Want to create an email sales funnel that takes the hard work out of selling?
Then look no further! We’re going to take you through all the steps you need to get this highly effective marketing strategy for turning prospects into customers efficiently, effectively, and with nobody left behind up and running.
And because we’re Sendspark - and we love connecting with video💖 - we’re going to make sure you don’t miss out on the power of video to turbocharge your funnels.
Here’s what we’ll look at:
- What is an Email Sales Funnel?
- Why “Video Email Sales Funnel”?
- Step 1: Define your Personas
- Step 2: Map the Funnel
- Step 3: Decide on the Steps
- Step 4: Create the Content
- Step 5: Test, Adapt, Rinse and Repeat!
What is an Email Sales Funnel?
A sales funnel is a customer-focused marketing model that sets out an ideal path for people to develop from cold leads into paying customers.
It breaks the journey down into distinct stages, each of which is characterized by a different set of needs or desires on the part of the potential customer.
The most famous version - outlined in 1898 by Elias St. Elmo Lewis - used four stages:
- Attention (sometimes “Awareness”) - The steps or process by which a lead becomes aware of your service
- Interest - The steps by which the lead is led to show an interest, and to let you know more about themselves and their needs
- Desire (sometimes “Decision” - The steps by which the lead becomes convinced that they have a problem that your service solves, and becomes open to the idea of purchasing from you
- Action - The final steps concerning the decision to buy
An email sales funnel is one that uses email at various points in this journey to communicate with the lead and to get them to take the steps that move them further down the funnel.
The big advantage of email for this sort of work is that it’s really easy to automate, meaning that you can be driving thousands of people through your funnel at any one time with minimal marginal effort.
Why “Video Email Sales Funnel”?
Because video multiplies the effectiveness of email - that’s why!
- Video emails get significantly higher clickthrough rates than standard text-and-image emails: 42% higher in our case study
- Video testimonials have been found to be the single highest converting marketing content type - and they can be emailed
- 90% of people say that video marketing helps them to make buying decisions
- 74% of prospects given a chance to see a product in action on video will buy it
- 59% of senior executives say that if both options are available, they prefer watching a video rather than reading about a topic
- People only retain about 10% of text messages but retain about 95% of video messages
- And yet only 32% of businesses are currently using video in their sales activities - giving you a huge opportunity to make your efforts stand out!
Plus, as everyone in sales knows, “people buy people”.
And video gives you the chance to put your face and your personality in front of prospects on a scale that was never possible before.
Video emails add personality to sales
OK, now that we’ve got those bits and pieces out of the way, let’s start on those steps for building a killer email sales funnel.
Step 1: Define your Personas
A successful email sales funnel relies on correctly anticipating the needs of the leads who enter it, and their reactions to the prompts and information you provide at each stage.
So for most products, a one-size-fits-all email sales funnel isn’t going to cut it. There will be too many diverse segments making up your audience for one sequence to work for everyone.
You need to tailor your funnel as closely as possible to the various different audience personas you want to target, so:
- Talk to your current customers and find out what they use your product for, why they value it, and what problem it solves for them
- Talk to ex-customers to find out why they gave up
- Identify where traffic to your website is coming from
- Look at what your competitors are doing, how their funnels are constructed, what tools they use, etc
- Carry out ICP research - to find out what kind of content catches your targets’ attention
With this data, you can construct models of the different types of user you have that includes:
- What their use cases are
- What kinds of job role they have
- What kind of obstacles stop them from achieving their goals
You should plan to build out an email sales funnel for each different persona you have identified. There may be a lot of overlap in parts between them, but because each persona has different needs, you’ll need different content to fulfill them.
Step 2: Map the Funnel
Mapping your sales funnel is essential! Source: Freepik.com
We’re going to stick with the four-phase AIDA model introduced earlier, but you should know that there are lots of variants of this general approach.
Some have more phases, some use different terminology. But they all work in basically the same way, and everything we’re going to say here can be applied to any of these frameworks.
Work through each phase and answer questions like these:
- Where can the right people be found?
- What interests them and how can I make my product interesting to them?
- How can I motivate them to visit my lead capture page?
- What’s my Plan B for sweeping up potential customers who slip through this net?
- What will make visitors take their interest up a notch? (eg enough to give me their contact details)
- How can I make that as easy as possible for them?
- What information can I get from them to tailor the next steps?
- What’s my Plan B?
- What’s going to convince them that my product solves their problem?
- What information do they need?
- What objections are they likely to have and how can I forestall them?
- How do I make sure they are likely to be a successful customer?
- What’s Plan B?
- What will convince them that my solution to their problem is worth the price?
- How can I make it as easy as possible for them to buy?
- If they don’t want to buy, is there something else I can offer?
- How can I keep people who aren’t ready to buy engaged until they become ready in the future?
What’s all this about a Plan B? 🤨
Well, even the best email sales funnel won’t capture everyone on the first pass. You mustn’t forget about the people who don’t follow your ideal customer journey perfectly or even those who say “no” to start with. If you do, you’ll be leaving money on the table. 💰
Step 3: Decide on the Steps
Now you need to decide on the number of actual steps getting leads past all of these obstacles will take - and what the best channel for each one is.
Your Awareness activities can and probably should take many forms. But before we start building an email sales funnel, we’re going to need some email addresses.
Assuming you’re not already starting with a long list, the best way to collect them is via a “squeeze page” - a kind of landing page that offers something valuable (a newsletter, daily tips, a free ebook, etc) in exchange for contact details.
Here’s an example from Forbes:
Whether visitors get there in one jump or more, your traffic from social media, search, ads, etc should all find their way to the squeeze page.
Of course, you may have lots of different squeeze pages aimed at capturing different audience segments’ data.
Video is awesome for squeeze pages:
- To give personality to your product
- To provide the brand’s backstory
- To present client testimonials and success stories
Clickfunnels is a company that does video brilliantly, as the landing page above shows. Not only to they have an advert, showing happy customers - they also feature a demo video from their founder.
You might want to jump in right away with a sales offer as soon as a lead has given you their email address.
This kind of “upsell” approach can be helpful - once somebody has completed a “micro-conversion” of this sort, they’re likely to be more open to bigger commitments. If your product is an “impulse purchase” or priced very low, this might be the time to go for it.
The upsell can be offered on a dedicated landing page or in the email that accompanies the bait the user signed up for in the first place.
But most of the time, you’re going to need to nurture leads to a point where they’re ready to move to the next level.
And this is where a drip campaign plays a key role in your email sales funnel. A drip campaign is a sequence of messages spread out of a period of time with the aim of gradually building engagement.
Why bother with this?
- Because 87% of people prefer to buy from vendors who provide valuable content throughout the buying process
- And 63% of customers need to hear a company’s offer between 3 and 5 times before they’re ready to buy
Lead scoring algorithms are really helpful here: most email automation tools allow you to send tailored messages to leads on the basis of their previous interactions. So your drip campaigns can be branched to be of greater and greater relevance.
Email preview in email drip campaign, from Userpilot
Userpilot does a great job of this with their regular emails, featuring Emilia’s thoughts.
Seal the Deal!
Each email in the sequence should invite readers to take the next step with clear Calls-To-Action, that lead them to the “bottom of the funnel”.
Depending on what you’ve fed them so far, this may involve addressing objections or exploring options, or it might take them straight to the checkout.
When people get to those final stages:
- Remove all navigation options except those that take them onwards. Here is a great example from Growth University
- Pile on the proof and the value
- Offer upsells and one-time-offers to those who complete the process, to increase their value
- Offer downsells (lower-priced alternatives) to those who drop out - you’ll win some over!
Your email sales funnel should plan to bring people who don’t follow the ideal path back on track:
- People who unsubscribe - would a last-minute offer change their minds?
- People who don’t engage with the emails - try a different approach to bring back ghosts (like a video…)
Re-engage ghosts with a video message!
- People who aren’t ready to buy - keep yourself front of mind until they are ready
- People who drop out at the last minute - can they be downsold?
- Ex customers - can they be re-engaged with new content and new features?
Step 4: Create the Content
The next step is about creating the content that will do the jobs you identified in the earlier stages.
Address User Needs in Terms that Resonate
The content in your email sales funnel should all be about giving value to your audience and showing them how your product will do that for them:
- Think about the wording - study your competitors’ language and the language your audience uses, and mirror it to create familiarity
- Get to the point fast - put your most important messages at the top to hook people in
- Tell a story - create empathy by telling the story of the problem your product solves in a way your audience will relate to
- Use social proof - reviews, testimonials, case studies, even customer numbers: all these reinforce trust
- Create urgency and scarcity - to push people into making a decision now
When to Use Video
Using video in your email sales funnel can be very effective, but it’s not the answer to every problem.
If your funnel content comprises nothing but video, the element of surprise and delight that video can add will be lost.
Video has the greatest impact on sales funnels when used for:
- Prospecting - A personalized video will stand out in a recipient’s inbox
- Follow-ups - Putting a face and voice to a chaser can significantly increase response rates
- Video Sales Letters - Long-form videos explaining literally everything about your product
- Demonstrations - Why write about new features when you could demonstrate them?
- Responding to questions and complaints - Again, the personal touch makes a big difference
- Updates - A video can make company news far more engaging
- Reviving lost prospects - A friendly video reminder will bring back plenty of ghosts!
But do bear in mind: most email clients don’t support inline video.
The best way to send video in email is using a tool like Sendspark which:
- Lets you create videos (including templates for reuse) with no restrictions on length - making it ideal for extended Video Sales Letters
- Is tailored to work easily with email automation platforms
- Generates animated GIF previews to display in emails
Sendspark Animated GIF Preview for Email
- Hosts your videos on dedicated, beautifully-designed, customizable landing pages, which can include Calls-To-Action that take viewers to the next step in the funnel
Step 5: Review, Test, Adapt - Rinse and Repeat! 
Finally, it’s vital to remember that an email sales funnel is not a one-and-done proposition.
It’s something that needs to evolve and improve on the basis of the results you achieve. Your email automation platform will give you plenty of data on where leads are dropping out, and where you should change the content or even the shape of the funnel.
When it comes to your videos, Sendspark makes this easy too:
- It provides a dedicated dashboard, showing clicks, video plays etc
- It also sends you an email alert when somebody watches your video
Sendspark Video Dashboard
When you have a fully mapped-out funnel, like the one we’ve been describing, you’ll be able to see all the touchpoints with leads, which makes fixing the ones that are underperforming much easier.
And that’s how it’s done!
Email sales funnels can be incredibly effective, but when you sprinkle some video magic on proceedings, the sky really is the limit.
And Sendspark is the ideal tool for creating videos for your email sales funnel.
You can use it to record yourself, distribute your videos via email, and make awesome landing pages that drive your prospects further through the funnel. Sign up now to start creating and sending videos for free!