How to Write an Email Sequence for Your Online Course Launch

How to Write an Email Sequence for Your Online Course Launch
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Charlene BoutinSeptember 09, 2022 - 20 min read

So you’ve come up with an awesome idea for a new online course — but you’re stuck on how to get your first students to enroll.

What should you say? Who should you contact? How can you get more eyeballs on your sales page?

Any creator will tell you that one of the most cost-effective ways to launch any type of online course is an email sequence.

Let’s explore how to write an email sequence for your next online course launch, and what to include in it.

Read on to find answers to the following questions:

What is an email sequence?

An email sequence is a list of email broadcasts that you send over a period of time. All the emails within the sequence usually have one goal in common. For instance, you can write an email sequence to generate appointments, signups, or pre-orders.

A course launch email sequence is designed to warm up your subscribers and introduce your course to them.

Email sequences can be automated and evergreen, meaning that subscribers enter the sequence automatically when they perform a certain action. For example, you may add everyone who completes your welcome sequence into a sales sequence for one of your existing services or courses.

But in this post, we’ll discuss live course launches — because you should always validate your course before you automate your sales process.

💡 You can even launch before you create any content for the course! This will help you save tons of time if no one ends up purchasing from your launch. This can happen when you don’t know your audience well enough to understand what they really want.

Why email sequences are crucial for the success of your course launch

You might be wondering:

Can’t I just send a single email to my list when I launch a new course?

Yes, you can — but here’s why you should write an entire sequence of emails instead.

First, consider that the average email open rate across all industries is only 16.97%.

This means that if you only send out a single email, it’s highly unlikely that everyone on your email list will even know about your course.

Even if you have average open rates that are on the high side, there are plenty of other reasons you should send several emails:

  • People get distracted — and they’ll forget about that single email you sent. So you’ll need to remind them a few more times.
  • Your subscribers will have objections about buying your course, and your emails can tackle those. Giving all that responsibility to a single email is a big task!
  • It takes an average of 8 touch points to make a sale. So you’re leaving the majority of your course sales on the table when you only send out 1 or 2 emails.

Plus, an email sequence doesn’t just sell your course — it warms up your audience before you launch, too. A solid course launch email sequence will include several weeks of emails, most of which don’t even have a sales pitch in them.

Okay, so how many emails should I send?

There’s no perfect answer for how many emails you should send. But I’ll tell you this: you should probably send more than you think.

If we follow the statistics on average touchpoints, you’d need at least 8 emails in your sequence.

I like to include at least 10 emails in every course launch email sequence I write. But when you take your pre-launch content into account, that number can get even higher.

If you’re not sure what you’d even write about for 10 emails — or if you’re worried that you’ll get marked as spam or get too many unsubscribes — don’t worry. Keep reading and you’ll find out how to not only get enough email ideas, but also how to mitigate any risk of losing too many subscribers.

How to collect email subscribers before your launch

If you don’t have any email subscribers yet, it can be difficult to launch an online course. Of course, you can promote your online course on social media, but engagement is much lower on those platforms.

For example, the median engagement rate on an Instagram post is 0.98%. And it’s even worse on Facebook and Twitter, which have median engagement rates of 0.19% and 0.04% respectively.

Instagram post engagement rate stats broken down by industry

Let’s compare this to average email open rates, which, as we discussed above, are 16.97% across all industries. That’s already much better than what you’ll get on Instagram — and from experience, I can tell you that course creators can get a much better open rate if they take the time to nurture their subscribers regularly in between launches.

That’s why you should aim to get your audience on your email list. And it doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated.

For instance, Getform, a free online form builder, has 25 beautiful list-building form templates you can use to collect emails your followers’ emails across platforms. And you won’t even need a website for this.

All you need is an incentive for people to join your list. It can be as simple as letting people know how they’ll benefit from the content in your emails, like this form below:

See live preview

You can also offer opt-in freebies, such as templates, free trainings, events, and more:

See live preview

Once you customize your landing page to your liking and connect it to your email service provider of choice, you can start sharing it online. For instance, you can grow your email list on TikTok or collect subscribers from Instagram.

đź’ˇ If you have the budget, you can even run an ad campaign driving people to your landing page. Facebook and Instagram Ads work well, but TikTok and Youtube ads are on the rise too.

Try Getform for free

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How to write your course launch email sequence (and what to include)

Enough talking about it — let’s dive into the actual writing of your course launch email sequence. Here are the steps you need to follow 👇

1. Create a schedule of your launch

Before you write a single email, map out what your launch schedule will look like. When does your cart open? When does it close? Are you hosting any promotional events during the launch? Do you have a waiting list of people who need to hear about the course before everyone else?

Here are two examples of launch schedules. The first uses a 5-day challenge to warm up the audience. This means the first week is dedicated to inviting people to the challenge. In the other schedule, there are no special events to warm up the audience — you can use emails on their own to nurture your subscribers and get them over to your sales page.

Online course launch schedule example featuring a 5-day challenge

Online course launch schedule example featuring an email sequence

In both these examples, the cart is open for 1 week. However, you can keep your cart open for a shorter or longer period depending on your preference.

Keep in mind that shorter cart open periods will require more intensive action on your part. However, longer cart open periods will require you to keep up the momentum for longer. There’s no right or wrong.

I suggest reading this entire article before you come back to this step. You’ll learn about some of the emails I suggest adding to your sequence before you actually plan it.

2. Map out a pre-launch sequence

A pre-launch sequence is any content that warms up your subscribers before your course launch. This content should get them in the headspace that’s required to buy from you.

Pre-launch content can:

  • Educate your audience about a problem they may be struggling with
  • Introduce a new concept (that you’ll teach in-depth in your course)
  • Get your audience ready to take action by signing up for an event (webinar, workshop, 5-day challenge, etc)

Here’s an example of some great prelaunch content with Zach Spuckler from Heart, Soul & Hustle:

Zack Spucklers online course prelaunch email

Notice that Zach introduces the workshop he’s launching in this pre-launch email. However, you don’t have to do that — and if you do, the announcement shouldn’t be at the forefront. If you read carefully, you’ll see that Zach only pitches the workshop in the PS section.

The core of the email is focused on pre-launch content. In this case, he’s promoting a podcast episode that directly correlates to the workshop he’s launching.

3. Write an epic open cart email

Once people can finally enroll in your online course, it’s time to send one of the most important emails of your sequence — the cart open email.

Cart open emails should focus on:

  • What exactly your course is all about
  • The BIGGEST reasons people should join
  • What outcome people will have if they join your course

Let’s take a look at a few examples. First, let’s see how Zach Spuckler opened his cart after teasing his launch in his pre-launch content:

Zack Spucklers open cart announcement email

First, he goes into the potential problems that you can run into if you launch a membership. Next, he explains how his offer, The Membership Workshop, will help people overcome those problems.

He goes into detail about what his students will learn if they sign up, but he also backs up his claims with some proof that he knows what he’s talking about.

Now, let’s take a look at another great open-cart example from Tarzan Kay:

Online course open cart email example by Tarzan Kay

First, Tarzan gets her subscribers’ attention by hooking them with a story. Then, she segues into the topic of her course, Email Stars.

And the rest of the email does a pretty good job of explaining:

  • What outcomes people can get from Email Stars
  • Why people should buy today
  • Why you can benefit even if you only have 25 subscribers or if you haven’t emailed your list in forever

I also love that she adds the ability to set a 24-hour reminder so people don’t miss the expiring bonuses.

4. Follow up with more engaging emails

Your email sequence is far from over once you’ve announced your course launch. Ideally, you should aim to email your subscribers every day throughout the cart open period — or once every two days at the beginning of the open-cart period if it seems like too much for you.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself to generate some awesome email ideas:

What are some deeply-held beliefs your audience may have that are stopping them from taking action — and how will your course help them?

Everyone has beliefs about themselves or the world that may be stopping them from reaching their full potential. You can pinpoint some of those beliefs in your emails and help your audience overcome them.

Once they believe they can succeed, they’re more likely to take action and buy from you.

In the following email, Tarzan tackles the limiting belief that email marketing is annoying, not fast enough, too time-consuming, and too confusing to be worth it:

Tarzan Kay tackles objections in her online course launch email sequence

After tackling those limiting beliefs, Tarzan explains how her students can overcome them by using her shortcuts and systems.

What are some success stories, testimonials, or case studies your audience needs to hear?

There’s nothing better than a bit of social proof to make your course seem irresistible. You can use some of your existing success stories and testimonials as engaging stories in your email sequence.

Oh, and even if your course is brand new, don’t worry! Your testimonials don’t have to be directly from your course. You can pull testimonials from previous customers or clients if there’s something relevant from there.

Let’s take a look at what Jenn Robbins, a sales funnel strategist, did with her membership launch:

Jenn Robbins used previous clients’ testimonials to add social proof to her new course

As you can see, Jenn launched a brand new course membership, so she didn’t have any testimonials for that offer. However, the strategy she teaches inside her new course is the same strategy she used to help her clients before. That’s why it makes sense for her to showcase the success of a past client.

Do you have any bonus content that will be particularly helpful for your audience?

What do your students get in addition to the core content of your course? If you have some juicy bonuses, you can make some of your emails focused on that.

The best bonus content is the type of content that helps counter objections. For example, a common objection people have to taking a course is time. They don’t believe they’ll have time to implement what you teach them.

So, if you have a bonus that can help them get results faster or implement what you teach in less time, make sure to create an email all about that bonus.

Let’s look at this email from James Wedmore’s launch sequence:

James Wedmore’s online course launch email sequence

James knows that money is a huge factor for his audience — especially since his program is on the more expensive side.

To counter this objection, James provides a bonus to help his students land their first high-ticket coaching client. Students who use this bonus can help recoup their investment faster.

What are the most common questions you’ve been asked about your course?

Your subscribers likely have several questions racing through their minds as they consider whether or not they should enroll in your new course. Consider answering common questions about your course in one of your emails.

If you’ve never been asked any questions, consider including questions that are also objections. By doing this, you can counter objections directly in your emails.

Here’s an example from one of my own course launches back in 2020:

Charlene Boutin’s online course launch email example tackling common objections

I knew that people would be worried about how much time it would take them to implement the content, but also to get results. That’s why I address the issue in the second question.

I also knew many people would be worried about the costs of implementing some of what they’d learn, like hiring a virtual assistant. To ease their worries, I helped them see the cost of a VA as an investment, not an expense.

How can you make your emails more fun?

Find ways to engage your audience and keep them entertained throughout the launch. You can add some fun images of you, or you can sprinkle some GIFS in there, too!

Using GIFs is a surefire way to make your email sequence more engaging

Just make sure not to overcrowd your emails with too much media. Including too many images and GIFs can hurt your deliverability and make you land in the Promotions tab of Google (or even the dreaded Spam folder).

5. Give your subscribers an “out”

You’ll be sending tons of emails during your online course launch. As such, you should provide your subscribers with a way to opt-out of that specific promotion without unsubscribing entirely from your list.

You can add a link at the top of each email with an unsubscribe link:

Laura Belgray lets her subscribers opt-out of a specific promo sequence without entirely unsubscribing from her emails

This will help mitigate the risk of people unsubscribing entirely from you if they’re not interested in that particular course. That means they’ll still be around when you make other offers.

6. Mix it up with a pattern interrupt

A pattern-interrupt email is an email that’s different from the rest of the emails in your sequence. It interrupts the pattern and gives a breath of fresh air towards the end of your launch.

I like sending pattern interrupt emails the morning of the last day of a launch. You can change it up by sharing something fun and interesting before you segue into the promotional section of the email.

Here’s how Zach Spuckler introduced his brand new tattoo towards the end of his membership workshop launch:

Pattern interrupt email example by Zach Spuckler

It’s a pattern interrupt because the subject line is completely different from the rest of the launch. While the other subject lines focus on the launch, this one stands out from the rest:

A subject line of a pattern interrupt email stands out of the rest of the sequence

So aim to make both the subject line AND your email content interrupt the pattern.

7. Conclude with a cart-close email

About an hour or so before you close the cart for your course, send out one final email to your subscribers, just like this one from Laura Belgray:

Cart close email from an online course launch sequence by Laura Belgray

Your cart-close email should be short and sweet. By that point, you’ve already laid out your argument for why your subscribers should (or shouldn’t) buy your online course.

The purpose of this final email isn’t to repeat your arguments — it’s to remind your subscribers that the cart is closing. That’s it.

You’d be surprised how many people join at the very last minute. And you’d be surprised at how many people wanted to join but get distracted before they have the chance to check out.

8. Get some feedback from buyers and non-buyers alike

Don’t get discouraged if you don’t get the course sales you were hoping for! Most course creators need to launch more than once to get some traction. That’s because every launch will bring you new intel.

Make the most of your email sequence course launch by surveying the people who purchased from you, but also the people who didn’t buy.

One day after your cart closes, you can send an email like this one:

Hey SubscriberName,

You know I’m always trying to improve and provide you with the best support I can. That’s why I would love to know:

What was the BIGGEST reason you didn’t enroll in [Name of your course]?

Hit reply and let me know — I’d be super grateful for your feedback!

Signature

Alternatively, you can send them a survey form with pre-existing answers, much like a cart abandonment survey. Make sure to leave a space for them to input custom answers.

You can create a survey like this on for free using Getform. Here is what it may look like:

Cart abandonment survey form powered by Getform
See live preview

Knowing why people didn’t buy can help you:

  • Write better emails for your next launch
  • Make changes to your course if people find something is missing
  • Change your pricing strategy
  • Improve your sales page using the exact words your subscribers give you

But finding out why people purchased is just as important! There’s a powerful question you should ask everyone who enrolls in your online course — either in an onboarding email, directly in their DMs, or however else you keep in touch with your students:

What was going on in your life that drove you to enroll in [your course name] today?

This question is powerful because it can let you know so many details about the inner world of your ideal students. They may share their biggest pain points, let you know what it was about your emails that helped them make the decision, or let you in on their biggest hopes and dreams.

Having this type of intel is gold for any online course creator.

Launch a successful online course with an engaging email sequence

Now you have a plan for every single email you need to write in your course launch email sequence. Remember to allow yourself to show up authentically — your audience signed up because they like you, not someone else. So don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through your emails.

Want to make it as easy as possible to collect emails before your launch? Try out Getform — not only is it easy to use, but it’s free for up to 100 submissions per month.

Try Getform for free

Create email capture forms and surveys for your online course. Free up to 100 submissions per month.

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Charlene BoutinSeptember 09, 2022

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