The Daily Course

Why Build an Audience With Email Courses

The only thing you need to build an audience online is... an email list.
Ramses Oudt 4 min read
Why Build an Audience With Email Courses

Hey friend,

We're at the midway point of this email course about why email courses are great. (Pretty meta, eh?)

In yesterday’s lesson, we looked at why learners benefit from email courses. Why start there? Because, as online teachers, we should always put our audience first.

But you’re probably reading this as someone who wants to build an audience and make some money teaching online. So, that’s what we’ll get into today.

Here are my top three reasons for going all-in on email courses to build my audience:

  • Email is personal
  • Email is insightful
  • Email is cheap to own

At the end of this lesson, I’ll ask you for your own reasons. So, I invite you to have an inner dialogue with me as you read the following paragraphs.

Email is personal

Yesterday, I also mentioned email being personal as one reason that email courses are great for learners. But it’s even better for creators.

I understand that some of you might want to create an email course because it can be a one-and-done deal. You create a course once and then put it on autopilot. But I don’t recommend this when you’re just starting out.

While you don’t have a large audience yet, you're in the luxury position to connect one-on-one with people. Whenever someone sends you an email with a question or feedback, you’re given a golden opportunity to get to know your target audience better. Please don’t waste it.

Because people can easily reach you (and you can answer in private without anyone else watching), you can ask anything that gives more insight into how to help them. That's what I do with every lesson, and it helps me to craft content that will help you — my audience — better with each iteration.

So, ask questions, take the time to respond, and create a personal bond with your audience members.

Email is insightful

Speaking of insights, email has come a long way in terms of analytics.

Maybe you remember those pop-ups in early versions of Microsoft Outlook, asking to let the sender know you opened the email. You could click No, and the sender wouldn’t know you read the email.

For better or for worse, those days are over.

For email marketers, the fact that HTML is the de facto standard for email means that they can jam their messages full with trackers. I’m not saying you should. But within ethical boundaries, you can learn much from your audience's reading and click behavior.

Why does this matter?

Analytics are essential because they tell you what does and doesn’t resonate with your readers. And the better you know what people need, want, and buy, the more sustainable this whole online teaching thing becomes.

Email is cheap to own

Speaking of sustainability, email is a publishing channel you can own at a low cost.

Most email automation tools charge per subscriber, not per email you send. That means you can send dozens of emails to each reader for just a few cents per month. And if you don't like your email tool anymore, simply bring your business and list elsewhere.

But apart from the low cost of getting your emails into people’s inboxes, producing them is also cheap. Just think about it: would you rather film and edit a video, or write a few hundred words after you just rolled out of bed?

Video comes at a cost. It takes more time to prepare, record, and edit a video, and hosting will also cost you. Either you own your distribution and pay for the bandwidth, or you don't own your distribution and pay by not owning the access to your audience. After all, if YouTube deletes your channel, you lose your audience. Email does not have this problem.

No matter how you look at it, emails save you a ton of steps and money to get your knowledge into people’s heads.

Recap and what’s next

Let's summarize. I believe email is massively important to build an audience as an online teacher, because:

  • Email is personal. When you’re just starting, directly interacting with your audience (one-on-one) is super helpful in deciding what to create next.
  • Email is insightful. Even if your audience is not directly telling you what they need, want, or buy, data analytics will help you. Open and click rates are staples in online marketing, which get more critical as you experiment with segmentation.
  • Email is cheap but valuable. When people sign up for your email course, they want you to contact them. And you can, for just a few cents per reader per month without any platform owning the email addresses on your list. This makes your list a highly prized asset; no third party can come between your subscriber and you.

That's it for today's lesson! Tomorrow, I'll show how creating educational emails can help grow online communities — without having to create all of the content yourself.

Journal yourself to insight

This wouldn’t be an email course without exercise for you, the learner.

Today’s writing prompt is:

Why do YOU want to create email courses to build an audience?

I’ve shared my reasons for getting into this crazy experiment of creating email courses, but I’m very curious to hear yours.

Drop your answer as a comment. Or, if you prefer, hit reply and let me know via email (and yes, I’ll answer because I value your direct interaction a ton).

I hope to read you soon!


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