Why You Need An "Offer Funnel" For Your Online Business

“We deliver the right messages to the right people at exactly the right time.”

Every one of us wants to be able to (honestly) say that the above is true. That we’re sending perfectly relevant messages to our subscribers, and people are getting pitched on exactly the right products and services – and nothing more.

But, let’s not kid ourselves. Most of us aren’t.

In this article, I hope to help you get started pitching the right stuff to your list by creating an Offer Funnel, an automated tool that will help you ensure that you’re pitching people on what’s best for them.

Here’s what superpowers you’ll have once you’ve set up your Offer Funnel:

  • Whenever you send a newsletter, you’ll always pitch exactly the right product or service to each individual subscriber
  • When subscribers visit your website in the future, they’ll get pitched on exactly what you want them to get pitched on (instead of seeing your opt-in forms)
  • You won’t need to juggle a tag soup of “people who don’t own this, but do own this” ever again

What is an Offer Funnel?

An Offer Funnel helps you answer the following:

Given this subscriber. Given their past history with us, what they’ve bought, what they’ve done, who they are, and what they need… what’s the next thing we think they should do or buy?

Offer Funnels take subscribers, look at how they’re currently segmented, and then determines what their prescribed next step should be.

Step 1: Mapping out your initial funnel

For example, if you owned a coaching business, your Offer Funnel might be:

  1. Join our email list
  2. Register for an upcoming sales webinar
  3. Apply to work with me
  4. Schedule a call
  5. Become a client
  6. Refer your peers

Or if you were in charge of marketing at a software-as-a-service (SaaS) company, your Offer Funnel might look like:

  1. Join our free email course
  2. Sign up for a trial
  3. Become a paying customer
  4. Upgrade to a higher plan
  5. Pay annually, rather than monthly

No matter what kind of business you run, you probably have a nebulous idea of what your Offer Funnel might include.

Step 2: Create a new automation

Technically, an Offer Funnel is just a workflow or automation – most likely created in your email marketing software – that reacts to triggers, routes someone through a series of “if this, then that” conditions, and then ultimately segments the subscriber.

Offer Funnel in ConvertKit

It might seem strange to have an automation or workflow that doesn’t actually send any email. But that’s totally fine! What you’re wanting is a centralized way to calculate who should get what, and using an automation in your email marketing software is a fantastic way to do just that.

Step 3: Set up the if’s and then’s

When a subscriber enters your Offer Funnel, you’ll use your email marketing database’s automation editor to create if/then conditions that query how a subscriber is segmented, and either segment them or continue to the next check.

Offer Funnel in ConvertKit (annotated)

In the above example, I have two products I want to offer subscribers: Double Your Freelancing Rate, followed by The Blueprint.

This is a very simple, linear funnel. I’m not recommending one product if they’re designers and another if they’re developers. Everyone (currently, at least) starts with the first product, and once they’ve bought that moves on to the next.

Step 4: Segment your offer (using custom fields)

When the Offer Funnel runs, it sets a next_offer custom field, with the value set to the product that I want to pitch them on next.

(If you’re wondering why I’m not applying a tag, here’s why tags aren’t ideal for this.)

Step 5: Set up the right entry triggers

Then you just need to set up a few triggers that determine when a subscriber should run through your Offer Funnel:

  1. When they first join your email list, ensuring that everyone has a next_offer set
  2. When they buy something from you / register for a webinar / etc. Basically, if they complete an action that’s referenced in your Offer Funnel, you’ll want to rerun your funnel
  3. (Optionally) If their underlying segmentation changes. If what you’re pitching is based on someone’s segmentation, then you want to ensure that you’re re-running your funnel whenever that data changes

This might sound crazy complicated.

But I promise you it’s not!

It’s actually not too different than setting up conditions around sending email sequences and what not. The only real difference, again, is that we’re not sending emails. We’re setting custom fields.

Adding your Offer Funnel to your website

If you’re using RightMessage, our native integrations mean that we not only know when a subscriber is back on your website, but we also know how you’ve segmented a returning subscriber.

This is huge.

If you’re pitching someone on a specific product or service over email, you’re going to want to ensure that when they’re back on your site – whether they’re reading your latest blog post or just checking our your homepage – that what you’re pitching over email is mirrored on your site.

Take a look at how easy it is to set this up in RightMessage:

RightMessage mirrored Offer Funnel

All we’re doing is pulling in a returning subscriber’s next_offer, the segmentation field we’ve set in our central Offer Funnel, and displaying calls-to-action that exactly mirror the products they’re being pitched over email.

Tying everything together

“We deliver the right email content and on-site CTAs to the right people, who have been automatically segmented using our Offer Funnel at exactly the right time, because once they should be offered something else our Offer Funnel re-runs.”

If you’re anything like me, you want:

  1. More sales
  2. Happier, more loyal subscribers and customers

An Offer Funnel allows you to achieve both.


Because people generally don’t want to need to think too hard about what they should be doing. You’re the expert. You know what you’ve got to offer, and you know who’s best for them.

Once your Offer Funnel is up and running, whenever you hit publish on future blog posts and you email them out to your list, you can dynamically include a soft P.S. mention based on the recipient’s next_offer:

Dynamic PS

…And then once they click through to read your latest article, they’ll then see the same exact product or service promoted:

On-site Dynamic Offer

This is a powerful way to pitch without constantly pitching.

Instead of needing to send out specialized “buy this now” or “do this next” email sequences, you’ll now be able to promote exactly the right thing – both over email and on your website.

Your subscribers and customers will be happier because they’re not getting pitched on the wrong stuff.

And your sales figures will be much nicer because you’re making it crystal clear what someone should do next, rather than expecting them to hunt around.