How To Build An Email List Marketing Funnel To Capture Leads

By Chris Shaffer •  Updated: 05/12/21 •  12 min read

One of the things that holds many people up when it comes to building an email list is all of the terminology and how it all works together.

Today, take a deep dive into the 4 pieces you will need to build your email list marketing funnel.

Create Your Lead Magnet

The first thing that you will need to start building your email list marketing funnel is what is referred to as a lead magnet.

A lead magnet is simply something of value (usually a piece of content) that when seen by your audience will attract the correct people into giving you their email address in exchange for the lead magnet.

Generally speaking, lead magnets that solve problems or help your audience achieve a specific outcome are going to perform best.

Lead magnets come in a variety of shapes and sizes and are frequently seen as one of the following types of formats:

If you'd like to get a better understanding of exactly which type of lead magnet works for your situation, as well as all of the pros and cons of the nine different types that we have tried, you may want to check out this article here.

Before you move any further into developing your email marketing file, you should select and create your lead magnet.

Not only will your type and style lead magnet set the tone for the other parts of the funnel, but it will determine the overall funnel flow (which we will talk about more in the thank you page section of this article).

If you don't currently have a lead magnet, before continuing with this article, you may want to take a look at this post about this simple process to find the perfect lead magnet for your audience. It takes a deep dive into the different types of lead magnets, as well as giving you some great ways to come up with ideas that will work in your specific market.

Once you have your lead magnet in hand, it's time to move on to the second stage of your funnel.

Landing Page

The second stage of our email marketing funnel is what's referred to as a landing page.

A landing page is a place where you will drive targeted traffic with the goal of having them give you their email address in exchange for the lead magnet.

While the suggested style and look of landing pages could be debated for the next two years without a real answer, there are three key elements that every good landing page needs regardless of the lead magnet you are using for your design and style preferences.


The first and arguably most important part of any well-built landing page is a well-crafted headline.

We need to be able to communicate to anyone who lands on that page exactly what they should expect as a result of signing up and giving us their email address in exchange for the lead magnet.

There's a variety of different formats that may work well here, such as the “X things you need to know about Y market” format, but since the most effective lead magnets tend to solve problems, a headline designed to communicate that the lead magnet will give your potential subscriber what they need while also helping them avoid what they don't need or want.

For example, if we were in the weight loss market we may create an ebook on how to lose 10 pounds over the next few weeks.

Our headline for an e-book like that, if it follows the “giving them what they needed while helping them avoid but they don't” format would look something like this:

Lose 10 pounds over the next few weeks, without ever feeling hungry or tired.

The result that our prospects are looking for is to lose a little bit of weight over the next few weeks and the things they fear or would like to avoid is feeling tired or hungry (if you've ever gone on a calorie-restricted diet, you probably know what I'm talking about).

The same style will work in just about any market.

If you take a look at most of the headlines we use for lead magnets or even on sales pages here at, you will see that this is the format that we tend to use (e.g. how to get the most out of Facebook ads without losing your shirt).


The second element that we need to consider for any landing page is images or video.

Once you've hooked a potential subscriber with the headline, they need to have an understanding of what it is they will get when they sign up.

While we can write all of the beautiful copy in the world, the age-old phrase a picture is worth a thousand words has never been more applicable than in the case of landing pages.

We should use photos or videos to communicate exactly what the subscriber will get after they give us their email address.

For example, if we were going to give away an ebook about how to improve your email marketing, we would create an image (in Photoshop or are much easier to use program like Canva), that shut off a few of the pages from inside of the book that we think would resonate well with the audience.

If we return to the example from above about weight loss, we may create an image with the front cover of the book as well as a before and after photo.

Videos can be useful on landing pages as well, although we typically start with a photo or static image because you can get the page up and begin testing much faster.

If you choose to go the video route because you think your lead magnet needs a little bit more explanation or there's a lot of individual pieces that you'd like to show off, my suggestion would be to keep it simple and record either with a screen recording software (I use loom) or with the camera on your cell phone.

These types of videos tend to perform much better and are significantly easier to make and don't feel “overproduced”.


The last thing any successful landing page needs is a way for people to give you their email address in exchange for the lead magnet.

This is generally done by embedding a form on the page (or if you're using a landing page builder like the one built into Convertkit, you can add a form directly from inside the builder).

The form itself does not need to be overly complicated, generally, we're going to collect a minimum of name and email address.

Keep in mind that the more fields you try to collect the lower your conversion rate will be, so only collect the data you absolutely need. 

We can always get more data at a later date, like when they become a customer.

Thank You Page

Once you have your landing page built, we need to build the thank you page.

The thank you page is where people will be redirected after they've entered their information into the form.

Just like with Landing pages, we can make these pages as complex or simple as we desire (and every marketer has their own opinion about the best approach).

For the sake of this article, we're going to talk about two different options that you have for what to do with the thank you page.

Get The Download 

The first option is to leave the pages a simple thank you page.

On these types of pages, the only message we're going to focus around is to help people get their lead magnet.

Our headline will say something to the effect of “thanks for signing up to get the email marketing playbook, get your download below” with a large and very obvious link or button that would allow our new email subscribers to download the lead magnet they've just signed up for.

While these types of pages are just fine, if we are not taking advantage of this precious marketing real estate and we have something to sell this new audience member (that makes sense with the lead magnet they just signed up for and is genuinely helpful to them) we may want to consider the second type of thank you page.

Make an Offer

The second type of thank you page is actually a hybrid between a thank you page and a sales page.

Here, just like with the download type page, we're going to give them a big headline that says thanks for signing up and the opportunity to download the thing they signed up for.

Where this page starts to differ however is directly underneath the download button we would include a sales message (either a sales video or a well-written few paragraphs of sales copy).

These pages tend to work best if the offer we have to make to our new email subscribers is directly related but not the same as the things they signed up for.

The easiest way to think about this is what's the next problem that they have and do we have a solution for it.

For example, if we were giving away an email marketing playbook and it was teaching people everything they need to know about building their email list, the next problem that they may have is that they're not confident in their skills as a writer.

In this case, we could offer a paid version of email templates on the thank you page, because that's one concern that may not have been solved by the lead magnet itself.

Another example that may be helpful is if we were giving away a video course on how to become a trouble volleyball player, we could sell training equipment that they could use along with the drills that are given to them in the book to help them improve their game.

Most marketers will tell you that your email marketing funnel is done after you've gotten somebody to the thank you page, but the reality is we’re just getting started. The best is yet to come.

The Follow Up

The final portion of your email marketing funnel really isn't part of the “funnel” at all. In fact, it happens completely outside of the pages that are being landed on by your perspective or new email subscribers.

What we're talking about here is the follow-up.

Getting someone on your email list is only the first stage in this email marketing funnel and it's often where people stop. I wanted to quickly dive into two ways that you can increase the engagement of your new email subscribers and turn more of them into customers.


Like I hinted at all above, getting somebody onto your email list is only the first step in a very long process.

Now that we have email subscribers and we deliver them a little bit of value via the lead magnet, we need to make sure we're following up with them regularly.

In addition to the advice that we give that you send at least one broadcast email (a non-automated email to your entire list) each week, I would suggest you put together a 3 to 5 email campaign that can go out automatically to everyone who signs up for your lead magnet.

This campaign should have a ton of additional value for your new email subscribers and will help them understand how to get the most out of their lead magnet.

Chances are if you're reading this article that you came here from one such email (we use this post in a few of our different email follow-up sequences). 

Why would we do that?

Just like with everyone who signs up for your lead magnets, the biggest problem that you have is most people don't ever actually take action on the things that they sign up for. 

Having a few follow-up emails that offer additional information or clarification can go a long way in turning that passive email subscriber into an active and long-term fan.

Additionally, if we have any offers to make, we can start to sprinkle them in a non-aggressive way by showing people exactly how they are helpful to their current situation.

Ads (If You Want to Be Fancy)

The second thing I want to touch on in terms of follow-up is something most people don't consider to be part of the funnel process at all and that is ads.

Using ads to follow up with new email subscribers can be an extremely effective way of not only driving sales (if we made an offer on the thank you page) but also making sure that our new email subscribers are taking advantage of the content that we created for them.

It's very easy to think of only running ads when we have something to sell, but coupling ads with a few of your follow-up emails (sending people to read the poster you created for them) can be a great way of getting your new subscribers even more engaged with your content.

If you're not afraid of spending a few bucks that you want to return on right away, this strategy can be a good way of boosting long-term sales of a variety of your different products.

That’s A Wrap

As you can see, while there's a variety of different ways to put together an email marketing funnel, each of them comes down to having four basic parts.

Now that you have an understanding of each of the four parts you have everything that you need to build your first email marketing funnel.

Chris Shaffer

Chris lives at the intersection of business strategy and growth tactics. Having consulted with dozens of different businesses (as well as building several of his own), he brings a unique perspective on what's working across the eCommerce world in businesses of all shapes and sizes.