Writing An Email Sales Funnel? Ask This Question.

Michelle Hunter by Michelle Hunter

The clarifying question you must ask before writing a sales funnel email

Writing Email Sales Funnel

Do you struggle to write a sales email? You’re not alone. Sales funnels are some of the most anxiety inducing marketing tactics in the online world. We know email marketing works. We know we need to communicate with our audience in a way that asks for a sale. We just don’t know how to go about sharing our offers in a way that gets results, so we procrastinate and we struggle.

Because we aren’t sure what will work, we write sales emails that are way too long. We include just about every sales tactic we can find- testimonials, social proof, lists of deliverables, countdown timers, buy now buttons- and we hope something will happen. We even write a personal welcome note, sharing our own experience of passion and pain in clichéd terms. It’s an attempt to hook with emotion, but it usually falls flat. Unfortunately, most people won’t read a 1500+ word sales email. Those tactics we included are likely not even consumed.

Because we don’t feel confident, we mimic the “successful” sales funnels of others without regard to brand voice. We create sales funnels that are perfectly aligned with someone else’s audience, then wonder why the messaging feels inauthentic and off. We also wonder why the funnel doesn’t convert for us when it supposedly converted well for them.

Because we are too close to the offer, we list lots of features without ever talking about benefits. As creators, our eyes have been focused on building out and delivering this offer for a long time. We’ve thought about features like videos, resources, client calls, and deliverables. We’ve loaded this offer up with good stuff, but long ago lost site of the value all that good stuff delivers. We can’t talk about benefits because we haven’t clarified them in our minds or considered them from the buyer’s perspective.

There is a single, clarifying question that will move you past these scenarios. This question gets to the heart of buyer motivation… and it’s the key to writing a successful sales funnel.

Question: Why should the reader do what you’re asking?

Every sales email includes a call to action of some kind. Hopefully, this is both subtle- woven into the body of the email- and direct. Each sales email is designed to motivate action. You want people to buy the thing, join the list, watch the video, download the resource. That’s the action.

Why would someone who reads your email take the action you want? How will this action benefit him or her? Have you carefully considered the benefits from the reader’s perspective?

Motivation is the underlying factor in everything we do. Major change requires strong motivation. Regular action requires a belief that the action is in our best interests in some way (motivation). Even habitual actions are taken because we lack the motivation to switch things up and do something different.

Common copywriting advice is to include “benefits language” in your marketing messaging. This means providing motivational reasons for taking action.

  • Buy this course so that you can learn a new skill you need.
  • Work with me so that you can achieve your marketing goals.
  • Get this product so that you can solve a specific problem.

Of course, writing messaging like this requires you to get inside your potential customer’s head and explore the ways your product or service will benefit them. You need to spend some time thinking deeply about the impact your work will make to uncover the most powerful sources of motivation for your audience.

Financial Benefits. Money is a strong motivator, making financial benefits a logical place to start in your journey to answer the why question. Working with you might increase revenue, create financial freedom, or empower people to charge more for their work. Your product might create cost savings or allow the customer to invest resources more wisely. These are good benefits to highlight.

Be careful with financial benefits language, though, for two reasons. First, while money is a strong motivator, it is, quite frankly, not the primary motivator of many people. Speaking solely about money gives your brand a mercenary feel… so balance messaging about financial benefits with other motivators.

Second, consumers are rather cynical these days. We are naturally suspicious of promised financial benefits that seem too good to be true. Will I really increase my revenue significantly? Will I really save a lot? What’s the catch? Present financial benefits in a way that seems plausible and achievable to your target audience.

Emotional Benefits. Buying is an emotional exercise. We experience hope when we understand the potential of a purchase. We feel anxiety if the price seems like a stretch or the commitment takes us outside of our normal areas of comfort. We trust, we doubt, we question. Our emotions move through periods of frustration, focus, and expectation. Compelling sales copy meets us where we are emotionally, and connects by providing emotional benefits we find relevant.

What are compelling emotional benefits? Typically they are the opposite of what we feel in our current state. Is your potential customer worried about a situation? Offer them peace and clarity. Counter feelings of overwhelm with a promise of ease and a product that is simple to apply. Match insecurity with a path to confidence. Resolve feelings of fatigue by providing rest.

Be careful when sharing emotional benefits. Gently remind the consumer of the pain and negativity so the benefits provide a compelling contrast… but don’t overdo it. Emotional hyperbole and hype are actually two sides of the same coin, and no one likes hype.

Professional Benefits. Consider the ways your product or service will allow your potential client to succeed. What will he be able to do once he has consumed your course? How will she be able to meet her professional goals after consulting with you? How will your product create mastery, efficiency, productivity, or empowerment? These are the professional benefits of your work, and they are compelling components of your sales funnel emails.

Here’s the thing to consider… the professional benefits you promise must be practical and achievable. Not everyone who consumes your course will experience instant success. Promise the next few steps on a journey to the desired destination, not the destination itself.

Personal Benefits. Ultimately, we are all individuals. We exist inside a community that can include family members, friends, and a variety of social groups. We have personal goals, desires, and preferences. Your goal should be to imagine YOU are your ideal client and consider how this product or service will impact these personal factors.

Will you get it right? Maybe. But even if you don’t predict with 100% accuracy the personal motivations of your audience, you’ll get close. For this aspect of compelling copy, close is good enough. We are naturally wired to see ourselves in the experiences of others. This means that even if we aren’t personally motivated by a benefit on a deep level, the value of this benefit will still increase our respect for the product or service. So, take your best guess….you can’t miss.

Once you’ve identified the benefits that apply to your product or service, select the ones that seem most compelling to you. Use your understanding of your ideal client as a guide. Then, add the benefits to your email sales funnel by strategic use of both storytelling and social proof.

Storytelling makes your sales funnel effective by illustrating these benefits.

Humans are social creatures who are wired for story. Get two people together in a social setting, and storytelling will erupt spontaneously. As I write this, I’m sitting in a coffee shop. Two strangers are in line by the register trading traffic horror stories. The ladies to my left are sharing a cautionary tale about a restaurant based on the experience of a mutual friend. The baristas were chatting about a party they both attended while pouring my cold brew. Stories are everywhere. Put them in your sales funnel.

Use words to paint a compelling picture of what the customer can expect. Use words like imagine, consider, and dream to put readers into storytelling mode. You might even hijack a familiar fairy tale to illustrate a point. (I once used the story of Goldilocks to illustrate the value of an offer that was “just right.”)

Your goal is to move beyond the sales-y language of “telling” to the engaging cocoon of a story. The benefits will feel real and compelling. The reader will feel entertained rather than sold.

Testimonials and social proof make your sales funnel effective by demonstrating these benefits.

As I said above, humans are social creatures. We exist inside a variety of social constructs, and we perceive threats and opportunities within those constructs. The wise business owner understands this and uses social proof intentionally in order to motivate action.

Notice I said, “uses social proof intentionally.” My point is that not all social proof is equal. Just like too much salt can ruin the flavor balance of a fine meal, misplaced social proof can actually reduce your conversion rates and have a negative effect on potential buyers.

  • Long, rambling testimonials are difficult to read and a bit boring. Edit them to make them concise and impactful.
  • Glowing case studies can be difficult to believe. Balance the positive by sharing problems encountered and overcome, or opportunities for improvement.
  • Excessive screen captures of social media comments and tags feel superficial and showy. Carefully curate a handful for maximum impact.

Use benefits to motivate and you’ll generate more sales.

Imagine sitting down at your computer with confidence to write your next sales funnel email because you know your efforts will pay off in sales revenue. Sound too good to be true? Maybe. There’s more to mastering sales funnels than identifying motivators, but honestly… this is the most difficult part. Spend time getting inside your customer’s head. You won’t regret it!

Struggling to write sales funnel copy that converts? I can help. Let’s talk.

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