Finding the perfect opt-in to convert visitors into emails subscribers can be hard! And working on a freebie to only have 10 people sign-up for it can be disappointing. This post will walk you through how to create a free email course in Mailerlite and grow your email list exponentially in a matter of days!
Free email courses are a great way to get people to sign-up to your email list, offer extra value to your subscribers, and most importantly, get them used to opening your emails.
💎 Related Articles:
- Why bloggers need an email list
- Why I switched from Mailchimp to Mailerlite
- How To Start, Manage And Grow Your Email List
How To Structure An Email Course
Creating an email course is easier than you might think (technically speaking), but if this is your first time doing this, you might struggle with putting together the content that will go into the course.
So here are a few quick tips to help you decide on a topic and structure your lessons in a way that it makes sense to your students:
💎 Survey your audience and pay attention to their needs.
If the topic of your email course is not addressing their problems, you will end up with a bunch of subscribers that are not really interested in your blog content. See what are your most popular posts and what people are struggling with that you can expand on in an email series.
For example, I saw that a lot of my readers were new bloggers who were struggling with getting their first readers and growing their traffic. So I went ahead and created my first email course, Tweak & Peak.
💎 Don’t do anything just because it’s popular!
This refers both to the topic and the way you structure it. If you see that 7 days email courses are popular but a 3-day course makes the most sense for you, do that instead! Think about what your audience would be more attracted to and how your lessons are best delivered.
Choose a format that you are comfortable delivering content in (for example, if you are not comfortable on camera, simply deliver the email course as a series of emails with text and supporting images instead) and don’t overcomplicate things because you’ve seen it done somewhere else.
Think about what your audience would be more attracted to and how your lessons are best delivered.
💎 Present your teachings in a logical way.
Now that you have your topic, you need to make sure that you take your readers on a journey. You can’t teach people how to make homemade pizza without showing them how to do the base first. Before you even start writing your email course, sketch it out and distribute the lessons per days.
Before you even start writing your email course, sketch it out and distribute the lessons per days/emails. Make sure there is a certain flow to it, and get people to interact with you by adding supporting material such as checklists or workbooks.
I used Evernote to draft all my lessons and split them up per emails (this way I always have them backed up in case something happens) and Grammarly to make sure I avoid spelling or grammatical errors.
How To Create A Free Email Course In Mailerlite
Mailerlite is my favorite email service provider and I can’t recommend it enough for new and veteran bloggers. You will see how easy their interface is in the tutorial below and how effortlessly you can create an email course (for free!) but here are a few reasons why you should consider them:
- It’s free to use until you reach 1000 subscribers (no credit card or payment information required before that!)
- They have free automation which makes the delivery of the lessons possible in a consecutive order (over a few days or over a few weeks)
- They have free landing pages! This means you can showcase your course and get people to sign up for it much easier! (See an example of a landing page for an email challenge here.)
- Their support is amazing! Even if the platform is very easy to use (even if you have no tech skills), I had a few questions and their amazing customer service team was there for me
Check out Mailerlite for yourself! Creating an account is free and you get to test all their features before you commit to anything!
That being said, here are 5 easy steps you need to take to make your email course idea a reality:
💎 1. Create A New Group
To direct and store all your new subscribers in one place and to enable the automatic emails that will only go to them, you will first need to create a separate group.
(You can create unlimited groups with Mailerlite and I love this feature because it helps me see who signed up for what freebie and target them when I send specific emails in the future.)
HOW: Log in to your account > Go to “Subscribers” > Click on “Add new group” > Name it > Click on “Create”
Remember to name your group something obvious such as “Email Course” or the name of your course to make it easy to find and differentiate from your other groups as you will refer back to it in the future.
💎 2. Set Up An Automation Workflow
The next step you need to take is to transfer your content to Mailerlite, split the lessons in emails and choose a timeline for them. This is the most time-consuming tasks because you also need to design the emails, proofread them and set up the automated series of emails.
But Mailerlite makes it so easy! So don’t get overwhelmed, because this tutorial will show you how to do it (and even take a shortcut when you have to design your emails). The first step is to create a new workflow.
HOW: Go to “Automation” > Click on “Create a new workflow” > Select the trigger and the group > Click “Save”
You will then need to name it (only you will be able to see the name) and set a trigger for your workflow (what will need to happen to activate it).
To make the connection between forms (I will teach you how to create them in step 3) and the automation series you are about to create, make sure you select “When subscribers join a group” as the trigger. A dropdown will appear that will allow you to select one of your groups. Simply select the group you create especially for this, as shown below.
You get the option to activate the same workflow again for people who sign up more than once. For email courses, I usually tick the box because people might want to go over the details again. For anything else (such as my welcome series), I leave the box unticked.
Once you save it, you can start working on what goes into your workflow, which is your emails. Because you have no forms leading to this group, it won’t matter if the workflow is active or not, but you get to make all the edits by turning the workflow off.
When you start working on your workflow you will be faced with a blank canvas that you get to paint and design any way you want. From the features above you will only really need the first two to create your email course (unless you want it to be quite inadequate). Here is what they all do:
- EMAIL: This is what you need to click on to add a new email into your workflow. You then get to customize it any way you want.
- DELAY: This is a very important feature! Unless you add this between emails, they will all go out in the same time! You can choose the interval between signing up and receiving the first email as well as the time that goes between each email (1 hour, 1 day, 1 week and so on)
- CONDITION: This allows you to send customized emails to the people that are taking your course based on what they click on or if they opened your emails or not. You basically get to design 2 different emails for 2 variations.
- ACTION: This allows you to move subscribers to a new group, unsubscribe them or similar actions that are not relevant when creating an email course.
Below is a screenshot of a snippet of my email course and how it looks behind the scenes to give you an idea of how it will look like when you are finished. (You also get to see how the Condition works on the last set of emails.)
Now it’s up to you! Click on the “+” sign to start adding emails. You will need to work on each one separately before moving on to the next one.
HOW: Click on the plus sign > Select “Email” > Write a subject line > Click on the gray box with “Design Email” Design and write your email > Click on “Done Editing” > Add delay > Start working on your next email
Once you add an email, you will need to write a subject line. This is the title of your email and what people will get in their inbox, so use this space wisely.
When it comes to designing your email you have three options:
- Use a drag and drop editor
- Use one of their free templates (you can customize it per your liking)
- Use one of your old email designs
When you’re creating an email course, you want all your emails to look the same (design wise) and just the content to be different. This way people can easily recognize it and realize that it’s not just a random email.
PRO TIP: Create a banner with your email course title to add at the beginning of your email (I use Canva to do this) and use the same colors throughout.
So the first email is the most important. Start from scratch or use one of their templates as a base.
Once you have created and saved your first email, the only thing you need to do when you start putting together Day 2 and Day 3 of your email course is to go replicate that design and simply customize the text!
HOW: Click on the plus sign > Select “Email” > Write a subject line > Click on “Design Email” > Go to “Recent Emails” > Select “Automations” from the drop-down box in the left corner > Choose the email you previously designed
And voila! Now all you have to do is insert your previously written content (or write it now if you’re a rebel) into each relevant emails, space them out (do you want people to get one email per day or per week?) and activate your workflow but turning it “ON”!
Remember, you can add as many emails as you want, but make sure you don’t overwhelm your subscribers by sending them 2 emails each hour!
You can always go back and change the order of the emails, make adjustments to the design or content and decide when you want them to go out. (For most of these changes you will have to pause the workflow and start it again. Don’t worry. Emails will go out as scheduled and won’t start over for existing subscribers.)
You can later select the workflow for the “Forms” section of your Mailerlite dashboard to check statistics such as open rates, average click rate, and unsubscribers.
PRO TIP: If your open rate is low, change the subjects of your emails to something more appealing. If your click-through rate is low (and you included links that you want people to check out), then you need to work on the content of your emails. If your unsubscribe rate is high, you need to target the people that sign up to your course more wisely and make sure they are actually interested in the topic.
💎 3. Create Some Opt-in Forms
Now that your workflow is all set up and active, all you need to do is get people to enroll in your email course by creating forms that will add them to the group you created in Step 1 and that will trigger the email series.
As cleverly shown by Mailerlite, you can choose to create any of the following forms:
- A pop-up box
- A landing page
- An embedded form
For my email course, Tweak (Your Website) & Peak (Your Traffic), I have created one of each and they have all been successful in bringing people in.
Decide what would work best for your course and your audience, and start creating some forms!
HERE IS HOW: Go to “Forms” > Select the preferred form > Give your form a name > Select the group you created in the first step > Design your form, the confirmation page and the confirmation email
The difference between the forms is quite obvious as they all do different things.
The pop-ups are a good way to capture website visitors and convert them into email subscribers. I also recommend looking into Optin Monster if you want a smarter lead generation feature. (It integrates perfectly with Mailerlite as shown by this tutorial!)
The landing pages are great to promote on social media and you can add as much information as you want there to convince people to sign up! It’s a clever technique to avoid other distractions on the page and get people to buy into… your free course!
The embedded forms can be used in blog posts and anywhere on your website. They can be more subtle than the other two, but if people are really interested in your content, they will work! (I added a banner on top on my form to draw attention to it, as shown below.)
If you have difficulties creating any of these forms or encounter issues when you put together your email course, make sure to use the chat box to contact a Mailerlite representative (they have walked me step-by-step through some of my questions) and watch the video tutorials they have available.
💎4. How To Promote Your Free Email Course
Once you’ve put all that work into creating an email course, it would be a shame if people didn’t know that it exists and if your email list stays the same.
So when you launch it, make a big deal about it! Create buzz around the idea, share it around and create a strategy to bring traffic to your landing page or in the blog post where you promote it.
You need to promote your email course more than you promote any other opt-in or freebie you have because of the work you put into it that translates into a lot of value for potential subscribers.
So get the news out there and do it proudly!
💎 5. Improve Your Email Marketing Skills
If you are really interested in becoming a better email marketer (a must have skill for bloggers and online biz owners!), growing your email list and creating a better connection to your subscribers, you need to keep learning!
Reading this post is a great step in the right direction because it means that you are willing to offer your blog readers something awesome for free! You are already starting to build trust with them, which is vital.
But are you ready for the next step?
I highly recommend looking into List Thrive, my favorite course about email marketing taught by one of my blogger friends that I really look up to. If you want to understand the intricate ways of email marketing, obliterate self-doubt when it comes to your freebies and your newsletters. (Because you still need to send your list emails after the email course is finished, don’t you?)
So keep learning (from your own trials/mistakes and from those who have been there before you), keep trying and don’t forget to have some fun and add your personal voice in your emails and your free course! (No one likes robot dedicated emails!)
Mailerlite – My email service provider and the only one I can wholeheartedly recommend for new bloggers. You get to grow your list to 100 subscribers and learn how you can profit from it before you get charged a single penny and they allow wonderful things, such as email courses and landing pages, to happen with that free account! Get started with Mailerlite today!
Grammarly – Another free tool that I would gladly pay for. If you’re in need of a spellchecker or a digital proofreader, you can install this web extension and save yourself a lot of trouble!
Canva – A free design tool that can come in handy when you’re creating email banners or explanatory photo tutorials (like the one I included in this post).
Optin Monster – The ultimate tool that can help you turn your visitors into subscribers. They offer countless sign-up forms that will integrate beautifully with your website and other premium features to grow your email list.
The She Approach To Boosting Your Blog Traffic – My own eBook that can teach you how to build an engaged audience for your blog which will turn into loyal email subscribers! It contains an entire chapter on email marketing and how you can use it to bring traffic to your blog.
List Thrive – A self-paced course that contains my favorite tips, tricks and tutorials that every bloggers need to know, try and test on their own email list. This course has it all, including a 30-day refund policy if you’re not getting the results you want.
Want access to over 100 tools that I use to run my blog? Access my Free Resource Library here!
The best part of the discussions happens in the comment section! So don’t shy away from leaving your questions and opinions below! Would love to hear from you.