You are currently viewing Move Leads Through the Buyer’s Journey Using an Email Marketing Funnel

Move Leads Through the Buyer’s Journey Using an Email Marketing Funnel

The email marketing funnel is your biggest asset for crafting a strong marketing strategy

Roughly 90% of B2B marketers today use email to communicate with their target audience. Email marketing is one of the most popular marketing channels in 2021, and it’s forecasted to stay that way for the next few years. One reason for its popularity is its efficacy at targeting customers at all stages of the buyer’s journey. That makes it perfect for companies with longer buying cycles like technology or enterprise sales.

When you’re sustaining engagement throughout a longer customer journey, you can’t just develop low-value, sales-based content. You need to position your messaging in a way that will add value for your readers. The best way to do this is to leverage the email marketing funnel method of content distribution.

First, a refresher on the marketing funnel

Marketing funnels are tools that enable marketers to visualize their inbound marketing strategy and organize that strategy around the buyer’s journey. They help you organize and connect the types of content you’re putting into market and identify the audiences best matched for that content. Your marketing funnel can include many channels: SEO, advertising, influencer marketing, events, and email.

Marketing funnels are also useful because you can gain insights into customers’ responses. You can then determine their interests based on the progress they make in your buyer’s journey. Using a marketing funnel can help you challenge assumptions you’ve made about your marketing strategy, so you can iterate each message and channel for improvement. 

What is an email marketing funnel?

An email marketing funnel is a tool that enables marketers to bring email marketing into their big-picture marketing strategy. But email funnels only work after you collect someone’s email. It aligns inside the various buying stages. That means you send different types of emails depending on where each customer is in the buyer’s journey.

Most companies start with the textbook funnel components: Awareness, Engagement, and Buying Intention. They then attempt to develop an email funnel for customers at each stage.

Building your email marketing funnel

The first step to building your email marketing funnel is to look at where your leads came from. Did they enter your system via lead magnet or event? Are they already customers or net-new leads? This information should drive the types of content they receive as they move deeper into your funnel and farther along in their buyer’s journey.


Your goal is to get your business in front of an audience to capture customer interest. This funnel should provide entry opportunities on your most visible channels (like your top blog or an advertising campaign page). Lead magnets are a great way to do this.

During the Awareness stage, your goal is to make your audience(s) aware first that you exist. After that, you can focus on awareness of your services. The services you highlight through this content should align with each lead’s unique interest, which you can discover by inspecting how they joined your email list.

Awareness Stage of the Email Marketing Funnel


Awareness Stage of the Email Marketing Funnel


In this next stage of the buyer’s journey, your goal is to hold your lead’s attention. Demonstrate your expertise by offering actionable solutions to the problem your lead magnet addressed. But also, give information and resources away for free just to add value. Your leads will be in this stage the longest, so be ready to automate these campaigns with multiple resources over multiple steps.  Not only does this funnel step provide more value to your customers, but it also builds trust and shows that you are an authority in your industry.

Engagement Stage of the Email Marketing Funnel


Engagement Stage of the Email Marketing Funnel

Buying intent

At this point, you have enough data on your potential customers to build their profile based on who they are and what content you know they’ve seen (and engaged with). You should be leveraging this information to send relevant content and calls to action that encourage them towards their buying decision. You can use lead scoring in your marketing automation platform to determine intent and pass the lead over to sales automatically, or you can use various emails in the engagement funnel to show that they may be ready to buy from you. We recommend the following content pieces:        

  • Agitate the pain and create a sense of urgency around their decision
  • Position your service/business as the solution to a problem they face with a personalized email
  • Highlight the risk of not doing business with you versus the rewards they can gain if they do

Buying Intent Stage of the Email Marketing Funnel


Buying Intent Stage of the Email Marketing Funnel

Unlike social media or website content, email is a one-to-one, direct line to your customers. Its privacy and versatility make it well-suited for delivering targeted content and personalized experiences. Research shows that 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase with you if you offer personalized experiences. Plus, it enables you to collect data on people’s buying intention to gain deeper insights that can help you iterate your email marketing strategy and build more in-depth customer profiles.

Final note

You already know that email marketing can bring your business a whole host of benefits. But achieving those benefits requires that you constantly learn about your customers. Then you can leverage those insights with an overarching email marketing funnel strategy.

Whether you’re using email marketing for customer acquisition or to expand deeper into accounts, you’ll see a direct ROI from using the email marketing funnel. Not only is email helpful in collecting and tracking insights about customers, it’s also useful for fleshing out an email marketing strategy for all stages of the customer journey.

Need help mapping out your email marketing funnel? You know Paper Sword is always here to support you. Download our free email marketing funnel template or send us your question here.