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Making the most of newsletters when promoting your online courses

Email is still a top contender when it comes to reaching out to current or potential learners. Promoting course offers via email has good returns in the long run. However, the most effective way to build relationships and increase brand awareness is to regularly send out newsletters.

Newsletters take a little time to create, but people are more likely to open and read them compared to regular promotional emails. Even people who don’t intend to make a purchase will be intrigued if the content is good and relevant.

Plus, newsletters are great for keeping your audience in the loop with what you are doing, offering discounts, and even hosting challenges and contests to increase your social media followers and engagement. Here’s what course creators need to know to make the most of their newsletters:

Choosing what type of newsletter to send

We’ve all seen all sorts of newsletters in our inboxes by now. Some are mostly promotional, some have links to informative blog articles. At the same time, others can be personal entrepreneurship stories by people trying to capitalize on that feeling of familiarity.

One way to go about it is to create a format and stick to it. The upside of doing this is that people will get used to your newsletter format and know what to expect.

The other option is to mix it up, at least for the first few newsletters. Try to figure out what the audience prefers and how you can get the highest open rates.

Whichever way you choose, the visuals need to be consistent as you want the brand name and image to be easily recognized.

Read more: 3 Key personal branding tips for online course creators

What to write

Even though your newsletter has a marketing purpose, it’s important to remember that its main focus is not to push sales. Instead, you're supposed to build interest and relationships. So, first of all, it's important not to abuse the trust of those who signed up by filling their inboxes with aggressive calls to action.

Read more: Revisiting your CTAs as a knowledge entrepreneur

I have had an awful experience of this kind with one of the popular “academies.” I signed up for one course, and I can’t seem to get rid of their emails, no matter how many times I hit unsubscribe. While the course itself was ok, I don’t want to deal with them again just because of how pushy they are.

You don’t want to do that.

If people want your newsletter, send a quality, informative email once a month. Make sure you balance it well – it’s all right to talk about your courses, but this should not take up more than 20% of the content.

How to get people to sign up

People are often reluctant to give out their email addresses for good reasons, as it can lead to a full inbox. So, you need to do a couple of things to get your audience to willingly sign up.

First and foremost, be very clear about what you will do with their information. Reassure learners that you won't share personal info with a third party. Secondly, you’ll need to promote the newsletter on your social media, site, or landing page, just like you do your products or services. Be specific about the newsletter's content and even feature some of the items.

It’s always a good idea to offer a complimentary article, whitepaper, or even an e-book as incentives for subscribing to your newsletter. Always think about your audience's interests and what could help you establish yourself as an influencer in your field.

Read more: 4 Awesome examples of lead magnets to boost your online conversion rates

A good subject is worth a lot of clicks

Most people have notifications on their phones, and as a result, they see the subject of your email in a tiny window. The decision to click on it instantly, remember to check it out later or delete it right away relies heavily on the subject line.

There are several ingredients you will need for crafting a good subject. First, check for deliverability – you have to make sure that your email gets to the main inbox instead of the SPAM folder. I have found this article about the most commonly used spammy words to be quite handy.

A good subject line is short and to the point. You don't have to read it twice to understand what it is about.

Also, you’ll need to personalize your emails. You can achieve this by doing your homework about who your audience is and what they are interested in.

Read more: 6×4 Inspiring examples of email subject lines

Closing thoughts

Newsletters are excellent tools for attracting new customers and retaining existing ones. While not primarily for pushing sales, they are a good way to build an ongoing relationship with your audience. The key to getting people to subscribe and recommend you to others is good content, consistency, and delivering on your promises.