When it comes to marketing your course, it’s all about your email list. Here’s how to get subscribers aka potential students on your list and in your course

Have you ever gotten a text that read "ok." 

You know something's up because "ok" mean's someone's short on time, but "Ok." means someone took extra time to emphasize that they're being short with you.

It's the "ok-period" that feels exactly the same as someone saying "I'm fine" when no one is actually fine.

So what does "?!?!?!?!?!" indicate. Well... bewilderment, confusion, surprise, curiosity at best, maybe a bit of fear and anger at worst. 

Why does this matter? Each week I host a workshop walking people through how to create, market and launch their course and inevitably get a comment that reads a little like: "I have to market my own course?!?!?!?! How do I get students?!?!?!?!" 

Cue head explosion. World implosion. And the death of all the fluffy animals.

Here's the deal, marketing your course is not that hard. There's a scientific and objective method you can follow that gets results. If you put in the time (rather than run to a marketplace that does it for you), you're going to see exponentially greater results. 

I'm talking thousands of additional dollars PER MONTH. 

In this post, I'm going to show you exactly how you can market your course, grow your email list and get more students. 

How Getting Students Works 

Alright, let's start from the top. Courses make money when you build an email list and then launch your course to that list using a series of strategic emails. 

You can predict revenue using this formula: 

When it comes to marketing your course, it’s all about your email list. Here’s how to get subscribers aka potential students on your list and in your courseBut key to this formula is one pesky little variable known as "subscribers" - that's the number of people on your email list. And, as you can see in this formula, subscribers who buy your course become students. Voila.

So the key to getting more students is really just growing a bigger list - and if done right, that conversion rate will likely go up from .02 as well.  

Notice that I DID NOT say social. While social media can be a great way to amplify content and we talk about it later in the post, it should never be the backbone of your biz the way your email list is. 

Why? Because conversions are 3x higher via email marketing because it's direct, people have opted in expecting content and while social media algorithms will change, ebb, flow and disappear, an email list will not. 

How To Grow an Email List

This is another point where we all freak out a bit. How do we get people on an email list ?!?!?!??!?!

It's pretty simple. All of our top course creators are doing it the exact same way. 

Give away a free piece of content in exchange for an email address. For example, give away a free email course that people have to (obviously) give you their email to receive. 

When it comes to marketing your course, it’s all about your email list. Here’s how to get subscribers aka potential students on your list and in your course

We call these free pieces of content "lead magnets" aka freebies. A lead magnet can be anything as long as it's valuable - your audience wants it and is willing to give you their email address for it. Don't be afraid to give away some of your best content. 

I always compare lead magnets to taste tests. Think of every time you've walked into a Trader Joe's had a small taste of an Oreo and then bought the whole box. A lead magnet is this same thing, but digital. 

Lead magnets do a lot of things for you..

Build Trust: When you give people great content for free, they know the rest of your content is bound to be as good if not better.

Build Authority: Did your lead magnet just solve a few problems for your audience and show that you know what you're talking about? Well, you're on your way to becoming an authority.

Build Reciprocity: When you give something to someone for free, they're going to be primed to buy something from you.

Build Demand: Just like at Trader Joe's, you get one nibble of that delicious Oreo and you want the full thing. Teach someone just a small bit of a bigger picture and they'll want to keep learning.

Build Relationship: When people get content from YOU with your email and your name attached, they're getting to know, well, you!  When it comes to marketing your course, it’s all about your email list. In this guide, learn how to get subscribers aka potential students on your list and in your course.

Create Lead Magnets

Alright, let's get into the nitty gritty of how to create lead magnets. And not just any lead magnet - the best kinds of lead magnets. 

Again, your freebie should not only be valuable, but it should attract people to your list who would eventually want to buy your full premium course. 

A few ideas for lead magnets are below AND we have detailed guides for how to create them. 

Some work better than others and if you want a detailed look at how to create lead magnets & our favorites, read on OR...

Attend one of our live trainings. Remember that workshop I mentioned at the beginning of this post, well, you're invited. I'll walk you through this process & more to help you go from ideation to launch in 30 days or less. 

Sign up for Teachable's 7 Step webinar show you, step-by-step, how to lauch your own profitable online course in 30 days or less. Click to register now!
SIGN UP FOR THE FREE WORKSHOP

And there's live Q&A at the end to answer all of your "?!?!?!" questions. 

Get Your Lead Magnet "Out There"

Alright, so you know how courses make money, that you need to grow your list and you've got everything you need to create lead magnets...now what? 

Well, we promote the heck out of those lead magnets and get them in front of people so they sign up. And no, you don't need an ads budget. There are four main methods I use to promote a lead magnet, community marketing, social media & joint ventures.

Community Marketing

What we're going to do is find already existing online communities and drop links to our lead magnets there. 

Think about all of the places where people interested in your topic are hanging out, maybe there are Facebook Groups, Twitter hashtags, YouTube channels, subreddits.

Hopefully as you were researching your course you started interacting with these groups, if you haven't, start! Once you're a known member, you can drop a link to your helpful resource. Read on for a detailed look at over 13 places where you can promote your lead magnet for free with communities.

When it comes to marketing your course, it’s all about your email list. Here’s how to get subscribers aka potential students on your list and in your course

Social Media Marketing

While social should never be the backbone of your biz, it can certainly be a place where you promote your content. 

Twitter: Use Twitter to let your tribe know when you have a new blog post, or Tweet out your lead magnets directly. Always use an image to increase engagement and we personally Tweet around 7x a day.

However, one of the most impactful actions is to use Twitter's Advanced Search. Haven't heard of it? Here's our guide

Instagram: As a popular social media with very high engagement, Instagram can be another place to promote you course. 

Be sure your bio pops and links to your newest blog post or biz activity and keep your feed clean with a clear design and organization.

However, I have 2 favorite tips. One, remember to ask questions in your post descriptions. The new Instagram algorithm prioritizes posts with high engagement. Get people talking & discussing and you'll start showing up more and more on people's feeds. 

Two, automate it. Most people automate Twitter, but did you know you could automate your Instagram posts with Latergram.me. Set it up once and let that baby run while you watch Netflix. Here's our guide. 

Pinterest:  According to Buffer:More adults use Pinterest than they do Twitter." This is a powerful statistic, only trumped by one more tiny little fact:

“Customers spend more money when they convert from a Pinterest referral than any other social referral. Average order value for a Pinterest conversion is $80.54. Facebook, in second-place, is $71.26. (Monetate)”

With that said, it might be time to realize that Pinterest is where the money's at. Feeling clueless about it? Here's our guide

We walk through setting up your boards, boosting pins and marketing your course.

When it comes to marketing your course, it’s all about your email list. Here’s how to get subscribers aka potential students on your list and in your course

Joint Ventures

A joint venture is a partnership between yourself and another person (or company) where you form a partnership and share value. 

There are many different types of joint ventures (JV), but the most frequent kind of JV partnership entails one party having incredibly valuable content and the other party having an audience hungry for that content.

By working together, one partner gets great content for their audience with no work and the other gets exposure to a great new audience.

A joint venture could be...

  • An affiliate program
  • Guest posting
  • Software company deal
  • A webinar
  • A podcast
  • An interview
  • An online summit 

For tips on how to create each and every one of these, read our founder's guide: 8 Ways to Grow Your Business With A Joint Venture

When it comes to marketing your course, it’s all about your email list. Here’s how to get subscribers aka potential students on your list and in your course

Launch Your Course To Your Email List

While promoting your lead magnets, you're going to start adding hundreds and thousands of people to your email list. As people arrive, don't just let them sit there, but also, don't try to take them right to the register. 

Launching happens in two phases, education and selling. Spend the first two weeks sending newsletter like emails that give away more content. THEN, once your audience knows and trusts you, launch you course with our Crazy 8 Launch Sequence.

Our guide shows you what kind of email to send every day and gives example swipe copy you can use to create your own.

Simply follow our guide & you're going to see results. Don't take my word for it, Lee Wasilenko recently launched VR Dev School using the Crazy 8 Launch. 

When it comes to marketing your course, it’s all about your email list. Here’s how to get subscribers aka potential students on your list and in your course

To wrap this up, getting more students comes down to building your list by creating lead magnets, promoting them and launching to your list. If you've still got questions, join me on this week's workshop. 

SIGN UP FOR THE FREE WORKSHOP

If you've already done this, let me know in the comment section below. Which one of your lead magnets has performed the best & the worst. Any rookie mistakes our community should look out for?

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Ashley Hockney

Written by Ashley Hockney

Ashley Hockney is the Content Marketer & Writer at Teachable (Create & Sell Online Courses). Her knowledge spans both the marketing and literary fields. Her background is in food & beverage PR i.e. she wants to talk to you about single malts.