Regardless of whether you use a Facebook funnel or not, automating your ecourses demands some upfront effort. In particular, you email sequence will serve as the key driver of your sales, as an effective autoresponder keeps the revenue coming for, potentially, years to come with only minimal maintenance required.
Although you might be able to reuse certain components from a previous email sequence, a brand new ecourse really deserves its very own email sequence. Budget some time to ensure you get your email sequence right, as the efforts are well worth the time required.
Remember, put in the hard work now and reap the rewards into the future.
Step One: Map Out An Evergreen Autoresponder Series
The first ingredient to you email sequence is clear: Email addresses. We’ve mentioned ways to set up your lead magnet to create your email list for your course, but it bears repeating. For ecourses, in particular, freebies can be great at attracting the attention of people interested in what you have to sell. Offering the first chapter or lesson of your course in exchange for an email address is a simple and reliable means of generating interest. If you have supplemental content available for your course – such as a checklist or planner – it too can be used to generate interest as a lead magnet.
Let’s also remember the definition of “evergreen.” Evergreen content is timely all year round. There’s no mention of season or holidays. You don’t mention the temperatures or when your kids are starting school. I should be able to read your lessons or watch your videos at any time and still learn quality information and actionable tips.
So, if you have an ecourse titled, “How to Handle the Winter Holidays with Grace,” you do NOT have evergreen and you most likely will not get many sales during the earlier part of the year. This type of ecourse works best with limited enrollment during only the fall and early winter months when your advice is most timely.
Your lead magnet and your ecourse should both contain evergreen content and their topics should be relevant to each other.
Once your initial welcome email sequence is completed, finding new leads is what keeps the passive income process running at full speed, so focus on this ingredient early and often. When your course is up and running, much of your maintenance time will be spent finding new leads, and getting a head start on the process positions you for long-term success.
You’ll also want to focus on creating a sexy landing page where visitors can sign up for your freebie. It’s one of the first elements of your ecourse and email sequence users will see so a professional look is a must if you expect to make sales. While this might sound complicated, there are dozens of user-friendly tools you can use to create your own landing page if hiring a designer is out of your budget.
OptimizePress is the best landing page builder that includes a multitude of templates which can be customized with drag-and-drop ease.
Canva is a graphics powerhouse with its templates and fonts that everyone from beginners to experts can use with ease.
If you want to include a video on your landing page, use a free Zoom room to record. Your video doesn’t have to be long, but it helps to build that trust factor between you and your visitors when you can’t be there in person.
Your landing page and your emails work in concert with each other, but people often create them at different times. When focusing on one element of your ecourse marketing efforts, you’ll want to also think about the other elements simultaneously. Instead of creating your landing page and then turning your attention to your email sequence, consider working on similar sections of each at the same time.
A bit of repetition can help reinforce important concepts and having this information fresh in your mind helps you forge connections that will stick out to readers of both. Presenting a cohesive message helps drives home the points you’re making, increasing the likelihood of converting readers into clients.
Setting the Right Email Tone
Before crafting your emails, keep in the mind the tone you want to strive for. In general, brevity is best with emails, so make sure you cut to the point and avoid content that doesn’t help generate interest in your ecourse. Of course, storytelling is very big in online marketing these days so if your audience likes stories – or you like telling them – try using that method to connect; just be sure there’s relevance between your story and your call to action. If nothing else, you can test the short emails versus the storytelling emails and track which ones received the higher number of click throughs.
We’ve all been on the receiving end of various types of promotional emails, so keep your previous experience in mind before proceeding. Trust your instinct and try to place yourself in the mind of a potential customer. You know what your potential clients are looking for; use this information to better set the right tone.
Another tactic to try is to write your emails as though you were writing to your best friend. Emails are generally conversational, so a casual tone is accepted and almost expected. The formal way to write that we learned in school many years ago almost doesn’t exist anymore, unless you’re an attorney, so keep it casual and have a friendly conversation with your readers.
Above all, be clear. Each of the five emails you’ll craft will have a different goal, and their lengths may vary. Your overall message in each email must be crystal clear if you want readers to take action. Avoid ambiguity, and, when in doubt, get to the point you’re making sooner rather than later. Always keep in mind that your recipients are spending their time on the content you’re providing them, so make sure you’re respecting their time.
STEP TWO: write 5 crucial emails that bring in sales
When it comes to email sequences for selling ecourses, the sweet spot seems to be five emails, as it provides plenty of opportunity to describe and sell your ecourse without frustrating recipients. The exact content of your emails will vary, but the first two should generally focus primarily on the freebie you’re offering while priming recipients for the sales you’ll land with later emails.
Strike an excited tone: These emails help you explain the value of the freebie (and delivers the download link in email number one) and hint at how it ties into greater goals the recipient might have. Also invite your readers to follow you on social media or to contact you with questions.
Most importantly, make sure both emails provide value, especially the second email. Recipients should feel that they learned something of value when reading your emails, and they’ll be more encouraged to make a purchase later on if they see your emails are worth their time.
In the second email, also ask if they’ve downloaded the lead magnet yet and if they have any questions. Include a few questions you’ve received in the past regarding your freebie. Give them a teaser about your ecourse or include that in the P.S. after your signature.
The third email serves as a transition. Here, you’ll begin offering more information about what you have to sell while still focusing on providing value. This email is a great time to introduce your most valuable tip or other information, as it shows that you have plenty more to offer while indicating that purchasing your product will grant real value.
For the fourth and fifth email, you’ll want to focus on landing sales. Part of the reason for sending two sales emails is that recipients might simply not read every email in the sequence you send. However, make sure you’re still providing value to readers beyond sales information: You’re building yourself up as an expert with a wealth of potentially valuable information, so make sure to reinforce this impression at every opportunity.
Don’t ever be afraid or ashamed to ask for sales. You’re running a business, you have bills to pay, and you’ve spent years developing your expertise; you deserve to be paid. For those who don’t want to pay for your ecourse, you can downsell them to a lower priced product or program but try not to take it personally. This person may not actually be your ideal client so focus your efforts on finding those ideal people.
When crafting emails, you’ll also want to include incentives to purchase your product right away. We read emails at all times of day, and you can never fully predict when a reader is most likely to make the jump to purchasing your ecourse. Special offers, in particular, are excellent tools to land sales, and they give you another opportunity to explain the value of your ecourse. Studies show that our eyes are drawn to numbers, so make sure to include them in your emails.
Once you’ve finished your emails, make sure you have them loaded correctly into your email service provider. Remember that automation is the key, so make sure your emails are sent at the right times and, of course, to the right people.
How often should you email? That’s an age-old question and really depends on your target audience. At a bare minimum, you should email once every week, and that’s just to keep your name familiar to your subscribers. When you’re launching an ecourse, it’s perfectly acceptable to email more frequently. Some internet marketers email every day, or they offer their subscribers the option of getting weekly digest emails. Study your email stats and if in doubt, ask your readers.
Paid advertising can be a valuable means of building your email list, but don’t feel as if you need to invest anything other than your time to build a sustainable base of potential buyers. If you aren’t currently using social media – or haven’t used it consistently – launching a new ecourse is as good a time as any to get started.
Social media costs nothing to use, and it lets you establish yourself as an expert and encourage others to share information about your course. Just like with your emails, make sure you provide value with your social media accounts to encourage people to subscribe and read what you have to say.
Make sure you also focus on your existing platforms. If you have a regular newsletter, make sure to incorporate your new ecourse promotional material into it. Podcasts are also great for driving people to sign up to your email sequence. If you don’t currently have an email signature, set one up. Include your contact information, but also add a link to your new email sequence or landing page and a brief description of your course.
Advertising on social media – specifically Facebook and Instagram – are fairly easy to set up and by setting a daily budget, it’s an affordable option for promoting your ecourse. Both of these platforms also have Live options so you can chat with your audience in real time. Not only is this a great way to let them all know about your ecourse launch but you can answer questions related to WHO needs your product, WHAT your product includes, and WHY they need to buy from you instead of a competitor.
Remember the power of video: If you can’t meet your ideal clients in person, this is the next best way to do it. Video allows your ideal audience to see you in action, to hear your voice, and to see your mannerisms and style. All of this put together will either signal to your viewers that “YES, this is the coach I want to learn from” or, “No, I don’t think our personalities would gel, so I’ll keep looking.” Don’t get discouraged with the no’s; for every no there’s a yes waiting to be discovered.
step three: launch your ecourse
You have two options when planning your ecourse: Do you want to have the course available year-round or do you want to limit the sales to provide some scarcity? Both options are good ones and can yield sales; it’s just a matter of analyzing and choosing one to get started.
Think about it in two ways: How much live work is required of you in this ecourse? If yours is a self-study course with access to your Facebook Group, then feel free to keep this course open year-round. Use your Facebook Group to answer questions about the class and use sales to build your Facebook Group.
However, if you offer a monthly Q&A session or email access or Voxer access, then limit your launch to a very specific time frame OR number of participants. The more access to you, the more limited you’ll want to keep your customers, simply because you’ll burnout if you don’t set boundaries or limitations. Keep in mind, though, that more access to you equals a higher price tag for the ecourse.
The fear of missing out can be a powerful driver of action and limiting your course to a certain number of people can spur action quickly. Furthermore, it creates a sense of exclusivity. People interested in enrolling are more likely to do so if they feel that they’ll receive information limited to a select few. Economics, at its core, deals with scarce resources, and tapping into this fact can help you drive the type of urgency that leads to sales.
Advertising Your Launch
Fully passive income is ideal to strive toward, but a bit of effort can go a long way toward keeping your course fresh and growing. The content you put into your Facebook ad funnel is ideal for repurposing, so take a look at it and find places you can add in some urgency to get potential clients to sign up right away. Fostering a sense of urgency is a powerful tool for converting interest into sales, and it should be a primary focus when launching your ecourse the first time and again in the future.
Just as you may have advertised for your lead magnet, advertising your ecourse launch is equally beneficial. Finding more people in your ideal market should remain a top priority at every stage of business and your marketing plan should reflect that goal. Advertising allows you to speed up the discovery process by placing your ad in front of people whom you may not ever come across in your business dealings. Get them on your email list – and purchasing your product – and you have the potential to create a longtime fan.
Craft pushes to encourage signups to your email list year-round, even if your course is open for purchase. Not everyone will be ready, willing, or able to purchase the first time you launch so they will need reminders. For new subscribers, your email sequence can warm them up to the idea that they need your ecourse. Bonuses, in particular, are excellent for refreshing your course when you’re going to launch it again, and it might be the incentive readers need to subscribe.
You might also want to consider a price reduction, even if your sales for previous launches were adequate. Your potential clients are on the lookout for a deal, and numbers serve as excellent ways to garner attention. However, don’t make the price so low that you start getting complaints from previous customers who are upset that they paid so much more. Instead, put a limit on the sale, such as for 24 hours on launch day you can get $50 off the regular price. Then after those 24 hours are gone, raise it to full price.
Or, instead of cutting your price, consider adding bonuses to increase the value. Video sessions with you, email access, Voxer access, your latest eBook, a workbook or planner, or even a 15-minute discovery call can be enough to convince prospects to make a purchase. These types of bonuses can also garner a higher price tag.
Launching your ecourse is a special event, so make sure you’re treating it as such. A great way to create urgency is to remind potential students with a countdown timer that their time to purchase is running out. This option can also be done if you have special pricing on launch day; remind your visitors they have limited time before the price goes up.
Deadline Funnel and MotionMail, for example, can provide a countdown timer, letting viewers know that there is a deadline for enrolling in your course and fostering both excitement and a sense of urgency. These countdown timers are great for your landing page, and they can even work in emails, giving you a striking visual element to encourage recipients to keep reading instead of pushing off the email to another time.
Generating excitement requires a focused approach, and it entails planning out your course launches well ahead of time so you can best prepare. However, this preparation has another set of benefits: You’ll be better able to focus on other tasks while visitors are signing up for your courses, giving you time to diversify. You’ll also be able to better predict when you can expect a jump in revenue, letting you plan out your financial state in greater detail.
STEP FOUR: repurpose your content
Automated passive income is a desirable goal for many and maximizing the return on your time investment is essential for creating long-term success. Content reuse, in particular, is a powerful tool, so make sure to keep your content well organized and easy to track down. Some emails can be reused in full, and you can use the same content on both your landing pages and your emails. If you need new content for a particular purpose, check through your older content and see if any of it can be rewritten or tweaked.
There’s no such thing as the perfect email sequence, and there’s always room for improvement. It’s unlikely that you’ll need to completely scrap your email sequence and craft a new one when relaunching your ecourse but take a look at it between launches and try to find if there are any clear areas for improvement. In particular, consider any new content you created for your ecourse in between sessions. Would any of this content fit in well in one of your five emails? If so, feel free to make tweaks.
Also take a look at your email stats inside your email account. You should see the number of opens and clicks for each email that you’ve sent. Calculate how well the clicks are converting to sales. Whichever email is not performing well, start rewriting that one first instead of trashing the whole series and starting over.
Also consider repurposing content to update your ecourse. Do you have any video trainings or audio classes that you can include inside your ecourse? Do you have new checklists or templates you can add? Maybe you were interviewed on the same topic as your course; consider adding that to your course. Updating doesn’t have to happen more than once each year and you’ll create quite a bit of content during those twelve months.
The email sequence is one of the most powerful tools for making your ecourse a sustainable source of income and crafting an effective five-email chain will give you a valuable backbone for years of online outreach efforts. Although marketing your ecourse will take some time, having a solid email sequence gives you a firm foundation to build on, and it, along with your landing page, will help you get the clarity you need to hone your marketing efforts.
Additionally, crafting an email sequence gives you the skills needed to launch new sequences in the future, helping you expand your reach with other ecourses and achieving automated and sustainable passive income. Make sure to put in the work upfront: The long-term benefits are well worth the time spent.