Email Marketing

  • How to Create Your First Free Email Course

    Do you offer a free email course to your audience? If not, now is the time to create one!

    You might have heard mixed things about email courses. Are they worth the extra effort? Do downloads and swipe files perform just as well?

    Email courses are a fantastic way to grow your list, offer extra value to your readers and get them into a habit of opening emails from you! And, the best bit is, they don’t take that much more effort to create than your regular content.

    Once you’ve set up the course with your chosen email marketing service provider, you can automate everything. Your readers sign up for the course and then have the content delivered to them automatically. After the course content is written, you don’t have to do any more work on it (apart from promoting).

    Here’s a simple step-by-step guide to creating your first free email course.

    How to Create Your First Email Course

    **This post may contain affiliate links for products I love. If you make a purchase through one of these links, I will earn a commission at no extra cost to you. For my full disclaimer, please click here**

    Why create a free email course?

    I just mentioned this briefly in the intro to the post but email courses are a great way to grow your email list. Readers often view email courses as offering much more value than a simple PDF download. They are also much more invasive when it comes to their inbox.

    So, whilst people will think more carefully before subscribing to an email course (and you’ll probably get fewer subscribers than with other opt-in freebies individually), you’ll be getting the right kind of subscribers. They will be genuinely interested in the topic and be looking for expert advice on it.

    This, in turn, means that you are able to establish yourself as an expert in that topic. Your subscribers have the opportunity to familiarise themselves with your teaching style, as well as your personality. And, if they found your free course helpful, they’re much more likely to invest in your paid course or eBook. For this reason, a free email course also makes a great starting point for a sales funnel.

    How to Create Your First Free Email Course

    How to Choose a Topic

    The process of choosing a topic for your email course is the same as choosing a topic for any other opt-in freebie that you create for your site.

    Head to Google Analytics and find out which of your posts are most popular. These are the ideal topics to create a course on because you know that your ideal audience wants to learn more about them.

    Another way to discover topics that your audience want to learn about is to check out what questions are being asked in Facebook Groups.

    If you have a paid course or eBook already, you may want to use a free email course as an introduction to it. If this is the case, your topic has already been chosen! Deliver some amazing content that leads on to your paid product.

    How to Create the Course

    When it comes to the creation and delivery of the course, it’s really quite simple.

    I think a lot of people put off creating their first email course because they think that it’s going to be super difficult and time-consuming. And I guess, if you overthink it, it can be! But don’t worry, here’s my simple step-by-step guide to creating your first email course in just a couple of days.


    1. Draw up an outline

    Before you get into the meat of your course, it’s important to draw up an outline so that you don’t spend hours on end going off on a pointless tangent!

    The first step is to identify the purpose of your course. What is the one thing that your readers are going to take away from the course? Once you have identified the purpose, everything else that you work on and write will lead towards that end goal.

    As with writing any sort of content, an outline will help you know what to research and what to write. With an email course, your outline will also help you to identify how many lessons your course will have and what each lesson will cover.


    2. Create a timeline

    Now that you have an outline, it’s time to create a timeline.

    Your timeline is basically how many emails you’re going to send and when. Think about how many days you want your course to last and how often you want to email people.

    A lot of email courses tend to be 5-7 days with an email being sent each day. But, if you’re planning to cram lots of information into each email, you may want to spread them out to every couple of days to allow students time to read, digest and action each lesson before moving on to the next.

    Remember that this is about getting the right balance: you don’t want to email your readers so often that they become overwhelmed and end up unsubscribing but you also don’t want to leave huge gaps in between emails leading them to forget about you and the course.

    How to Create Your First Free Email Course

    3. Creating the content

    Once you have your purpose and your outline in place, it’s time to fill out the bulk of things.

    As a personal preference, I like to write up all of the lessons in Word or Google Docs first and then copy and paste them over into my email sequence. The main reason for this is to use the spellcheck functions but it also means that I have a backup of the sequence saved somewhere which is always useful!

    I would work through the lessons in order to ensure that each one builds on the information provided in the previous lesson.

    The format of the lessons themselves is completely up to you. You may choose to rely on text-based emails only. You may also consider embedding or adding links to video tutorials. Another option is to include downloadable worksheets or checklists.

    If you mention something in your course that falls outside of the course curriculum itself, you might want to add a link to a blog post that you wrote on that course or use an affiliate link to a relevant eBook. An example of this might be where you say something like “Make sure that your images are on brand” and you link through to a post you wrote about branding.

    Regardless of which format you choose your lessons to be presented in, it’s important to remember to make each lesson actionable. The best way to ensure this happens is to include some sort of tasks for your readers to complete at the end of each lesson.

    4. Creating a new sequence

    You want your lessons to be delivered automatically to those who sign up for your email course so there’s no additional work on your part. Luckily for us, most email marketing service providers have some sort of automation or sequence function for this.

    I would always recommend Convertkit for bloggers and businesses as the functionality is beyond anything that I’ve experienced with other providers.


    Related Post → Why I Switched from MailChimp to Convertkit


    The process for setting up your email sequence is easy. Select “Sequences” from the header menu:

    Then select “+Create Sequence” from the top right-hand corner. Give your sequence a name. Your subscribers won’t see this so don’t worry about it too much, just make sure that it makes sense to you.

    You will then be taken to a screen that looks like this, which is where you are going to set up those emails.

    How to Create Your First Email Course


    Adding emails to the sequence

    In the first email you want to create a welcome message and set this to send immediately (i.e. 0 days after the subscriber signs up). This will confirm to your subscriber that their sign up has been successful and also ensure that they have marked your emails to land in their inbox rather than spam!

    So, set the “Delay Sending By” to 0 days. The delay here refers to the time since the person signed up for your course. This means that it’s not a one-time-only course; it will run continually so people can sign up whenever they want and will receive the email sequence then, rather than at a fixed time (e.g. on two specific weeks of the year).

    Next, add a subject line and write your introduction email. Once you’re done, change the “Status” to “Published” and make sure you hit “Save”.

    Next, use the menu on the left-hand side of the screen to add your first lesson by using the “+Add Lesson” button. You will have the same options as the previous email.

    Set the “Delay Sending By” to the time you want – most email courses are a short series over 5-7 days, with one email being sent out each day. If this is the case, set your delay to 1 day since the last email.

    Add in your catchy subject line (avoid something dull like “X Course: Lesson One”) and copy and paste lesson one into the body of the email. Once you’re done, change the status to “Published” and hit “Save”.

    Repeat this process for each of your lessons until all of them are in the sequence.


    End with a CTA

    Remember to end your email sequence with a clear Call-to-Action. This final email is probably the most difficult email to write, especially if your CTA is inviting your readers to purchase something. No matter how experienced you are as a blogger or an entrepreneur, the “selling” part always feels a little uncomfortable. The only secret I have is to not overthink it. Keep it casual and light (not too pushy). And, if your lessons have been well-written they will have been leading up to this in a non-salesy way.

    How to Create Your First Free Email Course

    5. Creating the sign-up form

    Okay, so your course now exists. And the sequence is set up to deliver one lesson each day to your students. Now you need a way for your students to register for the course. Your sign-up form is what you are going to place into relevant blog posts. You’ll also need a landing page for your course but I’ll get on to that in a moment.

    Create a sign-up form as you would do usually within Convertkit.


    Related Post → Creating Sign-Up Forms and Where to Place Them to Increase Subscribers


    Once you have created the form itself, complete with your branding, it’s time to link the form to the email sequence that you just created.

    Head to the “Settings” tab of the form.

    How to Create Your First Email Course

    Under “Main Settings” you have the option to add your subscribers to an email sequence. Select the sequence you just created from the drop-down menu and tick the box underneath to “Make sequence mandatory for all new subscribers”.

    Your form and your email sequence are now linked. So, when a reader signs-up using that particular form, they will receive the emails in your sequence (in the order that you have set them).


    6. Creating a landing page

    Yes, your course is free but you still need a landing page.

    As I mentioned at the start of this post, an email course is more of a commitment that signing up for a downloadable PDF. So explain to your readers exactly why they should be enrolling in your free email course.

    Tell your readers exactly what they will learn and take away from this course. If you’ve decided to include worksheets and/or checklists, let them know (and include mockups of them on the landing page because…you know, visuals!)

    It’s also worth including a “curriculum”. Let your readers know what you will be covering in each lesson and when they will have access to each lesson.

    Don’t forget to embed your sign-up form into the landing page so that they can actually enrol in the course!


    Related Post → Creating an Effective Landing Page


    7. Add relevant tags and rules

    One of the features I love the most about Convertkit is the “Automations” section where you can add tags and rules to your subscribers depending on a number of different triggers.

    When someone signed up to one of my email courses or sequences, I add a number of different rules.

    So, an example of this is my 201 Facebook Groups download. Although it’s not an email course, the rules are the same:

    How to Create Your First Email Course

    As you can see here, the trigger is set to “Subscribers to a form – 201 Facebook Groups”. Anyone who signs up to get this download is tagged with “201 Facebook Groups”. This lets me know which downloads each subscriber has accessed (and therefore, which topics they are interested in). They are also subscribed to the “201 Facebook Groups – Follow Up” sequence which means that they will receive the emails in the sequence that I have created.

    You might have noticed that they are also tagged with “New – Don’t Send Newsletter”. I do this because I don’t want to bombard my subscribers with tonnes of emails. So, if they are receiving emails from a sequence, I don’t want them to receive my regular weekly newsletter emails at the same time. When I send out email newsletters I send them to my entire list EXCEPT those who are tagged with “New – Don’t Send Newsletter”.

    Because of this rule, I create a second rule to undo this once the sequence is finished.

    How to Create Your First Email Course

    Here the trigger is “Completes a Sequence – 201 Facebook Groups – Follow Up” and the actions are “Add Tag – NEwsletter Subscriber” and “Remove Tag – New-Don’t Send Newsletter”. So, once they have finished the sequence (or email course), they then automatically get added to your usual newsletter list.

    What Happens After the Sequence?

    As I just mentioned, you probably want to add your subscribers into your main email list once they have finished the course. This is really easy to do and can be completely automated by following the steps outlined above.

    If, however, your email course is the start of a sales funnel, you should add those subscribers into another sequence. This is really to set up with Convertkit.

    Simply create your sales funnel sequence in the same way that you set up your email course sequence.

    Then head into the “Automations” section again and add a new rule. The trigger is “Completes a Sequence – Your Email Course” and the action is“Subscriber to a Sequence – Your Sales Funnel”.

    For more information on sales funnels and systems that really convert, check out Sweet Sales Systems from Elise at House of Brazen.

    Sweet Sales Systems

    Promoting Your Email Course

    So, now you have everything set up, how do you tell people about your course?

    It’s no different to promoting anything else that you create really!

    Using a tool like CanvaCanva, create some eye-catching graphics and share your amazing new email course on social media!

    You can promote your free course in Facebook Groups too but make sure that you check the rules first. As I’ve mentioned a few times in various blog posts, one of the easiest ways to find the right place to promote your course is to use the search function.

    Simply type in a keyword relating to your product and hit search. Then narrow down the search results to groups that you’re a member of and sort them by most recent. Scroll through the results and share your course where relevant. Remember, don’t just drop a link a run!

    If someone has asked for advice on a topic that your course is perfect for, reply to them with a few hints and tips, and then refer them to your course for further information, followed by the link.

    Another great place to promote your email course is in your email signature.

    How to Create Your First Free Email Course

    And that is all there is to creating your first free email course with Convertkit.

    You can create an email course in a single day so you have no excuses! 

    Don’t forget to let me know once you’ve launched it, I’d love to see what you’ve created.

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  • How to Write an Over-the-Top Subject Line that gets Your Email Opened

    Ever wondered how to write a subject line that gets your email opened?

    Have no fear! Today’s post is from the wonderful Erin of Sincerely, Erin xoxo and it’s all about how to write an over-the-top subject line that gets your email opened by your list!

    Subject Lines that Get Your Emails Opened

    **This post may contain affiliate links for products I love. If you make a purchase through one of these links, I will earn a commission at no extra cost to you. For my full disclaimer, please click here**

    So if you’re like most people you probably receive hundreds of emails daily and you never open and read every single one of them.  To decide which will be the lucky few you open, if you’re like me, you probably look for your favourite senders and then also skim through subject lines that are flooding your Inbox.

    Am I right?

    If you see something that catches your eye, that one will get opened.

    With this being said, when you’re writing and sending your emails it is extremely important to create an over-the-top subject lines that are going to catch your reader’s attention.

    Your subject line is the first impression to your email.  If it’s not attention grabbing, your first impression is lost.  Your reader is moving onto the next email and you’ll probably end up in the trash bin and we don’t want that, right?

    To ensure that you are capturing the attention of your readers, here is the over-the-top email subject line formula:

    Number or Trigger Word + Adjective + Keywords + Promise

    Check out these examples using the formula above:

    • 5 stellar blog posts that will get high conversion rates
    • The Ultimate Guide to Eating Healthy that will change your life
    • 10 quick and easy exercises to lose 10 lbs in one week
    • How to boost your re-pins by using these awesome Canva templates

    Here are some tips and tricks on creating subject lines that will increase your open rates and click through rates:

    Subject Line that gets Your Email Opened

    • Please don’t use all CAPS or go overboard using punctuation.  This is really hard for me because I love exclamation points but have learned the hard way that they are not effective when overused.  One word in CAPS or one punctuation mark gives works perfectly!
    • Emojis can be used sparingly just like CAPS and punctuation.  Use emojis that work with the content.  Example:  If you’re giving away a checklist, insert a check-mark.
    • Remember to keep your email subject lines short and to the point.  This will ensure that the entire subject fits on all devices such as desktops, laptops, tablets and phones.
    • The last word in the formula above is “promise” so be sure you’re not making promises you can’t keep or you can’t deliver.  This just makes your reputation and credibility go straight down the drain.
    • Remember to use your voice in your email subject lines just like you do in your blog posts.  Act like you’re emailing your bestie.  This will personalise the email subject line.


    How can you get a rise out of your subscriber’s feelings?  What tugs on their heart strings?  What makes them angry?  You want to think of things that will make them take action!


    What can your subscriber expect to achieve if they open your email? What if they read and follow what you’re saying in your email? They’re probably only going to open the email if they can see a benefit to them in the subject line.


    Limited time offers and telling people they only have so much time is a fantastic way to get people to act now.  This is something you see all the time for people selling products using a special offer and the time will run out and it will go to full price so get it now!

    Subject Line that gets Your Email Opened

    The “don’t miss out” fear

    No one wants to feel like they’re going to miss out on something fantastic, something that could help them or change their life so if you can show results of something major that you’ve achieved, your readers will want to know and will open your email.


    The majority of people love to laugh so if you can inject a little humour into their life, it will help get your email opened.

    Reverse Psychology

    When you were a child did your parents ever tell you “no you don’t want to do that” when all along they really did want you to do it!  Using reverse psychology on subscribers so tell them “do not open this email” will most likely get it opened right away.  Tell someone to do the complete opposite of what you really want them to do.


    Be completely honest and tell people exactly what they need to do to follow through and succeed with whatever topic your email is pertaining to.

    Email Welcome Series Swipe File

    Office   sqaure

    Want to get your hands on the welcome series I send to my new subscribers? Grab it now!

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    Make personal references to your subscribers.  If you know exactly who your dream customer is then you’ll know everything they like, everything they need so you’ll be able to tailor your emails to make them sound like you’re writing specifically to the person reading it.


    Everyone likes to hear compliments about themselves so if you can make a person feel good about themselves or their business that’s great.  Try making each subscriber feel special and unique.


    Finally, make your subject line a tease of what is contained in the body of your email, what is in it for them, what they’re going to learn.  If your subscribers are intrigued, they’ll more than likely open your email.

    So, don’t be afraid to test different things out.  The more you are willing to try different things, the more you’ll know exactly what types of email subject lines appeal to your audience and doing this will give you a higher click through rate and better conversion rates of people visiting your website.

    Once you start using these tips, keep track of the engagement rates to see what did and didn’t work.  Then if you’re still seeing people not opening any of your emails, it’s more than likely time to clean up your email list.  For more information on this, check out this post “Why Cleaning Up Your Email List is Important”.

    So, now you know how to write a subject line that gets your email opened! There’s no stopping you getting your word out there to your email list.

    Email Welcome Series Swipe File

    Office   sqaure

    Want to get your hands on the welcome series I send to my new subscribers? Grab it now!

    We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

    Meet Erin

    Subject Line that gets Your Email Opened

    A massive thank you to Erin for taking the time to write this awesome post for us!

    If you want to hear more from Erin or get in touch with her, here’s her deets:



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