The Complete Guide to Creating an Email Course with Mailchimp

Today I’m gonna share with you the super easy way to design and publish email courses.

For the longest time, I’ve been wanting to create my own email course because there the bomb dot com. Automation is the coolest. I’ve read that they’re awesome at growing your email list, but I never knew quite how people did it. Palm to forehead. It’s actually the simplest thing ever if you’re using MailChimp.

 

how-to-create-email-courses

 

Why Email?

You may be wondering why you would send out an email course rather than creating a course website or password protected page. There is quite a lot of perks of email but here are just a few…

  • Super duper easy. I created a five day email course in a day. That also included the time spent learning how to use the software. Other than that there was zero headache involved in the creation.
  • No web design needed. I love creating website pages but if I can save the hours it creates to create one, sign me up! All I had to do was embed an opt in and I was ready to go.
  • Everything is automated. Once you’ve published your email course, there is nothing left to do. The emails will be sent out every day following the sign up for how many ever days you’ll have the course run for.
  • Easy for the consumer. Each lesson is delivered straight to your consumer. They don’t need to track down the link to your course page and then remember the login info.
  • Affordable to create. I’ll get into my expenses later on, but I didn’t have to spend an arm and a leg for software to run my course.

Planning your email course

In order to benefit from all the hard work you’re about to put in, you have to have a detailed plan on how you’ll accomplish your goals. You might be trying to create buzz around your upcoming product with a free email course. Maybe you’re charging for your email course because it goes in depth with valuable information. Another reason might be to grow your list. There is infinite ways you can from creating an email course.

The main thing you need to consider before getting started is how you will be adding value. When I created my free 5-day course that includes 5 different ways to add income to your creative business, I didn’t want it to be the same income sources people have been sharing. Although I did share some popular ways to bring in income, I shared how to take sources even further to bring in more revenue. If you’re talking about how to grow your blog, you better not be telling me why I should be on social media. I ALREADY KNOW THAT. You need to be telling me how I can network with people on those social networks and get them to sign up for my email list. IN DEPTH MAN.

Here are some ways to provide stellar value…

  • Workbook
  • Super in-depth lessons
  • Video tutorials
  • Resource pages
  • Worksheets
  • Podcasts
  • Webinars
  • Q+A
  • Other exclusive content

Crazy, huh?

 

pines up north 5 day creative course email

 

Adding value in the forms of eBooks, PDF’s, videos, podcasts, workbooks or worksheets, tutorials, or whatever else you will make you memorable to the people you will be sending to. The best advice I’ve been hearing from people lately is… make people think they should have paid for your free product. Unless you’re charging for your product. Then you have to make it even more awesome.

Let’s talk about actually starting your email course

The absolute best way to easily create an email course is through MailChimp (have heard great things about ConvertKit too). No affiliate link here, just love. In order to access to their automation feature, which is what I use to send the emails out, you will need a paid account. I pay $10 per month and I will continue paying just that until I reach 500 subscribers on my list. That is not a huge investment at all.

The first thing you need to do is create a new list. This a completely imaginary list name as this posts contains some basic ways to monetize your course.

 

create a new email list

 

Super simple. Now lets move onto getting automation set up. I was scared of automation for the longest time. It just seemed too complicated. Its actually sooooooo simple.

 

automation menu

Now hit the “Create Automation Workflow” button.

 

create automation workflow

 

That will take you to the glorious page that is MailChimp automation.

 

automation page

 

There is tons of great options but for this email course, we’ll be using “Educate Subscribers”. This allows you to send out your lessons on a regular schedule without touching the campaign after you set it up.

In the next page, there is some basic setup options. Nothing too extraordinary.

If you will be importing subscribers from another list, you will have to decide if they will get the course. I checked the box, but I don’t actually know if I will be importing subscribers or not.

 

configure trigger

 

 

After hitting next, you can start designing your emails! This is the fun part.

 

WORKFLOW

 

When setting up each email, I always include the lessons number and what you will learn about. Make sure to include an awesome lesson title as your readers may skip over lessons they might not care about. Make them care! After that, you will pick the layout. I always do the one column layout as I believe simplicity is good when it comes to email. After that you get to start adding your content.

 

design your email

 

I created my header in Adobe Illustrator, but you could use Canva or another free tool and that would work great too. I always take extra time to design a really good header. I use this header for marketing my email course on my landing page, social media, and blog. For those reason, it better look awesome.

With your lessons, you really want to go above and beyond. In this course example I would include worksheets and a resources pages for each lesson.

After your add in all our your breathtaking content, you will confirm your automation, and then you’re done! You created a stellar email course that will help you grow your online brand.

So how do I sell an email course?

If you would like to make your email course paid, there is a few different options.. I used to think this was a super complicated proccess. I was wrong. It is actually super simple to sell your email course with WooCommerce.

The first step is to install WooCommerce onto your website. If you go to this page on WooCommerce’s website, it will give you all the info you need to get started. Next you will need this plugin. This is the WooCommerce Mailchimp plugin that you will use to add students to your list after they purchase your course. For all the detailed instructions on integrating Mailchimp and WooCommerce, check out this page from Mailchimp.

If using WooCommerce isn’t an option, Zapier also allows you to integrate Mailchimp with Gumroad.

Bonus worksheet to help you along.

Okay. So you have your email course set up. Now what?

You’re going to want to include some PDF downloads for your email course students and I have the perfect free kit for you. It lays out step by step how to go from idea to a high-converting workbook.  Enjoy. 🙂

27 Comments

  • This was the most helpful article I've seen all day! THANK YOU!
    • Cole
      Hey Tiffani! I'm thrilled you found this helpful!
  • Thank you so much for this breakdown. Found you via ByRegina. Love it.
    • Cole
      So glad you enjoyed it! Regina is the coolest, right?
  • Hi Cole - I really enjoyed this tutorial, thank you for posting. I'm curious about your thoughts on Mailchimp vs. Convertkit. Are you still using Convertkit? I know you had a few issues with them (or at least I thought I read that somewhere re: your email course.) Would love to hear your thoughts! Kari
    • Cole
      Hi Kari, ConvertKit's features are way more beneficial to me than MailChimp's. That said, I have been having some troubles with ConvertKit. All of those issues have been resolved however and I think it was just the learning curve. I will be doing a full tutorial post on ConvertKit next Monday! Stay tuned for that. :)
  • Great post! I have an e-course in the works as an opt in, in the near future. I'm debating on whether to go with convert kit or mail chimp to start out with automation.
    • Cole
      I just switched over to ConvertKit! Contrary to a lot of other info online, ConvertKit has a little bit of a learning curve. They're a newer company so they still have some kinks to work out. Other than a few small things, I am loving ConvertKit. Let me know when you have your ecourse ready! I would love to share it! -Cole
      • Thanks so much for your reply Cole - Looking forward to your ConvertKit tutorial! I have an e-course in development so currently debating between Mailchimp and CK.
  • Great info, beautifully presented. Thanks so much!
  • People also love email courses because it provides more value than worksheets and guides. Oh - and they don't ask "but why do I have to give my email for this"? Because it's pretty obvious. I've LOVED doing a free email course as my opt-in so far. I have to fix it up to turn it into a funnel soon. :) Love, Julie | http://www.xfallenmoon.com/
    • Cole
      Yes! Its like..."oh, I have to give my email for them to deliver it".
  • Great post! The informations you provide are very exact and useful! Sinziana
    • Cole
      Thanks so much Sinziana!
  • Thanks for this! So helpful!
    • Cole
      So glad you found it helpful Kyana!
  • Thank you for this post. I found you via byRegina. I'm a horse trainer and hoping to add email courses to my services. Your MailChimp breakdown is very helpful. Certainly makes this whole idea seem a lot less scary.
    • Cole
      I know the feeling. It was definitely scary until I found how easy Mailchimp makes it with their automation.
  • Thank you for this super simple tutorial! I can't wait to start making content upgrades and email courses for all the content I already have and will create :) By the way, your site is gorgeous!
    • Cole
      Thank you! Let me know how you email course and content upgrades go!
  • Hey Cole, great post. I swapped over from Mailchimp to ConvertKit and I'm so impressed with how you can slice n dice data on your recips. I've got my free course set up via Drip content on Teachable, though I can't seem to find any metrics on these dripped emails right now. My free course has to include video (guitar lessons) so I couldn't think of any easier way
    • Cole
      I have Teachable integrated with my ConvertKit account. When somebody signs up via Teachable, they get enrolled in a ConvertKit sequence which I can then see detailed analytics on. Hope that helps Phil!
  • Hey Cole, thanks for sharing this. I have spend the whole evening trying to find a detailed description of how to set up my email course - and guess what, there is not one single page in german language covering this topic!! Sadly it's not my niche, but I am glad I found this article so I can get started with my course of how to throw the perfect party. All the best from Germany Samira
    • Cole
      Hopefully this helped then! Thanks for stopping by!
  • Wow! What a great detailed post! ;) Thank you so much for creating it for us! I am going to implement your tips and hopefully create a 5 day email course!
  • This was an awesome tutorial.It was soooo helpful and decreased my stress about automation.

Leave a comment