sales process, as explained earlier. This means you’ll need a method, or a few, to bring prospects to your landing page, get them to subscribe, and nurture them for a week or so before asking them to buy.

Here’s the eight-step sales funnel we’ll be walking you through:

  1. Promoting your lead magnet.
  2. Capturing leads.
  3. Delivering your lead magnet.
  4. Extending the lesson.
  5. Providing more value.
  6. Offering one more free bonus.
  7. Pitching your product.
  8. Wrangling in stragglers.

By the way, you should set up this funnel in your email marketing service with automation and autoresponder sequences.

Step 1: Promoting your lead magnet

There are a few different routes you can take when it comes to promoting your lead magnet. You can use one or a few, but be certain to spend a lot of time planning your campaign before you launch it.

After all, you won’t have much luck marketing your product if you fail to properly market your lead magnet.

While it may seem futile, your email list is one of the best places to start. You’ve already built a following there, however small. That means you’re much more likely to find prospects among folks already familiar with your content than with strangers.

Speaking of which, other methods you can use include guest posting where you promote a link to your landing page, hosting a webinar and launching campaigns in Facebook’s advertising platform.

Step 2: Capturing visitors as leads

The call to action on your landing page should feature an opt-in form where visitors can input their email addresses and subscribe to your list. Since we’ve already discussed landing page optimization, let’s use this section to briefly discuss how to tag your subscribers as leads.

Most email marketing services offer a few different ways for you to segment subscribers these days. Some label them as “Segments” and “Tags” while others use “Segments” and “Groups.”

You should use Segments to label subscribers as “Customers” and “Non-Customers.” Tags and Groups should be used to tag subscribers as leads for your product.

Name the tag “Interest: [product name],” such as “Interest: Premium Blogging Theme”.

You’ll need to use your service’s automation features and integrate the ecommerce software platform you use.

Step 3: Delivering your lead magnet

How you deliver your lead magnet will depend on the type of lead magnet you’re offering. If it’s a downloadable file, it’ll also depend on whether or not your email marketing service stores files for you.

If so, you can deliver your lead magnet directly in the email itself. If not, you’ll need to redirect users to a page on your website or a service like Dropbox where they can download it.

You can easily generate a share link for any file in Dropbox by clicking the share button inside the web-app:

Generate a share link for files

If your lead magnet is an email course, such as our how to start a blog email course, deliver your first lesson instead. You can do this within the email itself, or you can use Elementor’s blank page template to publish lessons on your site without distractions like a header, footer and sidebar.

You can even use a free learning management system plugin like LearnPress to add a course to your site. Or use one of these powerful online course platforms.

Either way, consider redirecting users to a thank you page or thank you email after they confirm their subscriptions. This short piece of content should act as a welcome email where you introduce yourself and let your lead know what they can expect from you over the next two weeks.

Just be sure not to mention your product this early.

Step 4: Extending the lesson

This is where the nurturing stage begins. Delay this email by at least two days. If you delivered a non-email course lead magnet to your subscriber, send them a link to a post that expands on the topic your lead magnet covered. This post should relate to your product as well.

You don’t necessarily need to create new content for this step. You can most certainly link to a post you’ve already published or even send them to a video or podcast episode you’ve created.

If you do decide to create a unique piece of content for this step, consider using the blank page template again to keep your subscriber away from other distractions on your site.

If you’re using an email course, use this step to deliver your next lesson instead.

Step 5: Providing more value

Repeat step four here, and delay this email for at least two days again. Simply expand on your topic even more by offering another piece of helpful content, be it a blog post, exclusive content, video or a podcast episode.

Again, if you offered an email course initially, use this step to send your next lesson.

Step 6: Offering one more free bonus + a teaser

If your initial lead magnet was an email course, wait until you’ve sent the last lesson before taking on this step.

Wait at least two days after the last email was sent, and offer a second but smaller lead magnet. For the how to start a blog lead magnet, this could be a simple checklist subscribers can use to ensure they’ve done everything I’ve taught them how to do thus far.

An important bit of content you should add to this email is a teaser for your next email. Simply write something along the lines of “By the way, I have a premium course on this problem that goes much deeper into the topic. I’ll share details with you in a few days.”

Step 7: Pitching your product

Wait another two days before finally pitching your product. Keep the email brief, but share enough details and images/screenshots to make your subscriber want to purchase it.

Don’t just send them to a generic product page, either. Create a unique landing page specifically for the group you’ve been nurturing. Most importantly, be certain to place a Buy Now button at the beginning and end of the page. Placing one at the beginning will encourage subscribers who have already decided to purchase it to follow through with the decision they made when they read your email.

Step 8: Wrangling in stragglers

After a subscriber purchases your product, they should be given the “Purchase: [product name]” tag and be removed from the “Interest: [product name]” tag.

This gives you the opportunity to entice non-buyers even further with special discounts and time limits, such as a closing date where they’re no longer able to purchase the product.

Wrapping it up

Much of the steps in this funnel depend on your ability to build engaging, high-converting landing pages.

We highly recommend looking through the tool round-ups and landing page posts we linked to earlier and truly taking the time to design the kind of landing page that will help you achieve your goals.

If you need help, our articles on sales funnel statistics, landing page best practices and landing page tools will help you get started.