When it comes to selling online courses for profitability, email marketing is usually the go-to strategy for any online course creator. In this post, we’ll look at everything about email marketing online courses so that you can almost guarantee that your next online course will be successful.
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The Number 1 Way To Sell Any Product Online
When it comes to selling an online product (whether it be physical products via dropshipping, or digital products like online courses), different people will suggest different things. The most popular ways suggested by different marketers are usually the following:
- Facebook Ads
- YouTube Ads
- Google Search Ads
- Instagram Influencers
- Outreach via LinkedIn
- Posting to followers on Social Media platforms like YouTube, TikTok, Facebook and Instagram.
But when it comes to selling anything online, the number one way is still email. No other method comes even close. Email marketing is not dead.
If there’s any important takeaway from this article, it’s the fact that email marketing is the number 1 way to selling anything online for any industry or niche!
Why Email Marketing Is So Powerful For Your Online Course
One of the most effective ways to make sales online is to build trust and attention. The old saying goes that you capture their attention, then build trust and finally close the sale. If you’ve nailed their trust and attention, you can pretty much sell anything! So, you can achieve trust and attention easily with email marketing online courses compared to other platforms.
Allow me to explain. Let’s start with attention.
When you run Facebook ads, you’ll still likely lose the attention of your ideal customer. Ad blindness is a real thing. People nowadays are so accustomed to seeing ads everywhere that they have learnt to involuntarily ignore and scroll past anything that looks like an ad.
Even if they would have loved to join your online course and been the most ideal student, you would have lost their attention as they would have scrolled past the ad.
Or they would have been busy and away from social media for a while and by the time they login, your campaign would have finished. You’d then have to find ways to fix it by continuing to run ads until you got their attention or keep tweaking and testing your ad copy, image and headline until it captures their attention.
All of this stuff can be quite costly. Also add to the fact that ads are mostly disruption-based marketing. People on Facebook are looking to wind down after a long day’s work and watch videos of cats or pictures of their friends and family. They are not in the mindset to purchase anything. Even regular posting on social media platforms aren’t as effective as they get lost in the sea of content added with all these news about how your posts don’t even reach all your subscribers and followers unless you pay. So you’re in a bit of a tough battle to gain their attention to begin with.
Whereas with email marketing, you will most likely have their attention as soon as you send them an email. Even if they’re busy, they’re going to find your email eventually when they’re free and see what it’s all about. It isn’t really disruption marketing either. Rarely do people send emails related to videos of funny cats or family pics. So people are more open to buying things (and enrolling in your online course) if they find out about it on email as long as you’ve nurtured the relationship.
Which now perfectly leads me to the next point, trust!
It should go without saying that, when people do not trust you, they are unlikely to buy from you.
Imagine if you’re toaster broke down and you were looking to buy a toaster. If a random stranger suddenly came up to you and said “buy my toaster?” what would you do? Would you buy the toaster? Hopefully, you would say no.
You don’t know whether that stranger’s toaster would work properly, or if they put something in it to make it go on fire or demand more money. You’d probably also wonder how the stranger knows that you even need a toaster?! So you’d shut the door on the stranger as quick as they can say toaster.
But now imagine, a famous chef like Gordon Ramsey, came up to you and said the exact same thing “buy my toaster?”. Again, I probably don’t know you too well, but I’m guessing your reaction would be something like “shut up and take my money”. It doesn’t even matter if the stranger’s toaster was actually better than Gordon Ramsey’s.
The point is, when someone trusts you, it’s so much easier to make the sale.
With Facebook or Youtube ads, you don’t have that trust (assuming you’re running ads to cold audiences and not doing any retargeting whatsoever). They don’t know you. They are more inclined to skip the ad quicker than you can say toaster. Even if you do retarget them after they’ve visited your site, you’ve gained a little trust, but you don’t have anywhere near the same amount of trust as a nurtured email list.
With an email list, assuming you’ve nurtured the list and provided value to your subscribers, they are going to trust you a lot and be much more inclined to buy from you.
If you’ve developed a great relationship with your subscribers, it doesn’t matter how saturated your online course niche is, or whether someone else created an online course similar to yours.
People will want to buy only from you because they trust you and you only. They don’t believe anyone else can teach you the way you can teach them. Email marketing can allow you to foster that trust much easier than social media (as you’re still battling for attention and trust with other people to begin with).
With that being said, I just wanted to point out (from personal experience), never EVER buy email lists. You’ll experience spam complaints, low deliverability rates and most likely no course sales.
This is purely because you do not have their trust and attention at all and it’s just cold emailing someone to buy your course. It’s the worst thing you can do to damage your online marketing. If you need to purchase lists, a better way is to get the owner of the list to send news about your online course to their list. This can be done via influencer marketing or purchasing solo ads from a place like Udimi. Etiher way, it still doesn’t compare to an email list that you’ve built yourself and nurtured.
How Email Marketing Online Courses Can Make You Recurring Income For A Lifetime
Let’s now look at how you can earn income for a lifetime with your online courses.
Say you have an email list that you’ve nurtured and are able to make up to $100K on sales with your email list.
Well, you’d then have to create a new online course each year and market to your existing list (plus the new emails that you would have continued to accumulate over the year) to make $100K or more. Additionally, you can also market your old online courses to new subscribers to keep earning more revenue each year, sort of like a pay raise.
As you can see, you can stack up your income and potentially replace your full time day job by teaching and helping other people.
A word of note, if you’re online course is great and your students are satisified, you’ve increased their trust and attention. They’ve spent time going through your online course and listening to your voice (potentially for hours). So anything you put out to your email list will likely gain their attention and continue to build their trust.
Let’s look at the numbers in detail.
Say you’re selling a course for $100 (this is actually on the lower end and would recommend you price it higher).
You have a list where 1000 people enrol within the year.
You’ve made yourself $100K within the year with hopefully 1000 happy students.
You create another even better course for $149 and market it to your list.
Now you have 1200 people enrol (since new email addresses would have continued to accumulate throughout the year).
Now you’ve made $178,800 in the year.
In addition, you promote your old course to your list of people who still haven’t enrolled in that course. So this includes the new email addresses plus the old email addresses that haven’t enrolled (perhaps they were on the fence about it).
So now, let’s say you get another 300 people to enrol in the old course.
You’ve made an additional $30K.
This takes your grand total earnings for the year to $208,800.
Then for year 3, you create an even better online course, as well as promote the other 2 course to even bigger list and so on.
Do you now see how powerful an email list can be?
It’s an asset you own and control, unlike social media and paid ads. You choose what content to email out and when to send your content. You don’t need to worry about getting banned or whether your message will actually reach your target audience.
I know, you might be thinking how on Earth am I going to get 1000 people to enrol in my online course to begin with, Dan? Well, no worries internet reader, I cover that in this article here.
The Best Email Marketing Platform For Building Your Audience
There are many different email service providers and each come with their own advantages and disadvantages as below.
The main advantage with these tools is that allows you to craft beautiful looking emails using a WYSIWYG editor. It also contains scheduling and automation features to trigger email sending based on specific actions. The main disadvantage however, is cost. The larger your email size (and the number of emails you send per month), the heftier your monthly bill is going to be. You would need to consistently keep making sales in order to profit.
As an online course instructor myself, I highly recommend Podia. Yes, I know, it’s not an email service provider. It helps me build my online course website as well as allows me to do email marketing.
But the biggest feature that stands out to me with Podia’s email marketing system is its unlimited email feature. That is almost unheard of with other email service providers.
You can have an unlimited number of contacts and send unlimited number of emails. As an online course creator, that would be awesome, as you can take home a lot of the profit. Just look at how much you’d have to pay MailChimp monthly if you had a list the size of around 10K.
7 Ways To Build A Huge Email List
When building an email list, you want targeted people who are most likely to enrol in your online course. You want to make sure you get at least 1000 people to enrol and want to keep building that up every year (hopefully accelerating that growth). So here are 7 ways to build up a huge list of people who would be most responsive to your online course offers.
Publish Related Content On Your Blog
When you have an online course ready to sell, or at the very least have a plan for your online course, you can start to publish related content on your blog. You give away tidbits of valuable information from your course and provide value to a potential student. At the end of the post, you then create a call-to-action (CTA) to sign up to your email list.
Create Related Videos on YouTube
You can turn your blog posts into videos and publish them on YouTube for even more exposure. Down in the video description as well as towards the end of the video, you can add a CTA to get people to sign up to your email list.
Post Them On Social Media
Once you have blog posts and videos up, you can also post them to your social media followers to get the word out even further as well as continue to nurture your existing followers.
Create Lead Magnets And Run Paid Ads
This could potentially be a quicker way to build up your email list. You essentially create a mini eBook or mini online course related to your main course that you give away for free in exchange for an email address. The lead magnet alone can be promoted on social media and on your blogs/videos as a CTA. You can also benefit by running paid ads directly to the lead magnet. There will be less resistance from even cold audience as it’s free.
Create Landing Page or Lead Magnet And Publish Articles On High Traffic Websites
This is a newer strategy that seems to be getting more popular since 2020. You create a simple landing page explaining why your new course will be awesome and have a section to collect an email address. You then pay high traffic websites to write articles and promote your landing page all over the internet.
There is a super easy way to do this and can be a lot more cost effective than Facebook or Google Ads. Chris Munch is currently running a webinar training on how to do this. Click here to register for his free training and see how you can potentially explode your online course sales.
Join Groups on Facebook/LinkedIn/etc
The general rule is to provide value and contribute to the community before you spam your own links. You could share your blog posts if it provides value to your group. You should rarely ever ask for people to sign up to your email list directly in these groups.
Quora is a big Q&A site where people ask questions they need answered. If you course answers some of the pain points, it’s likely there’s a question about it on Quora. Answer a few of them yourself and again, provide value! You can include a link to your website (or lead magnet) towards the bottom of your answer.
Publish content on Reddit
Reddit can be a little iffy, which is why I left it to last. Personally, I rarely ever promote on Reddit. The Reddit community truly despise anything that comes across as self-promotion. If they sense you’re coming on Reddit to self-promote yourself, they will shun you for eternity. The general rule to play nice with Reddit is to post other people’s stuff more often and on the rare occasion, your own blogs/videos/etc. There’s no hard and fast rule, but in general, it’s safe to keep it non-self-promotional 85% and self-promotional 15% of the time. And again, Reddit is all about providing value to the community. Self-promotion comes last.
How Often Should You Send Emails
There’s no rule defined really for how often you should send out emails. If your online course launch is months away, you could send out emails once every week or two. As you get closer to launching your course, you could amp it up to daily emails to really get your email list warmed up and excited to enrol.
What To Write In Your Emails To Convert Sales
When you write emails, your job is to always provide value. That being said, you’ll need to learn a little bit of copywriting in order to really warm up your email list and get them really excited to open up their wallets and enrol in your course.
The strategy for this would require a full post on its own but the general gist is as follows:
- More than 2 months away from launch – Send helpful content that provide value for free. For example, blog posts, YouTube videos and free resources/downloads. At this point, there’s no need to mention anything related to your online course but just drop hints here and there and make your email topic similar to your course topic. You can get away with sending an email once or twice a week just so that your list can remember you.
- 1 month away from launch – Announce the upcoming launch of your online course. Typically, you’ll want to email at least every other day. As for what to post, it can be mixture of helpful content that provides value for free as well as sales-based emails convincing people to pre-enrol in your course. You can also offer any bonuses and perks for being an early-bird signup.
- 1 week away from launch – Run email campaigns every day. Your goal is to try and close the sale. You’d use the usual sales tactics (why the course would benefit your target audience, what problems it solves, etc)
- Once launched – Do the same thing, but now add in FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out); a powerful technique used to close the sale. You’d something like “enrol now before enrolment closes in 7 days”. You could also add in a countdown timer. In addition, you can throw in customer testimonials from yoru beta launch to increase the chances of closing the sale.
I know this is very basic, but I do intend to cover this in detail in a future post.
I hope this post has been useful and that you’ve seen the power of email marketing online courses. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to leave a comment below!
Thanks and see you next time 🙂