We spend a lot of time talking (or rather, blogging) about email marketing, and how important it is to build a quality email list. The reality is, success in digital marketing requires having a large and highly engaged email list. But having a massive list of subscribers is not helpful if you do not engage them and create an email sales funnel. So what do you do? First, you have to define where email marketing fits into your sales funnel. Then, you can take advantage of your list and get the most value out of it.


Your Business’s Sales Funnel

Every business has a sales funnel. The top of the funnel is where potential customers initially discover your business. If they are interested, they pass into the funnel where your relationship with them deepens.


Pro Tip: A sales funnel consists of TWO primary stages — marketing, and sales. It is critical to understand this because marketing and sales are two very different things that happen to work synergistically. If you are frustrated with your sales and are blaming marketing, you may need to look at the entire picture! For example, if your marketing generates many leads, and those fizzle out when trying to close a deal, your marketing is working but your sales needs improving. Or perhaps the marketing does not create any leads, so your sales are frozen. In this scenario, your marketing needs addressing. Understanding this will truly benefit you and your entire sales funnel!


As the lead moves through the funnel, you make offers to them and get to know them. If done well, they reach the bottom of the funnel (the sales portion of the funnel), where you make your offer and they buy. (Just note, the sales portion of the funnel is not JUST an offer. But we can cover that later.) 


Unqualified and Qualified Leads

Email marketing is a useful tool for building relationships and creating a sales funnel. This comes in when a person becomes a subscriber. The moment they hit subscribe, they enter into the top of the funnel and now they are expecting to receive value from you through your content. 


Initially, a new subscriber is an unqualified lead. You qualify them by offering valuable content including small offers. If a person takes you up on a small offer, this tells you that they are the right match for your business and they are willing to spend money on your offerings.


Others will unsubscribe from your list or remain inactive. This tells you that these individuals are not the right fit. They will buy when you make higher ticket offers. 

Why Email Marketing Works for Qualifying Leads

The advantage of email marketing over other communication channels, like social media or blogging, emails are highly personal. Your messages come straight into the person’s email inbox and they signed up to receive these messages from you! Thus, an email sales funnel is like gold!


The best practice with email lists is to offer high-value and exclusive content that focuses on solving problems using your unique expertise. This is what builds a close relationship. If done right, your subscribers will look forward to your messages and see you as their go-to for information on this topic.

In addition to informational messages, you can then start mixing in small offers at first and gradually bigger and bigger ones to qualify leads. (Learn more about this here.)

Narrowing the Sales Funnel

After your email sales funnel has been active for six months (or more) you may choose to segment your email list into buyers and non-buyers. Some people will just enjoy the free content but not spend any money. Others will take you up on your offers.

An email list is best used as an avenue for building relationships with your market. But first, you need to identify where it fits into your overall sales funnel. In other words, where is the subscriber coming from when they come to your list, and where do you want them to go? 

This is how you can make the best use of your email list.

Pro tip: Your email software (such as mailchimp, constant contact, etc) can start filtering out active subscribers from inactive subscribers. Once this happens, you can create different email marketing campaigns that will enable you to market to these two groups differently. 


Final Thoughts

We said it above and we will say it again — an email sales funnel is like gold! Just make sure you determine how email marketing will fit into your sales funnel! (And yes, this does require you to first create a sales funnel.)