Should You Promote Your Products with a Free E-Course?

Getting website visitors to really pay attention to what you have to offer is one of the challenges of online marketing. There’s that old rule about it taking about 7 exposures to convince people to buy a product. The challenge becomes getting enough exposures that people decide to buy from you.

Creating a free e-course for your website can be a big help for that.

An e-course may not always be the right answer. If what you’re selling doesn’t need a lot of extra information for people to decide to buy it, they probably won’t want to sign up for any extra information.

But if you know there’s a decision making process involved, your e-course can keep your site on their mind and build trust. Then when they’re ready to buy they are more likely to go through one of your links.

I do this on one of my sites right now, and need to make e-courses for others. The site with the e-course does pretty well with it for the amount of traffic the site gets. Sales come in consistently.

You do not want to ask for much information at all from your subscribers. Name and email address is plenty. Give them a promise that you won’t spam them or sell their email address… and stick to that promise.

What Should Your Course Offer?

The course should be about making whatever decision you feel needs to be made to get sales. If you’re offering to teach people to run a home business, your course should give some solid advice in that area. If it’s about pet care, odds are no one will care much about any home business tips you share. Keep it relevant.

Give good information. You don’t want to give so much that you can’t sell the best stuff, but you want to keep people on your list. If you keep things too simple you’ll just bore them. They want you to be the authority, so stop telling them things they already know.

The first email in an e-course can be on the basics, just make sure you say so. Tell subscribers that it’s to be sure you’re all on the same page.

Repurpose Your Own Content

You don’t need to create all new content for your e-course. Go through your blog postings or anything else you’ve written on the topic. By emailing it to subscribers you’re ensuring that they learn from what you’ve already written.

You can also use articles written by others if you have permission, but then you run the risk that your subscribers will follow their links instead. If it’s not an affiliate link you may not want to take that risk.

Link to Relevant Products for Sale

Just because you’re giving the information away for free doesn’t mean you can’t make product recommendations and earn from them. Be certain that you are choosing the best, most relevant products you can to increase sales. You should probably buy them yourself so that you can give the most informative review possible.

This should naturally include whatever product is your main focus. The information you share should be pointing people toward a purchase. Otherwise, why go through the trouble of maintaining a list? It’s a lot of work if you don’t get any reward.

Tell What’s Coming in the Next Email

An e-course should make sense as a series. Just as when you watch a television series they may tell you what’s coming next week, you should tell subscribers a bit about what’s coming up in the next email.

This helps if for some reason the current email wasn’t too interesting, but your description of the next one sounds interesting. You want to build anticipation.

Make sure you say how many days until it comes. Depending on how you run your e-course this may be anywhere from a day or two to a week, but it helps people to know when to expect it.

What Are You Doing with Subscribers After the E-Course?

The time will come when your e-course is complete for a subscriber. What are you going to do with that email address?

In some cases, leaving it alone or even removing it from the list may make sense. A big list doesn’t do anything for you if you aren’t going to try to sell to it further. And in some areas there may be only limited utility to doing so.

More often, you’re going to want to send a regular newsletter to subscribers. You’ve got them on a list. With any luck they’ve bought from you. Be nice if they would do so again.

Any free e-course is going to get a lot of freebie seekers who will never buy from you. That’s just how it goes. But there will also be people who will buy from you. There will be people who originally signed up just for the freebie because they didn’t have the money to buy better information, but finally have enough that they can buy.

Staying in touch can be a very good idea.

Whether or not you can manage this depends on your schedule. It’s not always easy to keep in contact. You only have so much time in a day.

You have to decide if keeping up regular mailings is worthwhile. This is something you can test by creating a newsletter and running it. If you aren’t getting the results you want, it’s probably not worth your time.

Don’t suddenly start a newsletter after letting a list built by an e-course sit for months or years. People have short memories for this kind of thing and you don’t want to get too many spam complaints. If you’re going to do it, plan to do it from the start.

How Do You Handle List Management?

The best thing to do to manage your list is to pay for an outside service to do so. Aweber and GetResponse are good choices. They take care of things like spam complaints for you, which could otherwise impact your hosting. It’s an additional expense for your business, but one I find very much worthwhile.

Even with a list management service you will sometimes get people asking you to unsubscribe them. Do this promptly! Just because some people can’t seem to see the unsubscribe link that the services put on each and every email sent doesn’t mean you can ignore their request.

Never, ever buy a list. Reputable services won’t let you import a bought list, and too many are nothing more than email addresses that were collected without permission. You don’t want to get into that kind of a mess.

If you run your e-course well, over time it can really help you to get more sales of whatever products or services you offer. It can be an incredibly powerful tool for building an online business.

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