Email Strategies for Courses

8+ Email Strategies to Revolutionize Your Online Course Reach

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Email is one of the most effective channels for generating leads and creating lifetime customers. Learn effective strategies for list growth, lead nurturing, and improving course sales.
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Email is one of the most valuable and reliable channels to grow your business and sell more online courses.

Still, you might be wondering what are the most effective strategies to use?

Below you’ll learn over 8 different online course email strategies you can use to generate leads, nurture subscribers, and sell more online courses today.

1. Optimize Your Website for Lead Generation

One of the best places to start with growing your list is through the traffic you’re already getting. The best way to do this is to use strategic opt-ins to turn website visitors into email subscribers.

Email opt-in example

Here are a few of the most common ways to do this:

  • Add your opt-in form to your sidebar and homepage
  • Include opt-in forms within your blog posts
  • Add an opt-in form above your footer
  • Use an opt-in popup

When choosing a lead magnet make sure it’s something enticing that’s ultimately helping users achieve a smaller goal related to your main course. For example, if your course teaches people how to build a $10k/mo SEO agency, offer a simple guide that outlines the process for getting their first client.

2. Grow Your Email List Through Giveaway Campaigns

There are a lot of ways to generate new leads for your course. If you’re looking for a way to build buzz outside of things like guest posts, social media, and podcasting, then hosting a giveaway can work great.

People love free stuff and contests are a great way to quickly build a ton of attention.

When planning your giveaway consider choosing something that’s not only valuable but will attract the kinds of leads you want. For example, if you’re selling a course on creating a garden, then consider a package that includes seeds, succulents, and books. 

After the contest is over you’ll want to send an email that announces the winner and gives new subscribers a chance to join your list. You don’t want to add every subscriber to your main list since they can be low quality.

Even though you won’t end up with as many leads, the leads that do join your list will be of higher quality. 

3. Understand and Use Key Email Sequences for Online Course Creators

As an online course creator, there are a few different types of emails you’ll be sending more often than others.

Here they are:

  • Pre-sale emails: These are emails that get sent out when a user joins your list. The main goal of these emails is to build a connection, deliver value, and ensure new subscribers they’re in the right place. 
  • Launch emails: These emails build hype, curiosity, and desire around your course. The ultimate goal is to position your course as the best option and convert subscribers into buyers.
  • Post-sale emails: These emails will be broken up into two groups, buyers and non-buyers. Buyers will receive emails that help them start using your course and even offer upsells, while non-buyers will remain on your standard blast list.

Here’s a more detailed breakdown of the types of emails these can include. Note that these email sequences can be fully automated.

Pre-sale Emails

These include your welcome emails, lead nurture emails that establish trust, and updates on new content like blog posts or YouTube videos.

Pre-sale automated emails

Launch Emails

These emails are where you’ll be making the most money. If your pre-sale emails have helped to build a relationship, then they won’t have to work too hard.

These emails include a lot of storytelling, curiosity, and your course announcement. Usually, you’ll be sending around 7 to 10 emails during your course launch. 

You can also include browser and cart abandonment emails during this phase (more on this below).

Course launch email automation

Post-sale Emails

After a customer purchases your course the real work is just beginning. Now, your goal is to deliver on the promise of your course and build a deeper relationship with your customers.

Here you can send emails that welcome people to your course and give a breakdown of what to expect, engagement emails to keep up with course content, re-engagement emails to bring back users who haven’t signed on in a while, and upsells to private coaching and related programs.

Post-sale onboarding email automation

4. Segment Your List to Improve Overall Conversions

Who you’re sending emails to matters just as much as what you’re sending. Segmenting your list helps you meet your customers where they’re at, so you can send them more relevant emails.

For example, when a new user joins your list you don’t want to send them the same email as a person who’s already bought your course. By creating segmentation rules you can automatically segment your list into different groups.

At the very least, you’ll want to segment your list into buyers and non-buyers. However, there’s a lot more you can do like segmenting your list based on:

  • Subscriber behavior
  • Last purchase date
  • Total order value
  • Location
  • Last email clicked 
  • And more

Segmenting is a quick way to make your emails feel more personalized. If you’re using an email automation tool like FluentCRM, then you’ll have a lot of built-in segmentation options including, automated tagging, dynamic segments, and more. Here’s an example of an advanced filter that targets past customers who’ve clicked an email in the last two weeks:

5. Use Automation to Quickly Bring New Subscribers Into Your World

We touched on welcome sequences above, but they’re so important they deserve their own section. 

The moment a new lead joins your list their engagement is sky high. They’ve just raised their hand and said, “Yes, I want to hear from you”. However, a lot of course creators drop the ball at this point.

You can sell during your welcome sequence, but you don’t want to push too hard. Your goal with your welcome sequence is to bring customers into your world and way of thinking.

You’ll want to set this sequence up within your email automation tool, so it gets sent out automatically. Here’s what it looks like in a popular email automation platform, FluentCRM:

Automated welcome sequence in FluentCRM

Most welcome sequences are between 3 to 5 emails. Here’s a sample sequence you can use:

  • Email 1: Deliver on your lead magnet and introduce what makes you different. Set expectations for future emails. Can include a coupon or low-ticket product for quick sales.
  • Email 2: Confirm they were able to download the lead magnet and encourage a reply to help deliverability. 
  • Email 3: Talk about your brand story, and your journey that led to uncovering the secrets in your course.
  • Email 4: Build credibility and let subscribers know why they should listen to you.
  • Email 5: Answer common questions that your audience has and provide free resources.

6. Think Mobile When Creating and Sending Emails

Nearly 50% of email opens come from mobile devices. Often when you’re writing emails you’ll be doing it on your laptop, so it’s easy to forget where your users will be when engaging with your emails.

Chances are they’ll be on the go, scanning their inbox between meetings, or on their lunch break. 

Sure, mobile means a few things when it comes to formatting your emails, but it also applies to the content of your emails as well.

Keep the following tips in mind to help you compose better emails for your subscribers:

  • If using images or graphics make sure they’re legible on smaller screens
  • Keep colors, graphics, and other visuals to a minimum
  • Use short paragraphs and sentences
  • If possible use a single CTA per email that stands out

A good email service provider will let you preview your emails or send a test email to spot errors before you hit send. 

Send test email in FluentCRM

7. Use Drip Campaigns to Help New Students Succeed

A lot of course creators neglect their students once they get the sale. However, you can use email to not only help your students finish your programs but succeed with them too.

Happy students lead to more referrals, more money spent with your brand, and testimonials and case studies you can use to improve your marketing. 

One great way to do this is to create automated drip campaigns that’ll onboard your new students into your programs. 

Here are some ideas:

  • Create an onboarding sequence that offers tips to succeed with the course
  • Create a sequence that runs alongside your program to encourage users to complete the course
  • Send out automated surveys to collect testimonials after the course is finished

You can have multiple automated drip campaigns running at once. The important thing is to use email as a vehicle to guide your customers through implementing what your course teaches.

With the right email automation tool you can have multiple drip campaigns running simultaneously.

Multiple drip email sequences example

8. Use Abandonment Emails to Boost Course Sales

After you’ve worked hard to get eyeballs on your sales pages you want to ensure you’re converting these visitors into buyers. A great way to do this is through browser abandonment and cart abandonment sequences.

These get sent out automatically when a visitor either leaves your site after viewing your landing page or leaves your site without completing the checkout process.

Both browser and cart abandonment emails have extremely high open rates compared to traditional emails. According to recent data, browser abandonment emails convert 9.6 times better than traditional email campaigns.

These emails don’t have to be fancy, but simply remind your subscribers that your course is still available and invite them back to your sales page or cart. If your offer is time-sensitive, then remind them of this, or consider offering a special coupon. 

9. Maximize Your Existing List Through Re-engagement Campaigns

If you’ve been running email campaigns for any period, then you probably have leads who are unengaged or non-responsive.

Before you write them off forever, you can send one last re-engagement campaign to bring them back.

The best way to approach this is to send a simple email to leads who haven’t engaged for a set time period. This depends on your metrics, but let’s say you want to target subscribers who haven’t opened an email in 60 days. Simply send an email asking if they’re still interested. 

If they don’t open this email, then you can remove them from your list. 

I know it can be hard to remove your hard-earned subscribers, but these are people who are never going to buy from you. Having a list with better engagement rates helps to keep your deliverability high and gives you time to focus on your leads who are engaged and interested.

Closing Thoughts

As you’ve learned, email can be a very effective tool to help you generate more leads and expose your online course to more people.

Through the online course email strategies above you can more effectively communicate with new leads and turn them into lifelong customers.

Not only is it one of the highest converting channels, but with the right tools a lot of your lead generation, nurturing, and even sales process can be automated.


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Kevin Wood

With over 10 years of hands-on WordPress experience, Kevin excels in making complex WordPress topics more accessible. From hosting, and plugin selection, to best practices and expert tips, he’s here to help readers make the best decisions for their WordPress sites.

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