Sell Your Online Courses Using...Email Marketing

Using Email Marketing To Sell Courses Online Concept

If you’ve just finished creating an online course – or you’re about to start – the next thing on your list should be to decide how you will practically market and sell your online course.

There are lots of different ways to get the word out about your online courses – social media, PR, print – but email marketing is definitely one of the most effective.

Email marketing is in fact the most profitable channel you can use to sell courses online: for every dollar you spend on emails, the average return on investment is $38!

In this article, we go through some tips on how you can set up an email marketing campaign to engage your customers and sell courses online!

Where to start

To create a successful email marketing campaign to sell courses online, you need:

  • A customer/contact list
  • To understand your customers’ needs
  • To know how the online course you’re selling meets your customers’ needs

Your contact list can be your personal list, but ideally it will be a list of your past customers who already know you and are interested in the online courses you sell, your products or services.

Your first email campaign doesn’t have to be complicated. You can use it to engage people by:

  • Speaking to your customers directly, explain who you are, and what your online course offers them
  • Announcing to your customers that you’ve created your first online course and letting them know how great it is
  • Building a relationship with your customers by sharing tips and advice, then promoting how your online course can help them

With each email you can drip feed more information about your online course and build a rapport with your customers. Make sure you also include a link to your shop front in each email to make it easy for your customers to buy your online course!

Layout tips

Use a real “from name” 

Every email you send has a “to” and a “from” – your marketing emails are no different. How many times have you received an email, not recognized the name and hit delete? Don’t let this be your customers’ experience. Make sure your “from name” is campaign specific and recognizable. For example, “Damien from CourseGenius” is much more engaging than “Account Manager”.

Use a relevant “from email” 

As above – pick reply-to email that looks like an email someone would actually use. For example – support[at]coursegenius[dot]com, help[at]JoeBloggs[dot]com[dot]au and manager[at]company[dot]co[dot]nz – are all good options.

Your subject line is important!

This is the only part of your campaign 100% of your subscribers will see – regardless of whether they open your email or not. You need to grab their attention and tell them what’s in your email. So do just that! Research shows 50 characters or less is the best length and in this short space, you need to convince them to open your email. So be specific and use language that’s simple and clear.

Some examples of great headlines include:

  • Four days left: claim your 50% discount
  • Safety training for XXX industry – available now!
  • Be the first to download my new course in XXX

Create a clear call to action 

Use a button or bolded call to action to make sure your readers don’t miss it. You can have this within the email copy itself and also in your email footer for maximum effect.

Here are some effective call-to-action examples:

  • Sign up for free
  • Download your course today!
  • Start learning today!
  •  Get started
  • Claim your <insert offer>
  • [Limited offer] sign up today and get <insert offer>

Woman thinks about using email marketing to sell courses online

Creative Content

Mobile-friendly emails

55% of people read emails first on their smartphones. Make sure your content can be easily read on mobile devices by optimizing font size and having a simple layout. If you’re worried, test your email on a mobile before you send to your mailing list.

Keep copy concise

Succinct copy in a single column is much easier to read than multicolumn blocks of text. Be clear about your offer and why they are receiving your email. Keep it plain and simple – flowery language will not work. Just be open and honest and tell your readers why your online course will really help them. Images can make your email look really engaging, but be aware: not all email clients show images automatically. In this case, make sure all your images are optimised for image-off viewing. You can do this by adding ALT text behind your images so even if your customer can’t see your image – they still get your message!

Your landing page 

You have the option of linking directly to your online course, your shopfront or to a landing page. Whichever you choose, make sure it’s tailored to this specific audience and relays the same messages as the content of your email campaign.

Keeping your customers engaged

Email frequency

“Frequency isn’t just about sending more or less emails to everyone; it’s about sending the right amount of emails, to the right people.”  Or so says Director of Data and Deliverability at Redeye International Tim Roe. More than a third of people surveyed said they unsubscribed from an email newsletter because they received too many emails. On a similar note, increasing the frequency of emails can actually decrease customer engagement with a campaign. So the question still stands – how many emails is too many? It all depends on your customers and if the online courses you’re selling actually fit their needs. Ask your customers, test your assumptions and analyse your results to find out where the sweet spot is!   

Segment your list

Email marketing isn’t just about blasting your contact list with every thought, campaign or offer you have. It’s about strategically picking recipients and matching them to a campaign or content that fits their needs. Even if your list is small, do all your subscribers want to buy this particular online course? To run an effective campaign, you should segment your subscriber list and only send your campaigns to the people who will benefit from the specific offers.

Dealing with unsubscribes

You can’t avoid unsubscribes, but you can learn from them. Think about the content in your campaign – was it relevant, targeted and did you segment your list? If your unsubscribe rate skyrockets, consider reaching out to people when they opt out and asking them why. You’ll get an invaluable insight into your customers that will help your email marketing strategy in the long run.

Free tools to get you started

There are lots of great email marketing tools out there, so do make sure you do your research!

To help you out, here are three free tools to get you started:

  1. Mailchimp – Boasting 15 million customers, they are one of the leading email marketing platforms in the world. You can link your shop front, upload documents and use their pre-made templates to create your own email campaigns, quickly and easily.
  2. Litmus – Essentially, Litmus helps you design, code, track and optimize your emails to ensure their effectiveness. They also have some useful free tools that let you test your emails, copy code from newsletters you’ve received and connect with their Community to share (and borrow) ideas. 
  3. Visual Website Optimizer – We’ve said it a few times and we’ll say it again: test, test, test. VWO helps you test and analyse your campaigns with a range of free and paid tools.

Why not get started today? You can sell courses online with CourseGenius. Sign up for your free trial to put these tips into practice!

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