Have you ever considered creating an email course? If not, what's holding you back?
Maybe you’re not sold on the idea of creating an email course? Maybe you’re not sure which content to include in your course? Maybe you’re not sure how to setup things with your email service provider?
Lucky for you, I’m going to answer all of those questions and more in this article.
Why Are Email Courses So Valuable?
Before we get into how to setup email courses, let’s answer a very important question: why are email courses worth your time?
I’ll give you three reasons.
#1 - Email Courses are a Great Way to Build Your List
To grow your email list, you’ve got to give people value in exchange for their email address. Now, you can totally create a PDF or video to give your subscribers. BUT there’s one big drawback to that approach: most people will only read your lovely PDF once, maybe twice, and then file it away with all their other freebies.
Does that help your readers? Does that help your business? Not much.
Email, on the other hand, gets you in front of your audience in a very personal way by going directly to their inbox. An email course puts you in front of your audience for several days at a time. Houston, we have engagement!
#2 - Email Courses are a Great Way to Build Trust
When you write content focused on your readers needs' and encourage them to share their stories, something amazing happens. People begin to trust you. They begin to give you insight into their needs. Your readers become your fans and community.
This is how you build relationships, credibility and trust.
You can start by asking a simple question in your courses: what are you struggling with? You’ll be amazed at the responses.
#3 - Email Courses are a Great Way to Build Funnels
If you want to sell your online course, one of the best ways to do it is to create a sales funnel. You can think of a funnel as a linear pipeline your customers travel.
At the beginning, they know little about your topic and may have little trust in you. As time goes on, however, you’ll share valuable information to educate them and build trust. Done correctly, you'll also build a desire for your product.
Free email courses make great funnels because they give you an opportunity to pitch your product while also providing tons of free value.
Okay, now that we’ve thoroughly discussed how valuable email is, let’s talk about how to setup email courses.
A Quick Note
For this tutorial, I’m using ConvertKit. I recently made the switch to CK from Mailchimp. If you want to read the reasons I left the ‘Chimp, click here.
It all boils down to this: ConvertKit makes it incredibly easy to make multiple forms for your site, build your email courses, and setup automations to enroll your subscribers.
If you aren’t signed up for CK, click here to join me and thousands of others.
The Exact Steps I Use to Create Email Courses in ConvertKit
Step 1 - Decide Your Course's Purpose
Will your course will be educational only or education & marketing focused? Your answer here will affect the tone and sequence of your course's content.
Step 2 - Choose Your Topic
If your purpose is purely educational, pick something that you get a lot of questions about.
On the other hand, if you want to educate & market, you'll want to choose a hot topic and one you can distill into a bite-size lessons without taking away from your paid course.
Step 3 - Outline Your Course
Now it’s time to outline the structure of your course. Here are questions that I ask myself:
How many lessons does your topic break down into?
What are the key points you’ll cover in each lesson?
What resources do you need to include?
What activities can you include to make each lesson actionable?
If you’re marketing your product, when and how will you introduce it?
The bottom line is you need to outline a plan for your course before you create it.
Step 4 - Write the Content
There’s no way around this one, you just have to roll up your sleeves and get ‘er done. But it’s so much easier if you’ve outlined your course first. I like to write my content in Google Docs first, then transfer it over to ConvertKit.
Step 5 - Choose Compelling Subject Lines
What good is your content if no one ever reads it? A catchy subject line is the difference between getting tons of feedback and hearing crickets.
One of my favorite tactics is to ask questions in the subject line. Val Geisler from ConvertKit recently wrote an article about this. Here's a peek inside her inbox:
Step 6 - Harness the Power of the PS
Most of us have a horrible habit of scanning emails. But you know what we always read? The P.S. So if you have something important, like a link to an article or your sales page, put it in the P.S. in addition to the body. Here’s an example from my Free Pricing Course.
Step 7 - Setup Your Sequence in ConvertKit
So far we've been writing our course content out in Google Docs. At this point, it's time to transfer everything over to ConvertKit. Here's the steps to make that happen:
Login to your ConvertKit account
Select Sequences from the top navigation menu
Click the Create Sequence button
Name your sequence and click the blue button
Paste in your course content into the templates provided
Select Save All
Choose your Settings
Click Update Sequence
Step 8 - Create an Opt-In Form
Okay, now that your email course is setup, it’s time to create a form for your subscribers to sign up for it. Here's how you do that:
Login to your ConvertKit account
From the forms page, select Create Form
Choose A Form from the two options
Select the naked form (see image below)
Give your form a title
Click Incentive Email from the sidebar menu
Unselect the "Send Incentive..." option
Click Save Form
Step 9 - Create an Automation to Enroll Your Subscribers in Your Course
If you’re like me, you have more than one opt-in form on your site. How do you make sure your subscribers can enroll into your course via a specific form? Luckily, ConvertKit shines in situations like these.
You’ll want to create an automation that tells ConvertKit to enroll your subscribers into your snazzy course after they sign up via a specific form. Here’s how you do that:
After logging in, select Automations from the upper navigation bar
Select the Add Rule button
On the Automation Rule screen, select Subscribes to a Form from the Trigger menu
Select your form title from the dropdown menu
Next, select Subscribe to a Sequence from the Actions menu
Select your email course from the Select a Sequence drop down menu
Click Save Rule
That's it. If you plan to simply embed the ConvertKit form into your site, you’re done. But if you plan to use Leadpages to create a pop-up form (aka Leadbox) when someone clicks a button or image, there are a few more steps.
Bonus: Connect Your Course to Leadpages
Do You Even Need to Do This Part?
Only read this if you plan to use Leadpages to create a pop-up form (aka Leadbox) when someone clicks a button or image on your site.
Here’s What to Do
Step 1 - Create a Leadbox in Leadpages
Log into your Leadpages account
Click Leadbox from the main menu
Select Create a New Leadbox
Step 2 - Setup your Leadbox
Tip: If you already have Leadboxes, you can just duplicate one & make edits
Step 3 - Connect the Convertkit form to Your Leadbox
Go to Integration Settings in your Leadbox menu.
Select Other from the "Integrate form with" drop down menu.
Go back to Leadpages and paste the embed code into the blank HTML Code field.
Save your Leadbox
Step 4 - Copy the leadbox HTML onto Your Site
Next, you’ll need to get the Leadbox on your site. If you’re using Wordpress, you can just copy and paste the Leadbox HTML code onto your site & you're done.
But if you’re using Squarespace, there’s a couple more steps to make it work.
First, copy the HTML code into a text editor.
Next, create a button or image on your page--whatever you want people to click on to launch the Leadbox
In the text editor, copy only the Leadbox link address
Paste that link into the URL field of your button or image. Got it?
Now, go back to the text editor and copy everything in between the script tags, including the script tags themselves
Go to the Settings menu of your Squarespace site, click Advanced.
Select Code Injection
Under Code Injection, paste the script into the Header section. (If you skip this step, the Leadbox won’t pop up the right way.)
Step 5 - Test It out
That’s it! You’ve just setup your email course. Be sure to test everything out to make sure it’s working correctly. It's a good idea to enroll in your course and go through the entire sequence.
Whew! That was a lot to cover. By now you should know how to create your first email course in ConvertKit.
Remember, email courses are incredibly valuable because they:
Grow your list
Build relationships, trust and credibility
Make great sales funnels
Your courses should provide value, be focused on results and include actions in each lesson.