Email Marketing for Online Courses

Best Practices of Email Marketing for Online Courses

Being an online course instructor is not easy! 

You have to generate ideas, build the courses, manage members, and more. On top of all this, staying connected with existing users and acquiring new ones might seem impossible. 

And that’s where email marketing comes in. 

This marketing channel can handle all the tasks of retaining and acquiring users for your LMS.

In this blog, we’ll talk about how you can leverage email marketing to boost the sales of your online courses. 


Best Practices of Email Marketing for Online Courses

Email marketing is still one of the most effective channels for reaching your prospects in a highly personalized way. 

According to Litmus, this approach enhances engagement and has the potential to yield an impressive 4200% return on investment (ROI).

But you’ll need to implement the best practices in your email marketing campaigns to get such outstanding results.

We’ve compiled a list so you can get started with email marketing for your online courses immediately. 

1. Choose The Right Email Service Provider

Choosing the wrong email service provider (ESP) is often the biggest mistake businesses make. If it doesn’t have all the features and capabilities you need, or if it fails to perform as expected, you’ll have to spend ages migrating to a new provider.

Here are three things you must consider so you can get it right the first time. 

  • Ensure the ESP integrates seamlessly with your LMS.
  • Choose an ESP known for high deliverability rates and reliable service.
  • Make sure the ESP has features like automation, segmentation, and analytics.

As long as your chosen ESP provides these features, you’ll be able to make the most out of your email marketing campaigns. You’ll also need to make sure the ESP you choose is GDPR and CAN-SPAM-ACT compliant. 

To get you started, Drip, ActiveCampaign, ConvertKit, and Get Response are three popular solutions in the email marketing industry. Do your own research before finalizing your pick. 

Our top pick is Drip for its overall campaign management features. 

Drip email service provider homepage 2024

2. Grow Your Email Contact List Organically

When you grow an email contact list organically, it is more likely to be full of high-quality prospects who have actively shown interest in what you do. This will help you get better results from all your email marketing campaigns. 

And since you obtained your contacts organically, it means that they gave the consent to email them for marketing and other purposes. This will also help keep you out of any legal complications – always a bonus!

Some of the best ways to grow your email lists are: 

  • Offer valuable resources like ebooks or webinars in exchange for email addresses.
  • Place signup forms strategically on your website and blog.
  • Use social media to promote your email list signup.
  • Host contests or giveaways requiring an email signup.
  • Encourage current subscribers to refer friends.
  • Create engaging pop-ups on your site for new visitors.

3. Properly Segment Your Contacts

Now that your email list is ready, it’s time to segment them. Even if you're not running marketing campaigns, you need to segment your contacts. 

Guess why? 

Say a bunch of your users have purchased a course called “Email Marketing for Beginners.” You have another course called “Advanced Email Marketing Tips and Tricks.”

What if you could upsell that course to all the users who have purchased the beginner course after a certain period? 

Well, you can easily do that as long as you can segment your users based on various metrics. 

For example, you can put all the users who have bought the beginners course under the same tag or group. 

Then, you can send the same upsell offer to everyone under the tag or group within a few clicks using your ESP. 

Here are some of the common ways you can segment your contacts: 

  • Course purchase history.
  • Engagement level.
  • Demographics.
  • Geographic location.
  • Sign-up source.
  • Email open rates.
  • Subscription date.
  • User interests from surveys.
  • Participation in webinars or events

Just make sure you keep your tags organized. It’s good to keep a consistent naming convention so you can easily keep track of your lists and update them as necessary. 

4. Set Up Email Automation to Save Time

Email automation is the magic wand that has helped many businesses set their whole email marketing on autopilot.

Once you get the hang of how email automation works and set it up properly, you no longer have to worry about sending emails manually. 

And that’s why first thing first, make sure your ESP supports email automation. Then, set up various automations and email sequences that’ll be beneficial for your online courses. 

Here are some email automation ideas for your online courses: 

  • Welcome new subscribers with an introductory email series.
  • Send course reminders to encourage timely completion.
  • Automate thank-you emails after course purchases.
  • Trigger upsell emails for advanced courses.
  • Re-engage inactive users with a special offer.
  • Send personalized progress updates and achievements.
  • Automate feedback requests after course completion.
  • Offer exclusive discounts on related courses.
  • Remind users of upcoming webinars or events.
  • Send birthday or anniversary greetings with special offers.

All these different automated emails will save time so that you can focus more on course building. And that’s not all. The automated emails will keep your users engaged on your behalf. 

5. Maintaining List Hygiene

Say one of your users has purchased a course, and never responded to any of your upsell or cross-sale emails. Even the follow-up emails did not work. Is there any point keeping them on your mailing list? 

No, right? 

If an email service like Gmail notices that you consistently  have a low open rate, your email might end up in the dreaded promotions folder, or worse – SPAM!

Some of the best practices of maintaining email list hygiene are: 

  • Regularly remove inactive subscribers.
  • Use double opt-in to confirm new sign-ups.
  • Periodically update and clean your contact list.
  • Monitor and remove hard bounces.
  • Segment out disengaged users for re-engagement campaigns.
  • Ensure clear and easy unsubscribe options.
  • Verify email addresses at the point of capture.
  • Regularly update user preferences.
  • Conduct routine list clean-up campaigns.
  • Track engagement metrics and adjust accordingly.

By performing this list-maintenance, you can ensure that your email list is full of people who are actually interested in your emails. 

6. Write Persuasive Email Copy

Now that the technical stuff is covered, it’s time to focus on something more creative. 

Your email copy. 

Ultimately, it all boils down to whether or not your email copy has the power to convert. That’s why you need to be very thoughtful about what you write and include. 

Now, how do you make your email copy appealing and make the users take action? 

You can: 

  • Keep your email content simple and clear.
  • Use compelling and relevant subject lines.
  • Personalize your message to address the recipient by name.
  • Highlight the benefits and solutions your course offers.
  • End with a strong, clear call to action.

To really make your emails pack a punch, consider following popular copywriting frameworks that are designed to help you create compelling copy that leads to sales:

AIDA Framework 

Attention: Grab the attention of your users with an appealing subject line.

Interest: Once they've clicked through use exciting language to build intrigue. Get readers saying “I like this”.

Desire: Now it's time to clearly demonstrate how your course can improve their lives, turning “I like this” into “I want this!”

Action: Seal the deal with a compelling call to action button so they can.

PAS Framework

Problem: Start by highlighting a common pain point your audience faces.

Agitate: Intensify the problem by delving into the emotional and practical consequences.

Solution: Present your course as the definitive solution, showing how it can alleviate their pain and improve their lives.

Don’t Forget to Add Appealing Designs

While images can make your emails look more appealing, it can also slow down the loading speed.

So, you’ll have to find a sweet spot between having images and not overpopulating your emails with too many images. 

In fact, you might find that images aren't necessary for your business at all.

You need to figure out what works better with your audiences. If you're unsure, take advantage of the email A/B testing feature to see whether your readers respond better to email with images or no images.

Here are some things to consider: 

  • Use images sparingly to enhance appeal without affecting loading times.
  • Ensure your email design is mobile-optimized for better accessibility.
  • Maintain consistent branding throughout your emails.
  • Use clear and readable fonts to ensure text is easy to read on any devce.
  • Test different designs to see what resonates best with your audience.

Introducing MemberMouse: An LMS that Integrates with ESPs Effortlessly 

membermouse homepage

Put simply, if your LMS doesn’t have email marketing facilities or the right ESP integrations, you're a) making your life harder for yourself and b) limiting your business growth. It might be the right time switch to one that does. 

MemberMouse, is a WordPress plugin designed for running and maintaining courses and members. You can do everything from easy one-click migration to running your email marketing campaigns with the help of this plugin and its integration capabilities. 

MemberMouse allows integration with a variety of popular email service providers. You can choose from any of the following. 

email integration feature of membermouse to use email marketing for online courses

To illustrate just what you can do with a great LMS and ESP integration, we’ll demonstrate what’s possible with Drip and MemberMouse. 

You can follow this knowledge doc to set up Drip to do the email marketing for all your courses. 

Things You Can Do with MemberMouse and Drip Integration 

Once you have loaded your courses in MemberMouse and integrated them with Drip, it’s time to start sending some emails!

There are tons of ways you can use this integration. Below we've listed just some of the ideas.

Onboarding and User Engagement

  • Send welcome emails to new users immediately upon sign-up.
  • Deliver a series of onboarding emails to guide new users.
  • Send account activation prompts for unactivated accounts.
  • Notify inactive users with reminders to continue their courses.

Course Progress and Motivation

  • Schedule content delivery through drip campaigns.
  • Celebrate milestones with motivational emails during courses.
  • Follow up automatically based on course interaction.

Course Completion and Feedback

  • Congratulate users with completion emails upon finishing a course.
  • Request feedback or reviews after course completion.

Promotions and Updates

  • Create targeted campaigns based on user segmentation.
  • Promote advanced courses or related content post-completion.
  • Offer special discounts or exclusive content for additional purchases.
  • Announce important updates or new course launches.
  • Promote updated or new content to past users.
  • Notify users about upcoming webinars or live sessions.

Re-Engagement and Community Building

  • Remind users about upcoming membership renewals.
  • Re-engage inactive users with win-back campaigns.
  • Engage the community with polls on desired content.

As you can see, there are plenty of ways you can leverage email marketing integrations to keep your students enrolled, engaged, and coming back for more! 

Start Sending Marketing Emails for your Online Courses Today! 

To conclude the blog, we’ll say that there’s no option but to introduce email marketing if you want to grow your online courses. Hopefully, this blog was helpful enough to enlighten you about the best practices of email marketing for online courses.

You can significantly enhance your online course sales and user engagement by implementing best practices like choosing the right email service provider and growing your email list. 

And if your LMS struggles to offer the email marketing facilities you want, don’t forget to give MemberMouse a try. With its useful integration with powerful ESPs, it’ll help you to ensure the best outcomes for your email marketing campaigns. 

Don’t forget to reach out to us in the comments if you have any questions or suggestions that we should add to the list. 

Follow us on  Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn for more expert advice and tips to maximize your online course’s potential.


From writing poems and short stories to writing technical stuff about WordPress and running a membership site, plenty of things have changed for Showrabh. What did not change is his love for writing and wasting time. He loves music, football, and cricket. He either spends hours looking at the celling or put on his headphone and write for hours. While he is not doing either of these, he's often found explaining how someone can love both cricket and football equally at the same time.

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