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Email sales funnels

Want more sales? Want to build a list? Want to automate your sales process?

There is a simple way: Create a sales funnel.

If you are new to email funnels, they can seem overwhelming. So, let’s take a step back and understand how they work and the key parts of every stage of the funnel.

AIDA – Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action

When designing email sales funnels, I use AIDA as a framework. AIDA is an acronym that’s been around and used in marketing for decades.

Let’s look at how to use AIDA in your email sales funnel

Stage One Attention:

Who: The lead has just found you. They don’t know you, and they don’t trust you, but they’re willing to take a chance that you might have something to offer.

If you are working multiple channels – social media, guest posting, commenting, professional outreach –  it is hard to know exactly why (and how) they got into your audience.

Something sparked their interest, but they don’t know you yet. They may come in on a landing page for Product One, but Product Two is a better fit.

Everything is a little fluid at this stage. Lead magnets and landing pages can help with list segmentation, but your lead is still unsure of what you offer.

How you get attention:

At this stage, you need to focus on delivering content. Reach out to find out more about them and what they need. Give, give, give as you establish your expertise with this lead.

Goal of attention:

Gain their trust by showing your expertise and building a relationship.

Stage Two Interest:

Who: The lead is beginning to understand who you are, what you do, and what you deliver. They are beginning to trust your expertise.

How to manage interest:

Begin segmenting your list based on user input. This is critical for retention. Ask your users what they need.

Use quizzes, send them lead magnets, ask them to respond to emails…whatever it takes to engage and deliver the information they need to solve their problem.

Stage two is where user unsubscribes happen.

Once users begin to hear your message, they have a better understanding of who you are and what you do.

They will self-select (by unsubscribing) because the initial reason they subscribed to your list is no longer top of mind. If you don’t deliver content tailored to their needs, your lead will hit the unsubscribe button.

Introduce your products and services – but don’t ask for the sale. Instead, use them as a way to showcase how you have helped other clients.

Goal of interest:

Prove that you can solve the problem. Bring in social proof of people who are excited about what you do so your lead can see and know that other people trust you and value your product or service.

woman building a profitable business using email marketing

Stage Three Desire:


Your lead has probably read 8-10 emails and downloaded some content and lead magnets. You have asked them what they need and (hopefully) have responded.

They like and trust you and feel that you’re an expert.

How to manage desire:

At this point, you begin to ask for the sale. You may have several “reminders” that can gently push your lead toward your sale.

If you have a course with a wait list, a no-obligation consultation, a free trial, or a limited-time offer, all of these are ways to ease your lead into a buying mood.

Make them aware that you have a solution to their problems—which you know from segmenting and asking them during Stage Two. By doing this, you are creating the permission to ask for a sale in the next stage.

Goal of desire:

Make the lead aware of what you sell and that it solves their problem. Social proof is key here; it’s much easier for people to move to the next stage if they see that other people know and trust you and that you offer things that have helped,

Social proof should focus on “I had a problem, and now I don’t because the product or service solved it.”

Success stories from other clients go a long way toward building trust and moving them to the sale.

Stage Four Action:


The lead is now a bona fide prospect. They know, like, and trust you. You have demonstrated your expertise. You have social proof that what you do solves problems for people just like them.


You can present the product or service and ask for the sale. If it is a limited time deal – registration is closing, a discount is going away, prices are going up, a special package – create a sense of urgency.

This is where you present a series of emails framing the offer differently to appeal to the buyer.

Your timing should be fairly short here; several emails over the course of a few days or a week – especially if you created that sense of urgency.


Get them to buy. Project out their future self if they buy – problem solved – and if they don’t buy – fear of missing out, problem just gets worse.


If the lead does not buy, then move them back to a keep-warm email funnel and continue to stay on their radar.

If you keep sending them “buy buy buy” emails they will unsubscribe, Some leads may need to go through that warm funnel of a couple of times before they are ready to buy.


There are four stages to the classic sales funnel.

Stage One Attention:

They don’t know you they don’t trust you but they’re willing to take a chance.

Stage 2 Interest:

They know you and they trust you a little. It’s all about segmenting your list and delivering content that specific to their interests of the lead.

Stage 3 Desire:

They know you and trust that you’re the expert that has the answers to their problem. Your product or service solves problems for other people – and can work for them.

Stage 4 Action:

Ask them for the sale. Social proof should focus on “You solved my problem” success stories. The lead takes action and you sell – or you move the lead back to a warm email funnel and start the process again.


Take Action! Download the worksheet: Now More Than Ever Email


Taken from: Profit-ize Your Business Book Four: SEO and Business Development


Like this post? It was taken from the Profitize Your Business series

Patricia Browne

Patricia Browne

Patricia Browne is the author of seven books that help businesses grow and profit.

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