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How To Create An Email Course That Grows Your List & Income [Ep. 84]

By Jessie Festa. This episode on how to create a free email course contains affiliate links to trusted partners!

Interested in learning how to create an email course that leads to more subscribers and income?

Well, you’re in luck, as in this episode of The Profitable Travel Blogger Podcast, we’ll be going over a step-by-step strategy for creating a free email course that grows your business!

By the end of this episode, you’ll understand how to:

  • Create an email course as an opt-in freebie
  • Plan out your email course content so that it truly helps your subscribers and builds your relationship with your audience
  • Use your email course to increase your affiliate income
  • Turn your free email course into an evergreen sales funnel
  • And more!

In short, if you’re looking to create a free email course that grows your traffic, community, and income, you won’t want to miss this strategy!

How To Create An Email Course That Converts [Podcast Episode Audio]

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Free List-Building Challenge

Additionally, I invite you to grab a seat in my free email list-building challenge!

In this free challenge, you’ll learn how to increase your subscribers, nurture your community, and monetize an email list in just 5 days, with daily lessons and powerful action steps sent to your inbox daily.

Throughout the challenge, there will be a number of bonuses that will help you implement your list-building strategy easier and faster. Make sure to grab those before the challenge ends!

Ready to grow your email list and increase your income? Grab your seat here!

Create A Free Email Course With These Helpful Tools:

ConvertKit. Most of your online course marketing will be done via email, so it’s important to have a feature-rich and user-friendly email marketing platform – like ConvertKit. My affiliate link gets you a 30-day free trial — no credit card required! Alternatively, you can join their free plan here.

Mailerlite. Mailerlite is another great email marketing tool that is free to start. Some of my favorite free Mailerlite features include automation, landing page builders, 24/7 chat support, and more.

Keysearch (snag 30% off with code “jessieonajourney30”). Whether you need to do keyword research, are looking for a niche research tool, or simply want enough information to rank your content in search results, Keysearch can help. It’s the tool I personally use for all of the above, and more!

how to create an email course

Create A Free Email Course That Converts [Episode Transcript]

I’ve talked before about creating opt-in freebies to grow your email list, and I’ve also mentioned how powerful automated welcome sequences can be for nurturing your new subscribers.

Well, what if you could do both at the same time?

Spoiler alert — you can, at least if you create a free email course, which is exactly what we’ll be discussing in this podcast episode.

🎉 Also, don’t forget to grab your FREE seat in my Amplify Your Email List Challenge. You’ll learn how to grow, nurture, and monetize an email list in just 5 days! Plus, there will be bonuses to make implementing your email marketing strategy even easier. Grab your spot here!

What is a free email course?

Let’s kick things off by discussing what a free email course is.

A free email course is a series of educational emails. Each email in the series builds on the previous so that by the end, the course-taker has learned something – such as a new concept, strategy, or skill – or you’ve helped them expand their knowledge on a topic.

I’m getting ahead of myself here, but you want your email course to make people feel helped by you — so that they continue coming to you for information, whether that be through your blog, podcast, social media, or even a paid product.

Step #1: Map out your email course content

In my experience, an effective way to ensure your email course helps people is to start with the problem you want to help them solve or the transformation you want to help them achieve. We’ll call this the goal of your free email course.

From there, work backward to think about the main milestones people need to reach along the way to get there.

So if you’re creating a 5-day free email course, think about where your audience is starting and what goal your course is trying to help them achieve. What are the 5 most important milestones they’ll need to reach along the way to reach that goal?

For example, I offer a free Profitable Travel Blogging email course meant to help people create a profit plan for their blog.

After the welcome email, the daily lessons include:

  • Pinpoint your blog’s purpose
  • Craft a killer content strategy
  • Rapidly grow your email list
  • Create a social media strategy
  • Monetize your blog

Bonus email course creation tip:

You might also include action steps with each lesson that prompt people to actually implement what you’ve taught.

Again, the more helped people feel by you, the more likely they are to become dedicated community members and take the actions you want them to take, whether that is reading a blog post, watching a YouTube video, clicking an affiliate link, purchasing a product, or something else.

If you’d like to boost engagement, a few other ideas include creating a workbook to pair, prompting them to DM you a question on Instagram, or including a free quiz to help make the content more personalized.

Free free to get creative!

Step #2: Think of your email course as an automated welcome sequence

As I said earlier in the episode, the beauty of an e-mail course is you can promote it as an opt-in freebie and, once your new subscriber opts in, it can also be the sequence of emails that nurtures them into dedicated community members.

Now, because your email course is also an automated nurture sequence, it’s important to consider your own blog brand and the problems you solve for your audience.

You want to make sure your email course solves the same problem or problems so that you grow your email list with people you can truly help.

For example, if the mission of your blog is to help people take better travel photos, your free email course might be focused on helping people get out of manual mode, tell better travel stories through photography, or take professional photos on an iPhone, just to name a few ideas.

Again, you really want to think about the problems your specific audience faces.

Include a welcome email for your course

Finally, since this is a welcome sequence it’s important to also include a welcome email.

Personally, I like to send this email 5 minutes before the first lesson arrives to get people excited about the email course and let them know what they’ll get out of it.

welcome email in the Savvy Solo Traveler email course
Excerpt from the welcome email of my Savvy Solo Traveler Email Course

Additionally, you should introduce yourself and share why you’re the perfect person to be teaching on the subject your email course is about.

As your free email course is also an opt-in freebie that is getting people onto your email list, you can also let them know what they can expect by being a part of your subscriber community.

For instance, you might let them know that you send weekly strategy emails or a monthly newsletter and what this content is about.

Step #3: Monetize your email course with a sales funnel

Okay, so we talked about how a free email course can be your opt-in freebie and your automated welcome sequence; but, did you also know it can be a sales funnel?

To do this, simply pitch a product at the end — potentially at a limited-time discount or with a special bonus to make the offer enticing.

Just remember that for this to work your product should solve the same problem as your free email course.

For example, if your free email course is about helping people travel on a budget using miles and points, you could pitch a travel hacking ebook or premium online course at the end.

Don’t have a digital product or service yet? Create something! While you may not feel ready to create a full program yet — and I honestly wouldn’t do that anyway without doing some testing or idea validating — you can start simple with paid printables and workshops.

Alternatively, you could offer consulting or custom creations of some kind, like custom itinerary planning.

These types of services can also help validate an idea for a digital product you can eventually create to sell on autopilot.

Step #4: Consider how you can add affiliate links to your email course

There is also another way to monetize an email course: with affiliate links. In fact, this is one of my favorite ways to promote affiliate links, as you have people actively looking to you for advice and recommendations on a specific topic.

Consider what relevant affiliates you can weave into the email course to further help your subscribers while also increasing your income.

Reminder: You want to just make sure that any affiliates you add to your email course content allow this type of promotion.

For example, during the lesson of my email course where I talk about crafting a killer content strategy, I discuss how I use Keysearch to do keyword research to create my SEO-optimized content plan.

And by the way, you can get 20% off Keysearch with code JESSIEONAJOURNEY.

An example of sharing affiliate links in my Savvy Solo Traveler email course

Another idea is to create a resource list to pair with your email course that includes relevant tools using affiliate links.

For instance, in the welcome email you might say “By the way, I created this handy list of resources that can make implementing what you learn in this email course much easier. Make sure to bookmark it to return to later!”

You can visit my Affiliate Marketing For Travel Bloggers guide for more ideas.

Step #5: Set up your email course

Once you’ve created your email course – which again, is also an automated nurture sequence – you can load it into the Automation section of your email marketing software.

adding a free email course to the automation section of Mailerlite
Automation section in Mailerlite

You should also proofread your email course a few times and test that the emails are sending as they should to ensure the best possible user experience.

While sending test emails is helpful, I recommend actually subscribing to the free email course to make sure everything sends and looks as it should in real-time.

Step #6: Promote your email course

For you to see success with creating a free email course, it isn’t enough to create the content, load it into your email marketing platform’s automation section, and call it a day. You need to actually promote it to your audience.

Create a signup page or form for your email course letting people know what they’ll get out of taking the course.

blogger promoting a free email course on Instagram
Promoting my email course and other freebies in my Instagram bio

Then add it to your main menu, showcase it in relevant content, share it regularly on social media, collaborate with other bloggers, and swap guest emails where you promote each other’s opt-in freebies; spread it far and wide to grow your email list while also helping as many people as possible.

Step #7: Update your email course

Now, before we end this episode I have one more very important tip: Make sure to set aside time to update your email course as needed.

The frequency will depend on the topic of your email course, but even having a recurring calendar reminder for once or twice per year will help ensure you’re giving subscribers the best and most accurate information.

Of course, if there are major changes to the topic you’re teaching you should also hop in to make edits then too.

Alright, now I hope you enjoyed this episode. I hope you feel inspired and empowered to create a free email course that grows your email list and income.

Before you go, don’t forget to grab access to my free Amplify Your Email List Challenge – which will show you how to grow and monetize an email list in 5 days.

And of course, make sure to subscribe so you don’t miss future episodes sharing these bite-sized strategies for bloggers who want to turn their blogs into profitable full-time businesses.

Happy blogging!

Create An Email Course With These Helpful Past Episodes:

4 Clever Ways To Monetize Your Email List

Create A Free Challenge That Grows Your Email List & Income

What To Send To Your Email List To Engage Your Community

How To Grow Your Email List Fast With A Free Bundle Giveaway

7 Types Of Emails That Can Boost Your Travel Blogging Income

How To Write Better Emails With Email Storytelling (Examples Included)

How To Grow Your Email List (For Free) As A Blogger

Best Travel Blogging Courses For Taking Your Blog Full Time (Free & Premium)

Click here for all profitable blogging podcast episodes.


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What are your top tips for creating a free email course?