If you sell anything online, you could dramatically increase your sales by creating a simple automated email sequence. In the online marketing world, this is often called an “email course.”
I’ve used email courses to sell my self-published book, freelance services, online courses, and affiliate offers. However, you could also use this strategy to sell software and physical products.
On average, I’ve been able to increase my monthly revenue by $3,000 each time I’ve set up a new email course to promote a new product or service. Your mileage may vary depending on your writing skills, your offer's price, the number of signups you get, and your email open rates.
However, this is still one of the simplest ways to make sales online, and it only takes a few hours to set up.
What is an email course?
An email course is a sequence of 7–10 emails that you write in advance and drip out to new or existing subscribers over the course of seven days.
It’s called an “email course” because the first four to five emails in the sequence are purely educational.
The idea here is to educate your subscriber about the problem that your product or service solves and then offer your solution at the end.
What You’ll Need
There are a few things aside from the emails themselves that you will need to create an effective automated email course.
1. A Product or Service to Sell
You’ll want to choose one product, service, or affiliate offer to promote with your email course. As I mentioned above, this could be:
- a book,
- digital product,
- online course,
- freelance service,
- consulting package,
- affiliate offer, or
- a physical product.
It is crucial to focus on just one product or service because you will be positioning your offer as the best solution to your subscriber's problem at the end of your email course.
2. Email Marketing Software
You will need an automated email software program to set up and schedule your email course.
I prefer to use ConvertKit. However, there are dozens of alternatives, such as Mailchimp, Aweber, Active Campaign, etc. A simple Google search for “email marketing software” will yield thousands of results. Pick one that fits your budget.
3. Signup Form or Landing Page
You will need to create either an opt-in form that you can embed in a webpage or a landing page that you can link to so that people can sign up for your email course. Most email marketing software programs have form and landing page features built into them.
4. Sales Page
You must have a sales page for your product or service to send people to at the end of your email course. This could be a page on your website or an external site if you are selling an affiliate offer or a book on Amazon, for example.
5. Related Content
Your email course can’t exist in a vacuum. You will need at least one piece of related content like a blog post, YouTube video, or social post to promote your email course.
Email Course Template
Here’s the basic template I use to create email courses. Feel free to use it as-is or change it completely to fit your needs.
Email #1: Confirmation — This is the first email that your subscribers will receive after signing up for your email course.
It’s a good practice to have each subscriber confirm their email using a “double opt-in.” This means that your subscriber will get an email with a link that they need to click before they can start receiving your email course.
Not only does this practice help you to comply with anti-spam regulations, but it also keeps your email marketing costs to a minimum by weeding out fake or misspelled emails.
In the confirmation email, remind your subscriber what they signed up for and instruct them to click the link to confirm their email address so that they can start the course.
Email #2: Introduction/Lesson 1
Once the subscriber confirms their email address, they should receive the first email of the course immediately.
Here’s how I structure it:
First, I briefly introduce myself in two or three sentences.
Next, I tell the subscriber what they can expect over the next couple of days and why they should open my emails. If people don’t know what’s in it for them, they’ll lose interest.
Then, I move into the first “lesson.” I usually define the bigger problem that I’ll be addressing in my emails over the next couple of days.
Finally, I’ll end with a teaser for tomorrow’s email. This could be a statement of what I’ll cover or a question that piques the reader’s curiosity.
Email #3: Lesson 2
I like to start all of my “lesson” emails with a quick recap of the previous day. For example,
“Yesterday you learned __________. Today I’m going to answer the most common question that I get asked by my clients, “______________.”
Next, write a few paragraphs to answer the question.
Conclude with a teaser of tomorrow’s content.
Email #4: Lesson 3
Start with a recap of yesterday’s lesson.
Give a preview of today’s topic. You can continue with the question and answer format or choose a subtopic that you can discuss in a few paragraphs.
Conclude with a teaser for tomorrow.
Email #5: Lesson 4
Start with a recap.
Introduce today’s topic. I like to use a case study here. For example, I’ll highlight my own personal experience or a client that I’ve worked with to demonstrate that my methods, services, or product is effective.
Conclude with a teaser.
Email #6: Recap and Transition
Start with a recap.
Introduce today’s topic. I like to keep this “lesson” short because there’s a lot I want to pack into this email.
Next, review the main teaching points that were covered over the entire week.
Finally, transition into your sales pitch. For example,
This week you learned ________, ________, and _________.
At this point you can take what you’ve learned and start applying it on your own.
However, I have a lot more to share. If you’d like to continue working with me, I’m going to be offering a special discount for my (training program, book, consulting, freelance service, etc.) for the next few days only.
You can preview the offer here (link to sales page) but I’ll send you all of the details tomorrow.
Email #7: Introduce Product or Service
This is where you officially make an offer for your product or service. You’ll want to let your readers know what’s included, how much it costs, and how long the offer will be available.
This works best if you include a time-limited discount or bonus.
Email #8: Special Offer Reminder
Here, you are reiterating your offer. If you have client or customer testimonials, you can include screenshots of them in this email to provide social proof that your product works.
Email #9: Special Offer Expiring Soon
The purpose of this email is to remind your subscribers that your special offer is expiring soon — typically within 6 hours.
I like to include answers to frequently asked questions or any other information that might eliminate someone’s purchasing objections.
Email #10: Last Chance Email
You can keep this message short and to the point. Send out the “last chance” email an hour before your offer is set to expire. This is when you are likely to see the most sales come in.
Upload and Schedule Your Email Course
Once you have written all of the emails for your automated sequence, you’ll need to upload them to your email marketing software and schedule them to be dripped out over the course of seven days.
Promoting Your Email Course
Once your email course is set up and ready to go, you can embed your signup form on your website homepage or at the end of your blog posts.
If you created a landing page, you could include the link for it at the end of your Medium posts, YouTube videos, social updates, or any other place that you create content online.
Creating an automated email course to sell digital products, services, affiliate offers, and physical products is a simple and easy way to increase your monthly revenue.