5 Simple Steps: Creating An Email Course For Your Online Audience
5 Simple Steps: Creating An Email Course For Your Online Audience
Creating an Email Course for your online audience is not as difficult as it may seem. Many of us labor over the topic, the length of the course, how to make it interactive, where to place your product and service offering, and the best way to automate it’s delivery.
There is no one size fits all, but you just need to apply some common sense thinking, formulate a plan, do solid research, get yourself well organized, open up a Word document, and start typing.
I trust that the following 5 Simple Steps will help get your Email Course off the ground with relative ease.
1. Survey Your Audience
The 1st step in creating an Email Course is really the most critical. You need to understand what topic or detail your audience is interested in learning. It’s no use picking a topic that will end up in their junk or trash folder.
The best and most direct way to find out what content your audience wants to see is to ask them. Either pick up the telephone, meet with them over a beverage, connect over a Zoom meeting, or send them to an online survey. All four work equally as well. However, the online survey method works really well if your audience is geographically dispersed and you have many of them to contact.
If you are using the online method I recommend a service such as SurveyMonkey. SurveyMonkey is a web based tool that allows you to create and structure your survey in a professional, and time efficient manner. When you have completed developing the survey you just need to send the survey link to your recipients.
Your surveys need not be complicated. Just a few straight forward questions to solicit the responses you need.
Here’s a few questions to help you formulate your own survey questions:
“What would you like to learn more about in [fill in your niche]?”
“What is the one thing that you would like to see improve within your company?”
“What is the one thing that is causing the biggest time or money leak within your business right now?”
As you can see, the questions can either be extremely direct or even interpretive based. Personally, I find it best to structure questions that have open ended answers. Your questions should always be structured to solicit the response you need to develop your Email Course content.
2. Understand Your Strategic Objective
Step #2 can be a fun and creative process.
Before you begin contemplating content for your Email Course, make sure you understand your strategic business goals. From a Email Course development perspective, understanding your business objective will help you visualize the location you need to place your Call To Action, and the content you need to develop.
Are you trying to sell a product and/or service?
Is your interest in securing a business partnership?
Is your intent to collect donations for your group of children in 3rd world countries?
What ever you trying to accomplish please make sure you have clarity and clear visibility of your goals. This is the only way to be sure that you will accomplish what you set out to do in the first place.
Keep in mind, that you will be guiding your audience down a specific [content] path during the process of creating the eMail course, and while you deliver what your audience wants, your audience will deliver what you want. They’ll be educated by your Email Course material, and your goal will be partially accomplished when they click on your Call To Action.
The location of the Call To Action is important, and you should keep the following in mind when deciding on it’s location:
Will my call to action make sense to my viewer in terms of the context of the content?
At what point will my viewers feel that they have been given extreme value?
Does my call to action seem like a natural extension of my content?
When inserting a call to action, for what ever reason, it must be at a point that seems natural, and will not cause your viewer to abort their education.
As I mentioned earlier, there is no one size fits all. You need to decide on what’s right for your audience, while meshing your strategic business objective into your Email Course.
3. Decide on the eMail Course Delivery Duration
The course duration can vary vastly depending on:
the Email Course content density,
your audiences expectations and,
your teaching intentions
Obviously the more dense your Email Course content, the longer time you will need to deliver the courses.
Two models I’ve successfully used – a 15 day and the 30 day course offering.
The 15 day course is used to deliver course material that is simplified, short and concise, and which can be easily digested by the audience in a short time frame by your audience.
The 30 day course is more complex in nature, with content that drills down into the respective topics in more detail. In addition to this the 30 day course material can incorporate assignments.
Both the 15 and 30 day models will, more than likely, be distributed to your viewers within 6-9 emails. When you look at the 15 day course, you’ll typically be sending out a new email once every 2-3 days. With the 30 day course you’ll also space the emails evenly, but at a more manageable 5 days apart each.
Consider your audience and the topic when selecting your Email Course delivery alternatives.
4. Write and Edit
If you are a natural born writer and passionate about your topic, then the writing component of step #4, will probably be the the easiest for you.
You’ve established what your audience wants to learn, solidified your strategy and content delivery duration, and now it just a matter of filling in the blanks for each email series that you wish to send to your audience.
The editing, on the other hand, may take time. You need to get, not only the grammar correct, but the content, assignments, and the call to action need to flow seamlessly.
There can’t be any sharp edges! I highly recommend that you edit ruthlessly when creating an eMail course. Make sure it’s close to perfect.
Create the Email Course that’s going to really WOW your audience.
Read the content from your readers perspective. Make sure the tone and language is correct for your audience. If it’s not change it!
At the end of each Email session, give your audience an assignment to complete. This will keep them connected and engaged until the next session.
When your next ‘class’ reconvenes, summarize at least the previous session, just like you would do in a real classroom setting.
You may want to break the monotony by using audio, video and downloadable worksheets. Just make sure the content is relevant to what you’re teaching your audience.
Make sure your call to action is in the correct place – do not ask for the ‘order’ to early, and don’t wait too late – between 6-9 emails.
Make sure EVERYTHING flows really smoothly.
Go back and edit again, and again, and again, until you are more than 100% satisfied.
5. Auto Deliver Content With AutoResponder
Step #5 is where we get a little geeky and technical.
The most efficient way of delivering the Email Course content is automatically via something called an Autoresponder. There are many options available to accomplish this, however I’ve been using Aweber for many years and 100% satisfied with their services. Alternatively, you can use MailChimp or iContact. I’ve used all 3, but still lean toward Aweber.
The concept is the same for the different autoresponders. Aweber, however, has an intuitive user interface, with a drag and drop editor, the ability to measure the open and click through rates, but most of all have a delivery rate in excess of 99%.
Delivery rate is important in the Internet Marketing world. It gives you a peace of mind, knowing that your Email Course has a high probability of reaching the intended audience. There’s nothing more frustrating not knowing if your email has reached it’s destination or not.
I won’t go into the detail of configuring Aweber, but a few quick pointers:
create a list specifically for your Email Course,
load up each of the course emails, and set the interval according to your overall plan,
test the delivery of your course to your email address. Review & refine as necessary,
setup a web capture form in Aweber so you can capture your viewers contact information. Place the web form in a strategic location on your website/blog.
publicize the heck out of your course, using the proven methods, including your social media platforms. Drive traffic to your site with the intent of your viewers signing up for the EMail Course.
Your Take Away
So, as you can see, it’s not that difficult to develop an Email based course for your audience. You just need to follow a few basic steps. The bulk of your work will probably be centered around:
developing the course content to include your business strategy and,
making sure the course flows smoothly, without chasing your viewers away.
The rest of the task are purely mechanical and logistical.
Need assistance in creating an Email course for your audience? Contact us and we’ll help you generate relevant leads from the Internet for your business?