June 9th, 2022 Sell Online Courses

Creating your online course is only the first step of the journey.

You’ve spent good money and tons of hours to create a valuable course for your audience, but now, how will you sell that course?

As a course creator, there are a few areas of marketing that are going to be crucial to the success of your online course.


Content creation.

Email marketing.

But your email list is your bread and butter. 

It’s where you capture and own your audience. Where you develop long-term relationships with your audience.  Where you build trust with people.

And it’s where most people are likely to buy from you. The best time to start your email list was a year ago, and the second-best time to start is NOW.

In this article, we’ll dig into 7 ways you, as a course creator, can start growing your email list. Each of these 7 tactics we consider to be “lead generation tactics” and work best if followed up with an automated welcome sequence or sales sequence.

So why are these “lead generation tactics” so important for course creators?

Believe it or not, not everyone who lands on your website is ready to buy from you. Even those who are very interested in your course!

Most of the time, it takes a bit of nurturing and trust-building for folks to buy your courses or products. Your email list is the place where all of that happens!

And the best part?

When you create new courses or products, run special offers, or have new announcements — your email list is a captive audience of raving fans.

So let’s jump into these 7 Email List Building Tactics, so you can start selling more of your course!

1. Give away the first video of your course…for free.

Let’s just go ahead and start with a bang.

Overcoming objections is a very common tactic in sales, and if you’re going to sell more of your course, you’ll need to anticipate your audience’s objections and head them off.

OBJECTION: If people are hesitant to buy your online course, it’s quite possible that they simply aren’t sure that the course is exactly what they need.

Giving away the first video of the course for free is a fantastic way to overcome that objection and show people that your course is exactly the thing they need to solve whatever problem they’re experiencing.

Or, it proves that the course isn’t what they need.

Either way, by giving away the first part of your course for free, you become etched as a trustworthy and generous brand in the mind of your audience — and that goes a long way.

P.S. If you’re worried about giving too much away for free, remember that the first video of your course is only a sample. It’s likely that they can’t really do anything without the entire course curriculum, right?

So be generous and give that first video away. I think you’ll be surprised to see the amount of sales that roll in from this little trick.

2. Create a free video course.

MORE free stuff?! You better believe it. Anyone who has been to Costco on a Sunday knows that we love freebies.

But before you get too worked up about creating ANOTHER course (and giving it away for free nonetheless), let me explain a little. 

*This free course does not have to be highly produced, and it doesn’t have to be long.*

It just has to be valuable, aligned with your audience’s aspirational identity, and delivered via email over a set number of days.

Brand Builders Group does a great job with this in their free course “First Step to Famous.”

When someone opts in for the free course, they immediately receive the first video of the series in their inbox.

Then, over the next few days, the rest of the free course is delivered via email one video per day, with each video creating enough intrigue to prompt viewers back to the inbox the next day.

And at the end of the free video series?

You pitch your paid course, of course.

The benefits of giving away a free course are enormous. Not only is it attractive for your audience to get free content, in the process you simultaneously build trust with your audience AND you subconsciously train them to look for value every time they see your name pop up in the inbox.

3. Give away a “Cheatsheet” or “Checklist”.

I think classic whitepapers and PDFs are dying out. BUT…this does not mean that downloadable offers are irrelevant.

With so much information readily available from a quick Google search, we are less likely to give up our email addresses for information.

We will, however, give up an email address for organization and application.

When you create a downloadable offer, make sure that it’s something your prospects can actually use. If your offer is just information, there’s a solid chance it will collect dust in the back corners of their Macbook.

Checklists and cheatsheets are two great ways to compile useful information into something more tangible.

Think “The Project Manager’s Ultimate Kickoff Meeting Checklist”, or “The Mama’s Cheatsheet to Daytime Naps”.

Instead of just giving information, create an offer that will be used daily and that is not likely to be found in a quick Google search.

Set up your Cheatsheet or Checklist with a pop up on your website and watch the leads roll in!

4. Start A Newsletter.

“Newsletters are dead, Jeff.”

False & erroneous. Newsletters that just talk about your company ARE dead. Newsletters that talk about the reader are NOT.

A common mistake that people make with email newsletters is turning them into company bulletin boards.

“Check out our company picnic.

Here are our new hires.
Here’s a word from our president.”

I agree, nobody gives a rip about those newsletters.

What people will sign up for, however, is regular content that makes their lives better.

Enter the lead generating newsletter.

Brands like these ones are roping in new subscribers by the thousands to their daily, weekly, or monthly newsletters.

The keys to creating a successful newsletter, though, are that the theme has to be aspirational to the audience it’s trying to reach, and the content has to be extremely valuable.

Obviously, creating a desirable newsletter such as this requires an intimate knowledge of your audience.

The better you know your target audience, the more likely you can strike gold with a regular newsletter that your prospects can’t wait to sign up for.

5. Create a Quiz.

Quizzes have long been known as effective lead generators. But the statistics are truly staggering.

ActiveCampaign found that quizzes can generate up to 25x more leads than a standard popup offering a PDF!

Similar to the newsletter, quizzes that tap into an aspirational identity with the target audience perform even better.

We are naturally curious and love to learn new things about ourselves and quizzes allow us to do that.

The brilliance of including a quiz as part of your lead generation strategy is that it creates an environment of engagement right from the get-go.

The more you engage your audience at the beginning of your relationship with them, the more likely it is that they will continue to engage with your brand in the future and respond to well-targeted offers.

6. Put on a Webinar.

Webinars have quickly become one of the more popular lead generation tools in the last few years.


Because they’re interactive, they establish you as a trusted authority, and the leads are usually pretty warm.

As the e-learning market grows, the amount of time we spend consuming webinars has increased nearly 3x, as well.

Webinars work especially well for launching a new course. According to Podia, 53% of marketers say that webinars generate the most high quality top-of-funnel leads, and as many as 40% of webinar attendees become qualified leads.

These are significant numbers, and prove how highly effective webinars can be to selling your new courses right out of the gate.

When your new course is ready to launch, set up a free webinar to introduce the course, teach a section of the course, or teach something related to the course topic.

Then, broadcast an announcement for the webinar across your social channels and on your website to invite people to attend.

7. Offer a Discount.

I don’t recommend a discount for everyone, and some brands just aren’t into that kind of thing.

The only times I would really suggest a discount is the launch of your brand, the launch of a new course, or around special holidays.

Needless to say…

Discounts have a way of piquing our interest and introducing a sense of urgency in a way that nothing else can.

It’s a double-edged sword, though. If you offer discounts too often, they just become noise and people will start to expect discounts or wait for your next discount to purchase your courses.

When you need a little momentum, say at the launch of a course, offering a discount just might be the best way to inject a little jet fuel and get things rockin’ and rollin’.

Just make sure you require people to opt-in with an email address to receive the discount code!

Final Words

Building an audience can be challenging.

Finding the right strategy for generating leads onto your email list sometimes takes making educated guesses and iteration after iteration.

You might not get it just right the first time. But the truth is, one well-working funnel can change your life.

Find the right lead generation tactic that works for you, your brand, and your audience, 

attach a sales sequence to it, and set up a monthly broadcast strategy to stay top of mind with your audience.

If you need help creating lead generation tactics and growing your email list, I can help. Schedule a call and let’s talk about building your email marketing program!

If you’re interested in learning more, re-watch my webinar on list-building to see these strategies in action:

This post originally appeared on contentremedy.co

Jeff Felten photo

About Jeff Felten

Jeff Felten is an Email Marketer and founder of the email marketing agency, Content Remedy. His areas of focus include automation strategy, lead generation, and campaign planning/writing. Jeff began work in marketing full-time as a StoryBrand Certified Guide in 2019 and since then he has worked with 50+ brands, ranging from solopreneurs and local small businesses to nationally recognized brands. Over the last 4 years, has sent nearly 100,000 emails and written more than 100 web pages. Now, Jeff combines his marketing experience and copywriting training to help other solopreneurs and course creators leverage the inbox to sell more services and courses.

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