How to Make Passive Income With an Email Funnel That Sells on Autopilot

(Last Updated On: February 8, 2018)

Many of the bloggers I know make a full-time income (more than me!), but their deep dark secret is that their evergreen sales funnel doesn’t convert.

And an evergreen sales funnel? It’s kind of the holy grail of passive income. You create a product, and write a series of emails to sell it. If all goes well, you earn a steady income on autopilot for months and years to come.

So, why are so many entrepreneurs struggling to create an evergreen sales funnel that works?

Start earning passive income with your blog using an evergreen email sales funnel. Click through to read email marketing funnel tips and download a free sales funnel template.


What is an evergreen sales funnel?

First, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page here. So, what is an evergreen sales funnel?

In its simplest form, a funnel is an automated series of emails that are designed to turn a reader into a buyer. An evergreen funnel is simply a funnel that is always running.

Of course, evergreen funnels can get much more complicated. People add webinars, or a three-part video training, or an email course to their funnel. But all these bells and whistles aren’t necessary, especially if you’re selling an inexpensive product.

Why use an evergreen sales funnel?

There are many reasons why an entrepreneur might use an evergreen sales funnel.

  1. It can give you steadier income than an open and close launch. For example, I’ve had an evergreen funnel in place for 8 months, and I can now accurately predict how much income I’ll make each month from it.
  2. It helps you get feedback in real time. With an open-close launch model, your customers only hear about your product once in a blue moon. But with an evergreen funnel, you constantly have people moving through the funnel. The last piece of my funnel is a survey for my readers, in which I ask them to give me feedback on my sales page and course offering. This way, I get new feedback constantly, so I can tweak and improve my offer.
  3. It gets your audience used to buying from you (or at least hearing you pitch).
  4. It reduces the stress of a big open-close launch. Because an evergreen funnel is automated, you don’t have to work non-stop to make sales.

Why your evergreen sales funnel might not be working

You don’t give it long enough to work

I’ve been told that an evergreen sales funnel typically converts at 1-3%. My three evergreen sales funnels convert within that range. A conversion rate of 1-3% means that if 100 people enter your funnel by downloading the related freebie, you will sell an average of 1-3 copies of the paid product.

So, if your list is growing slowly, it can be months before you see the first sale. If you want to see if your evergreen sales funnel really works, make sure you’re giving it enough time. I know it’s hard, but be patient! And if you want to spruce up your funnel in the meantime, download my free sales funnel template here:

You don’t create a sense of urgency.

The biggest downfall of an evergreen funnel is that it doesn’t have a natural sense of urgency. In an open and close launch, the cart closing provides that urgency. But if the funnel is always running, it’s a little tougher.

To create urgency you can add time-limited bonuses, time-limited discounts, or use software like Deadline Funnel to create a sense of urgency.

Urgency pushes people to take action, so make sure you’ve included this key ingredient in your funnel.

Your funnel isn’t strategic.

A sales funnel is like a map. You use it to lead your readers to their desired destination, which is your paid product.

You need to carefully plan this journey for your readers, otherwise they’ll get lost along the way. And if they’re lost? They won’t buy.

Want to create a strategic funnel that converts? Download my free template.

How to create an evergreen sales funnel that sells

The secret to creating an effective evergreen sales funnel is planning backwards. You need to start with a product you know inside and out. It should be a product that you know your audience wants and that will help your audience solve a serious pain point.

For example, I have three evergreen funnels, for three products that I know and love. Two of the products are affiliate products. One is my own course, which is designed to help solopreneurs turn their ideas into a step-by-step action plan for success.

Working backwards, I ask myself:

What benefit will people get from my product?

Why do they need it?

How will it transform their business?

For example, my reader needs my course because it will help her clarify her business goals, prioritize her tasks, and ultimately reach her goals faster. She’s going to feel so much more confident and have a lot more free time after learning how to run her business strategically.

Now that I have a clear vision for where I want my reader to be, I write my evergreen sales funnel with that vision in mind.

Each email of my funnel is designed to help my reader see this future for herself and understand that my course will get her there.

A Copywriting Formula for Your Funnel

Once you have the end goal in mind, you can start writing the emails for your funnel. I use a simple copywriting formula called Problem-Agitate-Solution.

In my first few emails, my goal is to help my reader recognize the problem she is facing in her business. Then I write a few emails to agitate that problem. It might sound icky to “agitate the problem,” but I promise, you can do this in a helpful and classy way. Once my reader is feeling the pain and ready to fix the problem, I can send a few emails with my solution: my paid product.

5 Emails You Need in Your Evergreen Sales Funnel

For an inexpensive product, like an ebook, I usually have five emails in my sales funnel.

Email 1: Deliver the lead magnet and introduce yourself and your business

Email 2: Educate the reader about her problem and provide value by sharing a quick win.

Email 3: Tell a story about you or one of your readers to agitate the problem.

Email 4: Agitate the problem more, and show how your product provides the solution.

Email 5: Make your hard sell. Pitch the product and remind the reader of the urgency of taking action now. What will she lose out on if she doesn’t buy right now?

Want a more detailed framework to use while writing your funnel? Download my free template here:

The more expensive your product, the more emails you’ll need in your funnel. For example, the evergreen sales funnel for my course includes 7 emails. I’ve seen expensive courses that have webinar replays and video training in the funnel and include 14 or 15 emails.

A bigger product needs a bigger funnel. Why? Well, it simply takes people longer to make the journey from reader to buyer. The problem is bigger, and the solution is more expensive. So people need to hear from you more before they are willing to buy.

Do you use evergreen funnels in your business? If so, what’s your biggest challenge using them? I’d love to hear from you, so please leave a comment.

Want to create your own evergreen sales funnel that converts? Download my free template here:






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  • Hey Emily!

    This is SO helpful. You really addressed my questions about how many emails to set up for my sales funnel, and you gave a really good framework about how to set one up for my ebook.

    THANK YOU! I signed up for your email list and I’m excited to use your sales funnel template!

    • Hey Krista, I’m so glad I could help! It took me a long time to figure out how to write a great sales funnel, hopefully this helps you make some sales sooner!