:Marketing / Email marketing

How to grow an engaged audience and sell to them with email marketing

Woman painting Woman painting

Creators share many of the same fears. But one is consistent across all: launching to the sound of crickets.

The doubt is real

Not only does no one buying, but you also do not getting any engagement around your launch in the form of e-mail questions, DMs, sales page chat, or otherwise. You then head down the rabbit hole of self doubt with questions like:

“Maybe my niche is too saturated”

“I don’t have enough instagram followers yet”

“Maybe I need Facebook ads!”

“Once I get that ‘swipe up’ feature…”

“Maybe i’m not meant to have an online business”

We hear you, and these are actually common concerns from real creators like yourself.

The facts about online courses

The little known fact about online course sales is this: you can have the most high quality, results-driven online course content in your niche. We will teach you a few of our fool-proof methods for how to grow an engaged audience. It will help you sell them on your course organically (without ads). It’s all about using e-mail marketing.

Here are our top three fool proof tips for selling your online course. Without the use of ads or a huge pre-existing audience.

1. Create a “lead magnet”

A “lead magnet” is also referred to as a content upgrade or opt-in. Basically, it’s a free piece of value based content that attracts, and solves a problem for your ideal audience. This lead magnet positions you as an expert on your chosen topic. It provides a few quick wins and actionable steps for your ideal student.  This initiates the know, like, and trust factor with them.

Lead magnets Lead magnets
Keep it related

Keep in mind—this freebie shouldn’t be just some generic piece of content that your audience can find anywhere on the internet for free.

Instead, it should solve a painful, stressful, annoying, or time-consuming problem for them that is related to your online course topic. And it should be so good that your audience can’t believe it’s free.

Now, in order to download and get access to your value-packed freebie, your student must provide you with their e-mail address, and this is the start of you building your e-mail list!

But don’t worry—if your freebie provides them the solution they are looking for, they will gladly opt-in.  From here, you’ll want to integrate with an e-mail service provider like Convertkit or Mailchimp to ensure that the student receives the free download automatically (without you having to do a thing! #automation).

2. Nurture your e-mail list

As you start to grow your e-mail list full of potential students, you must be sure to continue to interact with them and build the relationship on a regular basis so they don’t forget who you are (the internet can be a noisy place!)

You’ll want to create a sequence of e-mails, spaced out over time, for every new subscriber who joins your e-mail list. This sequence should simultaneously build more trust, provide more value, and allow your audience to get to know you as a person before asking for the sale (This is also referred to as “warming” up your audience).

Here's an example of what your email schedule might look like!
An ultimate guide to your ultimate goals

Looking to use email to initiate your very own course launch strategy? We have a 22 day roadmap so you can launch your online course with ease. Get the free checklist today.

Use our 22-day email roadmap to launch your course

Launching your online course is arguably the most exciting part of the whole course creation process. It’s the moment when all your hard work starts to pay off. If you’ve never launched an online course before, don’t worry; this timetested email roadmap will take you through each day of our recommended launch strategy.

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Use our 22-day email roadmap to launch your course

This way, once you are ready to ask for the sale, or “launch” – the heavy lifting will already be done. Your e-mail list should already know who you are, what your expertise is, and exactly how you can help them. All that’s left to do now, is PITCH!

3. Create a “launch” sequence

Once your audience is “warmed up” from your new subscriber nurture sequence and ready to buy, the next step is to actually “pitch” them on your online course.

This can be one of the scariest parts of having an online course business. You will have to overcome the fear of “selling” online. However, one of the best parts of having grown and cultivated an e-mail list at this point, is that your audience is already used to you showing up in their inbox weekly. This is providing them with value. Now is your opportunity to invite them to take the next steps.

When creating your “launch” sequence, there are a few key things to remember:

  1. Fuse storytelling, education, AND selling within your launch e-mails.

    Let’s face it – an e-mail that only talks about bells + whistles of your course and focuses ONLY on the price, number of lessons, isn’t always the most enticing. Infuse your own personal story and WHY you teach what you teach. You will be much more likely to grab the attention of your audience and keep them engaged enough to click the “buy now “ button.

  2. What does your ideal student need to know or understand BEFORE enrolling in your course?

    In these launch e-mails, provide more education if necessary. This ensures that your future students fully understand the value of your course content. For example, your online course teaches how to follow the paleo diet in order to heal eczema. Your ideal student must understand WHY the paleo diet works first, before they are ready to enroll.

  3. Sell the dream – again.

    Instead of focusing so much on selling what is inside the course. What can your students expect their life to be like, once the course is complete? Will they have clear skin? Run a 5k? Make more money? Become Instagram-famous? Focus on the END result of what your course offers, and your online course sales will skyrocket. Remember that most of the time, your audience couldn’t care less how many modules or lessons there are. They want to know what the outcome will be.

  4. It’s not over ‘til it’s over.

    Depending on the length of your launch, I recommend sending out 1 e-mail nearly every single day of your launch. We know, this sounds like a lot. Sure, you might feel like you’re being annoying. Yes you will get some “unsubscribes” from your e-mail list during this time. But the bottom line is: your audience needs multiple reminders and exposures to your offer. This makes them feel ready to buy. Showing up almost daily with even more value, and inviting them to take the next steps with you is how you do this. Another benefit of e-mail marketing is that you can “tag” certain members of your audience who have visited your course sales page during your launch. This makes them “warm leads”, and more heavily target those people with additional emails before your launch ends.

The truth about email marketing

Email marketing may seem old-school. The truth is: if you are only launching your online course via methods like social media there are drawbacks. You won’t have nearly the same amount of control of who will see your posts about enrollment into your online courses.

You won’t be able to track who visited your sales page (without using ads). There will be no way to personalize your emails (using their first name). Or even follow up with “warm leads.” With e-mail marketing, your audience  has already told you (via the action of them  downloading your freebie) that they are interested in your paid offer. So when you do start selling them on your course. These emails are far less likely to come off as “salesy” or “spammy” than they would if promoted only on social media.

Author: Amie Tollefsrud, Amie is a full-time online course creator who transitioned out of her 9-5 job and teaches NTPs, Health Coaches, Nutritionists, and Wellness enthusiasts how to create, launch, and scale their own online practices through her free trainings, blog posts, and online courses.