Are you done creating an engaging online learning course? Now, are you wondering how to promote, market and generate sales for your online courses? You are at the right place.

Email marketing is the ultimate go-to when it comes to selling online courses (not only online courses but also products, services, and everything else you can think of). You don’t believe me!? Email marketing has been around for a long time (can you believe it has been around for 50 freaking years), and it is here to stay for another 50 years. Believe it or not, Email marketing is not dead! I have proof to back up my earlier claims.

In 2021 alone, there have been 4.1billion users, according to an article by 99Firms. Now that there are 4.1billion people using emails, do you see the importance of Email marketing?
When you start Email list building, you will have unique and exclusive data of people that have shown internet in your products or services. You have ultimate control to communicate with prospective customers and generate sales directly. There is no third party interfering with the communication in any way. Email marketing isn’t a big industry kept secret that has been kept away from us. It is right there at your fingertips, literally.Through the various surveys conducted by multiple marketers and advertisers, we know that it is one of the most effective ways to advertise and market your products and services. Social media marketing, referral marketing, SEO, mobile advertising, SEM, digital advertising, etc., have had their moments, but nothing has outperformed Email marketing for decades now. This article is written to help and guide you on how to build an email list from scratch. First time building an email list? We will walk you through all the tactics of list building that will improve your business efficiency.

So are you still wondering why Email list building tactics are Important?

As an online course creator, if you are not putting in the efforts to actively build an email list of the potential customers that have shown any kind of interest in your course topics, you are missing the golden opportunity.

Let’s face the fact that it is a tough job to get students to enrol in your online courses. Why not make it less tedious and more effective. Have you ever wondered how many times a salesperson has to contact a prospective customer? It takes about 6-8 marketing and advertising touches to generate a viable sales lead.

Yes, you read that right, 6 to 8 times reaching out to the same customer. You can either use a single method to reach your customer or a hybrid method. That means you have to reach your students at least 6-8 times before they decide to enrol in your particular course. You can either use a single method to reach your customer or a hybrid method. How will you ever reach the same person 6 to 8 times via social media marketing, paid advertising, youtube, etc.?

Oh, are you going to

  • Post 6 to 8 times on your Facebook page and Instagram and hope every single person that follows you sees them all? (You totally can, but I hate to burst the bubble. Only 10% of your followers are probably engaging with your content. And 1% of those followers will translate into sales.)
  • Call every single student 6 to 8 times about your course? ( Still seems doable, but only 2% of the calls you do translate to sales. Also, cross your fingers that the students don't block you.)
  • Run 6-8 different advertisements for your online course and hope that the target audience will see them? ( We totally don’t take that water and washroom break during ads, nope who would commit a crime. We totally don’t skip ads.)
  • Produce 6-8 articles promoting the course on your blogs and hope that nobody skips a blog or 2? (Everything in the universe is possible.)
  • Tweet about the same online course 6-8 times and hope your followers see them and respond? (Hopefully, Netflix retweets it.)

To tell you the truth, it’s simply impossible or is it?

  • Can you send someone 6-8 emails over a period of time with some helpful tips and tricks about the online course? (This will help you to earn your students' trust and bond with the students. And now you can send them your online course ad.)

We all know that the last option is the better one. You won’t get on the students’ nerves and form a healthy bond that you can cherish for a long time. Any activity that leads to adding new subscribers to your email list means list building. List building is like exchanging one valuable thing for another. You give something important and exclusive in exchange for the user's email addresses. Make it worth their while and the info they share with you.

How to build an email list for your online course: The ultimate guide for your list building needs

This is the online guide you will need to refer to when building your list. We have covered it from selecting the right email service provider to sending your first Email to your subscribers’ lists.

Step 1: Creating an account with an Email Service Provider (ESP)

I know what you are wondering. What the heck is an Email Service Provider ( ESP)?
An Email Service provider is a digital tool that we can use to build an Email list. In simpler words, it makes our life a whole lot easy by storing bulk email identifications while helping us with email marketing and other business-related bulk email services. So, to build an Email list, we need to create an account with an Email Service Provider.
List building on the surface level is an easy task. But when it comes to the technical end of Email lists it can be a bit challenging.

Can you use your personal Email for list building?

You can’t start building a list from your personal Email address (believe me, you don’t want to do that). Why can’t you do so? Let me explain. If and when you try to email hundreds and thousands of people from your personal email account, these two things are bound to happen:

a) It will take you a lot of time to send a personal email to everyone.

b) Your Email address will get flagged as spam

An ESP not only helps you save time, but you can also do some fantastic things with it like:

  • Send Emails to everyone on the list at once
  • Automated Campaigns for advertising and marketing
  • Segregate your subscribers based on their behaviours and interests
  • Track your Emails open and click-through rates for future campaigns
  • It gives the subscribers a simple way to unsubscribe from your lists

So to sum it up, if you want to build an email list, you absolutely need an Email Service Provider.

Finding it difficult to choose an ESP from the various options?

Luckily, there are many ESPs in the market today. You can find a very detailed comparison between the Best Email Services of 2021 right here.

Step 2: Creating a New Email List

Now that our Email Service Provider is selected and set up, the next natural step is to create a new list for your Emails. No matter what ESP you choose to go with, creating a new Email List for your Blog, Business, etc. is a straightforward process. You will be asked to name your Email list. You can Name whatever you like; we suggest you call it in accordance with your business (for example: “ Edison’s Newsletters”). Also, now that you are here, subscribe to our blog, so you don’t miss out on a juicy piece of content like this. Once you name your list, the ESP will also ask for some basic contact information like your name, the company name, email address and physical mailing address. Remember that whatever mailing address you use, will be visible to all your subscribers. So, try and use your company’s official mailing address.

There is a high possibility that you run your blog or Ebusiness from home, consider getting a P.O. box. The P.O. box will prevent hundreds and thousands of people from knowing where you live.
Don’t know what precisely a P.O. box is? Read more about it here.

Step 3: Creating your first Lead Magnet

Now that we have successfully set an Emailing List creating a lead magnet to lure the subscribers in is the next step.

Wondering what a lead magnet is?

A lead magnet (also sometimes known as an ethical bribe) is a precious thing/resource that you make for your target audiences. You give away the lead magnet for free in exchange for their Email addresses.

Assuming that your end goal is to sell your online course to the people on your Email list, the lead magnet you create should be closely related to your online course. This will ensure that the people who subscribe to your email list are very interested in your course and potential customers.

How to create a lead magnet that your target audience will fall in love with?

The trick of the trade is simple, create a lead magnet that is so enticing that people will happily subscribe to your email list. It should be helpful and applicable to the target audience of your online course. When you create a lead magnet that is closely related to your online course, the subscriber list generated for the same is of people more likely to purchase your online course or at the very least are interested in the topic. If they are not interested in the topic, they won’t take the essential “free” lead magnet. If you are creating a course about, let’s say Search Engine Optimization (SEO), a list of 10 must-have tools for SEO is a great lead magnet.

Also, you are giving something away for literally no cost, which is extremely helpful; this improves the customer and business relationship and builds trust. Imagine the results that your course is helping someone achieve and create a lead magnet that’s relevant to it. The lead magnet should show how informed you are without giving away all the information. It should be a small and quick win for the potential customer that is interested in the topic. If you do not build trust, you will have difficulty generating sales for your online course.

Some of the most commonly used lead magnets are as follows:

  • Free course (it could be a small brief video)
  • Ebooks & PDF guides
  • Expert interviews (of people in relation to the course)
  • Tools and techniques
  • Resource guides
  • Quick checklist or cheat list
  • Video training
  • White paper or industry reports
  • Free Webinar
  • Case studies

You have noticed that “ subscribe to my newsletters for quick tips” isn’t on the list above. That is because it’s a future win for them, but they are not getting anything of importance right now.

A future newsletter is not a lead magnet; of course, you can continue to build trust through it. You need to give the customers that they can’t easily find for free anywhere. A lead magnet is something that they can use immediately or download immediately after subscribing to the list. (make it more exclusive)

Create multiple lead magnets

Last but not the least, you can create as many lead magnets as you want(the more, the merrier). Feel free to create as many lead magnets as you want or need. You don’t have to stop after creating one lead magnet. Remember it takes 6-8 touches before you make a sale. With a lead magnet, you can not be sure if it will work or not. So having multiple lead magnets will ensure that you reach your target audiences effectively.
Also, when you are new to list building, you can never be 100% sure that the lead magnet will work. You need to trust the process and test various options.

Step 4: Create Your Email Confirmation Process

Now that we are almost done setting up your ESP account, you are getting ready to write your first email for your subscribers, but there is one other thing you need to understand before writing your first email. One of the most critical but overlooked steps is the email confirmation process. There are two2 different types of email confirmation processes. Each is unique in its own way.

What do you mean by Single Opt-in and Double Opt-in?

This totally depends on the ESP you have selected. You will have two options to choose from. These are single Opt-in and Double Opt-in. I know. That’s what I am here for. So, a single opt-in simply means that it takes only one step for your subscriber to join your email list. That step is to enter their email address into the form. Once they have added their email address, the ESP will record and store their contact information for you directly, and the subscribers will receive their first welcome email. This is a simple process for your subscribers to join the list, but it is also more accessible for people to give their fake email address or worse enter someone else’s email address. If your emails are sent to the wrong person, they might report it as spam, and if you send emails to a fake email address, the emails will never be opened. (This is bad!)

A double opt-in system means it takes two steps to join the email list. The natural first step is to enter the email address into the opt-in form. The second step is to confirm that they want to receive any emails from your end. To get confirmation from your subscriber that they wish to receive any emails from you, the ESP will send an automated email along with a link. If they don’t click on that link, they won’t be delivered to your e-mail listing, and they won’t acquire the first email in your sequence (i.e. your welcome email). Although a double opt-in manner is extra intricate than a single opt-in process, it ensures that solely human beings who choose to get hold of emails from you are brought to your e-mail list.

To decrease the range of human beings who bitch about receiving your emails or flag them as spam, I propose you enforce a double opt-in process. Yes, a few human beings will get misplaced someplace in that affirmation process. But in the long run, it is higher to have an electronic mail listing of human beings who, in reality, open and have interaction with your emails versus human beings who simply desired your free lead magnet and had no intention of ever analysing your emails. That being said, there is a way to assist make sure that anyone takes the more significant step to affirm that they desire to obtain your emails: through optimising the Confirmation Page.

Optimising your Confirmation Page

When anybody opts to acquire your lead magnet, your ESP will usually direct them to a Confirmation Page. Sometimes referred to as a Thank You Page (as in “thanks for subscribing!”), this web page is a super vicinity to let your new subscribers know that they simply signed up to get hold of your lead magnet; however, they have one extra step to entire earlier than they will acquire it.

Step 5: Creating Your Welcome Email for New Subscribers

Anyone who opts into your e-mail listing to acquire your lead magnet must get hold of that lead magnet right away. Therefore, the first electronic mail you ship to new subscribers (your Welcome Email) should be automatically despatched. An e-mail that receives despatched routinely is referred to as an autoresponder. Proper now is probably an accurate time for me to explain the distinction between an autoresponder email and a broadcast email.

An autoresponder e-mail is an email you create beforehand of time that receives despatched robotically to your subscribers on a pre-determined day and time (or after a pre-determined length of time). As Ashe period implies, an autoresponder series is a collection of emails that you create beforehand and that is despatched to your subscribers in a precise order and over an exact length of time.

What to consist of in your Welcome Email:

First and foremost, for anybody to examine your Welcome Email, they have to, in reality, open it. Your Subject Line is what will make (or fail to make) that happen.

Here are a few examples of frequent problem strains used for Welcome Emails:

  • Nice to meet you! Here’s your gift
  • Thanks for subscribing!
  • Welcome to our community!
  • Download your free (insert lead magnet title here)
  • In phrases of what to consist of in the physique of your email, right here are a few suggestions:
  • Thank them for subscribing and inquiring about your lead magnet
  • Remind them who you are
  • Remind them what your lead magnet will assist them with
  • Give them the hyperlink to download or get entry to your lead magnet
  • Set an expectation (what can they anticipate from your future emails?)
  • Invite them to contact you or join you on social media

Step 6: Create Opt-in Forms and Landing Pages to Collect Emails

Once you have a lead magnet to provide to humans an alternate for subscribing to your e-mail list, the subsequent step is to create touchdown pages and opt-in varieties to gather these electronic mail addresses.

In case you are unfamiliar with the term, a touchdown page is a net web page that has a single purpose: to gather someone’s electronic mail address. So when any individual visits your touchdown page, they solely have two choices. They can both subscribe to your email list, or they can go away from the page. There are no different options. We’ll appear at some examples of touchdown pages in a moment.

Opt-in forms, on the different hand, are types that provide anyone with the possibility to subscribe (aka opt-in) to your email list. These varieties are positioned strategically during a number of components of your internet site or net page, and can even show up as “pop-ups” after a precise length of time or after the reader takes a particular action. Landing pages normally have a higher conversion price than opt-in forms, honestly due to the fact touchdown pages have fewer distractions than a usual net web page or weblog submit (which will frequently comprise hyperlinks to different pages or weblog posts, hyperlinks to social media, etc.). That being said, it is properly thinking to use both.

Step 7: Test, Test, Test

Here is simply one ultimate step earlier than you begin advertising the heck out of your lead magnet, and that is to take a look at everything. Remember Murphy’s Law? What can go wrong, will go wrong. When it comes to technology, something that can go incorrect typically does.

Test the whole lot you’ve set up by using subscribing to your very own e-mail list. Make certain the whole thing is working as it has to be, from the preliminary opt-in (via your touchdown web page or opt-in bins on your website) to the affirmation page, to the affirmation email, to the welcome email, to the hyperlink to your lead magnet. Go thru each step to make certain there are no breaks in the chain.


If you're a course creator, building a consistent email list of raving fans out of thin air is going to be the most important task for your business. So what's the first step?

The best advice I can give to a course creator building their email list from scratch is to get started today! Don’t get caught up in trying to get everything perfect before you even get started. Tell people about your course, put together an email sequence, and get people on your list. The sooner you can get your first student on your list, the sooner you can start collecting feedback and improving your course in response.

Riddhima Parkar
Content Marketing Associate
Table of Content
Subscribe to our newsletter:
Sign up and stay connected with all the latest updates from EdisonOS!
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.