Stuck In The Funnel: Email Works Best Only In the Middle

Moving leads through the funnel is no easy thing. Most firms have little grasp of funnel ROI, GetResponse reports.

Email is the most widely used channel at all stages of the sales funnel. But it is rated highly only in the middle section, the worst performing part overall, according to "Eliminating Friction In The Funnel," a study by Demand Metric commissioned by Get Response.

Of the marketers polled, 69% say email is effective in the middle of the funnel. In this, email is tied with referrals.And 63% say email is effective at the top and 56% at the bottom.

In contrast, referrals are seen as effective at the top by 76% and at the bottom by 80%. Events also score highly for the top area.

The study defines the funnel sections as follows: 

  • Top—where lead capture occurs.
  • Middle—Where lead qualification occurs.
  • Bottom—where qualified leads convert to sales.



Email is also rated highly in ease of use at the top  by 60%, in the middle  by 62% and at the bottom by 69%). Overall, it is close to social media marketing, which also becomes easier as usage moves down the funnel.

However, email is rated as best performing only in the middle—and there it is second, behind referral marketing.

Overall, the top of the funnel is rated as the best-performing of the stages, and the middle section the worst performing. 

Not that the sections are integrated. Of those polled, 41% have moderate integration of the sections, 30% have low and 11% have none. In addition, 16% have strong and 2% complete integration.

Meanwhile, 73% of respondents say their email marketing performs better when it is mostly/fully automated, versus 75% who say the same about referrals. In contrast, 67% feel their search marketing improves with automation. 

But automation doesn’t necessarily mean ease of use, at least not for email. Only 9% cite improvement over little or no automation for email at the top, compared with 57% for earned media. And 67% report the same about content

In the middle, 16% say emails improves with automation,

And apparently none at the bottom.

More generally, less than 20% have strong or complete integration of their funnel sections. And 29% have a precise understanding of funnel ROI, only 4% very precise. Another 27% says their understanding is mostly imprecise and 33% it is very much so.

Automation is applied most to the top section. However, less than 20% have most to full automation for any section. 

“Today’s marketers are smart, digitally savvy and have an unlimited number of ideas and tools to execute campaigns, states Courtenay Worcester, director of marketing, GetResponse.”Yet they often struggle with moving opportunities through the funnel.”

Worcester adds, “By taking a closer look at the issues causing the most friction in the funnel, and enabling marketers to significantly reduce them, companies can realize stronger ROI and customer retention.”

GetResponse and Demand Metric surveyed 284 processional marketers at B2B and B2C companies and agencies. 

1 comment about "Stuck In The Funnel: Email Works Best Only In the Middle".
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  1. Billy Tarter from Leads Dynamo, July 31, 2019 at 8:04 p.m.

    The conclusions in this study are nonsensical.  With answers self-reported by marketers, it leads one to the depressing conclusion that most marketers don't know jack about lead generation. 

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