How To Build A $1MM+ Ecommerce Email Marketing Funnel In 2021

Imagine building an ecommerce email marketing funnel that generates you an extra $1,000,000 or more in sales every single year…

How would that change your business?

For most ecommerce brands, an extra $1MM in sales without additional ad spend would completely change the entire economics their business. It would singlehandedly allow a brand with razor thin margins to experience explosive growth while making it more stable even with rising CPMs.

I know, because this is why clients hire us.

The trick is figuring out how to do this reliably and effectively.

Luckily, after a decade of helping ecommerce clients selling everything from performance enhancing drinks to premium priced athleisure, I’ve developed 3-phase ecommerce email marketing funnel you can use to scale with email.

This 3-phase ecommerce email marketing funnel includes…

  • The Pre-Purchase Phase
  • The Intra-Purchase Phase
  • The Post-Purchase Phase

And in today’s report, I’m going to dissect the entire process so you can duplicate it for your business.

Fair warning though, this is not just some lightweight tactic. It’s a complete process that requires consistently great email campaigns throughout the entire funnel, so if you need help installing this system for your business, then just reach out and hire us to do it for you.

With that said, let’s get to the good stuff.

What Is An Ecommerce Email Marketing Funnel?

First, let’s talk definitions so we can be on the same page.

When I talk about an ecommerce email marketing funnel, I’m talking about the entire customer journey as it relates to email. This means everything from the moment Klaviyo registers a subscriber’s content information to the point they become VIP customers who buy everything you sell and more.

The goal of an email funnel is to maximize the number of people who go through that journey by installing a reliable and consistent system of sending the right emails to the right customers at the right time.

Because of email marketing’s place within an entire ecommerce businesses marketing mix, this whole channel would fall under “retention”. As in getting the same people to buy more often for as long as humanely possible.

It’s also important to be clear I’m talking about both flows and campaigns.

The best ecommerce email marketing funnels tend to generate at least 30% of a DTC brand’s entire online revenue. With that said, it’s sometimes possible to get up to 40% or more. This is all assuming you have multiple channels going including advertising, content, influencers, and more.

So if you generate less than 30% of your revenue from email, let’s fix that.

Phase #1: The Pre-Purchase Phase

In the pre-purchase phase, the goal is to generate a new customer.

The pre-purchase phase focuses on your “main” list, which is primarily made up of your coldest leads. These are people who signed up to your email list in exchange for a lead magnet, such as a discount code or free product giveaway, but haven’t bought anything yet.

Generally speaking, you want to send 2-4 emails to your list every single week. For some companies with tons of SKU’s, you can even send daily emails or even send 2 emails every day. For the most part though, 2-4 emails per week is the happy medium.

TL;DR The more emails you send, the more money you’ll make.

EXPLAINED: The Pre-Purchase Email Strategy

So what should you be doing during the pre-purchase phase?

  • Welcome
  • Promote
  • Distribute

Here’s what that means…

Start by educating new subscribers with a “Welcome” series.

During your welcome series, you want to send 3-5 emails highlighting your cornerstone messaging pillars. This includes promoting your USP, origin story, hero offer, endorsements, and more. The key is to answer the questions,“what do you do, why should I buy from you, and why should I buy right now?”while also actually selling them something.

After the welcome series, start selling with promotional campaigns.

This the most well-known part of any email marketing strategy. Here is where you do your regular promotions and deals to your list. There are no real rules here, so feel free to be super creative with how you sell stuff. However, we recommend testing sequences and offers that do not rely on constant discounts to make that sale.

Finally, distribute content to nurture and keep a high touchpoint count.

The biggest mistake ecommerce businesses make is that they only sell, sell, sell. Now, while promotional emails will make up the bulk of your output, ignoring content will lead to a burnt out list. That’s why we recommend sending a weekly email where you distribute content you or someone else produced elsewhere. This includes emails such as a curated newsletter or even a weekly video series you produce for Youtube.

Don’t forget to soft-sell a product during this email as well.

Phase #2: The Intra-Purchase Phase

In the intra-purchase phase, the goal is to recover a lost customer.

Another common name for this phase is the cart abandonment phase or the recovery phase. Basically, someone added a product to their cart, but for some reason, they didn’t complete the transaction. Your job is to recover that sale you just lost.

Besides paying customers, these are your hottest leads.

Hence why the go-to move for most marketers here is to set up a quick reminder email with a discount to recover that lost sale as soon as possible. It’s a low hanging fruit and it’s a lot better than no sale.

If you’re happy with losing both revenue and margin, then that’s fine.

However, for our clients, we do everything possible to not only salvage the sale, but their profit as well. And considering most customers make buying decisions based on more than just price, we optimize for that.

To do that, we use something we call the “ROI” recovery sequence.

EXPLAINED: The Intra-Purchase Email Strategy

So what makes up the “ROI” recovery sequence?

  • Reminder
  • Objection
  • Incentive

This 3-5 part email sequence doesn’t rely on price to get someone to buy. Instead, the goal is to give other, potentially stronger, “reasons why” to make the sale before resorting to discounts.

The first email is your standard reminder email.

In this email, all you’re doing them is reminding them that they didn’t finish ordering. Normally, that also means sending them this email within the next 6-12 hours so that it’s fresh on their mind. Along with the reminder though, it’s a good idea to mix in both anxiety-reducing elements and scarcity so they have a reason to finish their order right now while feeling smart about it.

The second email is focused on answering an objection.

In this email, you’re answering the biggest question someone would have about your product before buying. This could be anything from answering a common burning question or FAQ to a demonstration video or testimonial graphic. The point is to get them to hop off the fence by re-affirming why your product is the only product that will solve their problem. If you need more than 1 email to make this happen, do it.

The third email is where you finally offer a compelling incentive.

The most common incentive is a discount. They definitely work and by the time they get to this email, you’ve done everything you can to close the sale with your price in-tacked. However, it’s not the only incentive. We recommend testing other incentives as well, especially if you’re a premium priced brand. This includes free bonuses, free trials, extended guarantees, payment plans, or any other form of offer enhancement.

Make sure every email gives your customer a reason to act now.

Phase #3: The Post-Purchase Phase

In the post-purchase phase, the goal is to maximize and accelerate the LTV of every customer.

Once someone buys from you, even if it’s just a free + S/h offer, they become 10X more valuable than a free lead who hasn’t bought from you before. Your job is to make every one of these customers buy as much they can handle.

Funny enough, this phase usually is usually the key to making your all of your paid advertising profitable. Unfortunately, it’s also the least optimized phase.

Good news though…

If you triple down on this phase, you’ll completely change your business.

EXPLAINED: The Post-Purchase Email Strategy

At this point, you have 3 main types of campaigns left for customers…

  • Retention
  • Multiplication
  • Ascension

Retention campaigns are too replenish or upsell what they just bought.

For example, if someone bought a bottle of protein powder, here is where you make sure they receive an email 20 days after their purchase to replenish their stock. You could also upsell them a bundle of 6 with a discount or get them on a subscription plan. If they’re already on a subscription plan, then upsell them to the yearly plan or upgraded version of their existing plan…etc

Multiplication campaigns are for cross-selling complementary products.

For example, if someone bought a workout shirt, here is where you would offer workout shorts. Typically, you are going to do this anyway to your main list of subscribers, so if you do this to your customer list, give them a good reason why to buy now. Some examples include exclusive VIP offers, first dibs on new product releases, or “people who bought X, buy Y” promotions.

Ascension campaigns are for promoting higher ticket offers.

Here is where some of the biggest piles of cash are to be made. Bundles, legacy offers, and more expensive products are obviously great here, but don’t stop there. Here is where you want to take advantage of promoting events, coaching, or other forms of monetization as well. A great example of this is Bulletproof’s $6,497 certification to become a life coach. Again, feel free to promote these offers to your main list as well.