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How to create an email course using ConvertKit

How to create an email course using ConvertKit.

If you’re providing your clients with products and services, either physical or digital, then chances are you have a lot of really great content that you could share via an email course.

In this article, I’m going to walk you through the process of designing, creating, and launching your first email course so that you can have yours ‘live’ within the next few days (yes, it really can be done that quickly!).

I’ll show you how you can produce something that’s really great and can all done without the need for an LMS (Learning Management System) like Thinkific or Teachable. 

Don’t get me wrong, these LMS platforms are great, but sometimes we just want the convenience of being able to put something out there that sits within our email marketing space and no need for complex or expensive solutions.

Step #1 of 8: Designing your email course

Planning for the course content

Start by figuring out what the course outcome will be – for the example that I’m using in this article, it’s to show solopreneurs how to get started with email marketing in their business.

Based on the desired outcome, I now know the areas of content that I’ll want to focus on during the training; here is a list of things that I need to consider;

  • How I’m going to map out the course content.
  • Type of content I want to share with my students.
  • Media requirements (e.g. written, videos, images, audio etc.) for the content.
  • The email drip-feed schedule, including days to include / exclude; e.g. daily for 7 days, or weekly, every Friday at 7am.
  • The follow-on steps for students who complete the course.
These bullet-points give a framework for what the content will include, making the subsequent steps in the process easier.

Step #2 of 8: Course modules and lessons

Work with me to implement your email marketing system designed for solopreneurs.

Depending on the size of your email course, you may decide that you want to structure your course with modules and lessons within each module; for my example (which is a short 7-day course) I’ll just be using lessons without modules (I do use modules for my longer courses).

However, if I did want to use modules, I’d design it something like this;

  • Module 1 – Email Marketing Basics
    • Lesson #1
    • Lesson #2
    • Lesson #3
  • Module 2 – Email Marketing Software
    • Lesson #1
    • Lesson #2
    • …etc.
With this structure, you could have as many modules + lessons as you need, making it flexible enough to work for any course type.
 
Okay, so now I’ll list out my lessons that I’ll have in my very basic 7-day course example;

  • Lesson #1: Email marketing fundamentals
  • Lesson #2: Attracting leads to your email list
  • Lesson #3: Managing your subscribers using segmentation and tags
  • Lesson #4: Using opt-in forms and landing pages
  • Lesson #5: Email broadcasts and sequences
  • Lesson #6: Email marketing automation
  • Lesson #7: Selling products via your email marketing platform

These modules/lessons bullet-points give me enough information at the moment, and I’d be using them as placeholders for what I’m going to teach in each lesson.

Depending on the type of course you’re creating, you may also want to include lesson assignments (or actions) that your students should complete before moving on to the next lesson. 

Step #3 of 8: Decide on how you want to package up your course

Choose your course name and subtitle

The reason I like to wait until I’ve done the modules and lessons mapping is because sometimes I end up including content that I may have not anticipated and then change my mind about what to call it.

When it comes to naming your course, you’re limited only by your imagination. Personally, I prefer the simple approach over anything confusingly clever, so mine will be called “7-Day Crash Course on Email Marketing“, with a sub-title of “Everything you need to get your email marketing system set up.”.

Sub-titles are optional but I feel that they can add a bit more clarity around what the course will do for the student.

My course will be written using the same look and feel that I use here, on my website content, including this blog post. I like to be quite informal and use the bitmoji characters to keep the mood light. I’ll also maintain the brand colours of the blue/pink contrast as it helps to remind people of the Proven Flows brand.

Now that I have my title, sub-title, and ‘look and feel’ decided, I can now start to create the marketing materials using tools like Canva and Artboard, both of which I use to create my graphics. Below is an example of one that I’ve created for this email course;

7 day email marketing course for solopreneurs.

Step #4 of 8: Write the content for your modules and lessons

Write your course modules and lessons

Now it’s time to start creating the actual course content. This is where you now begin to create one email per lesson. If you’re using the module / lesson structure, then you should sign-post your students as to which module/lesson they’re currently reading.

The video below shows how to create your email course, using a ‘sequence’ inside ConvertKit – in ConvertKit’s terminology, a ‘sequence’ is just a series of emails that are sent out, one after the other, based on a predefined schedule, e.g. one email per day, every day, for 7 days.

Okay, so once you’re logged on to ConvertKit, if you navigate to the send menu, under that, it says sequences, click on that, and then click on new sequence button. 

Now, the new sequence is effectively going to be your email course. Okay, so I’m going to call this seven day crash course on email marketing, and then click Create sequence. 

And effectively, you start with one blank email. So down the right hand side, you can see the emails that are going to be in your course. 

Now, remember, the structure is essentially one email per lesson. So if you just click on Add email, adds the second one, a third, one, etc, fourth one, all the way you can have as many of these lessons as you want, and then in the top one you might have let’s say lesson number one. 

And then a bit about, you know, what, whatever that, the content is going to be in that one. And then, you know, just likewise for the next one. Lesson number two, etc, all the way down here. And in each of these emails, you would then create all the all the content that you want to share with your students, obviously, just delete that template stuff. 

And then you can start to personalise your emails in there, you can add in anything you want, you can add images, files. Video content, if you want to do that. Any links to any external resources you have, it could be YouTube videos, or anything. 

Anything you want to share as part of that lesson, you can add it in to your email, okay. And then once you’ve got your, your lessons all lined up, you want to schedule them. So the first one is going to be sent out. And by default, it’s after one day, if I change that to zero, or the first one will be sent out immediately. 

So if someone signs up for your email course, they’ll get the first email immediately. Click on the second one, you’ll say after one day, now, this is relative to the email beforehand. So if I click on that, you can see here that says, send this email one day. 

And then it says that after the last email was sent, so I can make that any amount of time I want, it just makes logical sense, I think for an email course to be sent out each day, so that the students can get a chance to do whatever they want, they’re being asked to do, in that particular email before moving on to the next day. 

Now, a good tip for you when you’re creating your lessons is remember this subject line is going to be appearing in people’s inboxes. 

So what I like to do is I like to preface sorry prefix this with the name of the course. Okay, so as an example, seven day Crash Course and then I put lesson one. 

And then it means that all the emails that arrive, and that person’s mailbox, if they want to sort it at some point. You know, they’ll all say seven day Crash Course seven day crashes all the way down to their inbox, which just makes it easier for them to find them. 

And if they’re numerically listed, then obviously, it’ll be in the right order anyway. Because you’re sitting on different days. Okay, so that’s what we need to do is create all your lessons down there and create your content in there and then once you’ve got that content created and ready to go, all scheduled the way you want it to be scheduled. 

You then need to set up your automation so that when someone signs up for it, they get it and in the next video, I’m going to show you how to do that.

 

Step #5 of 8: Build your email sequence and schedule in ConvertKit

Write your course email sequence and schedule

Once you’ve written all your course content and split it into logical modules and lessons, then it’s time make sure the sequence is correct (i.e. all being sent in the right order) and setting the schedule for when you want each lesson to be sent to your subscribers.

In this next video, I’ll walk you through the process of creating your course lessons (using a sequence), creating your opt-in form (to embed on your website) or landing page (that ConvertKit hosts for you), and setting up the automation that makes it all work without you having to do anything when a subscriber signs up to your course.

Okay, so once you’ve created all your lessons in your email list, what you need to then do is set up the form that people will complete so that they gain access to your course. So, if we go in to

you can do one of two things, you can either create a form, which then you can place on a web page on your website. Or you can create a new landing page, which will be hosted by ConvertKit. Okay, so let’s take a landing page, let’s imagine you don’t have a website. And you just want a landing page that ConvertKit will host for you click that.

What you want in there. So as an example, let’s say, free email marketing Crash Course.

Let’s call it 7-Day. Okay, and then you’re going to collect the email address, you may want to click the first name as well. I like to collect people’s first names and their email address and

Okay, so I’ve rather than doing a landing page on the on the live site, what I’ve actually chosen to do is I’ve added it to my website. So if you look at my website, and we go to the page for the free course you can see here I’ve got a web page that I created for the course. 

Okay, so this bit down where it’s got first name and email address. That form is actually been taken from ConvertKit and embedded into my webpage. Okay. So all this content is on my webpage. But when you see the form being loaded, that’s coming from ConvertKit. 

So again, you can see at the bottom, that’s the ConvertKit form. Okay? So that’s, that’s that form there. So I’ve chosen to embed on my website, you don’t need to do that you can use a landing page, if you choose to but the option’s there have to do both. 

So that’s the way the landing page looks for my course, if anybody wants to, all they need to do is put the first name their email address and, and say Yep, give me access to it Okay. 

Now, the second bit of that is the sequence. So if I look at sequences and go to a seven day crash course in sequence, you can see I’ve started to create the lessons in here for the course. 

Okay, so this is lesson one, you know, are some of the basics of email marketing, and then lesson two, to of seven, etc. So you get the gist, that all the lessons are listed in the right hand side, so that people can get access they’ll get automatically fed to them access to each of the emails. 

And that’s pretty much how it works. So that’s all you need. That’s the that’s the three things that need to set up one as the sequence itself to as the landing page or the form that you want people to fill in, in order to get access to it. 

And the third thing is the automation the trigger point at which it ConvertKit says, Yeah, this person has signed up and I’m now gonna give them access to these emails.

If you want to reorder any of your lessons, it’s very simple to do using ConvertKit; just click on the handle of lesson (i.e. the email) that you want to move and drag it to where you want it be (as shown below);

Reorder email sequence in ConvertKit

Step #6 of 8: Build your onboarding and delivery plan

Onboard your students to the course

When subscribers sign up for your email course you’ll want to have it automated so that they receive everything they need, without the need for you to do anything. Typically, you’ll want to have a welcome email that also signposts them with regards to what they can expect from you.

The way that I normally design mine is as follows;

  • Write a welcome email that explains what to expect. Depending on the course, I may also include a downloadable accompanying course handbook (I configure ConvertKit to do this for me).
  • Deliver the first email in your sequence (i.e .your email course)
  • Continue to drip feed all lessons, as per your schedule.
  • After the final lesson has been delivered (normally the day after), send a wrap-up email summarising what they just completed. As part of this email, I normally look for feedback, both on the course, but also on what they would like to progress onto next. If they respond, their answers will determine what I email to them next.
  • I always make sure I have another sequence that I can place them into when they’ve completed the course, one that will add even more value to them and their business.

You should always strive to make your students feel welcome and that they’ve made a smart decision by joining your course.

It’s good practice to tell them what they’ll get from completing the course, and let them know that you are there if they need support (support can come in many forms, including help articles, private messaging groups, memberships, calls etc.) 

Step #7 of 8: Build your process automation inside ConvertKit

Build your course automation

One of the main benefits of any email marketing platform, ConvertKit included, is the ability to automate tasks, based both on preferences and subscriber behaviour. When you create your email course you should take advantage of the automation features to optimise the experience for your subscribers.

 Here are some of the things that I like to automate in my email marketing platform;
 
  • Onboarding your subscribers and having them confirm their email address.
  • Welcoming your subscribers to the course.
  • The drip-fed delivery of your course.
  • The ability to make dynamic decisions based on subscriber preference; e.g. a link saying “click here if you want more info” could automatically move them onto an additional sequence.
  • Make artefacts available at relevant points that subscribers (students) can access if they wish; e.g. a video explainer, a downloadable PDF, book a call with you, a form to complete etc.
  • You can add in delays to your schedule based on subscriber interactions, e.g. “if you want more time to complete this assignment, click here to delay by 3 days”.
  • You can design conditional automated paths for subscribers to take, depending on their behaviour; e.g. you could configure it to say.. .”if the subscriber does this thing, move them to this step of the sequence, otherwise move them to this other step here”.
  • You can add subscriber tags based on their behaviour, e.g. if they watch a particular video, or click on a link, you can add a tag to their profile, meaning you have useful information for future marketing or email communication.
Really, there are an almost infinite number of things you can do with automations, and your level of creativity will determine how much you can (or want to) automate. The list above is just to give you some thoughts that will hopefully trigger ideas in your head, which you can go on to implement in your own email marketing system.

Step #8 of 8: Design and plan your course marketing strategy

Design your marketing plan for your course

Arguably the most important part of your email course – telling people that it exists! You can have the best course ever, but if nobody knows about then you’ve wasted your time creating it. So you need to be strategic about how you’ll market it, and to whom.

From the outset (as I mentioned way back in step #1) you need to be clear about what the intended outcome is for your students, and equally importantly, you need to be clear about WHO the course will help.

For example, in my free email course, the outcome is that solopreneurs will learn what they need to know in order to set up ConvertKit as their email marketing platform. So, stating the obvious, I’m only targeting solopreneurs, and as best as I can, only targeting those who aren’t already using email marketing in their business (or at least not doing it effectively).

Once I know these things, I need to figure out where my target subscribers hang out and create a campaign for promoting it to them there. Personally, most of my subscribers (and clients) come from LinkedIn; it’s my preferred platform for social interactions (much less small talk / fewer useless convos going on than on other platforms) and so I’ll spend my marketing time on there.

On LinkedIn, I’ll normally add a new section in my ‘Featured’ section where passers-by have more chance if seeing it. I also add something to my profile about the course, and I may even create a new profile banner that helps promote the course too. 

Below is an example of my LinkedIn banner that promotes my free email course. 👇

LinkedIn banner to promote free email marketing course

Bonus Step: Seamlessly flow your students onto the next logical step in their journey

Make it easy for your students to progress to the next logical step

Once you entire sequence has been delivered (i.e the course has been completed) it’s good practice to send a summary email, recapping what the student has learned, how to best use their new information, and what their next steps are (people like to be led).

Depending on your particular subscriber profile, and what you have available for them, you should make sure you are continuing to add value, meaning they’ll be much more likely to grow their relationship with you.

It’s also perfectly valid to offer them something to buy from you, now that they’ve experienced the value that you can provide to them, and especially since it was free*.

When planning on what to offer them next, think about what would either provide even more value on the subject covered in your email course, or give them something else that complements the course content; e.g. if your email course was showing them how to build their own website, then a follow-on subject could be SEO (search engine optimisation).

*It’s perfectly valid to create a ‘paid-for’ email course, it doesn’t have to be a free giveaway. If you do want to charge for your course, you can add automation to your sequence, meaning that students would need to purchase a ‘Product’ from your email platform in order to trigger the subscriber being added to the sequence.

If you want to learn how to create ‘Products’ that you can sell via ConvertKit, check out this article that explains it for you. 👇

If you want to get started with your email marketing, get access to my free course.

The 7-day Crash Course on Email Marketing. 👇