Written by Laura Farkas

Updated August 24, 2023

Email Marketing Funnel for Maximum Return on Investment

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The most common reason people contact us here at LMNts Marketing is because they lack a system to generate a constant flow of leads. While we offer B2B lead generation packages, we never do that without looking at the opportunities of email marketing. Today I will cover the main principles of setting up an email marketing funnel that will enhance your marketing results and keep on improving your conversions for many years to come. 

What Is an Email Marketing Funnel?

We have spoken to a couple of businesses recently who were offered a sales funnel, which simply consisted of two emails. Just to clear the air: that’s not a funnel. And the agency is not a funnel marketing agency. They just can send emails. 

An email marketing funnel is a full system that is built around the company’s goals, targets, and marketing budget. It is evergreen, easy to expand, and fits well in the current marketing and sales strategy. In fact, it enhances the results of all marketing and sales efforts. 

Of course, you will have to build a list before you can get started with email marketing. However, once you have a few people on your list, you can start testing your campaigns. 

First Things First: Audience Research

Knowing your audience is the foundation of every email marketing funnel. You miss this step and you are in great trouble. Make sure that you complete your ideal client profile and define the language and the main buying triggers/ pain points of your audience. 

If you are not sure where to start, you can always download our free ideal client avatar worksheet

You will also need to check what the competition is doing and whether or not it is working. You might also assess your current marketing activities to find out which ones are working the best. Finally, you’ll have to understand how your audience likes consuming content. This will determine the tone, the format, and the frequency of your email marketing campaigns.   

Creating Your Compelling Lead Magnet for Your Email Marketing Funnel 

As mentioned before, there’s no point planning an email marketing campaign without having a list. And building it takes more than just throwing a generic eBook out there! You will have to touch the pain points (see previous point) and provide a solution. If your content doesn’t have a high perceived value for the prospect, they will never sign up for your list. 

Create value first. If people think that the lead magnet is only there because you want their email address, they will never sign up. Offer genuine help that will enhance their life or business. Here are a couple of examples of lead magnets that are hidden in the main content and work really well for entrepreneurs: 

  1. Mike Dooley’s Notes from the Universe:

It’s a simple message, and all you need is your name and email address, You get daily messages that will make you think, motivate you, and help you manifest. The benefit is clear, and the action is clear, too. 

     2. Anik Singal free eBook

Anik Singal’s free eBook offer is again clear. This page is not even asking for the email address; it is just asking you to request a book for free. The email field is displayed on the next page. This is a great way of gaining trust and building reciprocity instantly. 

      3. Daniel Priestley’s KPI score calculator

I am a massive fan of ScoreApp, and we are using it in our business for lead generation and for our clients’ accounts. While there are two call-to-actions on the same page, which I don’t really agree with, it is OK in this case. When you click on the “Get Your KPI Score” button, you will be given a quiz and a free PDF report on where you should improve. And that’s powerful. You have already helped the client out before they met you. 

Once you have the value, you will be able to work on the design, the copy, the headlines, and the rest. They are just small details (that still matter). But if your offer is not compelling enough, you will never get an engaged email list. 

Find out more about building a lead magnet in our previous post.

Setting Up an Email Marketing Funnel

Once you’ve got a lead magnet, you can start generating leads. And that’s where 90 percent of people stop. They will build an email list then do nothing for months. 6 months later they go back and try to follow up with people who already forgot about them. And then they complain that email marketing sucks!

So, as I mentioned, you will have to nurture the relationship. What if you met a very impressive person you would like to go on a date with at a party and never followed up? You got their number and never called? And then out of the blue you called them years later, when they are married with kids? I don’t think you believe this is the right approach. Guess what? It’s not the right approach when it comes to email marketing campaigns, either. 

What you want to do is show your best face and turn up. And that’s what an email marketing sales funnel allows you to do without actually turning up!


First, you will need the infrastructure to make sure that you can safely deliver the message to the recipients. There are plenty of free marketing tools out there, but we are partial to ActiveCampaign, as we have been using them for a long while, and they offer loads of integration options. 

So, from here, you will have to create a map of content and automate the process. Write the emails, segment the list, and add tags. If this sounds completely Chinese to you, I would recommend leaving it to an email marketing expert. 

Of course, you will need to carry on checking the results and do AB testing, too, just in case the above wasn’t complicated enough. But it will eventually help you optimise your email marketing funnel and maximise your return on investment. 

Sourcing Contacts and Audience

At LMNts Marketing, we are an inbound marketing agency. This means that we prefer generating the leads ourselves. However, often we are asked to design outreach campaigns for larger organisations. Being a fully GDPR compliant sales funnel agency, we have our reliable partners who can help with compliant lists instead of ruining the client’s reputation through cold outreach emails. 

If you are looking to expand your reach, you might be thinking about buying an email list. It might be a bad idea. Especially if the company offering it sends a cold email from a GMail address. It’s just not good enough, and you can completely ruin your domain trust. 

Here’s a guide to choose an audience for your email marketing campaign without getting spam reports and GDPR penalties. 

  • Get written consent
  • Use a double opt-In system
  • Send from your domain
  • Use a reliable eMail Server with Great reputation
  • Use personalisation and segment the list
  • Make it easy to unsubscribe
  • Regularly update the list and cleanse data
  • Educate and help out before you go for sales
  • Monitor engagement and position in the pipeline

If you are ever offered an email marketing campaign by a company claiming that they are the best, you’d better ask them about the above points, or you can end up in legal trouble. 

At LMNts Marketing, we always make sure that we comply with all the regulations and personalise the messages. It’s fair to say that we have a great reputation on all email marketing platforms we use. 

You can have a look at our SPAM reports and server reputation here. 

You will have to get rid of the bounced email addresses and make sure that you deal with the unsubscribe requests quickly. Then, your email marketing stats will look similar to this, too. 

Creating Targets for Your Email Campaigns

There’s no point starting an email marketing campaign without having clear goals. Some people just want to grow their list, others want people to come back to their online store and buy stuff. So, create clear goals for your email marketing campaigns before you design them. Just like with every funnel, starting with the end result in mind is a great approach. 

Creating Retargeting Campaigns

The good thing about a well designed email marketing funnel is that you can create a retargeting ad based on your list and their behaviour. So if you are looking to get more bang out of your ad budget, your best bet is supplementing your campaigns with email marketing. 

In fact, an email marketing conversion funnel can be a part of your omnichannel marketing strategy. 

Lookalike Audiences 

Once you have some data about your list and your audience, you can create lookalike audiences on multiple advertising platforms. This will help you fine tune your targeting and improve your results. You might think that one particular industry will certainly be interested in your offers, but the numbers will tell you otherwise. Your email marketing platform should integrate with your website analytics services, too. 

You’ll be surprised what you find, believe me! In fact, if you are reading this blog, there’s a percent chance that you are a male aged  30-40. Am I right? Let me know in the comments. 

Surveying Leads to Find Out Where They Are On Their Buyers’ Journey

Another smart option that is easy to set up (for me at least) is ongoing surveys. It’s a great way of collecting data about almost everything; the budget of your prospects, their engagement, their authority, their content preferences, and their position in the funnel (or progress in the buyers’ journey. 

Measuring Engagement throughout Your Email Marketing Funnel

The main numbers you should focus on when measuring engagement are click rates and open rates. The open rate is the percentage of people who opened your emails versus the total number of emails sent. The click  rate is the percentage of people who clicked on links in the email. 

Of course, the more informative the content is the more likely you will get the click. If the link goes straight to a sales pitch that has no value, you can expect click rates to be lower and unsubscribe requests higher. 

And finally, we arrived at conversions. You will have to track conversions from email. Thankfully, by using Google’s goals and tag management system, this can be done effortlessly. 

Maximising Conversions for Your Email Marketing Campaigns

There are some easy ways you can optimise your email marketing funnels to make them more profitable. The first thing you might want to do is an AB test. Create two different headlines at least, so you can see which one appeals to your audience better. 

Next, you can also choose the days and times when you want to email. ActiveCampaign gives you an overview of when people tend to open emails. We usually send our weekly newsletters on Fridays, and you can see in the statistics that it’s the exact day when we get the most people to open them. 

Finally, you will have to revisit and tag your contacts based on their level of engagement. This is a simple funnel we have created on ActiveCampaign that splits the list in the middle based on how many times someone clicked on the email and links. The two groups get a different sequence. And the best thing about this is that you can do the segmentation automation as many times as you want. 

Of course, you will have to check the statistics of automations regularly to improve your conversion rates. 

The Secret Ingredient of a Successful Email Marketing Conversion Funnel

You will be surprised by this, but the secret ingredient of a successful email marketing funnel is personality. You want to tell stories that people can relate to. Whether you talk about client success stories, share videos, or link to testimonials, you need to know this: “Your audience wants to have a relationship with you!

I hope that this overview of setting up an email marketing campaign for funnel marketing has been valuable to you. If yes, please do share it with your connections and leave a comment. 







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