An e-course can be a great source for lead generation for your small business. Take all of the new prospects that you gain and manage them with a simple CRM and sales tracking app like Base to help you win more deals.
In the past, I’ve written about the many benefits of newsletter marketing. Building a list of subscribers that you regularly communicate with via email could help you foster great relationships.
Develop Customer Relationships Through Teaching
Email marketing can create a profitable sales funnel, particularly if you use it to teach people something. A great way of getting more subscribers is to attract them with a free giveaway. That giveaway doesn’t have to equate to something that costs much; it just needs to be valuable to the subscriber. Giving away information could be a great way to build subscribers and build trust. You can set up a sales funnel that uses email marketing to teach others.
Short weekly emails done in a course / lesson format could provide value to prospects and offer the added benefit of walking those prospects through a sales cycle. In creating a course, prospects can enter your sales funnel interested in learning what you have to teach them and could leave as a new customer.
Here are some tips:
Give something valuable away for free and it will leave some prospects wanting more. When you generate a need or desire you will close more sales. People need to see potential benefit of signing up for an e-course. You want to appeal to your target market and share information that will benefit course subscribers.
Information taught should be related to your expertise so that you have an opportunity to sell to course-takers through your knowledge — not through a sales pitch. In this instance, selling should not be your primary goal. If it happens, great, but if not, you are developing prospects that will be aware of your expertise when they are ready for your product or service.
Teaching others is a great way to increase your visibility and authority in your niche.
As the subscribers are delivered the last installment of your emailed course, there could be opportunities to keep the door open to market to them in the future — particularly if you did deliver value.
Promotion will be necessary to draw attention to your free e-course. You can use press releases, your business blog and website, partnerships, and social media sites to drive interest. Approach promoting your free course like you would promote a new product launch and you’ll have a better chance of drawing an audience and making it a success.
Break it Down
Don’t deliver your entire course all in one sitting. Some customers take time to build relationships with. If you break the course down into bite-sized digestible pieces, you’ll have a better chance of keeping people interested and in achieving your desired outcome at the end. For instance, consider doing weekly installments for six weeks.
Keep them Interested
A good approach to keep class subscribers’ interest is to give a preview of the next installment topic or to give a hint about some upcoming useful information. This hint will create anticipation and hold peoples’ interest so that they will want to open the next email lesson.
Use an eye-catching subject line to make sure your message is opened and end each lesson with a teaser. Don’t be afraid to include an occasional reference to your product or service, but again, don’t make that the driving element of the course.
The course needs to be useful and complete on its own and each installment needs to deliver something valuable. Don’t make the mistake of luring people in and not delivering until they buy something. Again…if you instead give them something of value for free, there’s a better chance of their willingly buying something later. The last installment of the course could attempt to generate a purchase but it should be constructed in a way that also keeps the door open to a future relationship.
Be Interactive & Creative
If it makes sense for your course material and your audience, try making things interactive and interesting with multimedia. There are some great ways to make an e-mail course interactive. Adding videos, a webinar, or a discussion forum can be a great way to make the course more interactive.
Analyze the Results
After all is said and done, look at the results.
- Did the course generate attention and subscribers?
- Did it result in any sales that can be directly attributed to that e-course?
- What percentage of your sign-ups actually opened the email messages?
A lot of valuable info can be gleaned from autoresponder software (examples are AWeber, GetResponse, and there are others that you can use to set up your e-course, manage opt-ins, and analyze results with) and that info can help you formulate strategies for future initiatives.
Put it on Autopilot
After the e-course is done, it doesn’t need to simply serve one set of readers. It’s a good idea to continue to make it available for as long as the material is relevant and valuable. It can continually serve as a lead generating tool to bring in new subscribers and prospects. After people exit the course, they’re still going to be opted in to receiving messages from you. You can use that as an opportunity to continue to market and develop a relationship with them through further email marketing campaigns.