Why Your Email Marketing Funnel is Doomed to Fail You As a Start-Up

Last week my team and I spent a lot of time putting together some kick-ass sales funnel training for our small group coaching members.
I spent a lot of time rummaging through the garbage funnel trainings on the internet during my research phase and in the process realized that digital marketers everywhere are doing something really, really dangerous (and kind of rude!).
They’re forcing people to follow a stationary decision-making path.
You see all of these funnel trainings that go through some basic 5-email sequence that looks something like this:
  • Create a value driven opt-in and deliver it in email #1.
  • Ramp up your goodwill equity by delivering another pure value email within a day or two.
  • Do a soft pitch hidden inside of a story to prime them for the hard pitch.
  • Deliver a hard-pitch email that’s loaded up with benefit statements and testimonials.
  • Create urgency by telling them the price is going up or cart is closing.
I have no doubt that these funnels work to a certain extent (or no one would use them).
But to make it work, it’s really a volume play.
Let’s take a look at the average digital funnel.
Note that I’m using very basic averages for conversion percentages (source:  Hubspot).  Your results could vary quite a bit.
  • % of people who see an ad and click through to a landing page (Facebook Ads):  2.5%
  • % who opt-in to email sequence:  40% (when driven to a landing page)
  • % who visit sales page from email sequence:  6%
  • % who add to cart from sales page:  2%
  • % who add to Cart who Checkout:  80%
Assuming that your opt-in and funnel were converting well by industry standard, you would need to put your ad in front of 104,166 relevant people in order to get one single sale.
This is going to vary greatly depending on the price of your product, how warm your audience is, the type of decision-makers inside your funnel, what time of year it is, what type of product you sell, etc. etc.
These digital marketers sell you on the glory of getting a $2 cost per lead, but what they don’t show you is that through email sequence funnelling you’ll need to spend an average of $68.34 to get one sale.
If you’re selling a $25 product, that’s just not going to work.
Sure, you can continue to market to them.
Sure you have them on your list.
But there aren’t many people out there who are starting up who can afford to nurture a lead through this long-term strategy without some cold, hard cash coming through the door.
Interestingly, the theory behind this type of email sequence funnelling is good!
Where it fails is in it’s rigidity and the fact that it does not respect an individual’s unique way of making decisions.
We are all hard-wired through our Conative functions to intuitively follow a specific path when making decisions.
Some of us are quick.  Give us too much information and we will run away faster than we came.
Others need to know every detail before they can proceed.
Others yet care more about the quality than the future benefits.
Digital marketers did not fail to see this when producing these funnel sequences because they recommend putting elements that speak to all types of decision makers inside.
The problem with this, though, is that the elements that appeal to one type of decision-maker will innately turn another off.
For example, testimonials will soothe someone who wants to know that something has worked for others before making the purchase themselves.  However someone who likes to live in the future and is constantly looking for the next best thing will be turned off by the fact that so many others have already taken this route.
Giving multiple options thrills someone who makes decisions quickly, but can completely stall someone who needs all details from ever moving forward.
I’ve created a system that allows you to identify the different types of decision-makers and market to each in a way that respects their own logic pathway.
Through the creation of this system, early tests are showing upwards of 20% conversion on those who visit the sales page to those who add to cart (up from a 2% average)!
By respecting your buyer’s path the marketing and flow becomes more organic and buyers can reach a decision without feeling anxious.  When you understand what they need to make a decision, it becomes easier to get a yes.
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