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Marketing 3 MIN READ

Email Marketing for Online Courses by GetResponse

If you want to boost sales for your online course, you have to use email marketing.

My thesis is simple: You will increase online course sales by using email marketing.

Why is email marketing so successful for selling more online courses? Take on these stats:

Numbers don’t lie. And my hunch is you want to sell more online courses.

After you read this guide, you’ll know:

The Basics of Using Email Marketing for Your Online Course

If you are just starting out with email marketing and your online course, you probably don’t have many email addresses. That’s fine. We can grow it.

In a minute.

There’s some basics we need to cover.

How to Grow Your Online Course Email List

You’ve probably heard it before — the money is in the list.

But what if you don’t have any list?

It’s super easy to start growing your list.

How? Place opt-in forms around your website.

New to this? No sweat. I’ll break it down.

Bonus tip: Watch this four-minute video to get the quick-and-dirty on optin forms.

Opt-in forms are the bedrock of email marketing, and where it all starts when using email marketing for your online course.

What’s an opt-in form?

It’s when you offer the audience something in exchange for their email address (aka a lead magnet). The formula is simple:

It’s this kind of simple one-to-one exchange that provides you with the permission to send them an email and market your course to them.

Examples of lead magnets:

Let me show you two examples.

One LearnWorlds customer, DroneIt, draws in potential students and grabs their email address using a free ebook:

Another LearnWorlds user, ImprovPianoTips, offers a free mini course to users in exchange for, you guessed it, their email address.

Your website is the number one way to grow your email list.

Offer something of value — a free ebook, a mini course, whatever, your newsletter, whatever — and secure their email address.

Email Marketing for Online Courses — The Legal Stuff

First off, you need to know a few of the not-so-sexy facts about email marketing.

Here are some of the most important laws and policies surrounding email marketing, yes, even for selling your online course.

The regulations vary according to countries, but the most comprehensive policies are those that are in keeping with GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).

Whether your business is based in the United States, Tanzania, or Tuvalu (yes, it’s a real country), you can’t go wrong by adhering to GDPR.

Okay, I can guess what you’re thinking.

How the heck do you keep all these rules and regulations in mind?

It’s like a gigantic non-start. Laws? Sheesh, might as well give up and try whatever it is you’ve been doing.

Not to worry. As long as you’re using a legitimate email marketing platform like GetResponse, you’ll be guided through the process of aligning your email with the requisite laws.

How to Send Emails to Boost Online Course Sales

One of the fun parts of email marketing is figuring out the sequencing, frequency, cadence, segmentation, and targeting.

Check it out.

And…no…it does not need to be that complicated! In fact, it’s extremely simple.

It is as simple as sending emails, but you need to answer at least six basic questions.

The answers to these questions are all dependent on your specific course and your audience.

However, here are a few general and best-practice answers to the above questions:

Q: When to send emails
Send emails immediately after someone opts into your list. This is to confirm that they are part of your list.

The prospect is expecting this. So, whether you’re using a double opt-in method or a single opt-in, make sure you send them some sort of confirmation or welcome email.

Here is an example of a double opt-in confirmation email.

Your email software will take care of the instant send, so you don’t have to worry about it.

Q: What kind of emails to send
First, deliver on your promise. Provide whatever it is you promised them — the mini course, etc.

Then, plan a sequence of 4-11 emails that nurture them in such a way that they are compelled to pay for an online course.

This is often known as a drip sequence or a drip campaign and is used to gradually engage a prospect and convert them.

You create these emails ahead of time and you plan out how often to send them — usually one or two days apart.

Here’s what a simple drip campaign might look like.

When a user opts in to your list, they start the drip sequence and will receive the emails automatically according to your sequence.

For the absolute best insights on what kind of emails to send to your online course mailing list, check out this article which answers that exact question with valuable details and examples.

Q: How many emails to send
If you are nurturing a lead with a drip sequence, you can send anywhere from four to eleven emails over the course of the campaign.

Ideally, you would then want to segment that recipient into a newsletter or promotional email segment in order to retain them as part of your list.

Q: How frequently to send emails
During your drip sequence, an email every 1-3 days is fine.

Once a prospect or customer is part of your list and has gone through your drip campaign, you can dial it back to an email per week.

Q: Whom to send the emails to
Simple question, but it opens up a cool and powerful feature of email marketing — segmentation.

Obviously, you’ll start small, collecting email addresses from users who opt-in to, say, download a free ebook.

As time goes on, you’ll grow a list that includes customers, prospects, or customers of one course and maybe customers of a different course.

As you begIn to segment these different customers or prospects, you can create more targeted emails and thus gain more value from each email sent.

Q: What to offer in the emails
Marketing emails are great for the following:

These are just general guidelines. Everything ultimately depends on your product, your list, and your unique offer.

How to Start Email Marketing for Your Online Course

I’ve saved the best for last.

How do you actually do all of this?

First off, here’s the great news:

Create a beautiful online school without any technical skills.

Start free trial

When using GetResponse, you’ll want to use a few of the growth tools that are available. To start with, create a Conversion Funnel.

This allows you to do exactly what we described above — offer something for free to your subscribers, and then nurture them through a drip campaign.

From the conversion funnel page, click on “Lead Magnet” to begin the process of creating your powerful email marketing offer.

Next, you’ll be ready to add your lead magnet.

This is where you include the resource that you’re offering for free.

Next, you’ll head back over to Conversion Funnel → Funnels to create your funnel.

Since we are offering something in exchange for the email, we will select “lead magnet funnel” for our use case.

My downloadable lead magnet is a short guide on knitting:

After selecting that short guide, I will start the process of piecing together my funnel. The funnel is fully visualized and easy to create.


Depending on your website, of course, you’ll need to integrate your email marketing sequence with your website. If you’re using LearnWorlds Site Builder or GetResponse’s website builder, this is very simple to do.

Tip: LearnWorlds and GetResponse can be integrated through Zapier to add your free course leads directly to your email list.


Email marketing for your online course is not if. It’s when.

And may I suggest that when should be now?

As I mentioned in the introduction, email marketing has a 4,200% ROI (source).

Once you turn on the email marketing engine, your online course sales will be doing gangbuster business.

Give it a try, and let us know what kind of success you enjoy.

Further Reading:

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Daniel Threlfall

Daniel helps B2B companies solve marketing problems using agile marketing methodology, growth hacking principles, and content marketing tactics. Daniel has been the CMO & Co-Founder of KosmoTime and now joins GetResponse as their email marketing guru.