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Marketing 8 MIN READ

Email Marketing Matters in Selling Courses. Here’s Why

Several marketing strategies are used by companies to promote their products and services. One of those is email marketing. Email marketing has four times the Return of Investment (ROI) of any other marketing channel. This number makes it a must-use channel for marketers and sales professionals.

This is especially true for course creators. Email marketing is a great way to launch an online course and an automated email sequence can sell a course for you while you are sleeping.

In this article, we explain what makes email marketing still so effective.

Basics of Email Marketing

Getting access to a prospect’s’ inbox means a direct line of communication to be used many times at a low cost. Emails allow companies to see results straight away.

It’s true that on a daily basis we receive many emails from which we get inspired. Some of the topics that are coming in our inbox are, for example:

All those emails are frequent, and our reaction to them is measurable. Measurability is what makes email marketing so powerful. If you want you can quickly see the performance of how your email campaigns and improve your effectiveness. Using email marketing metrics, you can monitor and measure your internet marketing strategy as a whole.

Businesses can best understand what worked and what didn’t if they break down response into different stages. In particular, the critical measures for email marketing are:

Important email marketing metrics

Based on your email marketing goal, not all measures are relevant for everyone. Usually, an email has a goal that might be tracked by one or more of the above metrics.

By modeling different combinations of the above numbers, email marketers can improve each stage. Then, they can set more realistic objectives for a campaign.

The State of Email Marketing

You may wonder if Email Marketing is still an effective way to convert people into customers. Many people are not convinced they should use email marketing as the first strategy because they think that people do not check their emails anymore.

Does this perception reflect reality?

Definitely not. Emails are still a vibrant and powerful way to connect with people (2.6 billion people are using emails worldwide). They are direct, they are personalized, and they are transactional – precisely what is missing from the other social media. And, they are cost-effective.

In a major collaborative research project shared by Smart Insights and GetResponse along with Holistic Email Marketing and the Content Marketing Institute marketers rated the effectiveness of digital media channels in the year of 2017.

The results of the ratings are shown in the picture below. Email marketing is chosen as the most effective (35%) among other successful marketing strategies (social media marketing, content marketing).

As social media, mobile apps and other ways of communication channels online gets more popular, email still remains the king of them all. More and more people in every single corner begin to use email, just because they know emails are powerful. And businesses still evolve around email.

According to Neil Patel, a New York Times bestselling author and one of the top 10 marketers with high influence on the web,

“Any time a business operates, they need e-mail. And if businesses use e-mails, you can bet that if you get an email in their inbox, and they read it, you can generate sales. For that reason, emails aren’t going away.”

Let’s not forget that 66% of people who make online purchases make them as the result of a marketing message from an email.

E-mails work because people still read emails. But, think about your own inbox.

How many companies do you purposely follow?

How many times did you buy an item or a service as a result of an email?

Why should I choose email marketing against other strategies?

email marketing strategy spectrum

Biggest Benefits of Email Marketing

In The State of Email Marketing Survey, marketers responded on the top benefits of email marketing to be:

So, what changes?

The reason people don’t get into their inbox is that they get emails they don’t want. Remember that people are going to open and read your email only when they want to. When businesses do opt-ins, they are aggressive with their pop-ups, and they force people into a newsletter, or a daily email or a weekly email.

Lately, General Data Protection Regulation has come out (GDPR). With GDPR users have to actively click in tick boxes, such as, “Yes, I authorize you to send me weekly emails.” This way, potential customers know what they are getting into.

And you also increase your open rates because you know that people who click that tickbox really want to read your emails. Conversions may go down, but that’s ok. You will have emails from people who want to get your content.

Quick signups to your email list mean lower open rates and more unsubscribed down the path.

Does the Size of my Email List Matter?

Yes, it matters, but it’s not the only factor for your strategy’s success. The fact that you have many subscribers doesn’t mean they will open your emails. More significant is the kind of content that is included in those emails.

You will need to create conversion-focused, personalized email marketing strategies, which also correlate strongly with a business’ content marketing. Email and content marketing together will help you build a valuable lifecycle customer engagement.

It is a well-known fact in the literature (eg., Zhang, Kumar, and Cosguner, 2017) that successful email marketing does not necessarily depend on the quantity of emails you possess.

Having an extensive email list or sending messages without context is like fishing without bait. Successful marketing depends on the quality of the messages rather than the quantity.

On a past blog-post, we wrote” rel=”noopener” target=”_blank”>how to build an email list for your course. But, your work doesn’t stop there. Creating the right copy for the emails, automating a welcome email sequence, creating and sending offers within the year, and so much more can be done to work on your email marketing.

While your school grows, your email list will grow along with it, but you should also grow and improve your email marketing as well.

Success Factors for Email Campaigns

A growing email list, means you will need to understand email marketing metrics. Improving one or more points in your email marketing could mean more course sales. So, keeping your email’s quality high is important.

What does the quality of emails depend on? In his book “Total email marketing: maximizing your results from integrated e-marketing” Chaffey (2006) refers to seven principles, from which we present the five most important:

Automating the email process

We have explained the importance and benefits of email marketing. Now it is understandable why it can prove a vital part of your marketing strategy. Having to manage hundreds of emails is a hustle. And this is the reason email marketing tools are so useful.

For this reason, companies use software specialized in email marketing, which help organize email data, segment lists, create appealing emails and automate much of the process. For example, AppInstitute explains how to segment restaurant email marketing campaigns to improve effectiveness.

Automated email messages generate a higher open rate and a higher click-through rate than standard marketing messages!

So, here are eight of those tools that will do wonders for your email marketing:

Top Email Automation Software


MailChimp is a popular option for email marketing, it provides a beautiful and easy to use interface and is being used by small e-commerce shops to big online retailers.

It is free for up to 12,000 emails per month or 2,000 subscribers. Paid plans start as low as $10/month.


ActiveCampaign combines email marketing automation with CRM and sales. It is excellent for smarter email marketing campaigns of smaller sizes.

It comes with a template editor for beautiful emails and offers friendly signup forms. It’s plans begin at $9/month.


Sndloop is an easy to use email marketing service for small businesses. It offers more than 80 free email templates, simple drag-n-drop email builder, and many other features.


GetResponse is a more advanced solution to email flow automation and personalization. It is extremely easy to use and simplifies email marketing for small businesses and absolute beginners.

You can get a 30 day free trial, and after that, pricing starts from $15/month.


Autopilot allows you to customize your customer’s journey through a visual interface. It also has a very easy drag and drop editing function for its templates.

As a premium smart tool, it has a 30 days free trial and starts with $20/month for 1000 email addresses.


SendX is an Email marketing platform that helps businesses run email marketing campaigns at scale. With its Opti-Send technology, SendX says it can drive up to 2X more open rates for your email marketing campaigns.

You can get a 14 day free trial, and after that, pricing starts from $19.99/month.

How to begin with Email Marketing for my Course?

We have established the importance of email marketing, quality over quantity and the benefits of automating as well as choosing the right software for your business.

The first thing you should do is collect your email list and send your first email introducing yourself, your course and what you have to offer that no-one else has. Based on your reader’s responses (see metrics), you should work to improve your email, stay in touch with a newsletter and collect more subscribers.

You can also take a look at our course A Comprehensive Guide to Email Marketing.

We will be writing more blogposts on the subject, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter (on the right) and download our ebook “The Ultimate Guide to Selling Online Courses” to improve your course marketing strategy!

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Further reading you might find interesting:

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Course Designer & Content Creator at LearnWorlds

Anthea is a Course designer and Content Creator for the LearnWorlds team. She holds years of experience in instructional design and teaching. With a Master of Education (M.Ed.) focused in Modern Teaching Methods & ICT (Information & Communications Technology), she supplements her knowledge with practical experience in E-Learning and Educational Technology.