list building for course creators

I've been creating and selling online courses since 2016, and I can tell you that one of the most valuable assets that I've built over the years, besides the courses themselves, is my email list (over 35k emails).

I think email list building is essential for any online course creator, and it's one of the main reasons why you would want to run your courses in your own website.

An email list allows you to stay in touch with your target audience and promote your courses to them directly.

The larger your list, the greater your chances of making your course business work in the long run.

Your email list gives you a direct line of communication with your students and is the best way to keep them up to date on your latest courses and offerings.

So what are the best list-building strategies for course creators?

There are a variety of list-building strategies for online course creators:

  • Give away the first video of your course for free
  • Create and give away a checklist
  • Add a sign-up popup form to your website
  • Start a newsletter
  • Create a quiz
  • Have a webinar related to your course
  • Start a waitlist for your next online course
  • Blog and guest post on related sites about topics related to your course
  • Create a two-step checkout on your sales page
  • Collect emails through Facebook

In the rest of the post, I'm going to dice into all the details about each of these tips.

Table of contents

You can also check out all the free guides at the Course Creator Academy by clicking on the Academy link on the top menu bar.

If you are looking to learn how to sell online courses here is my most detailed guide on it. In it, I talk in detail about all the strategies that have worked for me:

How to Sell Online Courses? The Ultimate Guide

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

You've just created an amazing video course, but you're not sure how to sell it. You've tried posting it on social media, but the results have not been encouraging.

So, what do you do?

One great way to market your course is to give away the first video for free. As course creators, we all know the value of giving away some of your best stuff for free.

This will entice people to sign up for your course, and once they're in, you can start selling them on the rest of the content.

"But wait," you might be thinking, "If I give away the first video of my course, won't people just watch that and then never buy the rest?"

Here's the thing: when you give away the first video of your course, you're building trust with your audience.

They get to see your teaching style and get a taste of your content before they commit to buying the whole course.

And when people trust you, they're more likely to buy from you.

The type of course you create will also play a big role in whether or not this approach will work for you.

The most important thing is to make sure that the video is high quality and provides value. If it's a low-quality video, people will just think that the rest of your course must be equally as bad and not bother buying it.

So, if you do decide to give away the first video of your course for free, just make sure that it's something that will really hook your audience and make them expect value whenever they see your name in their email.

And at the end of the free video content, you pitch your premium course.

2. Create and give away a checklist

Giving away a checklist is a great way for a course creator to get people to sign up for their email list.

It's an easy way to provide value and show your potential subscribers that you're knowledgeable and trustworthy.

Plus, it's a great way to collect leads that you can use to promote your course.

Why?

Because people love checklists! They're a quick and easy way to get organized and accomplished.

Think about it, if you're launching a new course, you probably have a lot of information you need to share with your students. A checklist is a great way to do that.

It's a simple, one-page document that they can reference again and again.

Plus, it's a great opt-in incentive. If you offer something valuable for free, people will be more likely to sign up for your email list.

So not only will you get their contact information, but you'll also get them excited about your course.

So, how do you go about creating a checklist for your email list?

Well, it all starts with understanding what your potential students are looking for. Once you know what they need, you can create a checklist that will help them meet those needs.

Once you have your list of items, it's time to start putting together your checklist. You can use a tool like Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel.

Once you have your checklist created, it's time to start giving it away! You can do this by including it as an opt-in freebie on your website or blog, or by sharing it on social media or even running ads for it.

3. Add a sign-up popup form to your website

Pop-up forms are a great way to collect emails from your visitors. You can also use them to offer discounts or display important information.

There are a few things you should keep in mind when designing your pop-up form. First, make sure the form is short and to the point.

No one wants to fill out a long form, so just ask for the bare minimum amount of information that you need.

Second, make sure the form is visually appealing. You want people to actually want to fill it out, so make sure it looks good.

Third, make sure you're offering something of value in exchange for their email address. This could be a discount code, a free e-book, or something else that will entice them to sign up.

The fourth tip is to make sure the form is mobile-friendly. More and more people are using their phones to browse the internet, so you want to make sure your form looks good on a mobile device.

And lastly, make sure the form is easy to close if someone isn't interested. No one likes being trapped on a website, so giving them an easy way out will ensure that they aren't irritated by your pop-up form.

You’ll want to include these too to help you increase conversions with your sign-up pop-up form:

  • Use a strong headline that speaks to your target audience.
  • Use strong CTAs (call-to-actions) that tell visitors what to do next, e.g. "Sign up now!"
  • Include a link to your privacy policy so visitors know how their information will be used.
  • Use persuasive language to get them to take action, like "Sign up now and get 50% off your first month!"

4. Start a newsletter

When you have a newsletter, you can send out timely updates about your courses, new blog posts, and any other news that you think your students might be interested in.

It's also a great way to engage with your students and get feedback from them.

Here are some things you should consider before you get started:

  • First, you need to decide what format your newsletter will take. Will it be a weekly or monthly email? A PDF? A video?
  • Second, you need to determine what kind of content you’ll include in your newsletter. Will it be tips and tricks related to your course? Q&As with experts in your field? News related to your industry?
  • Third, you need to come up with a catchy name for your newsletter. This will be the first thing people see, so make sure it’s something that will pique their interest.
  • Fourth, you need to determine how you’ll collect email addresses from people who want to sign up for your newsletter. Will you add a sign-up form to your website? Include a call to action in your emails.

If you take the time to consider these things before you start your newsletter, you’ll be off to a great start!

The best way to get people to sign up for your newsletter is to promote it on your course website and social media platforms. Make sure the form is visible and easy to find.

5. Create a quiz

For an email capture quiz, you'll want to ask questions that will help you segment your audience so you can better target them with future content and offers.

The questions should be related to the material covered in the course.

When creating an email capture quiz for your online course, it's important to keep people engaged with your quiz so they don't get bored and give up.

Here are some tips on how to keep people engaged with your quiz:

  • Create a quiz that is relevant to your online course. The quiz should be something that people would want to take to learn more about the subject matter of your course.
  • Use an email capture form on your quiz page so that people can sign up for your email list while they are taking the quiz. This way, you can grow your email list while also providing value to those who take the quiz.
  • Keep the questions challenging but not too difficult.
  • Use a variety of question types (e.g. multiple choice, fill in the blank, true or false) to keep people from getting bored.
  • Allow people to retake the quiz if they didn't do well the first time around.
  • Promote your quiz through social media and other channels so that people are aware of it and can take it if they're interested.

Using a tool like Interact, you can easily create a quiz that will help you collect email addresses from your students.

Not only will this help you grow your list, but it will also give you valuable insights into what your students are interested in.

Webinars are an excellent way to build an email list because they allow you to provide value to your audience and establish yourself as an expert in your industry.

By hosting a webinar, you can reach a larger audience and collect more email addresses than you would through other methods.

To host a successful webinar that will help you build your email list, there are a few things you need to do:

1. Choose a relevant topic: Your webinar should be on a topic that is relevant to your target audience. This will ensure that people are interested in what you have to say and are more likely to sign up for your email list.

2. Promote your webinar: Once you've chosen a topic and created your webinar, you need to promote it. You can promote your webinar through social media, or your website.

3. Provide value: For people to sign up for your email list, they need to see value in it. Your webinar should provide valuable information that people can use. If it's helpful and informative, they'll be more likely to sign up.

4. Follow up: After your webinar, follow up with participants by sending them an email with the recording of the webinar, as well as any additional resources they might find helpful. This will keep them engaged and ensure they don't forget about signing up for your email list.

7. Start a wait list for your next online course

If you're thinking about starting a waitlist for your next online course, you might be wondering why you should bother. After all, it's just an extra step in the process, right?

Wrong! Starting a waitlist can actually be a great way to build your email list and ensure that your course is successful.

Introducing a waitlist for your next online course can help alleviate those fears and help you get started on your learning journey.

By starting a waitlist, you're telling people that there's a chance they may not be able to get into the course when it starts. This helps to build anticipation and excitement for the course, and it also helps you build your email list.

When you promote your course, include a link to the waitlist. When people sign up, they'll be added to your email list.

Then, when the course opens up for enrollment, you can send out a broadcast email to everyone on the waitlist letting them know that it's time to enroll.

Not only does this give you a chance to build your email list, but it also ensures that your course will be successful since you'll already have people signed up and ready to take it.

So if you're on the fence about whether or not to start a waitlist, I say go for it!

8. Blog and guest post on related sites about topics related to your course

You might be wondering why you should blog and guest post about your course. After all, isn't creating the course enough?

The answer is: No.

See, when you blog and guest post about topics related to your course, you're not only building up your authority and credibility in that topic area, but you're also driving traffic back to your course landing page.

And that means more people signing up for your course and joining your email list.

It's a win-win! You get to share your expertise with the world, and you get to grow your email list at the same time.

Here are a few tips:

  • When blogging, write about topics related to your course. This will help you attract people who are interested in what you have to offer.
  • When guest posting, reach out to sites that are related to your course. This will help you get in front of an audience that is already interested in what you have to say.
  • You want to make it easy for people to find and sign up for your course, so be sure to include a link to the landing page in your blog post or guest post.
  • What will people learn from taking your course? Be sure to include a brief description of the topics covered in your blog post or guest post.
  • In both cases, include a call to action at the end of your post. This will encourage people to sign up for your email list.

9. Create a two-step checkout on your sales page

A two-step checkout is a sales page layout that breaks up the process of buying a course into two distinct steps:

1. The first step is collecting the buyer's email address.

2. The second step is collecting payment information.

Two-step checkouts are an effective way to collect email addresses because they require buyers to provide their email addresses before they can complete their purchase.

This helps you weed out people who aren't serious about buying your course and allows you to focus on the people who are most likely to enroll.

The benefit of using a two-step checkout is that it allows you to build a relationship with the buyer before they hand over any money.

This is important because it increases the chances that they'll actually follow through and purchase the course.

10. Collect emails through Facebook

There are a few reasons why using Facebook can be a great way to collect email addresses for your course:

  • Facebook is a great way to reach a wide audience. Chances are you'll be able to reach your target market on Facebook.
  • You can target your ads. With Facebook's powerful targeting capabilities, you can make sure that your ads are only being shown to people who are likely to be interested in your course.
  • Facebook is a great way to build relationships with potential students. By interacting with people on Facebook, you can start to build relationships and get people familiar with you and your work before they even sign up for your course.

If you’re looking to collect email addresses for your course through Facebook, there are a few things you can do:

Make sure to include a link to your landing page in the post. You can also boost the post to reach a wider audience.

You can create a Facebook ad. Make sure the ad is targeted to your ideal student and includes a link to your landing page.

You can also run a Facebook contest or giveaway, requiring people to enter their email addresses to participate.

Final Thoughts

As a course creator, you now know how to build an email list for your course and how important it is to have a strong email list.

Not only do you need to build a list for your courses, but you also need to keep them engaged and interested in what you're offering.

Building an email list is a great way to connect with your audience, promote your courses, and grow your business.

There you have it! It's time to put these tips into action.

Remember, the most important thing is to start building your list as soon as possible. The sooner you start, the sooner you'll be able to reap the benefits of having a captive audience who is interested in what you have to say.

While building an email list is a great strategy for selling your courses, there are several other methods.

Read my post on How To Sell Online Courses? (Proven Strategies) to learn about more methods to sell your online course.

Here are more helpful guides related to how to build an email list for your course for you to check out:

If you want a platform that allows you to easily build an email list and that integrates well with other third-party tools, check out my platform OnlineCourseHost.com.

This is a very beginner-friendly online course hosting platform with all the email marketing features you need.

This is the ideal platform for you if you want an easy-to-use and affordable platform to build and sell your online courses, especially for new course creators on a tight budget, but also for established professionals.

In addition, you have all of the tools you need to market your course, such as the ability to send bulk emails directly to your students, eliminating the need for a third-party email provider.

There are also no hidden platform commissions, so you receive 100% of the sale value in your bank account (except for the inevitable Paypal or Stripe fees).

But more than a platform, we want to give you all the information that you need to grow your online course business successfully.

  • That’s why we have created the Course Creator Academy where you can find everything you need to become a successful online course creator all in one place for free.
  • To get notified when new content is available here at the Academy, you can subscribe here to our weekly newsletter:

If you are looking to ask any questions on online course creation, you can reach me here on my Facebook group:

Join the Course Creator Academy Facebook Group

Ready to learn how to launch your first course on OnlineCourseHost.com? Here are the helpful guides for you to check out:

I hope you found this post helpful, let me know in the comments below what other topics you would like me to cover, or any questions that you have?

Thanks for reading… and enjoy the course creation process! 😉


Vasco Cavalheiro

OnlineCourseHost.com Founder & Online Course Creator

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