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"We've generated 7 figures with this one email funnel" - that's BS. Here's what you need to know about those get-rich-quick schemes.

You must have seen those online. 

They’re still, somehow, everywhere.

Ads promoting a free resource that promises to teach you how one evergreen email funnel can generate 6-, 7-, or even 8-figures for your brand.

They usually target already compromised, vulnerable groups in society. Ones that are overwhelmed as it is, while trying to run a business, manage a household, and maybe even stay sane in the process.

Here’s what those freebies usually contain: Some kind of a pre-recorded webinar (in some cases, it’s supposed to be “a live one,” which it’s not) where the “successful” entrepreneur who is sharing the tactics that helped her get there.

What those freebies fail to show are the crucial, hidden pieces of this puzzle:

  • How much this brand paid (and continues to pay) for ads, the cost per lead acquisition, and the return on investment of running them.

  • The professional background of said entrepreneur (and/or team), which allowed them to run those ads successfully and make all their money back and then some.

  • The fact that they ran those ads a few years ago when the rules of the game on Meta/LinkedIn/[insert another platform here] were very different (and arguably much easier, compared to today).

  • The years of copywriting expertise they had to gain before publicly sharing any part of this strategy.

  • The extensive market research that was needed for their strategy to work.

  • The iterations and parts of their strategy that flopped in the process, why, and what have they done differently since.

  • The unique positioning of their brand and solution.

Most importantly, they rarely share that their success it’s almost never due to “just one email funnel.”

There are three key parts to explore here:

  1. Email attribution (or the channel through which the money actually comes)

Unless you share a secret link to your product exclusively with your email subscribers and nowhere else, it’s very hard to track your email revenue accurately. 

Your buyer might be a (somewhat engaged) subscriber who read your sales email, but then purchased through an ad that they saw later (through retargeting or not). Or purchased later in a physical store (if that’s what you’re selling), or another online store where the products might be available. Or access your sales page through a link a friend (who may or may not be a subscriber themselves) shared with them after they read your sales email or sales page. Plus, and maybe I live on a different planet, but I haven’t seen payment processing options embedded in email yet. So which revenue do you attribute to your email marketing?

The only thing you can measure successfully through email (and even this is debatable in some industries) is the clicks to get through to your sales/product page.

The email’s whole purpose is to get that click. Then it’s the sales page’s role to do the rest of the heavy lifting. 

And again, different people have different purchasing patterns and behaviors, so it’s never really “one email” or “one funnel.” There are other parts of this puzzle that must work seamlessly with your emails for them to generate money.

  1. What it really takes for “one email funnel” to generate such money

Businesses want you to believe that generating email from emails was effortless for them. 

They know that no matter how much you love your job/career/business, everyone would love to work less hard for money, especially if you’re already overwhelmed, exhausted, and on the cusp of losing hope (or worse).

Of course you gravitate toward tried-and-true approaches and get-rich-quick schemes. It makes sense that you want it to be as simple as copying and pasting a few templates, clicking a few buttons, releasing it to the world, and seeing a flood of hungry buyers pouring in.

But the truth is far from that.

The amount of work, expertise, pre-success background, and list-building efforts that one has to take into account before seeing such revenue from one email funnel is immense.

Let me put it this way:

For one email to make 5-, 6- or more figures, you need to first build a list of devoted subscribers for weeks or months (in most cases years), have the right offer at the right time, and build trust over time through numerous emails (and likely other platforms, too).

Email marketing, as great as it can be, is never a standalone. It’s an important piece in your marketing mix, but it’s just one piece.

Buyers today need, on average, eight or more touchpoints with a brand before investing money in the solution (and that’s after investing their valuable time and energy in reviewing it, which we can’t take for granted). Some studies even claim this number can get as high as 50.

Will some people buy right away after subscribing? Absolutely. But most won’t.

In the past couple of years, email marketers have had the insight that in the best-case scenario you can expect up to a 5-7% conversion rate from your welcome sequence (assuming you have one in place). That means that, like in real life, the majority of your subscribers have to warm up to you and your brand before getting into bed with you. 

Let’s say that you do manage to reach those conversion rates straight out of the gate, how much does your solution cost? Is it a low- or high-ticket offer? How many clients do you have to sell to to reach 6-, 7-, or 8-figure revenue? How many people will have to get into that funnel for that to happen?

And what if you don’t reach those conversion stats? If  your conversion rate is 2.5%, you’ll have to consistently inject enough new subscribers to generate that amount of money. How many? Likley many more than you thought you needed. How do you consistently get them? You guessed it—paid promotions, collaborations, or other well-oiled lead-generation machines.

  1. It worked for their audience

As an ethical email strategist, I can tell you that no two brands will have identical email funnels and strategies if they want them to work well. For a strategy to work, you need to tailor it to your brand and audience, and know the latter so damn well.

A strategy that someone worked hard on developing and tweaking for their audience has a single promise. It’ll work brilliantly—for their audience. You can’t guarantee anything if you just copy+paste that strategy in any other business. 

Every audience expects and wants different things, even when it comes to two competitors in the same niche or with a similar solution.

Besides, subscribers have been drowning in a sea of sameness for the longest time. Unless you have the know-how to take someone else’s tried-and-true strategy and make it uniquely yours, you’re only going to deliver more of the same and not stand out to your subscribers, for whom you may have paid good money through ads or other promotions.

Email funnel freebies are never really free.

During the pre-recorded “live” webinar, which costs precious time to watch, the entrepreneur will try to sell their paid solution. They don’t show how to solve the problem, as promised, but know how to reflect back the problem their audience is facing with a chilling specificity and accuracy.

They might offer a low-ticket, double-digit offer first, presented as the fix to something so crucial in the process that it’s a no-brainer investment. “It’s just $47, no harm, no foul,” right? But this will be only the first of a long line of issues one must tend to and investments one must make if they want this strategy to truly work.

Make no mistake, it’s just a matter of time before the brand will spring their high-ticket offer on their subscribers. It’s coming. Always.

And that offer will be followed by an obscene amount of emails, bordering on harassment. The emails will guilt subscribers into buying the offer, while also giving unsolicited and unprofessional financial advice.

They’ll tap into subscribers’ biggest fears or sources of shame, and show how wildly successful their previous students became after getting this help. All of whom, without exception, invested in the highest-tier offer (back when it was relatively easier to make money online, but they won’t share that).

Worst of all, those emails are unsnoozeable. If you want to stay in touch with the brand but not buy from them right now, it’s very rare that you have a way to do that (other than unsubscribe, of course, if they even honor that request). 

Any smart, relationships-first marketer would advise you to retain your hard-earned subscribers with a snooze option and nurture those relationships long-term. But the “make money with one funnel” brands only care about one thing—hard-and-fast results. If not you or not now, they’ll continue to stream money into new ads and grab the attention of other compromised, exhausted, and already overwhelmed entrepreneurs. 

There are no fool-proof, one-size-fits-all “cheat sheets,” “blueprints,” or whatever mumbo jumbo those brands use to get access to the sacred space that is your inbox. 

At best, they are selling glamorized case studies. You can learn from them, but no one can guarantee that the same strategy will work for your brand. Positioning them as the ultimate solution to an already struggling audience is ironic at best, manipulative at worst, and perpetuates the (unnecessary) hatred for email marketing.

It’s never one evergreen email funnel, and if anyone tries to sell you on a solution that’s so unbelievably easy—run.


*This piece was originally written for and shared on the Feminist Founders newsletter. To get more of these saucy takes directly to your imbox, join my email list.

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