It’s great to be back!
After yesterday’s email, I received dozens of encouraging messages. Thank you; this makes learning so much more fun.
Today I'm running a poll on Twitter/X to ask about people’s favorite course format. Here’s how it’s going:
Only 2.3% of people prefer email!
So why am I (still) obsessed with the email format for teaching? Why not focus on good ol' cohorts and video courses if most people prefer those?
Because I believe it’s not either/or. Educational email content can stand on its own or be a crucial support tool for other course formats.
Please allow me to show you why I think email courses can be great for both learners and teachers—and what I hope to achieve with my project:
Why email courses are great for learners
Email has a few things going for itself that few course platforms can offer:
Email is a habit
Email as we know it has been around since the 1980s and almost every internet-connected device can display emails.
Email is the most common communication method on the web. And for many of us, reading email is a daily habit.
What better way to learn new skills or kickstart a new habit than by piggybacking off your existing email habit?
Email is accessible
Most emails are plain text, so you don’t need fancy hardware or a fast internet connection to receive them.
And because emails are mostly text, you can learn from them with a variety of tools. From screen readers to note-taking tools; we have complete freedom.
But best of all: you don’t need to figure out a new course platform — or create yet another account. To learn from emails, you can get started in seconds; you only need to enter your email address and open your inbox.
Email is owned by you
Once an email hits your inbox, it’s yours forever. Try downloading a video course for offline consumption… most likely, you can't.
But with email, it doesn’t even matter if the course creator quits before you have time to study their content; those emails will be waiting in your inbox. You can even forward them to your favorite note-taking tool or print them out.
With emails, you own knowledge forever.
Why email courses are great for creators
Email courses aren’t just great for learners, but also for content creators.
Here’s why I think every creator should at least consider creating an email course:
Email is cheap
Teaching via email saves you a ton of work.
Would you rather edit or re-record a video, or simply move around some words in a text editor? Emails are simply much cheaper to produce and maintain.
And let’s not forget that text is often the starting point of other content formats. Whether you record a video or audio lesson, you often produce a written script first.
Email is personal
Email is the easiest way to provide a personalized learning experience.
Because of analysis and segmentation tools, email has become a great way to engage readers and help them take action. Not only can you grow your business this way, but you also help your readers grow by providing them with knowledge and encouragement at the right moment.
Also, every email is a potential dialogue. When you ask a genuine question as a content creator, you often get thoughtful replies. These boost your motivation and give you insight into what to create more of.
Email is a prime marketing channel
Email is (hopefully) already an important marketing channel for you.
So what better way to turn casual readers into raving fans than by giving them an insanely useful email course?
If you only give a freebie on the email confirmation page, your unsubscribe rates are likely in the double digits. But if you give people a reason to stick around (like actionable email lessons), your open and click-through rates with soar.
Why I want to master creating email courses
Of course, I have my personal reasons to produce a fresh email course for every week of 2024:
Email is my practice ground
I’ve been writing weekly newsletters since 2007, but I’ve never produced a daily newsletter.
So as a creative outlet and to further improve my writing skills, I want to force myself to show up and ship one useful email every day (well, except for Sunday 😉).
But email courses aren't just about writing; they're just as much about the technical aspect. So, but having to publish content at scale (I'm sending this email to over 4,000 other people) and hosting everything myself, I'm learning a ton already.
Email lets me position myself
My goal isn’t to make money with my daily email lessons.
But I do hope to meet content creators who need a hand in making their email courses more impactful.
My goal is to improve my skillset for creating email courses to the point that I can help others create theirs. I want to make that my full-time income over the course of 2024.
Email helps me build a community
I want to figure out what makes an effective email course; one that truly helps its students take positive action in their lives.
But I can’t learn everything I need to know alone, and I don’t know all the experts in this teaching with email niche (yet). So, I’m learning in public the entire year, to hone my skill and meet like-minded people.
Email is the perfect way to share what I've learned, ask questions, and guide you to the place where we can all learn together: the comments section on my blog.
What to expect next
That’s enough why for now. Next week, I’ll share what I’m going to write about for 52 weeks straight.
My goal is to create a complete curriculum for creators wanting to produce life-changing email courses. That means that a lot of supporting skills like storytelling, automation, and instructional design are going to get a lot of attention.
Next Saturday, you’ll see my preliminary list of email courses. And best of all: you get to give input on what you’d like to see more (or less) of.
For now, please let me know in the comments what you think of these plans, and why you like (or don’t like) email courses.
See you there!