Customer uses email course to increase sales of online course

UK-based Paul Kirtley repackaged his blog content into a mini email course to warm up leads and promote his paid course. And you can do it, too.

Sometimes coming up with the perfect opt-in incentive to grow your email list can be difficult. It can require a mix of research, experimentation and patience.

But once you’ve honed in on an incentive your audience loves, your email list can start growing by leaps and bounds.

For Paul Kirtley, creator of the popular bushcraft blog,, listening to his audience’s interests, needs and challenges is the key to creating the perfect opt-in incentives.

After spending the first part of this career in finance, Paul left it behind to pursue his passion for the outdoors, bushcraft and wilderness survival.

He wanted to share his knowledge and skills with other outdoor enthusiasts who wanted to learn bushcraft and survival skills. So along with his blog, he launched his business Frontier Bushcraft. As one of the leading UK-based bushcraft schools, Paul offers bushcraft courses and wilderness expeditions.

Starting with a basic sign up form

Paul saw the value in email marketing right from the start and began building a list immediately.

At first, he simply asked people to sign up for updates to his blog.

An example of an email sign up form

While this helped bring in some of Paul’s first subscribers, it didn’t have the impact he had hoped for. He knew he needed something of greater value to offer potential subscribers.

Overcoming the growth plateau with a new incentive

To accelerate the growth of his email list, Paul packaged together a series of videos as a lead magnet (or opt-in incentive) and created a pop-up form on his blog. As a result, his email list took off. Now he has thousands of subscribers from all over the world.

Example a lead magnet email sign up form

Diversifying your opt-in incentives

As Paul’s email list grew, he continued to add more specific opt-in incentives to keep the growth going.

He surveyed his audience to find out what they were interested in and what kind of free content to provide.

“[The survey] has given me a very good idea of what type of free content I can put out for people that’s going to be interesting,” Paul said.

One of the ways Paul was able to quickly create and launch new incentives was by repurposing the massive amount of content he’d already created on his blog.

“I’ve got years of content on my blog, and a lot of it’s pillar content. Most of it isn’t very time specific and it’s still as valuable now as when I wrote it.”

With years of content at his fingertips, Paul was able to package much of the content from his blog into mini email courses.

“I’ve got so much content on my blog now, but a lot of it’s buried deep,” Paul said. “Rather than have just a general autoresponder where people sign up and get weeks and weeks of ‘Have you seen this article,’ I created specific mini email courses that come off the back of specific lead magnets.”

For example, Paul offers a free Fire Fundamentals mini email course, which he includes as part of his main automated email series. When someone clicks the link in his main series, they are automatically added to the Fire Fundamentals email course.

Email sample for a free mini course

The mini-course takes subscribers through nine lessons, linking to several in-depth blog posts he’s written in the past.

The course gets his “fire building” fans heavily engaged in the content. As they become more engaged in the content and get to know Paul, they are primed for an offer to sign up for his paid Online Elementary Bushcraft Course, which comes near the end of the mini course.

4 lead magnet best practices

Now that we’ve seen it in action, let’s review a few lead magnet best practices from Paul Kirtley’s experience:

Ask your audience what they want from you

Want to know what your audience is interested in? Ask them directly with a survey.

The data you gather from a survey can help you identify the topics your subscribers want to learn about, what struggles or questions they have, and what they hope to accomplish.

With that information in hand, you are better equipped to create highly relevant content for your audience that will help you grow your email list and your business.

Offer multiple opt-in incentives

The fact is, not everyone is going to be interested in every opt-in incentive. So you need to diversify and offer multiple incentives that subscribers may find valuable.

Incorporate these incentives throughout your email content as well as your blog and social media channels. For example, if you offer a guide to healthy eating, you can include that as an opt-in incentive on your blog posts about healthy eating.

Repurpose content you already have

Creating multiple opt-in incentives can feel daunting. To maximize your efforts and save time, consider repurposing content you’ve already created on your blog, podcast or YouTube channel.

By reusing your existing content, you’re maximizing its use and saving yourself time in developing new content that can help you grow your email list or further engage your subscribers.

Always refresh your incentives

Over time, your opt-in incentives can become stale or outdated. To keep your audience interested, review the incentives you offer and refresh the best ones with new content, imagery, and designs.

As you refresh your best incentives, relaunch them to your audience and promote the “new and improved” content within them. This can help get your audience excited about an older incentive.

How to create mini email courses in AWeber

Want to try creating your own mini email course? Here’s how to do it in AWeber:

  1. Create a new automated campaign for your email course. You can use AWeber’s mini-course campaign template to help you get started.
  2. Make sure your mini course campaign is set up to begin when a tag is applied to a subscriber, and choose a tag you want to use to begin the campaign.
  3. Enter all of the emails into your campaign, and when your mini course is ready, activate your campaign.
  4. Create a landing page or sign up form for your mini course.
  5. Make sure your form or landing page is set up to apply a tag to subscribers when they sign up. Use the same tag you used to trigger your campaign.
  6. When your landing page or sign up form is finished, publish your landing page or add your sign up form to your website.

Now you’re ready to start collecting new subscribers with your mini-course. Create a free AWeber account to get started.

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