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The Best Email Marketing Strategy For Your Online Course Launch

Ready to dabble with email marketing to kick off your game-changing online course? We have you covered. We’ll deconstruct email marketing and cover everything from building an email list to sequencing emails for your email marketing campaign that’ll churn guaranteed results. 
Email marketing for online courses, doesn’t it sound outdated and old school? 
Well, not really.
To be honest with you, most marketing trends die down after some time when the hype around them quietly extinguishes.
If you’re familiar with the marketing industry, then you must be familiar with the rise and fall of Beacons. While the concept behind it was revolutionary, it didn’t prove to be viable. 
Virtual reality marketing took off too, however, it too didn’t last too long. Early adopters were optimistic about its debut, however, the masses never got on board.
Email marketing on the other hand is still relevant. It is still a highly effective way to market, attract and nurture new leads that can significantly boost your sales numbers.
Building an effective email marketing campaign can turn your hot leads into paying customers.
We used the word “Build” here for a reason. What you drive from your campaign solely depends on your planning and execution.
In this easy-to-follow guide for beginners, we’ll discuss the benefits of email marketing. We’ll also show you how to set up and write engaging email sequences. In short, we’ll cover everything required to help you grow your email list and nurture your leads.
Are you ready? Let’s get started.

Why You Should Build Hype With Your Online Email Campaign?

Are you still locked up in your office working on your amazing course? 
You better hurry up, your audience is waiting. 
You wanna know a fact? 
Online courses that sell out quickly are backed by strong anticipation from the audience. Courses that don’t perform great often lack that hype, that anticipation from the audience that can drive your sales numbers. 
Successful online course launches take a lot of time and effort so they can be executed properly.
How many times have you heard a fellow course creator collecting email addresses for their marketing campaign but still not being able to drive their desired results? 
Quite often right?
Well, that’s because email marketing campaigns become meaningless if you never engage with your subscribers until it’s finally time to pitch your course.   
Makes sense right? 
Unless you don’t engage with your subscribers, how would they know who you are?
Let us make it more relatable for you.
We’ve all seen people littering, right? We often find ourselves complaining and wishing we could go up to them and tell them that what they’re doing is wrong but never end up building up the nerve.
Well, we hate to break it to you, but if you aren’t engaging regularly with your audience, you’re not going to make a difference.
Instead of waiting around for your big course launch, here are two effective things you should be doing:
1. Share teasers. Share small chunks of your course content that the subscribers will find once they’re onboarded.
2. Build early anticipation for your course. Build hype around your course so that once you finally launch your course, you’ll have an email list full of people who are eager to purchase your course.
All of this can be achieved through…you guessed it right — email.
While you’ll see a lot of marketers online bashing emails and how they’re no longer effective, it is not true. 
Most marketers will aggressively talk about gaining Facebook and Twitter followers, however, what they won’t tell you is that both these platforms will not help you drive meaningful engagement.
On the other hand, with an effective email campaign, you can achieve amazing open rates. This means that most people who receive your emails will actually end up interacting with your content.
What we’re trying to say is, Email marketing for online courses is relevant and you should be taking advantage of it effectively. 
With that said and done, how do you actually go about building anticipation for your course launch through email marketing? 

Why You Should Only Share Your Best Performing Content Through Internet Email Marketing?

Sharing your trade secrets with the world sounds absurd right? After all, why would you jeopardize your bread and butter?
We all have our doubts in our minds. Won’t teaching others how something works reduce the actual worth of your product? 
Well not necessarily. 
Bear with us.

Think about people who mentor others. Mechanics for example. Mechanics taking newbies under their supervision share their tricks of the trade. They share their years of experience with their mentees, helping them become professionals.
Mechanics who are tech-savvy have started their own Youtube channels where they’ll teach how anyone can work on their own cars. Take Scotty Kilmer for example. He has been an auto mechanic for the last 50 years. He’s been putting videos online for years now. Don’t you think he fears that someone younger will show up and steal his viewers?
Well, no!
By teaching others, mechanics like Scotty build their repertoire. They know that by promoting their videos, they’ll drive more customers to their actual business. 
Their reputation online and the anticipation that they build for their courses, help them sell their products more effectively. 
Email marketing has always been very important for online courses. It’s importance has sky-rocketed even more after the iOS changes in April 2021. It’s become so vital to own your own data. The best part though, the switch for online courses was not a big one because they were already doing this through lead magnets and opti-ns. Really though, email should be driving a majority of your revenue, and if it is not – then there’s something wrong with the way you run.

What is an Email Sequence and How to Set it Up?

So what is email sequence?
Well, think about the email sequence as a series of emails that you cleverly scheduled to be sent at a specific date/time. Each email sequence serves a specific purpose. In other words, it is just a bunch of automated marketing emails.
When talking about automated emails, it is important to mention ‘autoresponder’. An autoresponder basically automates email replies. Confirmation emails are the most relevant example of autoresponders.
Proper email automation will play a huge role in your email marketing for online course strategy. It’ll basically help you create a series of emails that will be sent out automatically to your audience in a timely manner.
We mentioned “sequence” over and over again. Why do you think we did that?
Well, sequencing emails is crucial. You can’t just pitch your subscribers your course without first making them familiar with what it’s about.
Here are some of the benefits of sequencing your emails for your marketing campaign: 

  • Email sequencing will help you build relationships with your subscribers and help you nurture your leads.
  • Sequencing will help you ensure that your email subscribers always get the best content no matter when they join. 
  • Sequencing can help create a personalized experience for your email leads.
  • Automated sequencing will reduce manual marketing efforts. You’ll be driving results without actually doing the intensive labor.
  • Your subscribers will receive valuable information with which they can actually relate.

So, doesn’t email sequencing sound cool and helpful? 
Can’t wait to get started? 
Hold up. First, you need to build an email list. You’ll need to build an email list with your target audience. 
What are target audiences?
Target audiences are people who you think will be most interested in your product or service.
Once you have your refined email list, you can get started with email sequencing. 
Assuming you already have your email list ready, let’s see how you can set up email sequencing to increase your brand awareness and sales for your online course.

How to Set up Email Sequencing?

An effective email sequence should always revolve around the online courses you’re planning to sell. You should cover what matters the most to your subscribers. Talk about their problem and how your course will help resolve that problem.
You need to create proper awareness so that people actually become interested in purchasing your course. 
To create an effective email sequence that drives results, there are 3 crucial steps you need to consider:

  1. Name your email sequence
  2. Set up your email sequence
  3. Schedule your content for your drip-email campaign

Let’s look at these three steps in a bit more detail, shall we? 

1. Name your email sequence

Naming an email sequence is really important. It is the first step to actually getting started. Naming your email sequence will help you plan and keep you focused on what you want to cover.
For instance, if you name your email sequence as “Lose weight in 30 days [Ultimate fitness course]”, you’ll know exactly what emails you need to send out and in what order.
This will keep you focused and help you achieve your goals.
The name you give your email sequence will ultimately become the headline/subject of your email.
Here are a few examples of a few email sequence names:

  • Lose weight in 30 days [Ultimate fitness course]
  • Sharpen your programming skills[Hands on speed programming]
  • Information Technology Online Courses – Learn Smart IT Skills

2. Set up your email sequence

Now that you’re done naming your email sequence, it’s time to get started with actually sequencing emails.
To get started, you’ll need to first get an autoresponder tool. Here are a few popular email autoresponders you can get started with:

  1. Constant Contact
  2. Sendinblue
  3. HubSpot
  4. MailerLite
  5. ConvertKit

Different autoresponder tools work differently, however, all of them work on a basic standard model.
For instance, no matter what autoresponder you end up opting for, you’ll be able to do the following:

  • Create your email sequence and give it a relevant name.
  • Draft your emails.
  • Set up a timeline for your emails to shoot out automatically.
  • Save your campaign so you can get started whenever it’s the right time. 

Sequencing your emails is really important. It will serve as a fine line between actually converting a lead or losing it altogether. 
No pressure!

3. Schedule your content for your drip-email campaign

So what is a drip-email campaign?
Drip marketing is basically a process in which businesses send out a limited number of emails automatically based on a set time frame.
Scheduling your content for your drip-email campaign will help you decide when you want to start pushing your emails once any subscriber becomes part of your email list. You’ll have the freedom to set up emails for different days of your campaign.
What’s cool about email scheduling is that all of your emails will get delivered to your recipients. Nothing gets lost or missed in between.
For example, you can schedule 15 emails to be sent out in a month-long period. The frequency of emails you want to shoot out as part of your marketing campaign all depends on you.
This means that you can create a 10 email sequence that is sent out within the duration of 30 days. Alternatively, it could be just one or two per week or even a total of 30 emails sent out on an annual basis!
Note: It is a good idea to send emails regularly for the first few days and then gradually reduce the frequency. Doing so will get new leads familiar with your marketing campaign and they’ll actually anticipate the final release of your course.

Different Types of Emails Sequences and Its Examples

Email sequences can include different emails to engage with your audience, ultimately leading them to finally make a purchase.
To get you familiar with different types of email sequences, we have listed down popular email sequences which will help you, as a course instructor, run a successful email marketing campaign. 

  • Welcoming or Onboarding Email
  • The Cold Email
  • The Question Email
  • The Newsletter Email
  • The Announcement Email
  • The Special Offer/Bonus Email
  • The Last Chance to Register Email
  • The Product Review Email
  • The Nurturing Email
  • The Re-engagement Email
  • The Follow-Up Email
  • The Thank You Email

Each of the email sequences mentioned above is pretty self-explanatory. 

Start Building Your Very Own Professional Email List

Before you start building your email list, it is important to get familiarized with the “subscriber-center list”.
What is it you ask? 
Well, for each course launch, you must make sure to maintain a single email list. All of your subscribers that subscribe to your email list from any source will end up in that one email list with proper tagging, identifying which course the subscriber is interested in. This practice is what’s called maintaining a subscriber-center list.
The most effective place to reel in subscribers to your email list is through the landing page where you have your course marketed. Usually, you’ll market your course on the home of your website. Your course landing page has to be powerful and compelling to entice your visitors to sign up. 
Now that you have a brief overview of building email lists, let’s dig in a bit deeper and get our hands dirty. We’ll now look at 8 easy to follow tips to help you build your email list.

8 Easy-to-Follow Tips to Help You Build Your Email List

To start building your email list, you first need a signup form. Having a simple signup form on your homepage will allow you to start reeling in those sweet sweet subscribers.
No matter what website builder you use, you can always find third-party signup forms on your website. Sumo is a great option to get started with. It is a free email capture tool that is super easy to use.
So, you got the signup form set up, but how do you convince people to actually fill up the form?
That my friend is not easy but perfectly doable.
To make it super simple for you, we have listed down 8 easy email list-building practices that are bound to get you your desired results.
Let’s get started:

1. Create valuable and engaging free content

Let’s be honest for a second. If something is free, you’ll be attracted to get your hands on it, right?
It is really important to first have a sizable audience before you start focusing on sales numbers. One way to get an audience is by offering free content. Something that convinces your subscribers into believing that your paid courses are worth paying for in the future.
But we know what you’re thinking, why would you offer free content? Well, we’re not saying that you should offer your actual course for free, but rather, think about what problems your audience face and try to offer a solution through helpful guides, blogs, and even videos for free. You want to create credibility. You need to convince your audience into thinking that what you’re teaching them is unique, relevant, and super helpful.
You can create a guide like this: Promote your small business. This blog post is free, but it is enough to entice your audience to purchase your full in-depth online marketing course.
Getting the picture?
When it comes to creating free content, you can start publishing free guides on your own website. You can also go for blogging platforms like WordPress Squarespace, Weebly and others. If you’re into making video content, you can post your videos on YouTube, Dailymotion, or Vimeo.

2. Create a powerful lead magnet

So what even is a lead magnet?
In the marketing world, a lead magnet is anything that is free and which can help you collect contact details. Think about lead magnet like a free trial. Anyone will willingly sign up for a free trial by providing their contact details. It’s a win-win for you and your audience.
Lead magnets work and they perform well. 
It is exactly why so many people offer free ebooks and templates to get people to sign up. If you’re after signup rates, a lead magnet is just what you need.
This is a common lead magnet you’d find online:

If your lead magnet is helpful and genuinely caters to your audiences’ problems, they will sign up – no questions asked.

Here are some ideas to generate lead magnets without much effort:

  1. Make a simple checklist to give direction to your audience on where they can get started. Kind of like this SEO checklist.
  2. Convert one of your well-performing blogs or guides into a PDF. To get the PDF, people will have to sign up for it.
  3. Create supporting content for the course you want to sell. A good idea is to create listicles that contain brief chunks of information surrounding your main course content. Something that is enough but not complete.

3. Publish guest posts

Guest blogging is when you write a content piece that gets published on someone else’s website. In return for that content piece, you drive traffic to your own website, giving you exposure from a totally new audience.
Publishing a guest blog will allow you to get more recognition. After all, getting your name and work published on someone else’s website is a big deal, especially if the website has a high domain authority.
With that being said, guest posting is not easy. Think about it this way. Why would anyone want to give you any recognition on their website which they worked hard to build?
The guest posting comes under SaaS lead generation. And while it’s hard to get a guest post published, it is not impossible if you know what you’re doing.
To get your guest post published, one thing you’ll need to focus on is the pitch. Your pitch should be enticing. It should create value for the website owner.

4. Advertise your course in your own emails

As marketers, we send a ton of emails every day. But what if you could market your course through them without much effort? 
We’re not asking you to write emails. We’ve already looked over that in the email sequencing section of this guide.
What we are suggesting is to add a course link that you want to sell in your email signature.
Clever right? 
Why miss any opportunity, right?
This hack is not only simple but it only takes a few seconds to set up. If you use Gmail, check out this link to create your email signature.

5. Join engaging social media groups

Social media groups are a good way to connect with people who share the same interest as you. Use that to your advantage.
No matter what social media platform you join, be it Facebook or whatever, you’ll find communities that might be interested in your course. 
First things first, search for relevant groups and join them. 
For example, here is a Facebook group related to digital marketing with 198K members:

Once you’ve found a potential group, join it. 
Before we proceed, it is important to talk about the don’ts of this practice.
Brace yourself…
Don’t go crazy. We knew you wanna go out there and post a link to your course right away but that would be a rookie move.
Baby steps…

Engage in the community first. See how things work. Become a part of the community. Let others see you as a valuable addition and not as someone who is out there for potential link-building.
Once you’ve blended in, it is time to ease into your content. Slowly introduce your content, the course you want to market.
When the timing feels right and you know that you’ve built a decent relationship, you can begin to share links to your course. Before that, we would suggest adding a link to your course in your profile bio as well.
This tactic is tedious and slow, however, the results can be worth the wait if executed properly.
If you mess up, if you start posting links here and there, you can end up getting kicked out of the community.
We believe in you. Go Get Em Tiger.

6. Run an exciting contest to reel in leads

Running contests fall under lead magnets. Nothing gets the masses more excited than the prospect of getting free stuff. You’ll have people rushing in to join your contest.
While this tactic is super impressive, it can be ineffective sometimes. 
Well, while you will get your email list filled up, you won’t be able to get the most relevant crowd for your online course. We’re talking about the people who will actually purchase your course. 
Most leads you’ll pull in will just be interested in getting whatever you’re offering for free. They aren’t there to pay for it.
But don’t give up on this tactic just yet. It is still a great way to get the word out about your course.
Well, you can introduce more entries per visitor if they spread the word. 
Catching our drift?
For example, if a visitor has already entered your contest and they want to increase their chance of winning, they can get more entries if they tweet about your content or share it on Facebook. 
It is a clever tactic, right? 
There are plenty of tools that can help you run successful contest campaigns. omniCONTESTS, ContestCore, Contests & Sweepstakes are all great options to get started.
With that being said, there is one thing to remember about running contests. Don’t give away anything that is not relevant to your course. For example, if your course is about Mathematics, consider giving away a laptop or a scientific calculator, not an iPhone or a gaming console. 
Well, if you give away something that is irrelevant to your course, you’ll end up filling up your email list with subscribers who don’t have any interest in purchasing your course.
Does it make sense?

7. Share other people’s best content to add value

The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit. Be a tree, give fruits, flowers, shade to others without expecting anything from others. Whatever you want from others first you have to give that to others. Whatever you give to others, you will be given in return. If you give love, respect to others then surely you will be given love and respect from others. Thats why we should learn to give good things to others”. 
Sharing other people’s content is a great way to pave the way for future prospects. The results may not be instant, but your efforts will prove fruitful in the future.
Sharing videos and articles of well-known influencers in your niche is a great way to create audience engagement. 
Don’t think that if you share someone else’s work they’ll share yours too right away. After all, you’re not paying someone to get a shout-out as you would do in influencer marketing
Over the course of time, you will get recognized. If the content you produce has potential, the influencers you promote will end up linking back to your content as well. 
The only thing to keep in mind about this approach is to not get your hopes high or expect backlinks in return.

8. Plan the pre-launch of your online course

This is our preferred tactic. If you want laser-focused results, pre-launching your course can do wonders.
Well, pre-launching can help you get leads that are genuinely interested in getting your course. You’ll know exactly who is willing to purchase your course. 
There are two main reasons why we love the pre-launch tactic:
A: It can help you see the potential of your course. If people aren’t signing up, then your course is not enticing enough and there will be no point in pursuing your email marketing campaign. This will give you an early heads-up so you may do more research and tweak your course. 
B: You’ll only get relevant email subscribers who are looking to buy your course.
Jungle Scout,, and HubSpot CRM are great tools to pre-launch your course. 

5-step email sequence strategy to market your online course

You can get super creative with your emails. But for beginners, we suggest keeping everything very basic.

If you need clear direction to start your email campaign, we suggest following our email drip template. Just follow along with our 5-step email marketing strategy to get started.

First Email: Introduce your course and engage with your subscribers

The first email should be about introducing yourself. Tell your subscribers what problem you’re looking to solve for them. 
If you’re not helping your subscribers solve their problems, they won’t purchase your course, to begin with. 
In the first email, we’ll introduce ourselves, what we’re about, and engage with our audience.

Second Email: Share your valuable key insights

In the previous step, we introduced ourselves and talked about the problem that our readers face. We also talked about how we can help solve their problem.
Now that our reader is engaged, let’s tell our readers what steps they need to take to solve their issues for free
Why would we do that? 
Well, we’re doing this to build trust. Now, of course, we’re not going to give away the course we spent our blood, sweat, and tears building. Instead, we’ll just share small chunks of it. We’ll share powerful content with our readers which will entice them to buy our full course. 
You’ll need to make sure that you share real-world examples and the results that you managed to derive personally. If your readers see that you managed to achieve great results with your work, they won’t be hesitant to jump on board your program.
It’s that simple!

Third Email: Introduce your solution and how it will help your subscribers

Now we need to make things relatable. You need to convince your readers that you have the solution to all their problems. 
What does our reader want? 
They want a detailed course methodically laid out for them to follow and learn the tricks of the trade.
In this email, you’ll share your course outline and what your readers will learn. It is also a good idea here to point out what your students are in for. Sharing the duration of the program and the level of prerequisite knowledge required to keep up should be laid out. This will ensure a good learning experience for your students.  
Keep things conversational, light, and relatable with your subscribers. Giving your emails a personal touch will go a long way. 

Forth Email: Answer any objections your subscribers might have

Once you’re done pitching your course, you will naturally receive queries. Some people may be skeptical. Why would they purchase a course from you blindly? 
In this email, you’ll address all the questions that your subscribers may have regarding your course. Make sure to break things down. Not everyone is technical. Make sure to avoid using technical jargon.

Fifth Email: The final pitch to convince your subscribers

You’re done with your pitch and everything. Still, there are some subscribers who didn’t make the purchase as you expected. The good thing is, they haven’t unsubscribed. This is still an opportunity to take advantage of. 
What do we do now? 
Well, as one final hurrah, we pitch one last time. This time, we need to really convince them to get on board. Clear all their doubts. Give them the clarity they need. 
In this email, engage with your subscribers and ask them to share all their queries. Get on an emotional level with your subscribers and clear out all their doubts.  
While you can’t guarantee a purchase, it is still worth trying. 
And that is it. This is of course not the only template you should follow. With time, you’ll be able to create your own email sequences based on previous campaigns that worked for you. 
A word of advice, keep this simple. Don’t complicate things and make it difficult for yourself and your subscribers. You’ll need to spend time building an effective email campaign and make sure it is perfect before rolling it out. And if it fails, try and try again. 
“Each new breath is an opportunity to try again. Don’t hide from life. Whatever happens, we are far greater than any problem that we are facing”.

Conclusion: What’s next

So this wraps up our extensive guide. We hope you’re confident enough to now launch your own email marketing for online courses campaign. It’s time to let your game-changing online course make waves and follow the marketing strategy for selling online courses for better student egagment.
The force is with you, young Skywalker, but you are not a Jedi yet. Learn about social media marketing to really ramp up your marketing game. 

Rayed Chaudhry

Rayed is passionate about marketing and interested in learning new ways to hack (legally) marketing platforms to help businesses achieve growth using unconventional methods. Prior to starting Orion, Rayed has worked in various marketing positions and spent millions of dollars across different ad platforms.