Building High Converting Email Funnels from Scratch
Building High Converting Email Funnels from Scratch
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Building High Converting Email Funnels from Scratch

Email marketing is a powerful tool for businesses to generate leads, nurture relationships, and drive conversions. One effective approach to maximize the potential of email marketing is by building high converting email funnels from scratch. In this article, we will explore what an email funnel is, why it is important for your business, and the steps to create and optimize your email funnel for high conversions. 

Email marketing funnels represent one of the most effective tactics for converting website visitors into leads and loyal customers. However, building out robust multi-stage email sequences requires strategic planning and execution.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore proven tips for structuring effective funnels, writing compelling emails, segmenting your lists, automating workflows, integrating with your site, analyzing metrics, and continually optimizing your email sequences for maximum conversions.

Let’s get started deploying targeted email funnels that captivate subscribers and skyrocket sales.

Structuring Effective Email Funnels

The foundation is planning logical email sequences that progressively move subscribers toward defined goals. Ideal funnels:

Start with opt-in offer

Offer an irresistible lead magnet like a discount, ebook, toolkit or course in exchange for the email address to initiate the sequence and provide immediate value.

Build rapport

Humanize early emails with introductions, sharing your brand story and establishing your expertise so readers trust later promotional content.

Provide helpful education

Offer practical tips, insights and education relevant to readers rather than only promotional messaging to build relationships and demonstrate value.

Sequence logically

Each email should build naturally on previous content and offer clear next steps toward core conversions. Map subscriber journeys.

Limit sequence length

Keep automation sequences concise under 5-10 emails total so subscribers reach your final conversion goal before tuning out. Avoid dragging on.

Transition to promotions

Once initial education and value sharing builds trust, gradually incorporate promotional offers and calls to direct action to convert subscribers into customers.

Close with clear options

End sequences with clear subscription, purchase or contact options so users know how to continue engaging after the initial automated path concludes.

Email sequences succeeding at conversions both establish credibility then progressively advance subscribers to promotional offers while outlining clear final paths forward upon sequence completion.

Crafting Engaging Email Copy

Email copy must instantly capture attention while being informative and personable. Effective copy:

Delivers on promises

Ensure content fulfills value promised in subject lines. Align subjects with actual content rather than overpromising to build reader trust over time.

Grabs attention upfront

Lead with intriguing questions, compelling stats, personalization or other hooks readers care about to capture attention above the fold before interest wanes.

Educates and entertains

Share interesting stories, practical advice and education not just sales pitches so readers look forward to your emails for more than promotions. Useful content builds loyalty.

Speaks conversationally

Use casual language, contractions and an upbeat first-person tone for enjoyable reading rather than overly stuffy marketing lingo.

Gets to the point

Succinctly summarize key email takeaways upfront through bold text, bullet points and clear formatting for easy skimming by busy readers.

Closes with clear CTA

End each email with a prominent, clickable call to action button or link so next steps are obvious. Vague endings waste opportunities.

Links to relevant resources

Embed links to related articles, product pages, demos, contact pages and other helpful supplemental resources so readers can seamlessly dive deeper.

Emails succeeding in crowded inboxes balance engaging content, concise formatting, conversational style and prominent calls to action to provide value while advancing subscribers to conversions.

Segmenting Your Email Lists

Segmenting email lists allows sending tailored content that resonates at scale. Ways to split audiences include:

Interest groups

Group subscribers choosing topics of interest like “yoga”, “investing” or “cooking” to align email content.


Send certain emails exclusively to lists segmented by age, gender, location or other demographic data. Personalize messaging.

Buyer stages

Tag customer lists into buckets like “Prospects”, “Leads” and “Customers” for stage-specific email paths.

Engagement levels

Segment highly engaged users who open most emails separately from passive subscribers at risk of unsubscribing for differentiated nurturing.

Lead source

Tag subscribers signing up from certain campaigns or referring sites to attribute future conversions back to those sources.

Technical users

Sync email lists with your product database to identify technical experience levels and usage behaviors for tailored instructional content.

Purchase history

Segment buyers who purchased certain products or bundles for targeted upsell and cross-sell promotions.

Fine-tuned segmentation ensures you send precisely timed messages personalized through names, content and offers resulting in exponentially higher conversions.

Automating Workflows

Automating repetitive email tasks saves enormous time while increasing consistency. Automate:

Welcome sequences

Launch preset welcome series immediately when new subscribers join to start relationships strong.

Date-based triggering

Schedule follow ups like weekly digests, monthly promos or quarterly updates to deploy consistently on time-based triggers.

Event-based flows

Send instant email confirmations upon purchases, downloads, signups or other actions to capitalize on engagement.

Segment management

Route subscribers to segmented paths automatically based on attributes like interests, lead scores or past purchases declared upon signup or through ongoing behaviors.


Trigger win back email campaigns automatically if subscribers are inactive for certain periods to reactivate them.

Workload balancing

Route sequences to different team members evenly based on current workload to prevent overwhelming any single person.

List hygiene

Automate adding recent quality leads from ads, promotions or integrations so subscriber quality remains consistently high over time.

Automation frees time spent on repetitive tasks to focus energy on high value strategy, analytics, personalization and creativity rather than manual busywork.

Integrating Email With Your Website Experience

Syncing email subscribers with your website experience optimizes engagement:

Popup signup forms

Launch popups offering lead magnets for joining email lists to rapidly grow subscribers from site traffic.

Sticky bars

Prominently display signup/download offers through fixed bars on site to convert engaged visitors leaving pages into subscribers.

Contact form integrations

Instantly add contact form submissions to email lists through connected CRMs like Mailchimp.

Ecommerce integrations

Add shoppers who complete purchases to segmented lists through integrations with ecommerce platforms like Shopify.

Click trigger popups

When a visitor clicks a gated resource, instantly popup the email capture form needed to access it rather than waiting until afterward.

Floating email bars

Always display a fixed bar with email signup forms and opt-in offers prominently on screen as visitors scroll to encourage list-building.

The tighter the integration between subscribe forms, email systems and your website experience, the more seamlessly you convert high quality visitors into accessible subscriber segments.

Optimizing Landing Pages

Dedicated landing pages optimize converting email clicks into subscribers and leads. Effective pages:

Lead with the offer

Immediately display the lead magnet, discount or content asset the reader will receive in exchange for their email front and center.

Minimize fields

Only require essential information like email and name rather than additional demographics to reduce signup friction and abandonment. Optional info can come later.

Limit distractions

Avoid links, ads or unnecessary text on landing pages that may distract visitors from the core conversion goal of capturing their email.

Use urgency cues

Note scarcity or expiring countdown clocks to convey urgency prompting email capture before the visitor loses access to the gated offer.

Include trust indicators

Display logos, testimonials, security badges and other elements that establish your credibility and safety to alleviate subscriber concerns.

Pre-fill information

If contacts visit landing pages from links in emails you sent, pre-fill their name and email automatically wherever possible to expedite signup.

Optimized landing pages laser focus visitor attention on email signups through targeted offers, minimal friction, and credibility indicators that maximize conversion rates.

Analyzing Email Performance Metrics

Constantly monitoring metrics identifies optimization opportunities across your funnel. Key metrics include:

Open rates

Benchmarking open rates reveals list quality and engagement over time. Declining rates indicate issues.

Clickthrough rates

High performing emails drive increased clicks. Compare CTRs across send formats, offers, subject lines and sender names.

Conversion rates

For gated content, assess email conversion percentages into leads, sales and subscribers. Look for leaks.

Unsubscribe rates

Review list shrinkage from opt-outs. Spikes may signal overpromotion or low-quality leads requiring adjustment.

Engagement over time

Evaluate open, click and goal completion rates across subscribers’ tenures. Do they remain consistent or taper off?

Engagement by segment

Break down metrics by demographic, interest, purchase level and source segments. Find your most valuable niches.

Email revenue

For promotional content, attribute sales revenue back to converting emails through trackable links. Identify most profitable approaches.

Auditing metrics guides improving your subscribers, offers, messaging, segment targeting and workflows to continually increase performance and conversion over time.

Improving Through Split Testing

Split testing email components isolates what resonates best with your audience. Test:

Subject line comparisons

Send version A/B subject lines to sample groups. Open rates show which headlines grab attention best.

Calls to action

Test whether “Register Now”, “Sign Up” or “Join Today” on call-to-action buttons drive higher clickthroughs.

Content preferences

Send some groups education-focused emails while others receive promotional content to determine preferred messaging.

Timing optimization

Compare open and clickthrough rates sending at different times of day or days of the week. Find ideal windows.

Visual styles

Try emails with contrasting text, colors, content formats and graphic styles to learn responder visual preferences.

Sender names

Compare open rates from emails apparently sent from different company names, departments or individuals.

Subject line lengths

Test if concise headings outperform longer descriptive headings at attracting opens across user segments.

Incrementally testing isolated email variables against control versions empirically reveals precise improvements to substantially boost performance.

Optimizing Your Overall Email Program

Beyond specific emails and landing pages, holistically assess broader program effectiveness:

Quality over quantity

Carefully remove clearly disengaged subscribers and unreliable data rather than infinitely expanding lists. Prioritize quality.

Seek engagement feedback

Survey readers on desired email content topics, formats, contact frequency and preferences to tailor your program to individual needs.

Review against competitors

Sign up for competitor email lists to compare their content, segmentation, automation and overall subscriber experience. Identify gaps.

Coordinate across channels

Ensure emails, social media, ads, and website display coordinated touches and consistent branding across channels for integrated impact.

Train team members

Educate all staff touching emails on brand voice, legal regulations, segmentation, automation, and key performance indicators through examples and playbooks.

Monitor deliverability

Trace emails reported as spam or blocked plus sender reputation metrics. Quickly address potential issues jeopardizing delivery.

Ongoing program assessments ensure your email content, tools, teams, and integration outpace competitors to engage subscribers profitably over the long run.

What is an Email Funnel and Why is it Important for Your Business?

Understanding the concept of a marketing funnel

Before diving into the specifics of email funnels, it’s essential to grasp the concept of a marketing funnel. A marketing funnel represents the customer journey from awareness to action. It consists of different stages, such as the top of the funnel (TOFU), middle of the funnel (MOFU), and bottom of the funnel (BOFU). Each stage serves a different purpose in guiding prospects towards making a purchase decision.

How email marketing fits into the marketing funnel

Email marketing plays a crucial role in the marketing funnel as it allows businesses to nurture leads and build relationships with their audience. By capturing email addresses through various channels, businesses can communicate directly with their prospects and guide them through each stage of the funnel.

The role of email funnels in increasing conversions

An email funnel is a sequence of automated emails that are sent to subscribers based on specific triggers or actions they take. These funnels are designed to provide valuable content, build trust, and ultimately, convert subscribers into customers. By strategically mapping out your email sequences and optimizing them for high conversions, you can significantly increase your overall conversion rate.

Steps to Create an Email Marketing Funnel

Building a targeted email list

The first step in creating an email marketing funnel is to build a targeted email list. This involves attracting the right audience and collecting their email addresses using opt-in forms on your website, landing pages, or other lead generation strategies. It’s crucial to focus on quality over quantity and ensure that you are reaching people who are genuinely interested in your product or service.

Creating a compelling landing page

A compelling landing page is essential to capture the attention of visitors and convince them to take the desired action, such as subscribing to your email list. It should clearly communicate the value proposition and include a persuasive call-to-action that encourages visitors to provide their email addresses.

Nurturing leads through email sequences

Once you have successfully captured leads, the next step is to nurture them through targeted email sequences. These sequences should deliver valuable content, address your subscribers’ pain points, and establish your expertise in the industry. By providing consistent value and building a relationship with your subscribers, you increase the likelihood of converting them into paying customers.

Optimizing Your Email Funnel for High Conversions

Segmenting your email list for personalized messaging

Segmenting your email list allows you to personalize your messaging based on the specific interests, demographics, or behavior of your subscribers. By sending targeted and relevant content, you can increase engagement and conversions. For example, you can segment your list based on different customer categories, such as new leads, existing customers, or inactive subscribers.

Using lead magnets and free trials to attract subscribers

Lead magnets, such as free ebooks, checklists, or templates, are valuable resources that you offer in exchange for a visitor’s email address. These incentives help attract subscribers and increase the opt-in rate. Similarly, offering free trials of your product or service can also entice prospects to subscribe and experience the value you provide.

Tracking and analyzing email campaign performance

In order to optimize your email funnel, it’s crucial to track and analyze the performance of your email campaigns. By monitoring metrics such as open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates, you can identify areas for improvement and make data-driven decisions to enhance your campaigns. A/B testing different elements of your emails, such as subject lines or call-to-actions, can also provide valuable insights.

The Role of Email Funnel in Customer Retention

Sending targeted messages to retain loyal customers

An email funnel is not only essential for lead generation and conversions but also for customer retention. By sending targeted messages to your existing customers, you can keep them engaged and build long-term relationships. Provide exclusive offers, personalized recommendations, and relevant content to show your appreciation and encourage repeat purchases.

Using case studies and testimonials to showcase the value of your product or service

Case studies and testimonials are powerful tools to showcase the value of your product or service. By sharing success stories and real-life examples, you can instill confidence in your subscribers and demonstrate the impact your offering can have on their lives or businesses. Including these stories in your email sequences can significantly contribute to customer retention.

Implementing drip campaigns for ongoing engagement

Drip campaigns, also known as automated email sequences, are an effective way to consistently engage with your audience. By scheduling a series of emails to be sent over time, you can provide a continuous stream of valuable content, offers, or updates. This ongoing engagement keeps your brand top of mind and encourages repeat business.

The Future of Email Funnels: Marketing Automation and Beyond

Understanding the customer journey and mapping out your email sequences

To stay ahead in the ever-evolving digital marketing landscape, understanding the customer journey and mapping out your email sequences is crucial. By aligning your emails with the different stages of the marketing funnel and addressing the specific needs and pain points at each stage, you can deliver a personalized experience and maximize conversions.

How marketing automation can streamline your email funnel

Marketing automation tools have revolutionized the way businesses create and manage their email funnels. These tools allow you to automate repetitive tasks, personalize messaging at scale, and track the performance of your campaigns. By streamlining your email funnel with marketing automation, you can save time, increase efficiency, and achieve better results.

The importance of targeted messaging in conversion funnels

In conversion funnels, delivering targeted messaging is paramount. Tailoring your content to the specific needs and interests of your audience helps build credibility, trust, and relevance. By leveraging the data and insights you gather from your analytics, you can further refine your messaging and optimize your conversion rates.

In conclusion, building high converting email funnels from scratch is a strategic approach to maximize the potential of email marketing. By following the steps to create and optimize your email funnel, you can generate leads, nurture relationships, and drive conversions for your business. Additionally, leveraging email funnels for customer retention and exploring the future of email marketing automation allows you to stay ahead in the digital marketing landscape. Start building your email funnel today and reap the benefits of effective email marketing!

Key Takeaways for High Converting Emails

Here are some core best practices to recap:

  • Map email sequences guiding subscribers on journeys from opt-in to core conversions through compelling educational content building to clear calls to action.
  • Craft engaging copy focused on delivering value through personalized content, clear takeaways and prominent user-friendly calls to action.
  • Leverage segmentation to send precisely targeted content to subsections of your audience based on preferences, behaviors and attributes.
  • Automate repetitive tasks like welcome sequences, triggers, and hygiene while balancing workloads to maximize efficiency.
  • Tightly integrate subscriptions and conversions into your website experience through popups, sticky bars and forms.
  • Optimize landing pages through focused messaging, minimal fields, trust indicators, and urgency cues.
  • Continuously analyze performance data on opens, clicks, conversions, unsubscribes, revenue, and slices of your audience to optimize emails.
  • Proactively test subject lines, content, timing, design, calls to action and other variables through A/B split tests.

Building a robust email marketing machine takes significant strategy, creativity and analysis. By following this comprehensive guide, you can engage, nurture and convert audiences incredibly effectively through targeted email sequences.

FAQ for Building High Converting Email Funnels from Scratch

1. What is an email funnel?

An email funnel is a sequence of automated emails sent to subscribers based on specific triggers or actions they take. These emails are designed to provide value, build trust, and convert subscribers into customers by guiding them through different stages of the marketing funnel.

2. Why is an email funnel important for my business?

Email funnels are crucial as they help nurture leads, build relationships, and increase conversions. By strategically planning and optimizing email sequences, businesses can effectively guide prospects through the customer journey, leading to higher sales and customer retention.

3. What are the key components of an effective email funnel?

  • Opt-in Offer: Provide an irresistible lead magnet in exchange for an email address.
  • Building Rapport: Humanize early emails by sharing your brand story and expertise.
  • Providing Education: Offer practical tips and insights relevant to the reader.
  • Logical Sequencing: Ensure each email builds naturally on the previous one.
  • Concise Length: Keep sequences between 5-10 emails.
  • Promotional Transition: Gradually incorporate promotional offers.
  • Clear Closing Options: Provide clear actions for subscribers to continue engagement.

4. How can I craft engaging email copy?

  • Deliver on Promises: Ensure content matches the subject line’s value.
  • Grab Attention: Use intriguing questions or stats to capture interest.
  • Educate and Entertain: Provide valuable content beyond sales pitches.
  • Conversational Tone: Use casual, first-person language.
  • Clear Takeaways: Highlight key points for easy skimming.
  • Prominent CTA: Include clear calls to action.
  • Relevant Resources: Link to additional helpful content.

5. What are some effective ways to segment my email list?

  • Interest Groups: Based on topics of interest.
  • Demographics: Age, gender, location, etc.
  • Buyer Stages: Prospects, leads, and customers.
  • Engagement Levels: Highly engaged vs. passive subscribers.
  • Lead Source: Based on how subscribers joined the list.
  • Technical Users: Based on product usage and experience.
  • Purchase History: Tailor emails based on past purchases.

6. How can I automate my email workflows?

  • Welcome Sequences: Automatically start new subscribers with a welcome series.
  • Date-Based Triggers: Schedule follow-ups for consistent communication.
  • Event-Based Flows: Trigger emails based on specific actions (e.g., purchase).
  • Segment Management: Automatically route subscribers to appropriate segments.
  • Re-Engagement: Send win-back campaigns to inactive subscribers.
  • Workload Balancing: Distribute tasks evenly among team members.
  • List Hygiene: Automatically add high-quality leads from various sources.

7. How should I integrate email marketing with my website?

  • Popup Signup Forms: Capture emails through engaging popups.
  • Sticky Bars: Display signup offers prominently on the site.
  • Contact Form Integrations: Sync contact forms with email lists.
  • Ecommerce Integrations: Add purchasers to segmented lists.
  • Click Trigger Popups: Use triggers to prompt email signups for gated content.
  • Floating Email Bars: Maintain a fixed bar for email signups.

8. What are some best practices for optimizing landing pages?

  • Lead with the Offer: Highlight the value proposition immediately.
  • Minimize Fields: Only ask for essential information.
  • Limit Distractions: Focus on the core conversion goal.
  • Use Urgency Cues: Indicate scarcity or time limits.
  • Include Trust Indicators: Add logos, testimonials, and security badges.
  • Pre-Fill Information: Autofill known data for repeat visitors.

9. What key metrics should I analyze to optimize my email campaigns?

  • Open Rates: Measure initial engagement.
  • Clickthrough Rates: Assess email content effectiveness.
  • Conversion Rates: Evaluate the percentage of leads turning into customers.
  • Unsubscribe Rates: Monitor list shrinkage and adjust accordingly.
  • Engagement Over Time: Track long-term subscriber activity.
  • Segment Performance: Identify high-value audience segments.
  • Email Revenue: Attribute sales to specific emails.

10. How can I improve my email funnel through split testing?

  • Subject Lines: Test different headlines for open rates.
  • Calls to Action: Compare various CTAs for higher clicks.
  • Content Types: Experiment with educational vs. promotional content.
  • Timing: Test different send times and days.
  • Visual Styles: Try different email designs and formats.
  • Sender Names: Compare open rates from different sender names.
  • Subject Line Lengths: Test short vs. long headlines.

11. What should I consider for long-term email program optimization?

  • Quality Over Quantity: Focus on engaged subscribers.
  • Engagement Feedback: Survey readers for preferences.
  • Competitive Analysis: Benchmark against competitors.
  • Cross-Channel Coordination: Ensure consistency across all marketing channels.
  • Team Training: Educate staff on email best practices.
  • Deliverability Monitoring: Track and address deliverability issues promptly.


By Dani Davis

A true visionary in the realms of tech writing, digital storytelling, and e-commerce, Daniel Davis (known as Dani) has carved out an exceptional career spanning over 15 years. Born and raised in San Francisco, Dani's innate affinity for technology and creative expression propelled them to explore the intricacies of computer science while honing their storytelling abilities. Their unique blend of technical expertise and narrative prowess laid the foundation for their multifaceted success. Dani's journey has been marked by groundbreaking achievements, including authoring bestselling books that demystify complex technological concepts through captivating narratives. As the founder of the influential online platform "TechTales," Dani has created a hub for educational content, podcasts, and video essays that cater to tech enthusiasts worldwide. Moreover, as the head writer of, a leading resource for e-commerce and digital marketing, Dani has established themselves as a preeminent authority in the field of online business and entrepreneurship. Their consulting work, speaking engagements, and advocacy efforts have inspired countless individuals, solidifying their legacy as a true pioneer in the digital age.

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