How to “Debug” a Busted Email Course Sales Funnel

Here’s a scenario I see a lot:

Entrepreneur has a product idea.

Builds a small list.

Launches a product.


Then our entrepreneur sets up an evergreen sales funnel and…

No money!

That’s pretty much what happened to a reader named Sam, who recently launched a video course teaching English as a second language.

So a little update. I made just over $350 in sales in the 24 hour promo – which I’m pretty happy with for my first time launching anything.

Since then, though. I haven’t sold a single thing.

My email course is still running & it has a three day 25% discount built within it, and I promoted it to my list in an email (to 850 people – I excluded the people who have purchased and the people who are going through the course), but no cigar.

So, I’m left scratching my head… It’s either:

– My product is bad – I actually don’t think this is the case.
– My offer is bad – maybe it’s not enticing enough
– My emails are bad
– My sales page is too long.

I know this is a big ask, but is there any way I could find out what’s stopping people? Should I email all the people who clicked what stopped them from buying?

Where do you go from here? Is it time to panic?

What I do when I’m consulting on a question like this, is I throw on my old software developer “debugging hat” and start asking questions to figure out what’s gumming up the sales engine.

The key is thinking “front to back,” starting at the first step in the sales funnel (usually the traffic source and optin page)…

And then tracing through the funnel step by step, looking for choke points and disconnects.

A few of the questions I’ll ask include:

– How much traffic do you have to your website? How are those people getting to your website?

What is your “lead magnet” or optin offer? (And how closely does it relate to the product you’re selling?)

– How many signups are you getting for your funnel each day/week/month?

– What kind of open rates are you seeing for your emails after they opt in? Do the open rates drop off steeply at any point?

(For email courses, I like to see open rates in the 40-60% range through most of the sequence.)

– What kind of click rates are you seeing on your emails? Do the click rates fall off a cliff?

(For sales emails, 1-5% is an acceptable range.)

– How much time do they spend reading the sales page? How far down the page do they scroll?

(You want to see an average read time of several minutes, and half or more of your readers should read at least partway down the page.)

– How many people are clicking Add to Cart?

And finally…

– How many people have gone through your entire funnel from start to finish?

The reason for working “front to back” like this is that changes you make at the front of the funnel have a trickle-down effect.

For example, if you have an optin page that’s converting at 5%, and you improve it so you’re now getting 10% of people to opt in, you’ve just doubled the number of people who will hit the later steps in your sales funnel.

In a lot of cases, that last question is critical…

When you’re just starting out you likely don’t have a lot of “new blood” coming onto your list.

A “good” sales funnel might turn 1-3% of subscribers into customers for a high-priced offer (or maybe 5-10% for a low-priced offer).

So unless you’ve had 500-1000 people go through your funnel with no sales, chances are you’re just hitting the panic button waaaaay too early.