How to Create an Email Course in 5 Simple Steps

(Using Completely Free Tools)

How to create an email course without spending a dime How to create an email course using free tools 5 simple steps to create your first email course How to create an email course in 5 simple steps using completely free tools

How to create an email course in 5 simple steps. Includes free video training

Email courses are all the rage right now and for good reason. Free email courses are a great way to build the “know, like and trust” factor with your audience.

So, naturally, I jumped on the course bandwagon and finally completed my free Pinterest for Business 5-day email course this month. I have been working on this course for months and it felt amazing to check that box off my to-do list.

Driven by my desire for perfection, I delayed far too long in completing the course. I listened to Podcasts, watched webinars and read blog posts all about course creation.

Virtually every course creator I found promotes the exact same tools – LeadPages, ConvertKit, and Teachable. All three are outstanding tools and provide lots of value. There’s just one problem.

If you’re a brand new business owner or blogger, these tools will cost you around $100 per month to get started. As your list grows and your needs expand, you’re looking at $200 – 300 per month.

I don’t know about you, but as a brand new business, I’m not willing to drop $100 per month to deliver a product I’m providing to my audience for free! That’s not good business sense.

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In a rush? Sign up for my free 5-day email course at the end of this post and see my course strategy in action!
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Many successful entrepreneurs will advise you to think like a six-figure business and make investments like a six-figure business. I’m going to tell you that’s a bunch of crap. You need to think like a strategic business and make smart investments that will sustain the life of your business.

You need to be a strategic business & make smart investments that will sustain your business.Click To Tweet

As a brand new business generating no (or minimal) cash, it is not sustainable to bleed out hundreds of dollars every single month. Period.

Well, I take that back. Unless you’re a trust-fund baby with unlimited resources. If that’s you, knock yourself out. Spend like crazy on all the cool tools and software you can find. Everyone else, keep reading.

In this blog post, you will learn five simple steps to create and launch your email course using completely free tools – without compromising quality. The set up is simple and your course will look professional.

Before I outline the five steps, I want to show you a cost comparison between the traditional method using paid tools and my super-savvy method using free tools. Take a look at the breakdown.

  TRADTIONAL METHOD SUPER-SAVVY METHOD
Landing Pages LeadPages $25/month Create own on website $0/month
Email Automation ConvertKit $29/month MailerLite $0/month
Course Delivery Teachable $39/month YouTube $0/month
Total Investment   $93/month   $0/month

 

At the lowest level of investment, the traditional method will cost you $93/month. My super-savvy method will cost you $0/month. (Assuming you already have a website) I think that’s worth repeating. ZERO DOLLARS PER MONTH!

Are you ready to learn how it’s done?

STEP ONE: Create Your Course Content

You know your course topic, and you’ve created an outline of what you want to teach. Now it’s time to write a series of emails and record videos (if necessary). To complete this step I recommend the following:

Google Docs or Microsoft Word
The writing process involves a lot of drafts, reflection, editing, rewriting, etc. The process can be long and messy. Because of this, I recommend using a word processor to write your emails instead of writing them in MailerLite. This will enable a smooth editing process and save you loads of time in Step Three.

Cell Phone
I strongly recommend incorporating some form of video in your course. The lessons will provide more value and allow your audience to connect with you on a deeper level. No need for a fancy camera or microphone. You can create good quality videos with your smartphone. No need to invest in a tripod or lighting. Prop your phone with boxes and books and record on a sunny day in a room with lots of windows.

Pro Tip: Face the windows and turn off all other lights in the room. This will eliminate awful shadows and yellow light and give your video a beautiful, natural lit appearance.   

 

SnagIt by TechSmith
For my course, I chose to create step-by-step video tutorials. I recorded my screen using SnagIt by TechSmith. SnagIt is a free download for Windows and Mac.

AudioTechnica Microphone
To capture audio for the tutorial videos I used the AudioTechnica microphone. This is a $60 microphone we purchased on Amazon a couple years ago for a different project. Before you invest in a microphone, test the ear-buds that came free with your phone. If the sound isn’t clear, then make the $60 investment.

STEP TWO: Upload Your Videos to YouTube

This step is quick and easy as long as you have a YouTube account established for your business. If not, you’ll need to create your account.

When you upload your videos, be sure to select the “UNLISTED” privacy setting. Refer to the screenshot below.

YouTube Privacy Setting
YouTube has three privacy settings for videos – public, private and unlisted. Google provides a quick description of each type as follows:

  • Public videos and playlists can be seen by and shared with anyone.
  • Private videos and playlists can only be seen by you and the users you choose.
  • Unlisted videos and playlists can be seen and shared by anyone with the link.

The Private option is the best way to keep your videos from getting in the wrong hands, but it also requires you to manually give access to each person who signs up for your course. Trust me, you do not want to do this!

Unlisted is by far the best option. This does allow your students to share your video with others, but since when has sharing been a bad thing? That’s how content goes viral and you build followers!

To capture rogue viewers not enrolled in your course, be sure to include a sign-up link in the video description and reference the course throughout your video. If they stumble upon your video and like it, they might sign up to access the rest of the course.

Want to know exactly what I include in the video description and how I reference the course throughout my videos? Sign up for my free 5-day Pinterest for Business email course. You’ll receive access the videos and see my course strategy in action!

SIGN UP

SWIPE MY COURSE STRATEGY

In a rush? Sign up for my free 5-day email course at the end of this post and see my course strategy in action!
SIGN UP

STEP THREE: Build Your Emails in MailerLite

MailerLite makes this step unbelievably simple. Throughout my 10+ years as a profesional marketer I’ve used numerous emails platforms. MailerLite is the easiest to learn and use.

To get started, click here and create a free account (or login to your existing account).

Then, click “Automation” and “Create a new workflow.” (See image below)

Mailerlite Automation
Once you’re in the workflow builder you have a lot of options at your disposal. Watch the short video training to learn which options to select and how to build a workflow for an automated email course.

n Once your workflow is built and your emails are loaded, hit the easy button and move on to step four.

STEP FOUR: Create Your Landing Page

My husband is a digital guru and tech geek. He builds my landing pages in WordPress – no 3rd party software required. According to him, anyone, not just tech geeks, can design their own landing pages. However, the amount of features and capabilities at your disposal depends on the theme you are using.

If you’re up for the challenge, I highly recommend creating your own landing pages on your website for two reasons. One: it’s free, duh! Two: all that traffic stays on your site. This racks up your analytics numbers and improves your sites overall SEO ranking.

Pro Tip: Visit the LeadPages templates page to get inspiration for your landing page design. Sort by “Conversion Rate” to find a high performing design you love.

 

Here are six best practices to follow when designing your own landing pages.

  1. Remove the site navigation menu
  2. Make your call to action large and above the fold
  3. Keep the copy simple – use bullets
  4. Include an image or video
  5. Utilize white space
  6. Include a contact information form

I want to address best practice number six – Include a contact information form. MailerLite provides the ability to create custom embeddable forms. For each landing page we build, we create a new “Embed Form” in MailerLite (see image) and add the piece of code to the landing page.

Mailerlite Embed Form

When a new subscriber fills out the form and hits the submit button, their information is automatically added to our MailerLite account in the list we designate. It’s a very seamless process and requires no additional integrations.

If you’re not up for the challenge of creating your own Landing Pages, MailerLite also has a landing page builder. It works similar to LeadPages but it’s included free in your MailerLite account. Have I mentioned yet how much I love MailerLite?

STEP FIVE: Turn On Your Course

Once your landing page is built, you need to log back in to MailerLite and flip the switch to turn your automation sequence “On.” (See image below)

Mailerlite Automation On
Once you hit that “on” button, go grab a drink and relax. You deserve it!

But, don’t get too comfortable. Once that drink is done, it’s time to get back to work and promote your course. A strong promotion strategy is crucial to the success of your course. Ideally, you’ll spend more time and energy promoting your course than you spent creating it.

For that reason, I’m going to reserve “how to promote your email course” for another blog post. For now, focus on creating your course.

Did you find this post helpful? If so, let me know in the comments below!

Please note this post may contain affiliate links and I may earn a commission if you click them and make a purchase.  This is, of course, at no cost to you, and I only share products that I use and love myself.  Please read my disclosure for more information.

About the Author:

Angie Gensler teaches online business owners how to use Pinterest to drive traffic, generate leads, and increase sales. She is a seasoned marketing professional focused on keeping it real. This means real simple tutorials and resources that cut out the confusion and provide actionable tips. She is passionate about her family, dance parties, and creating a life worth living!
  • Salim

    Awesome guide. I’m building several courses, but I am using mailchimp for email campaigns and series.

    • Hi Salim, I’m so glad you like the guide! I believe Mailchimp can do automated emails as well so you should be able to follow the 5 steps I outline using Mailchimp instead of MailerLite. Best of luck!

  • Caitlin

    This is brilliant! I am in the process of (like, literally the next thing to do on my to-do list during nap time today) setting up mailer lite with my first email series and it’s all totally foreign to me. This was so helpful! Thank you!

    • Hi Caitlin! I’m so glad you liked it and found the post and video helpful. How did the setup go for your course? Do you have any questions?

  • Thank you for sharing this wonderful post, Angie. I’m switching from Aweber to MailerLite. This post is such a big life-saver for me.

    • Virginia, I’m so glad you found this post helpful! I think you’re going to love MailerLite. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions once you’re transferred over.

  • Nicole

    This is amazing thanks so much! I just started getting the hang of using MailerLite (I switched from MailChimp) and this is a great tutorial on how to use it for e-courses

    Nicole | The Professional Mom Project

    • Hi Nicole. I’m so glad you like it! If you have any questions with Mailerlite let me know. I’m happy to help.