You’re looking for the perfect opt-in freebie. Maybe even asking how to get free subscribers.
And you hear everyone talking about email courses.
Are they really perceived to be of more value than a checklist or a cheat sheet?
They seem like a ton of work.
And is it worth spending all that time and effort to plan out an email course?
My answer is a resounding YES!
But here’s the deal and my experience from launching two totally different email courses on the same theme….
People are quick to sign up for a swipe file or a checklist or a report.
They hesitate more to sign up for an email course.Email courses are perceived to be more valuable than a simple downloadClick To Tweet
- With a swipe file or a checklist, it’s a one time download.
- With an email course, the person knows you’re going to be popping into their inbox every few days.
- They haven’t had a chance to know you yet. They don’t know about your teaching style or even if it’s worth their time for the information you’re going to provide.
But this is perfect because you attract the right people
This person knows what they are getting into when they sign up. These are people who have identified something they need help with. They see your ‘hook’ on your landing page, resonate with it and sign up.
Before we get into the steps to create an email course, here are 4 reasons why email courses make perfect opt-in freebies, and help you get the best free subscribers.
Before we head into the specific steps, if you’re looking for a cheat sheet to write your email sequence, you’ll love this download.
#1 Email courses act like funnels and bring you passive income
An email course is made up of a sequence of emails that are sent automatically by your email service provider.
This below is a snapshot of some transactions from my free email course. This free course acts as a funnel into my paid product.
A sales funnel is a strategic, well-thought plan that inches the subscriber towards the products and services in your business. It introduces your subscriber to your offerings in a step-by-step manner rather than pushing the sales page to them in the first two emails they get from you (which you absolutely shouldn’t do by the way)
Whether a subscriber ‘converts’ and becomes a buyer depends not just on price point but on the way you’ve structured your course and how well you know what your audience is struggling with.
Your product should be seen as the vital next step that the subscriber has to take after going through your email course. And I talk about how you can set this up in my course The Profitable Email System.
#2 Email courses sell your evergreen products on auto
If you have a product like an ebook, planner or printable that’s evergreen (with no open and close carts), they pair well with email courses. Alternatively, you could also create a related opt-in for your product or service and link it to an email sequence.
This will see you having consistent sales beyond your launch window.
#3 Email courses have consistently high engagement rates
How many times have you heard back from subscribers telling you they didn’t receive your email and want you to resend it?
Not often right?
But this happens with email courses. If your course content is compelling, your subscribers will be hanging on end to receive your next email.
I’ve also noticed that the open rate and click-through rates for email courses are higher than other emails that you send out.
If you open a conversation at the end of each email, you’re going to hear back from them about their struggles and their thoughts on your lessons too.
#4 They are completely automated and it’s easy to set up
Setting up an email sequence is not as scary as it sounds.
If you’re on Mailchimp, here’s a tutorial as to how you can do it.
If you’re on Convertkit, here are the steps:
- At the top bar on your dashboard, click ‘sequence’ and then name your sequence
2. Once you’ve done that, here’s how it will look inside.
The part that always confuses people is when the first email goes out.
If you want your subscriber to receive the first email in the course immediately after they have signed up, you have to choose ‘Delay sending by 0’.
You can then alter your frequency for subsequent emails and delay them by 1 or 2 days after the previous one.
3. But how do you connect an email sequence to a landing page or opt-in form?
Here’s how you do it within Convertkit. Within Convertkit, a landing page and opt-in sign-up are both called forms.
You click ‘create a form’ and choose either a landing page or opt-in sign-up.
You then go into the settings for that form, scroll to the bottom and choose which sequence you want the form connected to.
I then tick ‘make sequence mandatory’ for new subscribers.
Here’s a video of the process.
Should an email course be your first opt-in freebie?
Email courses take time to set-up. And I recently had a reader ask me if this should be her first freebie.
If your email course is keeping you from launching your blog, splinter your email course and offer a part of it as a checklist or worksheet rather than perfecting your email content.
If your checklist or worksheet starts to convert well, then go on to develop your email course.
This way you have some validation that your audience wants this content. It’s better to get your work or idea out into the hands of your audience and tweak it over time with feedback.
Honestly, if you are trying to get free subscribers by setting up an email course, it will take time and investment.
But what if your email course isn’t getting you the results you want?
It’s not converting. You get no engagement and you get no sales.
A well-structured email course should do all of these. Here are a few points that you need to consider.
#1 Do you know your end point?
What is your email course going to lead to?
- Are you going to ask for a sale?
- Are you looking to turn them into a client?
- Do you want them to join your mastermind?
Whatever your endpoint is, be very clear about what you want and work back to the start.
Your emails should have a flow and one email should lead on to the next.
#2 Have you done enough to justify the ask?
Your email course or email sequence is a journey.
Every single email is a little milestone marker and has to inch them forward.
Have you done enough to justify the ask?
Have you brought attention to the problem, raised interest and instilled desire for your outcome? Your email sequence has to do all of this before your reader is going to possibly even say ‘yes’ to your ‘ask’.
#3 Are you experimenting with your emails?
Experiment with different categories of subject lines and appeal to the different sides of your subscribers.
Will you deliver your course via text, video or audio? I have used text and they work fine.
But if video content resonates better with your audience, go for that. Host your files on Vimeo, Wistia or Youtube and have a screenshot image of the video in the email which links directly to it. This gives the subscriber a compelling visual to click through.
Switch things up and make tweaks as you refer to your stats. It’s going to take some time before you hit the ‘sweet spot’.
#4 You bombard them with homework
I’ve done that. My first email course was a monster of notes and reports.
I got good feedback but very little in terms of gushing engagement. The excitement of when’s the next email….what is she going to say next is lost when your email courses are packed with worksheets and long text.
This is where most of us get it wrong. How many of you actually do the homework on an email course?
Be honest now, I can’t be the only one that ditches the homework right?
Sure, I look through it. But rarely do I print it out and do it unless it’s a quick exercise.
Your email course shouldn’t feel like work. If it does, you’ve lost them.
I see email courses as different from challenges.
Challenges give you small action items to do on a daily basis. Something that you can implement immediately and give you quick wins. Email courses may get you to think about a certain way of doing things. Or point out mistakes in execution or strategy that you may be making.
They are both delivered via an email sequence but the mental imagery of what I’ll be expecting from both is different.
Your email course shouldn’t feel like work. If it does, you’ve lost them.Your email course shouldn't feel like work. If it does, you've lost your subscriber.Click To Tweet
#5 You fail the ‘skimmer’s’ test
Long courses and chunks of wordy paragraphs are major turn-offs.
Email courses or challenges that are 20-30 days long don’t work well.
If you craft a landing page with a good hook, you’ll get sign-ups but your drop out rate is going to be very high as well.
If you have a call to action at the end of your email course, there are very few people who are going to stick to the end to see what that is.
So put the call to action at the top of the email course, and then you’ll be sure to find some free subscribers very fast.
#6 Determine how often you’re going to pop-in
Don’t be afraid of emailing them too often.
If you pack a punch in your emails and keep them light reading at the same time, no one’s going to throw anything at you for showing up in their inbox once a day for 7 days or once every 2 days.
I’ve done this and live to tell. I structured my email course and had back to back emails almost most days.
#8 Your email course doesn’t have a hook
What’s one thing you’re going to help them accomplish? Or are you helping them get started with something?
Your email course needs to have a hook to make it tangible. They need to know what they are signing up for on the landing page and what they’ll get out of your email course.Your email course needs to have a hook to make it tangibleClick To Tweet
Don’t be afraid to pivot
Your email course and landing page will go through changes.
Watch your open and click-through rates to see what tugs at your audience. Add in or remove lessons based on how the feedback is like.
What struggles do you have with your own email course? Or are you thinking of launching your first?