email consultants

The New Sales Funnel: Upside Down and Subscriber Centric

What’s wrong with this picture? If you’re an email marketer, you might think of it as a sales funnel and therefore see it as upside down, with all your leads falling out rather than in.

However, according to MECLAB’s Managing Director Dr. Flint McGlaughlin, it could be there’s nothing wrong with this picture at all, because this is the new sales funnel model.

In this video from MarketingSherpa’s Email Summit 2012, GetReponse’s Jim Ducharme interviewed  Dr. McGlaughlin who says the funnel image is flawed. People aren’t pouring into the top and out the bottom any longer. Instead, says Dr. McGlaughlin, “people are falling out of the funnel,” not as conversions, but as lost opportunities.

That’s because, “gravity is not our friend.” Gravity is all the noise, clutter and competing messages vying for the attention of your target audience on a regular basis. One must work against gravity, and whether you’re using the term literally as the force that keeps our feet on the ground or figuratively as the force that keeps the folks out of our funnels, it’s a “force” to be reckoned with. How to battle something as enormous as gravity?

With the value proposition, says Dr. McGlaughlin. You can’t force them up the funnel, he says. You must coax them. Rather than drive them, think in terms of leading them along, attracting them to you. And that takes a series of yeses, not one big yes.

Consider the little yeses that must happen for someone to open your email, even. First they look at the From name, then the subject line, then the Preview Pane. At each of those little steps along the way, they must answer “yes” to keep going. And you have to get three yeses in a row to get to where they decide if they want to open the email. Once it’s open, you still must get little yes answers to get them to click through. Then your series of yeses starts all over again on your landing page. Whew!

That is a microcosm of the kind of scenario Dr. McGlaughlin is describing as he talks sales in general and we as the email consultants talk email marketing specifically.

When he talks about the value proposition and the need to coax and attract, he says the marketer has to get heard. And that requires having something to say that’s worth hearing. In other words, being subscriber-centric. This is a message we as email consultants teach on a regular basis: that you must be relevant, targeted, engaging; that you must be subscriber-centric, delivering the content they want when they want it. That is how you as an email marketer coax and attract and lead people through the new sales funnel.

Watch the video here for Dr. McGlaughlin’s descriptive explanation of the New Sales Funnel Model.

Published On: March 19th, 2012Categories: Miscellaneous email marketing topics

About the Author: Sharon

Sharon Ernst from is on a mission to improve the business and marketing writing skills of today’s workforce with her blog, newsletter and online classes. Her newest class on intermediate email copywriting covers 19 tips and techniques non-copywriters can put to use right away for better results. The class has real-life examples and before/after comparisons to make the lessons stick. Find her class at When she’s not busy helping employees, managers and marketers master their writing skills, she and her husband are busy raising pigs, cows, chickens and vegetables on their 20-acre farm.

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