The Idea

What is a sales funnel?

The sales funnels is a simple but important concept in marketing and sales. All of the potential customers that interact with your business start at the top of the sales funnel. Everyone that actually buys from your business comes out the bottom. The funnel is small at the bottom because it is leaky at each step. Although many people express interest, but few people end up buying.

No business in the world turns everyone into paying customers. The key to success is attracting the right people at the top and making your story compelling enough that they stay in the funnel until they’re ready to make a purchase.

Customer sales funnel

Email Sales Funnels

Digital marketing lead to the concept of an email sales funnel. It’s a simple concept where you attract potential customers “leads” with an offer of value in exchange for their email address – “opting-in”. From there, you send the people on that list whatever it is they signed up to receive without betraying their trust.

Email sequences (drip campaigns)

After that first email, you send out more in a sequence (usually 3-7) that offer a lot of value and builds enough trust and interest that they make a purchase by the end of it. This “dripping” of content is referred to as a drip campaign. It’s a funnel because everyone that signs up is at the top but only a few people will come out the other end making a purchase.

Email campaign software

There are many different options for email software. Mailchimp is one of the most famous because they have a free plan for up to 2000 subscribers.

  1. ActiveCampaign
  2. Campaign Monitor
  3. Drip
  4. MailChimp
  5. Clickfunnels

What’s so great about email?

The great party about email is that it goes directly to potential customers, who can then forward or save it for later. Compared to a website, they don’t have to go looking for you. But since people hate “spam”, the only way to keep them in the funnel is to offer great content that benefits them regardless of if they buy. This raises the bar and is great for customers and bad for spammers.

Lead Magnets

What is a lead magnet?

To start, it’s lead as in “a potential customer”, not lead as in the metal. A lead magnet is an offer that attracts people from your target market and causes them to take an action that qualifies them as a lead. The qualifying action is often signing up for an email list and the offer is usually a digital product like an ebook or email course.

Lead magnets are most often digital

People usually use digital goods for the value offer because they are essentially free to distribute once they’re made. However, if you have a retail location, big-ticket or b2b item, a physical good or in-store discount may be the ticket. Either way, it’s important to spend a lot of effort on your lead magnets because if they’re not good enough, no one will want to enter your funnel in the first place.

Customers know what you’re doing

Lead magnets are “traded” for a potential customer’s email address and people hate spam. They’re smart enough to know that you’re up to some tricky sales tactics. The good news is, if you’re really offering something of value that they want – they will happily sign up and actually look forward to your emails.

Examples of good lead magnets

  • video course
  • event ticket
  • multi-email course
  • trial memberships
  • free consultation
  • product discount
  • ebook

How to make your offer more attractive

  • Make it a limited time offer
  • Partner with other businesses to offer more
  • Attract a celebrity or industry leader

How to create a sales funnel

  1. Create something of value to provide potential leads
  2. Set up a landing page explaining the offer and trading their email for it
  3. Connect the email form they fill out to some sort of email campaign software
  4. Begin sending useful emails on a regular basis
  5. Mix in product offers in a way that respects your relationship with your customers
  6. Gradually increase the value and price of your offering, especially for repeat customers
  7. Test images, text, email sequence, offers etc. to improve click-throughs over time


  • Ease: Tough
  • Cost: $10+
  • Scope: High
  • Speed: Slow
  • Reach: City