Have a dropshipping or eCommerce site and a mailing list? You can implement an email marketing sales funnel! Learn how in today’s article.
If you chose to have a dropshipping or eCommerce site as your online business, having sales funnels is a key strategy to maximize your profits.
Email marketing is a great way to enforce sales funnels because it’s targeted, measurable, and automatable.
In today’s blog post, I’ll be discussing what a sales funnel is and detailing the steps of an email marketing sales funnel that you can apply to your own dropshipping or eCommerce site.
In a nutshell, a sales funnel refers to the buying process that merchants lead customers through to get to a purchase decision.
Depending on your niche, products, sales goals, and target audience, the number of steps, as well as the steps involved, may vary. But in general, a good sales funnel for an eCommerce or dropshipping business has 5 steps.
1. Awareness: At this stage, prospects who don’t know about you or your site become acquainted. They find you through search engines, social media, or referrals from customers.
2. Interest/Consideration: Now that your prospects have read some of your material and have an idea of what products you sell, a number of them may be interested to know more and may at least be considering purchasing your products.
This stage is where you can inform them more about the benefits of your products and how they can solve a problem or fill a need. You can also send them more information about specific products that they’re interested in to help them decide.
3. Conversion: You’ve provided all the information for your prospects to help them decide to buy your product, and they’re now ready.
At this point, you need to convince your prospects to become customers by highlighting product benefits and sweetening the deal by offering discounts and deals.
4. Loyalty: Once you’ve converted prospects to customers, you don’t stop there; you need to make customers into returning customers.
How do you do this? By making them feel valued.
Keep the conversation going and make sure they know that you’re around if they need help with your products. Make them feel special by providing them exclusive updates and discount codes.
5. Advocacy: When you get repeat customers who are constantly satisfied with their experience in your website and with your products, you’re likely to turn these customers into fans who not only love shopping in your site but tell everyone they know.
Nurture your advocates and make your appreciation known to them.
You can actually build a sales funnel through other means, such as through social media, SEO, or advertising.
While these are sound methods of driving traffic to your site, a sales funnel built on email marketing has benefits that may not be found in other platforms.
1. Email marketing is targeted. You can control who sees your email and what kind of content they receive. Thus, you can customize your message for your recipients.
2. Email marketing efforts can be measured. You’ll know you’re successful by your numbers, and email marketing has precise metrics that you can visualize. For instance, you can find out what percentage of your emails are being delivered and opened, as well as how often links inside your email are being clicked.
3. Email marketing is easily automated. When a process is easily automated, it’s more efficient. You only have to put in a few hours or minutes of work and then your provider automatically sends the emails triggered by the recipients’ actions. This is key to personalized, relevant content for your prospects.
4. Email allows you to build relationships with your prospects and customers. Search and social media are great ways to get discovered, but building and maintaining relationships are best done through email. Customers are more likely to trust merchants who make their presence felt.
So, an email marketing sales funnel sounds great and all, but how do you lead your prospects down your sales funnel?
First, you get them to be part of your mailing list.
The typical ways to capture leads for your sales funnel are landing pages and opt-in forms.
A landing page leads to a sign up to your mailing list in exchange for a valuable offer or a lead magnet. The best lead magnets you can offer at this point are those that educate your prospect to prepare them for going into your funnel.
Examples of lead magnets you can offer here include condensed eBooks, summaries of your blog post condensed into checklists, or short video courses. I’ve also previously written about the essentials of a landing page.
Remember to have a single call to action (CTA) for every landing page you make to increase the chances of conversion.
While you need to direct traffic to your landing pages, opt-in forms are like miniature landing pages you can stick on your website so casual visitors can opt in to your mailing list.
I’ve previously written about essential elements of an opt-in form and where to put it in your blog, but you can also embed them in your dropshipping site, on your navigation bar, and even on your About page.
Once your visitor is on your email list, you can now nurture them throughout your email marketing sales funnel.
Now that I’ve given you an overview of what a sales funnel is and why email marketing is a good strategy for a sales funnel, I’ll give some details for each of the steps and what you should be doing for each level.
Prospects at this stage are just getting to know about you, your blog, and your dropshipping site. They probably stumbled upon your site from looking for a product that will solve a problem or fulfill a desire through search engines, social media, or through referrals from customers who’ve previously bought from you.
At this stage, what you need to focus on is to establish yourself as an authority in the niche so that your prospects will come to believe what you say. This is your chance to build a trust-based relationship with your prospects.
What your prospects probably won’t be interested in at this point is product-specific information or sales materials. They’d need to understand and appreciate the value of your products first before they have any use for this information. Keep the emails you send at this point as information-packed as you can without being too salesy or coming on too strong.
Emails you can send: Relevant blog posts, condensed eBooks, or short explainer videos
Once your prospects have gotten to know you and your products a little better, they eventually go into one of two categories: they either decide it’s not for them (at least for now) or they’re now thinking about it and are interested in learning more.
Not only do your prospects know more about you and your products than before, you should also know more about your prospects based on their preferences and the content they tend to consume. Better yet, you can ask them directly through email, which is one of the perks of having them on your mailing list in the first place.
When you have subscribers in the consideration stage, you can send them more detailed information about your products. Talk more about product features and present them with more social proof or testimonials from other customers who’ve purchased from you.
Emails you can send: Product reviews and testimonials, case studies of actual people who’ve used the product (for higher-ticket products), or more detailed videos
After you’ve educated your prospect about the features and benefits of your products, it’s now decision time for your prospects.
Your job at this point is to nudge them to buy your products.
Rather than highlighting product features, it’s time to focus on the benefits of your product. Help them visualize themselves with your product by using more descriptive words and adjectives when talking about your products. You can also include more images and video in your emails.
Create a sense of urgency by offering limited-time discounts. When your prospects are interested in your products but are on the fence, discounts that can only be redeemed for a certain timeframe (anywhere from a few hours to a few days) can tip them over the edge.
Some of your customers may have even added your products to their carts but held off at the last minute. Turn abandoned carts around by sending them abandoned cart recovery emails that address their hesitations and guide them over that hurdle.
Emails you can send: Invitations to live webinars where you show how the products are used, email series with explanations of each of the benefits, discount codes, one-time offers, abandoned cart recovery emails
Once your prospects have bought from you and become your customers, it’s tempting to refocus your efforts on acquiring new prospects.
While acquiring new customers should always be an ongoing process with your business, the fact is that repeat and long-time customers are more valuable than new ones. Thus, once these customers have bought your products, the next thing you should be thinking about is how to keep them coming back.
The very first email that can help your objective is the thank-you email you send after they purchase from you. Show your appreciation for their purchase by providing information and offering your assistance should they have a problem with the product. You can also include discount codes for their next purchase as a further incentive.
Sometime after the thank-you email, send a follow-up email providing relevant information about the product they purchased and let them know that you’re available if they have any questions or concerns about the product.
After that, you can tailor the content of the emails you send so that you can introduce other products and at the same time provide further information about the products they’ve already purchased.
When you have new products, let your customers be the first to know (and let them know they’re the first to know). You can also give them updates on what’s new with the site, or with your blog.
Subscriber-only discount codes can also go a long way to earn your customers’ loyalty, especially if you’re trying to re-engage inactive subscribers (that is, they haven’t opened your emails or clicked on any link from your email to your site).
It may sound like you’re bribing customers to be loyal to you, but those shouldn’t be seen as bribes. The point is to make customers feel valued and to nurture the positive impression you’ve left them when they ordered.
Customers don’t want to feel like they’re being treated as mere dollar signs by companies and sellers; they want to feel appreciated. When they feel valued by a merchant, they tend to be repeat customers.
Emails you can send: Thank-you email, follow-up email, updates (what’s new with the site, the blog, and what new products you’re selling), subscribers-only discount codes
Customers at this stage are probably the most valuable to you and your business because aside from them being repeat customers, they’re telling their friends and family about your website and how awesome it is to shop there.
Referral marketing by your advocates is the most effective marketing there is. You’re more likely to believe someone you know than a stranger, even if this stranger is an influencer and has 100,000 followers on their social media.
Plus, they’re more likely to have positive comments about you right in the comments section on your site or through social media. A positive image of your site is almost a luxury in this time of too much noise on the internet, so if you have customers who post positive things about you on social media, take the time to appreciate them.
Aside from glowing reviews on social media, they’re the ones who’re likely to post honest reviews on your products as well as constructive feedback so you can improve your products and services. Listen to these customers so you can learn how to improve your products as well as the overall customer experience on your site.
This is not to say that the reviews and feedback from your other customers are worthless. It’s just that your fans are much more likely to be honest with you because they want to see you succeed and grow in your business.
When your business reaches a certain size, you might want to start a loyalty program, like an affiliate program, so your long-term customers can be rewarded when they tell people about your products. Meanwhile, exclusive discounts and additional discounts on flash sales could already do a lot to reward your advocates.
Emails you can send: Appreciation emails with discount codes to your customers who have repeat purchases, surveys and questionnaires about their experience on your site, requests them to refer you to their friends and family, requests for product reviews
Having email marketing sales funnels for your dropshipping and eCommerce site will greatly streamline your processes and increase your customers.
Let me recap the sales funnel we detailed earlier:
Goal: Show the value of your products, educate, and build a relationship with your prospects
Recommended email content: Blog posts, condensed eBooks, short explainer videos
Goal: Introduce your prospects to your products with more specific and targeted content; develop the relationship
Recommended email content: Case studies, product reviews and testimonials, more detailed videos
Goal: Get your prospects to purchase and become customers
Recommended email content: Invitations to live webinars, email series with explanations of each of the benefits, discount codes, one-time offers, abandoned cart recovery emails
Goal: Retain your customers and inspire loyalty
Recommended email content: Thank-you email, follow-up email, updates (what’s new with the site, the blog, and what new products you’re selling), subscribers-only discount codes
Goal: Turn your loyal customers into supporters who talk about your website and your products to everyone who’ll listen
Recommended email content: Appreciation emails with discount codes to your customers who have repeat purchases, surveys and questionnaires about their experience on your site, requests them to refer you to their friends and family, requests for product reviews
Before you go ahead and create your email marketing sales funnel, here are some things to remember.
Take advantage of the more personal, one-on-one feel of emails and encourage your subscribers to reply to your emails so you can have conversations instead of a monologue.
As your subscribers grow and your time to reply to individual emails decreases, you can compile questions into a Q & A edition of your email newsletters or updates so everyone may know the answer and so that you can give a shoutout to those who emailed you.
Seeing your effort to answer questions can also motivate other subscribers who’ve been quiet to email or reply to you.
It’s a funnel, not a cylinder. Prepare yourself for fewer prospects to come through each stage.
However, this doesn’t mean you can’t improve your funnel.
Check your analytics on everything on every step of the funnel (landing pages, opt-in pages, emails, abandoned carts, etc.). Discover where most of your prospects are dropping out and split test different variations so you can find which ones work better.
Email marketing efforts generate plenty of data.
Take advantage of all this data and adapt your strategy based on what the data is telling you about what is and isn’t working.
Subscribers not opening their emails? Test out emails with different subject lines or sent at different times of day.
Coupon codes not being used? Maybe your offer isn’t compelling enough or sent to the wrong segment of your customers.
Too high unsubscribe rate? Send emails less frequently to see if it makes a difference.
You can only spend so much time and effort on your email marketing strategy. Ensure that all your decisions are based on actual data before you implement any changes.
Do you already use email marketing in your dropshipping or eCommerce site? How about sales funnels? Tell us all about it in the comments!
JoAnne is your average, everyday, sane stay-at-home mom who believes in the power of the internet to make dreams come true. She has an insatiable appetite for chocolate, as well as all things internet marketing. She keeps up with the latest trends in blogging, affiliate marketing, e-commerce, and more.