Data Driven Marketing

Email marketing

Email marketing funnels – why, what, what kinds and how to ask someone to write them

I talk to a lot of online business owners who aren’t using email marketing funnels. And they know it’s costing them a lot of money. They feel bad about it. But they still don’t do it. Does that sound like you? I totally understand. I’m going to try and give you a hand with that here.

You know using email marketing effectively gets amazing results.

You might have heard that the average return on investment for email marketing is 44x.

Let’s do some maths (math for my American friends).

If you have an email list and you’re currently not emailing them about any other offers, then let’s see how much money you could make.

15,000 x 1% buying x $50 average sale = $7,500

30,000 x 2% buying x $50 average sale = $30,000

50,000 x 4% buying x $200 average sale = $400,000 (probably you’re not going to get 4% – but it can happen)

So what’s stopping you from setting up your email marketing properly? Comments I hear include:

  • “I don’t know where to start” ❓
  • “That’s not my speciality” ?
  • “I don’t have time to do this” ⏱️

So instead you stick with what you know, whether that’s SEO, JVs, content creation or whatever. You don’t send enough emails to your existing list, and you lose all that lovely money.

I get that. It makes sense. There’s a real benefit to sticking to what you know. You don’t have time to learn email marketing. Your time is better spent elsewhere.

But . . . what if you knew just enough about email marketing to figure out the possible results, and to ask someone to do the work for you. Then you wouldn’t have to do it yourself, you wouldn’t have to learn it yourself, and you could still make all that money!

I’m going to try and help.

Email marketing strategy

This is a high-level email marketing strategy post. This will explain the top things you need to know in order to:

  • Figure out how much money email marketing could make you
  • Figure out what kind of email sequence(s) you need
  • Ask someone to write the right email marketing sequence for you.

I’m going to break down for you:

  • the four most important email sequences
  • the benefit of each email sequence
  • how to tell whether you need it or not
  • when to send it
  • what kind of content is in it
  • how many emails are in it

My goal is that all of this will mean that you know what to do to get email marketing working for you.

If you can give you an email marketing person a brief telling them:

  • this is the kind of email sequence I need
  • this is what it’s trying to achieve
  • here’s links to some of my existing content that should be in it

Then they’ll be able to put something great together for you.

This is going to save you a lot of pain and back and forth trying to figure out what it is that you need.

The four email marketing sequences most online business owners don’t use but should do

  • Segmentation
  • Engagement
  • Promotions
  • Upsell

There are other types of email sequences you can use.

But we’re not going to focus on those here – I want to make this as simple as we can – so we’re going to start with these.


This allows you to figure out who is interested in a particular topic – before you send your emails to everyone.

The point of one of these is to figure out who’s interested in a specific topic, so we can communicate with just them about that topic, and not bother everyone else.

You need it if …

What you’re going to be promoting is only relevant to a specific segment of your list. For example – let’s say that you sell courses for teaching people about learning English grammar. You have teachers and students buying from you. You’ve now got a new high priced course specifically for teachers.

You could promote it to your whole email list – but the downside is that you’ll be promoting it to students who aren’t teachers themselves. Those people will become less engaged because you’re promoting a paid course to them that they’re not interested in. That will reduce your trust with those people who weren’t interested. The conversation in their head is “why the fuck are you telling me about this shit I’m not interested in” (though they might swear less than me, so it could be nicer than that.)

When to send it

When you need to learn who is interested in this topic (e.g. teaching English) you send this out manually.

What is in it

A segmentation email can take a few forms – but a very simple one is useful free content about the topic (in this case teaching English).

You promote an article (or a few articles) about teaching English to your email list – and then you tag those people who click on the links as being interested in teaching English.

Another option is a survey.

Number of emails

1-3 emails


Main point is engagement and nurturing to get people thinking about the specific problem your course solves, and therefore more ready to buy. This creates good will and trust. Which will lead to more sales. According to studies companies using email to nurture leads generate 50% more sales-ready leads at 33% lower cost.

You need it if …

You’re going to be promoting something and you need to get them thinking about the problem this solves and the fact that they need a solution. Or if you need to engage them more with you in terms of trust around this topic. This is the build up to your promotion. It will increase the conversion rate of your promotional emails when they go out.

When to send it

This should go out automatically to everyone who clicked on the segmentation email. It will go out over 2-3 days (depending if you have 2 or 3 emails).

What is in it

Useful content that talks about the problem that your offer solves. Everything in this should set up the sale.

Things you can talk about here include

  • talking about the problem itself
  • a few key secrets showing them that it’s possible to solve this problem
  • case studies
  • the journey you went through to solve it and how you didn’t know it would be possible – until you discovered this course or whatever you’re promoting
  • the benefits of solving this problem.
Number of emails



This is where you make money! Everything else was the build up to this point.

You need it if …

You have something to sell!

When to send it

This should go out automatically after the engagement sequence.

What is in it

Details of your offer and a link to your sales page.

You’ve already found who’s interested in this topic. You’ve provided value to them about this topic. But the information you’ve provided is only solving one little bit of the overall problem. You’ve got them thinking about the problem that your bigger course solves.

Number of emails



Get them to buy a more expensive version.

You need it if …

You have something more expensive than what they just bought (which you 100% should have).

When to send it

This should go out automatically to everyone who buys the initial product.

What is in it

Promotion of the more expensive version, with details of the benefits (this could be personal coaching sessions, templates to go with the training, etc.)

Number of emails


What does this look like?

Here’s a couple of versions of how this might look.

Or a simpler version might be like this.

How do you plan all this in?

The Promotional Calendar.

The Promotional Calendar is to help us plan out what promotions are going out when throughout the year.

This doesn’t have to look complicated. Most people I know who are really good at this use a spreadsheet or just do it in their calendar.

An example of last year’s promotional calendar from a company I run

How to write all of this


Seriously dude. Don’t write anything from scratch. Don’t do that.

And anything that needs writing – don’t write it yourself.

Two things:

  1. Reuse existing content
  2. Get someone else to do it

Get someone to start with your own copy that’s working, and copy some from competitors too.

Most campaigns should be based on previous campaigns that worked. And once you run a successful promotion you can then repeat that promotion year after year with minimal tweaking. The first time you do this will be the hardest, and then each subsequent year will be easier and easier.

For example – if you already ran a Black Friday promotion, then you can use some of that content to plan your Easter and Christmas promotions.


I hope that helps. Hopefully that gives you an overview of the minimum you need to know about email marketing in order to make a bunch more money from it.

If you need any more help with planning or writing your emails just get in touch. Or if you need help with automating the sequences so the right emails go to the right people at the right time – then get in touch too.

Please ask any questions you have about email marketing below, or mention what’s stopping you right now and I’ll do my best to help here.

I don’t know it all, but I do have a good grasp on most. If I don’t know the answer I’ll say so.

By John Ainsworth

John Ainsworth is a funnel builder, and marketer with over 10 years of experience. He founded Data-Driven Marketing to help people who are making great courses and need help with their funnels in order to scale their business.

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