Creating an effective (and automated) sales funnel

If you're like me (and like a lot of other business owners), the concept of "nurturing leads" sounds exhausting. It can feel like a lot of work for the far off hope that someday it might result in a sale.

Or maybe for you, just the idea of "sales" makes you sick. You got into business to follow your passion, not to beg for money. You're definitely not alone! No one wants to come across like that pushy used-car salesman, constantly begging people to "BUY NOW."

But, the truth is, if you don't ask for the sale at some point, it won't come.

The best possible option to solve all these problems is to set up a completely automated sales funnel. With a sales funnel, you gain the attention of interested people, effectively nurture leads and ask people to buy – all while you sleep. (And best of all, it's completely free!)

I've laid out 5 simple email concepts that you can follow to guide your potential customers to build trust, begin seeing you as the authority in your field and overcome any objections they might have.

(If you're new to email marketing, first check out this article to learn the basic benefits: Is email marketing right for your business?)

Let's take a look.

1. Free PDF  

Rather than just asking for subscriptions to the all too familiar newsletter, offer them something of real value. No one wants to subscribe to your newsletter, but they do want information that will help them succeed. This can be an ebook, access to a helpful video or even a one-page PDF. The key is to make it as useful as possible.

I know what you're thinking: I don't have time to create something like that!

Odds are, you already have the content for it. Start by thinking about your target audience and what they would find useful.

For example, a realtor looking for someone who's thinking about selling their home, might offer a free PDF titled: 7 Unexpected Things That Result in Higher Offers For Your House. Or, a premarital counselor looking for engaged couples might have an online quiz called: You're Planning the Wedding, But are You Prepared for the Marriage? Take this quiz to know if you're ready!

The first email in the sales funnel is just the useful resource they requested. Nothing sales-y – just this free help geared to your audience.

2. Problem + Solution

Email number 2 is also all about giving your reader useful help related to the service or product your provide. You're still working to establish yourself as the trusted expert in your field. So, what's the top problem you help people solve when they work with you or when they buy your product?

The goal here is empathy and authority.

Empathy: People want to know that you genuinely understand where they're coming from and can related with the problems they're having. Authority: Even more than seeing that you understand their problems, people want to know that you have the competence and insight to help solve them.

RELATED: 3 Steps to a Failproof Elevator Pitch

3. Testimonial

Testimonials are powerful for two reasons. 1) No one wants to be the first person to try something. It feels like a bigger risk to purchase something that hasn't been tested. It's the reason we check Amazon's reviews before we buy anything of real value. Seeing that someone else had a positive experience begins to relieve our fear.

2) An endorsement from a third party always feels more genuine than directly being sold something. People are often skeptical about new things, but if someone recommends a product that they don't have any incentive to recommend, it always carries more weight.

This third email can be a video testimonial or a written client experience. If it is written, don't be afraid to get creative. Set it up like an interview, and let them tell the story.

4. Overcome an Objection

Now that your potential customer is starting to feel more familiar with your company, you'll want use this next email to help remove any major hesitancies that could hold them back.

Think of the most common reason past potential customers haven't hired you. Is it the cost? Not fully understanding your product or service? Whatever the hurdle, you have the chance to get ahead of this before it can grow into a real fear.

Be specific and be genuine. It's important to start by validating the obstacle and recognize it as a real concern that other people have had. Then, help them overcome the obstacle by removing the fear.

5. Sales Letter

The final email of the sales funnel is the most important, and, without a doubt, the most neglected. This is the sales letter where the main goal is to be direct and ask for the sale.

They are familiar with who you are, how you can solve their problems and how other people have experienced success when working with you. So, now they just need to be asked to try it for themselves.

One popular way to craft this letter is to present the success/happiness/ease-of-life someone experiences when they have what you're selling, and contrast it with someone who hasn't experienced success because they don't have what you're offering. This is a great way for people to picture themselves in the story of being your customer.


These five emails are easier than ever to set up, and, if you use a service like MailChimp, they can be completely free to design and automate (MailChimp tutorial for automated emails). Start nurturing leads effectively while you sleep!

If you want to see a concrete example of a sales funnel in action, sign up for my 5 Step Branding Makeover PDF and check out the progression to see how it could work for you.

Tucker King