How To Effectively Create An Email Sales Funnel

How To Effectively Create An Email Sales Funnel

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Want to build an effective email sales funnel?

Here’s what we are going to discuss today:

  • What is a sales funnel?
  • What is the Value Ladder sales funnel?
  • How to build a Value Ladder sales funnel in five steps.

Ready to take your email marketing to the next level?

Continue reading…

What Is a Sales Funnel?

A sales funnel is a process a person goes through from first hearing about your product to buying that product to becoming a repeat customer.

Here’s a bird’s-eye-view of any sales funnel:

  • Top of the funnel: target audience. You grab the potential customer’s attention.
  • Middle of the funnel: leads. You get the potential customer interested in your product.
  • Bottom of the funnel: customers. You persuade the potential customer to buy your product.

You can visualize it like this:

What Is a Sales Funnel, Traffic sales funnel graphic.

However, this general sales funnel structure doesn’t offer much practical guidance for growing your online business.

That’s why when we use the term “sales funnel”, we are typically referring not to this general structure but to specific sales funnel models, such as the Value Ladder sales funnel.

What Is the Value Ladder Sales Funnel?

We believe that the most effective way to sell anything online is the Value Ladder sales funnel.

It was developed by our co-founder Russell Brunson who then used it to grow ClickFunnels from zero to $10M+ in annual revenue in just one year (it’s now at $100M+).

The Value Ladder sales funnel consists of four stages:

  1. Bait. You offer the potential customer your lead magnet in exchange for their email address.
  2. Frontend. You offer the potential customer your least expensive and least valuable product.
  3. Middle. You offer the customer a more expensive and more valuable product.
  4. Backend. You offer the customer your most expensive and most valuable product.

Ideally, you also offer a continuity program of some sort, meaning, a subscription product that generates recurring revenue.

Here’s how this sales funnel looks like:

What Is the Value Ladder Sales Funnel graphic.

The reason why the Value Ladder sales funnel works so well is that it allows you to:

  1. Start the relationship with that person by providing free value.
  2. Nurture that relationship by continuing to provide free value via email.
  3. Build trust by providing progressively more paid value at each stage.

Here’s how Russel explains it:

How To Build a Value Ladder Sales Funnel

You can build a basic Value Ladder sales funnel with just a lead magnet and a frontend offer.

Here’s how:

Step #1: Create a Super Valuable Lead Magnet

A lead magnet is a freebie that you offer to potential customers in exchange for their email address.

It can be anything that they can either download to their device or access online:

  • A report.
  • An ebook.
  • A webinar.
  • An email course.
  • A video course.


What’s important is that:

  1. Your lead magnet offers an effective solution to a problem that your potential customers are struggling with.
  2. Your frontend product addresses the same problem but provides much more value than the lead magnet.

You know how you sometimes see those stalls in the supermarket where you can get a free food sample and then buy more of that food if you like it?

Your lead magnet should serve as a free sample that gives the potential customer a taste of the value that they can expect from your frontend product.

That makes it much easier for you to persuade the potential customer to buy that product.

Of course, that’s predicated on you exceeding their expectations with your lead magnet, so you need to make sure that you overdeliver.

Note that your lead magnet is the foundation of your entire sales funnel:

  • Impress the potential customer with your lead magnet and they will want to check out your frontend product.
  • Disappoint the potential customer with your lead magnet and you won’t get a second chance.

So don’t make the mistake of thinking that you can simply throw together some random freebie and call it a day.


The key to designing an effective lead magnet is creating something that your dream customers desperately want…

And then giving it away for free!

Create a Super Valuable Lead Magnet graphic.

Step #2: Create a Landing Page for Your Lead Magnet

Okay, so now that you have your lead magnet, you need a lead generation landing page. What’s that?

A lead generation landing page is a landing page designed for the sole purpose of persuading the visitor to provide their contact details (typically their email address).

You can start with a simple squeeze page that has these three elements:

  • A headline that conveys how your lead magnet will make the potential customer’s life better.
  • An opt-in form where the potential customer can type in their name and email address or just their email address.
  • A call-to-action button that encourages the potential customer to get the lead magnet.

You might also want to include additional elements such as relevant images, social proof, and some copy.

For example:

Jon Morrow, a popular blogger, and writing coach uses this squeeze page for his “Headline Hacks” lead magnet:

Create a Landing Page for Your Lead Magnet, example.

You can learn more about lead generation landing pages here:

“10 Tips For Killer Lead Generation Landing Pages”

Step #3: Create a Frontend Offer That Costs $7

Now that you are done with your lead magnet, it’s time to create your frontend offer.

We recommend going with an ebook that you can then sell in a PDF format. It shouldn’t be a booklet, but it doesn’t have to be a full-length book either. Aim for around 25,000 words.

Alternatively, you can create a video masterclass that is 45-60 minutes long. This option is less labor-intensive.

Just remember that your frontend product should address the same problem as your lead magnet but provide much more value.

Also, we recommend you set the price at $7, which we believe is the optimal price point for a frontend product. Why?

Because that way, the price is not low enough to make the potential customer question the value of the product but also not high enough to make them stop and think twice before buying it.

Keep in mind that the purpose of the frontend offer isn’t to make you tons of money, it’s to convert leads to paying customers.

For example:

Matthew Hussey, a world-renowned dating coach, offers a free guide with nine text message scripts as his lead magnet.

And then his frontend offer is a guide called “Momentum Texts” that provides 67 more text message scripts that women can copy-paste when texting guys they like. And yes, it costs just $7.

See how there’s a seamless progression from the lead magnet to the frontend product?

Create a Frontend Offer That Costs $7, example.

Also, if you already have a product that is significantly more expensive than $7, we still recommend you create a $7 frontend offer.

Then use your more expensive product as your middle offer or even as your backend offer, depending on its price.

Otherwise, the transition from a free lead magnet to the frontend product might be too jarring, which will make the potential customer less likely to buy it and therefore damage your bottom line.

Step #4: Create a Sales Page For Your Frontend Offer

You also need a sales page for your frontend offer.

Given that its price tag is just seven bucks, there’s no need for a long-form sales page because no one is going to read it anyway.

However, you should still make an effort to explain to the potential customer how your product will make their lives better, back that up with social proof, and ask them to buy it.

Here are the key elements that you should include in your sales page:

  • A headline that conveys the main benefit of your product. How will it make the potential customer’s life better?
  • A subheadline that explains what exactly you are offering. Is it an ebook, an online course, a coaching program?
  • Sales copy that expands on the main benefit + covers additional benefits of your product.
  • Social proof that reassures the potential customer that you know what you are talking about. This could mean mentioning relevant credentials, experience, achievements, etc.
  • Social proof that reassures the potential customer that your product delivers the value that you have promised. This means customer testimonials – the more specific, the better.
  • A call-to-action button that is impossible to miss. It should be large and bright. Make sure that its color stands out in the overall color scheme of the page.
  • A 30-day money-back guarantee. Don’t worry, at a $7 price point, it’s extremely unlikely that you’ll get a lot of refund requests.

Step #5: Create a 6-Email Follow Up Sequence

Now it’s time to set up the follow-up sequence that you will send to everyone who downloads your lead magnet.

We recommend this six-email structure that mimics the way we get to know people in real life:

Email #1: Who Are You?

This is where you introduce yourself to your new email subscriber.

The goal here is to create an emotional connection by telling them a story from your life that is relevant to where they are at now.

For example, if you are a fitness coach who has struggled with weight loss in the past, you might want to share that.

Note that a common mistake that people make here is putting themselves on a pedestal and posturing as some infallible expert in a misguided attempt to demonstrate their credibility.

But what you should do instead is get down from your pedestal, walk up to the potential customer, and tell them “You know what, I’ve been where you are now, I know how it feels”.

That’s how you create an emotional connection and get people interested in what you have to say.

Email #2: Where Did You Come From?

This is where you tell the new subscriber how you came to do what you do now. What’s your origin story?

You might want to mention the key points in your journey such as first getting interested in it, the obstacles you have encountered, the most memorable experiences, etc.

Email #3: What Do You Do?

In this email you explain what it is that you do – what problems you are addressing, what solutions you are offering, how is your approach different, etc.

Email #4: How Did You Gain This Expertise?

Now it’s time to tell the new subscriber how you became an expert in what you do. Why should they listen to you?

Tell them how you learned this stuff, how you got your first client, what results have you produced so far, etc.

Email #5: Who Do You Do This For?

This is where you tell the new subscriber who your dream customers are and then provide a case study on how you helped a person like that achieve the results that they want.

Go and produce measurable results, then write up a case study. Help people for free if you have to. What’s important is that you get social proof that you can present in the form of a case study.

Email #6: How Can You Do It For Me?

Finally, you give the new subscriber an overview of your Value Ladder,  so that they would know what you have to offer.

Obviously, if you only have your frontend product, then the email should be focused on that.

However, if you have several products, then you can turn it into a “buffet” email where you share the links to all of them.

That way, people who want to play it safe can get your $7 frontend product, meanwhile, those who want to go straight to your backend offer can do that.

Add a Call to Action to Each Email!

A call to action we recommend using in this sequence is simply asking the new subscriber a question at the end of each email and encouraging them to reply.

We also suggest responding to the emails that you get

Want Russell To Teach You How To Build Your First Sales Funnel?

Let’s keep it real:

Building a sales funnel from scratch can seem like a daunting task.

That’s why we created our 5 Day Challenge where Russell walks you through it step-by-step.

You will learn how to:

  • Generate unlimited leads.
  • Create your first lead magnet.
  • Build your first sales funnel.
  • Create a simple 6-email follow-up sequence.
  • And launch your funnel!

…in just five days.

So don’t hesitate.

Join our 5 Day Challenge today. It’s completely free!

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