How to Use Email to Push Prospects Through the Sales Funnel

This is a guest post from Lee Frederiksen, Managing Partner at Hinge, a marketing firm that specializes in branding and marketing for professional services. 

Although email marketing has been around for quite a while, it remains a tried-and-true method and is still one of the reigning kings of online marketing tools. When used effectively, email can act as a key player in moving prospective buyers through the sales funnel. And that’s not even mentioning what is perhaps email’s biggest selling point: its unbeatable ROI. In fact, the average ROI for B2B email marketing is 127%!

So, how can your firm utilize email marketing to help close more sales? The proper formula requires a combination of effective lead nurturing and marketing metrics analysis. Here are 10 tips for creating an effective email marketing campaign to push prospects through the sales funnel.

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1. Create a list of targeted contacts

As tempting as it can be to purchase a list of contacts, these lists aren’t likely to contain many qualified leads that will turn into sales for your firm. In fact, sending out unwarranted emails might just cause your emails to end up getting flagged as spam. Taking the time to cultivate a list of targeted contacts can help ensure that your messaging reaches willing participants.

2. Leverage your resources to organically grow your list

Ask your current contacts to share your emails, display prominent calls-to-action on your website to increase your conversion numbers, and utilize social media to build your list of targeted contacts. Position your firm in front of the right individuals who are or will be in the market for your products and services.

3. Identify the goals and purposes for your email marketing

Whether they’re short term, long term, specific or broad, goals are important to tracking your progress. While you’re at it, identify which metrics you’ll use to determine your success.

4. Create high-quality content

Providing relevant and educational content to your audience will help build your firm’s reputation and authority, and engender trust with your prospects. Have clear-cut purposes that intrigue and inspire contacts to click open. This might include promoting content on your website, sharing industry news or utilizing calls-to-action to promote an offer.

5. Use targeted content

The more personalized an email experience you can create for your prospective buyers, the more likely you are to move them through the sales funnel. Create a schedule of specifically targeted content for your prospects for each stage of their buyer’s journey. Provide content that directly addresses their needs. (Here is a sales email example to help reps remember the basic principles of great, targeted sales emails.

6. Be consistent

Contacts appreciate predictability. Create an email schedule, so that contacts know exactly when to expect your emails with no surprises.

7. Make prospects want to open your emails

Your emails themselves need to be engaging and easy to read, but it won’t make any difference if your prospects aren’t even bothering to open their email. Motivate the open by creating short, attention-grabbing subject lines.

8. Include a specific call-to-action in each email

Give your prospects an action to follow in each email. Make your physical call-to-action button prominent and clear, and include the call-to-action two or three times within your email when appropriate and depending on the length of the email.

9. Identify the analytics you need to track and evaluate your goals

While the specific metrics your firm focuses on will vary depending on your goals, a few standards to start with include size and growth of your email list, open rates and click through rates or call-to-action conversions.

10. Evaluate and adjust accordingly

Use the information that analytics provides to adjust your practices and strategy when necessary. If you’re seeing low open rates, reevaluate your subject lines. Or, if you aren’t seeing results from your calls-to-action, adjust your approach.


The email inbox provides a personal space and unique opportunity for your online marketing to connect with prospects. Email marketing is an ongoing effort that will continue to evolve. But by crafting an effective and flexible email marketing campaign, your firm can push prospects through the sales funnel and see a big return on your efforts.

About the Author: 

Lee W. Frederiksen, Ph.D., is Managing Partner at Hinge, a marketing firm that specializes in branding and marketing for professional services. Hinge is a leader in rebranding firms to help them grow faster and maximize value. Lee can be reached at or 703-391-8870. 

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