In the new era of email marketing, marketers are intent on delivering subscribers exactly what they want. And technology is paving the way– email automation and personalization allow marketers to create enticing campaigns that engage subscribers.
Email courses are gaining traction, particularly for B2B organizations that need to educate their audiences in order to make a sale. In an email course, subscribers sign up to receive daily, weekly, or monthly emails to educate them on a topic. It’s like a helpful, tailored blog series that goes straight into their inbox.
Email courses encourage engagement and help generate familiarity with your brand.
How can you, as a marketer, get started with email courses? In this post, we’re sharing 5 things you should know when creating an automated email series.
How does an automated email series work?
An automated email series relies on automation. A subscriber will sign up for your course, and then they will receive emails on a scheduled basis. In this way, you can deliver content to subscribers and provide them knowledge.
Email courses can function independently from other email marketing efforts, and be highly targeted to certain groups. For example, you could create an email course for new customers to help them get onboard with your service. You could also have an email course that gives prospective customers fresh insights into your industry to help boost your authority in the space.
At Campaign Monitor, we have an automated email course about email marketing with 9 lessons to help marketers learn how to send email campaigns that get results. When a subscriber signs up, they receive emails on a timely basis that teach them a variety of tactics:
Lesson 1: Ideas for great subject lines
Lesson 2: Copywriting tips and tricks
Lesson 3: Free sites to get amazing images for email campaigns
Lesson 4: How to use a Google Analytics Dashboard with email marketing
Lesson 5: How we got a 127% increase in click-throughs by redesigning our email template
Lesson 6: How ConversionLab used email to turn lost website visitors into $120,000 in revenue
Lesson 7: How BuzzFeed uses email marketing to drive phenomenal growth
Lesson 8: How to integrate business apps with your email marketing tool
Lesson 9: How to choose the right email marketing software for your business
1. Choose a subject that excites your audience
The point of an email course is for your audience to learn something they don’t already know, but care about learning. You have to be very deliberate about choosing a subject.
You can start by looking at content that’s performed well on your blog, doing some keyword research, or talk to customers about what their biggest pain points are. Many companies repurpose content from their blog or knowledge-bases in their email courses.
Close.io, a CRM targeted at small sales teams, created an email course on startup sales, precisely because the team knew that’s what the audience cared about most. The course consisted of 13 emails, and most had open rates that exceeded 55%.
Buffer has a number of email courses, including Become a Social Media Expert, a 10-day email course to help marketers learn more about social media. The course includes info on when to post, how to post, and what types of reports to show your boss. This is a particularly good subject for Buffer to focus on as their product is a social media scheduling software.
2. Promote your email course like it’s a product
It’s a good start to create an email course, especially if you already have the content. But if you want to be successful, you have to promote your email course as though it’s a product.
That means you need to design and build a convincing landing page, consider paying for promotion on social media, and adding calls-to-action at the end of your blog posts to encourage readers to sign up.
At Campaign Monitor, we promote our email course via calls to action at the end of relevant blog posts that lead to a landing page where people can sign up.
The CTA looks like this:
And the landing page looks like this:
Much like a product, your email course can continue to reap benefits long after you’ve created it. Once you have the email course set up, you can use it to educate customers for a substantial period.
3. Use copywriting principles to make your emails engaging
If you’re going to do an email course, you have to make sure your emails are a pleasure to read. To do this, we recommend employing copywriting principles and spending significant time crafting your lessons.
Here are a few copywriting hacks to try:
- Use the PAS formula
- Experiment with A/B testing
- Use a “from name” that’s a real person
- Employ the 5 persuasion techniques: sensory words, evoke imagination, add the word ‘because’ and formulate sound bites.
4. Don’t overwhelm with too much content
When your subscribers sign up for an email course, they’re looking to gain information. Don’t overwhelm them with too much content. You need to be respectful of your subscribers and give them what they want.
That means keeping your emails short and being transparent about how many emails they’ll receive. We let subscribers know from the get-go that our email course is a 9-part email course so they know what to expect.
5. Give subscribers a next step when the course ends
There’s a reason to create email courses, and that’s to provide value to your subscribers. If you want your course to leads to conversions– however you define them– then you must direct subscribers to a next step.
Maybe you encourage them to get in touch with your sales team, sign up for another course, share the course on social media, or read a landing page about what services you offer. Don’t leave them hanging– the end of your course is a perfect opportunity to re-engage your subscribers.
At the end of the Campaign Monitor email course, we offer subscribers the opportunity to sign up for a free account.
An automated email series can educate your audience so they can make informed decisions. An email course will show that you’re an authority in the space and get subscribers familiar with your brand. When it comes time to make a purchase, your students will be more likely to choose you.