Email marketing for Online Courses: 5 list-building secrets of the pros 🤫

♪ ♪It’s every course creator’s biggest fear.
You spend weeks or months pouring timeand effort into building a course,
and when you finally release it, crickets. Nobody buys. It sucks and I know that
because it’s happened to me, too. But as I learned many years ago,
it’s also completely avoidable with theright email marketing strategy.
When it comes to selling youronline course, your email list is your
number one most powerful asset. Don’t have one yet? No problem.
We’ll help you build one. But first,I want to share something with you.
What is the number one best day of theweek to send marketing emails?
Think about it. Take your time. Have your answer? Great.
I’ve asked this question to roomfulsof expert marketers, hundreds
of them, and when I asked for theanswer most of them will say Tuesday
or Wednesday. And it makes sense, right?On Monday, people are coming back
in from the weekend and digging out alittle bit, getting started. By Thursday,
people are in the full swing of thingsand they’re productive. They’re not
really paying attention to their inbox. By Friday, everybody’s checked out,
and of course, you don’t sendmarketing emails on the weekend. Well,
let me show you the results of a studythat HubSpot did on millions of marketing
emails. Here, the average open ratesof those millions of marketing emails
by day of the week. That seemspretty crazy, right? Now,
I don’t tell you this to tell you to sendemails on Sunday, that might not work for
you. I tell you this to give you an ideaof how to take these “best practices. “
Take them all with a grain of salt becausewhat worked for somebody else might not
work for you. Sure, try the best practice,but try the exact opposite, too.
Play around with things. The worst thing that can happen is that
you learn from it, and the best thing thatcan happen is that you discover something
that will transform your business. And so with that, let’s get into a few
email list building tips. The first thing you can do to build your
email list is to create an irresistiblelead magnet. Now, you’ve seen these when
somebody offers you a checklist,or a template, or an eBook,
or some kind of gift in exchange for youremail address, in exchange for signing
up for their list. That’s a standardlead magnet, but we’re not talking
about standard lead magnets. We’re talking about irresistible lead
magnets. I’ll show you what I mean. Back when I ran marketing at a company
called Groove, we had an email signup formon our blog post that offered an eBook
in exchange for an email address. Now, when we added this, conversions
really increased. We were converting1% to 2% of our readers into subscribers
before we put this form up. After westarted offering the eBook, conversions
went to about 4. 5%, so a really impressiveincrease, almost a three X increase
in conversion rates. However, that was a good lead magnet.
What we tested next was an irresistiblelead magnet. You see, we created
a blog post called17 Email Scripts That Helped Us
Grow Our Business For You To Steal.
Now, the scripts in this blog post
included everything from email outreachtemplates for marketing or hiring
scripts, management scripts,really useful stuff. Now,
people could see the scripts. They were screenshots.
They were screenshots of theactual emails and people could see them,
they could get inspired by them,they could even write them down by hand
if they wanted to, but they couldn’t justcopy and paste them into their own emails,
and so the lead magnet we offered on thisblog post was this, “Grab all 17 email
scripts for free in a PDF that you cancopy and paste from. “
People were already getting valuefrom this article, and this lead magnet
offered to exponentially increase thevalue that they got from it.
Here’s what conversion rates lookedlike on this lead magnet, 21. 69%. Crazy.
It more than quadrupled overnight justby creating a more irresistible lead
magnet. Now, the takeaway here is thatyour lead magnet should be directly
related to the content that your visitoris already getting value from.
The more specific it is, the moreirresistible it will be. Some ideas
for how you can do this includeturning an old blog post into a PDF
and offering that either on the sameblog post, so the value add is you can
take this blog post on the go, or you canoffer it on top of another relevant blog
post so that this PDF adds value to theexisting blog. You could create a
checklist to help your readers executeon the strategies and tactics that you’re
outlining in the blog posts they’realready reading. You could compile a list
of related tips, you can use somethinglike Canvas which lets you make it look
good in a PDF or an image. There are lots of ways to create added
value with your lead magnets. Just make sure to make them specific
and related to the content your reader isalready getting value from.
The second list building tip I wantto share with you is to publish guest
content. You know, guest content can drivean incredible amount of traffic, if you
do it correctly. And the reason it’s sopowerful is that you’re exposing your
business to an audience that may havenever heard of you before,
and you’re doing it in the context of apublication that they already know
and trust. For us, that means that guestcontent is the number one source of new
subscribers. Now, this is important. Doing guest content right actually creates
value for the other publishers andtheir audience. Nobody’s doing you a favor
by letting you guest post on their blog. A lot of people think, “You know,
I feel bad asking. “No, don’t think that way because creating
great content is actually really,really hard for publishers and they’re
under pressure to do it over, and over,and over again. So, by delivering a piece
of great content to a publisher,you’re actually doing them a massive favor
because that’s one less piece that theyhave to create. But success in guest
blogging really just comesdown to the pitch, and I’m going to show
you exactly how to craft a great guestblogging pitch. This is a real example
of a pitch email that I’ve writtento guest post on a massive, massive blog
called Buffer. If you’re into socialmedia marketing, you’ve probably read
their blog, and you might have even readour guest articles on it.
Let’s go through this pitch and dissect itsection by section so you can take what
works and apply it. The subject line issimple and the email goes like this. “Hi,
Courtney. Hope all is well. I’ve been working on a blog post that I
think will do really well and couldpotentially be a great fit for the Buffer
blog. I’d love to publish it thereand help promote it to our 7K-plus
subscribers. We’ve recently publishedposts on the Kissmetrics and Shopify
blogs. Let me know if you want first crackat this one. It’s about some interesting
results we found from testing story-drivenposts on our blog. We tested two
variants of the same article,one with a story-driven intro,
the other without. I expected thestory-driven one to do better,
but I was surprised by just howmuch better, 300%, it did.
This post tells that story and gives tipsand strategies for easily weaving story
and narrative into the readers’own content. Mind if I send the
post your way for review?”Now, what’s important here?
The first thing is that this is about themnot you. We’re not opening the email with”
Hey, I have a great guest post that I’dlove to publish for you. “
It’s here’s why this is going to bevaluable for you. Second,
we have a compelling teaserfor the article. We’re not coming to them
with an open-ended idea like, “Hey,I’d love to publish a guest post for you.
Do you have any ideas or is there anythingyou’re looking for content about?”
No, we did our research. We know what the Buffer blog tends to
publish and what tends to do well there,and we’ve crafted a story idea just
for them. Finally, this email has a clearcall to action and it’s not,
“Here’s the article, check it out. “It’s “Mind if I send the post your way
for review?” Now, this might sound like asubtle difference, and it is,
but it’s actually really important. We tested a number of different
calls to action in these emails,and what we found was when we offer
to send a link, rather than just linkingto the article in the first email,
people were far, far,far more likely to respond positively.
Now, here’s why. Asking if you can sendover a link is actually a really,
really small ask. You know,the person only has to say yes or no.
They don’t have to spend 10 or 15 minutesreviewing a link that you’ve already
sent, and in a lot of ways,it’s actually a lot easier to say yes
than no, because if you say no,people feel like they have to explain why.
And so it’s an interesting bitof behavioral psychology that helps
us create a better call to actionbecause when somebody says yes to this,
now when you send them the article,they’ve essentially already agreed to read
it. The third tactic I want to sharewith you is one that so many people
overlook and ignore. Here’s what it is. Every email that you send is an
opportunity to grow your list. Here’s why. Every single email software allows for you
to add a signature to the bottomof your email. Think about how many
emails you send in a day, whether it’sto customers, partners, peers, whoever
it is. That’s valuable real estate. That’s the kind of real estate
that companies love to payto advertise on. You have that real
estate available to use for free,so make sure you put a call to action
to sign up for your email list in everysingle email that you send.
This is really easy to do. In Gmail,you can just go to the Settings tab
and add a signature right there. This will go on the bottom of every single
email that you send. That’s dozens,or hundreds, or maybe even thousands of
opportunities to get new subscribers everyweek or month depending on how many emails
that you send. The fourth list buildingtip is to join social media groups.
There are social media groups for justabout everything under the sun and joining
them gives you access to engage audiencesthat are interested in the topics that
you are selling products about. Finding these groups can be really easy.
Just go to Facebook and type in the topicthat you teach about and look at the
groups tab. You’ll see lots and lotsof groups that congregate around your
chosen topic. You can do the same thingon Reddit. Reddit has SubReddits for just
about everything, or you can just searchon Google with the word community
or forum. That should turn up lotsof interesting results, too. Like I said,
there are groups for justabout everything, but this is important.
Don’t just run in there, guns blazing,spamming everybody with your
content or your products, okay?That’s not going to work. That’s just
going to make people angryand get you kicked out. Take the time
to really become a value adding memberof the group. Participate,
answer questions, ask questions. Don’t link to your content just yet.
Then you can start introducing your emaillist in really small ways.
Once you’ve been a member for alittle while, if somebody asks a question
that you’ve written an article about,you can say, “Hey, that’s a great
question. I actually wrote an articleabout this about a year ago.
Here are a few bullet points that mighthelp you, but if you want to read the
whole thing, just hop over to thislink here. ” And if you’ve already
established yourself as a contributingmember of the community,
nobody’s going to fault you for that,but remember to take the time and get
initiated first. Here’s a script that youcan use whenever you join a new community
or group. Just introduce yourselfand start interacting with the community.
This isn’t a shortcut or a silver bullet. This is a long game,
but just like other long games,it’ll pay off if you’re willing to put
in the work over time. Another great wayto build your list is to run a giveaway.
You’ve probably seen these already,people offering prizes if you join their
giveaway contest or if you jointheir sweepstakes, and they can work
really, really well if you do them right. All right, typically, you’ll see
lower-value subscribers,but you’ll get higher numbers.
And the reason for that is you’re notactually telling people to sign
up to get value from your list,you’re getting people to sign up because
they want a prize. And then the hope isthat they then find value in your list.
So, statistically, the subscribers willtend to be of lower value,
but you’ll probably get highernumbers quickly. You can use a
free tool for this like King Sumo. It’ll run your giveaways for you
automatically, and it’ll generatea winner. And here’s some important
things to keep in mind. Get creativewith your prizes, books, tech gadgets,
and tools, gift cards. Here’s what’s really, really important.
The gift must be uniquely valuableto your audience. What does that mean?
We’re not giving away Amazon gift cards,or Visa gift cards, or something that is
useful to everyone because if you giveaway something that’s useful to everyone,
then everyone’s going to want it. We want to qualify our entrance.
We want to make sure that people who areentering for our giveaway are uniquely
qualified for our list. And so,make sure that if you are giving something
away, that it is uniquely valuableto your audience. If your audience has
designers, give away books about designor gift cards that only designers would
find useful. Or if your audience iswriters, give away writing tools or books.
This is the number one way that you canmake sure that your giveaway entries stay
high value and have a high chanceof converting to being great email
subscribers. So to recap, there arefive really, really powerful ways to build
your email list that you can startwith right now. You can create
an irresistible lead magnet,publish guest posts by pitching them the
right way, using up that signature realestate that you have at the bottom
of every email that you send,joining social media groups and playing
the long game by getting initiatedand becoming a value contributing member.
And finally, running a giveaway,but making sure that your prize is
uniquely valuable to your audience. And remember, don’t get married to the
best practices. Don’t just read bestpractice articles and assume that
everything holds true for you. Let yourself have some fun with it.
Play around. The best thing that canpossibly happen from ignoring best
practices and trying the opposite of themis that you find something that turns your
business around in the best possible way. And the worst thing that can
happen is that you learn from it. Email Marketing continues to be
the most effective channel for sellingonline courses, and your email list is
your most valuable marketing asset,but don’t get discouraged.
Everyone starts with zero subscribers. The sooner you get to building, the sooner
you’ll have an audience to sell to. ♪ ♪