Spacing the Free Course Emails

by bhlehr 19 replies
What are your thoughts on how frequently a multi-part free course should be emailed to opt-in subscribers?

I have a 7-part course on how to start an information marketing business. Now, I realize that others with free courses choose to send out one part every couple of days, or even one each week. However, I wanted to strike while the iron is hot, so to speak, and I therefore make all of the parts available immediately, one after another, on a website. When the person finishes one page, he's given the link to go to the next page, etc. At the end of the course, he's given the option of buying the "full meal deal".

It seems to me that when a person comes across something they're interested in, you want to provide the info they're looking for right then. They don't want to wait for it. We live in an age of "instant gratification". If I just emailed the first part of the course, with the autoresponder set up to send the second part a week later, a lot of things could happen between now and then. He may find many other websites, sign up for their lists, and be bombarded with emails; thus, my next part of the course would simply get lost in the barrage of emails he's getting. Or, he may simply lose interest in the product over a period of several weeks. Etc.. etc.

Also, since someone who is really interested in learning about a product wants to learn about it immediately, why make him wait for bits and pieces of your course over the next month or two? Just give him the info, and let him decide if he wants to pursue it further by getting your product.

What are your thoughts on this? Is your free course set up to be delivered over a series of weeks, or to be received all at once?

Brian
#main internet marketing discussion forum #emails #free #spacing
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  • Profile picture of the author Chipt
    Hey, Brian -

    Since no one has answered you yet, I'll put forth a start for you... and you'll probably get varied replies to your post... because in my experience lots of marketers find a scenario and stick with it.

    Personally, I agree with you, and I believe we should let people consume our info when, where, and how they wish. Lots of marketers do not offer this...

    So part one answer: Lots of marketers have a day 0 [immediate]... then a day 1 [next day] email. After this, it seems to vary a lot. Some like a 2-day increment and others a 3- or 7-day increment, or some hybrid of all that.

    Part two answer: I like the blurb at the bottom of an email that states something like "Want to go on to Lesson X? Just click here and you'll go right to it." [Or something like that.]

    Hope this helps / just my opinion and experience -

    Chip Tarver
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    • Profile picture of the author WritingMadwoman
      I don't have any courses set up on the web like you described, but I do have one set up as a 10-day email course (one email a day for 10 days). I do get a fair number of sign ups for that, but I get many more sign ups for the free ebooks I give away with opt in to the newsletters.

      So maybe that's food for thought for me on which one is more popular, getting all the info right away, or spaced out over several days.

      On a personal level, I do prefer to get all the info right away. By the time I've received the first couple of installments over days or weeks I might lose interest or feel like I don't have time to read them, so file them away somewhere and never get to them again. Come to think of it, I have done that! LOL

      Maybe it differs for various niches, but it seems to me like instant gratification rules.

      Wendy
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      • Profile picture of the author Chipt
        Hey Wendy -

        In my experience you have at least a couple of options... so here are 2:

        1. Set your whole course online with one lesson [email copy?] per web page with a link table to all your lessons content included on every lesson page as well [or at least a link to the next lesson]... and put the appropriate link in each of your lesson emails to the next lesson, too.

        2. Or if you are restricted to email only, see if your AR company provides a way you can set each lesson as its own AR, so when a person hits that "I want more" link, your AR company immediately sends out the next lesson as an AR that only contains one message [including a link to the next AR lesson message.]

        Some people with the time and interest will go through all your lessons in one sitting, and that might get you some incremental sales...

        Just a thought or two -

        Chip
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        • Profile picture of the author bhlehr
          I personally like the "all in one shot" deal. Like Wendy said, I may have every intention on reading up on a particular product or idea, but when those successive emails come in several days or weeks later, other time constraints may prevent me from reading them. Then they get filed for a later time that never comes.

          However, if I sign up for a report or a short multi-part course today, that most likely means I've actually got the time "today" to go through it.

          I've set my course up much like Chip mentioned. After opting in, the person is not only automatically sent directly to the web page with the first lesson, but they are also sent an email with the link in it. This way, if they have a system crash, or simply don't have the time to read the page right then, they've still got the email with the link.

          At the bottom of the first lesson, there is the link for part 2, and this continues all the way to part 7, where they are then given the opportunity of purchasing the full course.

          If they choose not to continue reading the whole course because of time issues, they've still got the email with the link to the first page. So they could later go back to the first page in the series, and simply click through to the page where they left off.

          I've also set up my autoresponder to send them an email 4 days later to remind them of the course, and to encourage them to read it if they have not yet done so.

          Brian
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          • Profile picture of the author Dan C. Rinnert
            Doesn't it depend upon how you are using the course?

            Were you using it for list building? If that was it's initial design, wouldn't it be best to spread it out over several days to keep them interested in being on your list and buying things in the future or at the end of the course?

            Or, was it a "before you go" type offer, where someone declined not to purchase your product when they visited your site, and you offered them a free course to take to try out your offerings? In that case, perhaps it would be better to allow them to take the whole course at one sitting, if they want, in the hopes of selling them the product while the "iron is hot."

            I don't think there's a one-size-fits-all option here. I think it depends upon what your goals with offering that course were.
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          • Profile picture of the author Simon_Sezs
            Originally Posted by bhlehr View Post

            I personally like the "all in one shot" deal. Like Wendy said, I may have every intention on reading up on a particular product or idea, but when those successive emails come in several days or weeks later, other time constraints may prevent me from reading them. Then they get filed for a later time that never comes.

            However, if I sign up for a report or a short multi-part course today, that most likely means I've actually got the time "today" to go through it.

            I've set my course up much like Chip mentioned. After opting in, the person is not only automatically sent directly to the web page with the first lesson, but they are also sent an email with the link in it. This way, if they have a system crash, or simply don't have the time to read the page right then, they've still got the email with the link.

            At the bottom of the first lesson, there is the link for part 2, and this continues all the way to part 7, where they are then given the opportunity of purchasing the full course.

            If they choose not to continue reading the whole course because of time issues, they've still got the email with the link to the first page. So they could later go back to the first page in the series, and simply click through to the page where they left off.

            I've also set up my autoresponder to send them an email 4 days later to remind them of the course, and to encourage them to read it if they have not yet done so.

            Brian
            If that is the case, why not just package all the parts up and brand it as a e-book or white paper? That would make more sense that offering a 7 part series via email and then having them click from part to part.

            That said, I think maybe you should test it and see what the response rate is. It would be a perfect metric to see if you are losing people along the way and you could actually hone your parts (the parts that lose people can be re-edited, ect).
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            • Profile picture of the author Chipt
              One aspect of the multi-part segmented series is you can test the defection points and try to interrupt the defection, and test the proceed-to-sale points as well.

              In the ebook version, you get one shot...

              And yes, of course, when someone opts out [defects] after say, lesson 3, they are of course still gone, but this segmented version shows you where your copy is weak, whereas the all-in-one ebook version is hit or miss and you'll likely NOT know why they defected unless you survey the defectors, many of whom will ignore the survey.

              Chip
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              • Profile picture of the author lakshaybehl
                Those people on your list are money... Once you have a list that is large enough, you could shoot them an email and make money like autopilot! So aturally you would want to send them an email every minute... But I recommend let thewm be habitual to recieving an email from you every day right from the follow ups. Worked best for me.
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                • Profile picture of the author Chipt
                  In my experience myself and with many well-known marketers, that 'every day' idea is pure fantasy and fallacy.

                  People will unbsub so fast your head will spin like Linda Blair's if you beat them to death with your incessant emails...

                  And it makes you look like a marketing wh*re, too...

                  Just my experience -

                  Chip Tarver
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                  • Profile picture of the author Chris Lockwood
                    Chip, what about people like Matt Furey who mail every day, sometimes twice a day?
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                    • Profile picture of the author JayXtreme
                      I mail every day for 3 or 4 days... then slowly increase until the gap is 7 days between mail..

                      Then I broadcast every now and then when I have somethin extra

                      Jay
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                      • Profile picture of the author Chipt
                        Originally Posted by Chris Lockwood View Post

                        Chip, what about people like Matt Furey who mail every day, sometimes twice a day?

                        Hey, Chris -

                        This is why I said above, "and you'll probably get varied replies to your post... because in my experience lots of marketers find a scenario and stick with it."

                        If the truth were known a lot of the big names [of course withheld here] don't test squat, much less split-test and do Bullock-style testing...

                        Personally, and with more than a few people I know, when you start hammering me with emails every day I am fast on the unsub link.

                        The people who do this seem to me to be selfish and insensitive. IMO they care more about money than they do me. Again that is merely my personal opinion.

                        I could tell you the names of people I unsubbed because they clogged my inbox with junk every day... but alas I cannot... because again it would violate Rule #1.




                        Originally Posted by JayXtreme View Post

                        I mail every day for 3 or 4 days... then slowly increase until the gap is 7 days between mail..

                        Then I broadcast every now and then when I have somethin extra

                        Jay

                        Hey, Jay -

                        That is a VERY popular formula that a lot of marketers I know use. It keeps you 'fresh enough" in people's mind without beating them up with daily emails.

                        Hang on a sec... brb...

                        OK -- my inbox has 624 emails in it now...

                        So if someone is going to send me emails they hope I'll read, it had better be a good message-to-market match. That said, I do still sub to some lists just to see what others are pushing today, and still others to get a chuckle because they are so clueless IMO.

                        All the best -

                        Chip
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                        • Profile picture of the author JayXtreme
                          Originally Posted by Chipt View Post

                          and still others to get a chuckle because they are so clueless IMO.
                          lol.. you must be on mine :rolleyes:

                          Peace

                          Jay
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                          • Profile picture of the author Chipt
                            Originally Posted by JayXtreme View Post

                            lol.. you must be on mine :rolleyes:

                            Peace

                            Jay




                            J-Man u such funny guy!

                            If I were on your list I would read your emails because I like your personality, and I imagine it comes through nice and clear in your emails.

                            [Some people are just as boring as h**l when they write...]

                            Chip

                            PS - I never met a cookie I didn't like... ...
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                            • Profile picture of the author jensrsa
                              Brian,

                              Part of the reason the multipart course is sent out separately is that it offers you multiple opportunities to upsell as part of the course = give it all at once and you only have one.

                              People who subscribe to a course, especially if the course provides value, tend to read your ecourse material more than they would read other regular emails.

                              If the course material is fairly comprehensive, use the 7 part email system but offer the opportunity to buy the course at a nominal fee for immediate gratification

                              Jens
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                  • Profile picture of the author bhlehr
                    I agree with Chip on both of his last two posts:

                    1. The split course has enabled me to see exactly where the subscriber left off reading.

                    2. I used to be on a list, and got bombarded with daily emails. Strange thing is, even though I loved this guy's products, and learned much from his emails, I simply did not have time to ready a daily one. They ended up being saved for a "rainy day" which never came.

                    I do like the idea of converting the course into an ebook format, though, and have given it some thought. What I may end up doing is having both version, and do a split test.

                    Brian
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  • Profile picture of the author Andres
    Brian,

    I like the 2-day increment myself but since you will have a 7 day course just send them out 1 per day. There are several marketers that will advertise "Subscribe To My One Week Crash Course & You Learn How To......."

    Andres
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    • Profile picture of the author Chipt
      Originally Posted by Andres View Post

      Brian,

      I like the 2-day increment myself but since you will have a 7 day course just send them out 1 per day. There are several marketers that will advertise "Subscribe To My One Week Crash Course & You Learn How To......."

      Andres



      Hey, Andres -

      Great point there...

      1. You have already told the reader that it's a '7-day' AND a 'one week' arrangement so they are forewarned about the incremental frequency

      2. Anybody with 10 fingers [or a minimum of 7] can figure out in advance that you'll probably be sending one email per day [simple math]

      3. A 'course format' implies that each piece builds on the previous piece like a series on TV, so the expectation level of the subscriber is different in this scenario and the readers' anticipation level is higher as well

      4. There is less market resistance to your email series because of 1 to 3 above and because typically the recipient interest level is higher, too

      'Nuff said... again you make a good point there. I believe you'll also find an overall higher open rate on a fixed-length series, as well as a higher click-through rates if you offer clickable links in your lessons to something else to measure your pickup rates

      Chip

      PS - This is a totally different reader than the "I know you'll beat me to death with your incessant and stupid emails that hammer me to buy your crappy stuff and tell me how awful my life will be if I don't but I want your free opt-in bribe and I'll unsub after I get it" neverending email cycle...
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      • Profile picture of the author Fabian Tan
        7 days between each issue is definitely too long. Imagine this, if you have a 7-issue e-course, that would take a whopping 49 days to complete! I think the majority of subscribers will get bored or forget about the e-course way before then.

        A good balance for an e-course would be 2 to 3 days between each part. It's not too long, not too short. And you can add in promotional broadcasts in between and most subscribers won't mind, even if you're giving them valuable free information in your e-course follow-ups.

        Here is a hot tip: At the end of your e-course, combine your lessons and compile them into a PDF document and give them to your subscribers as a gift. This makes it easier for them to reference to your lessons in one complete document. You can also give giveaway rights to this PDF so it gets passed around virally and get more subscribers for your e-course. A win-win situation.

        Alas, a paid e-course is a different thing. You'll need to pump out tons of content if you space out your e-course every 2 or 3 days. If you want subscribers to stay long in your e-course, you don't want to overload them with content over the space of a year (which is the around the ideal duration you would want your subscribers to stay on for), so one email every 2 to 3 days would be overkill. One power packed email every 7 days for 52 weeks would work perfectly for a paid e-course.

        Oh, and don't forget to give away some unadvertised bonuses along the way in your e-course too!

        Fabian
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