Use MailChimp Email Marketing To Sell Online Courses


Everything You Need To Know About MailChimp Email Marketing To Sell Online Courses

July 3, 2020 | 8 Min Read

Integrated Marketing Communications
What It Means, Why You Need It & How To Do It Right!

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Discover why email marketing is important and how to get the best results using MailChimp for marketing online courses and growing your brand.

Email marketing is one of the best ways to grow your audience and sell your online courses and remote training programs. 

If you’re thinking: “Really, email? In 2020? Is it really worth the investment?” these statistics should help you determine if the ROI is right for your marketing tactics (check out the infographic below):

Lambda-Infographic-Email-Marketing-Important-To-Sell-Courses-croppedSource: (DMA, 2019, Statista, 2017)

Email marketing campaigns are very effective and can be extremely complex to set up and maintain. That’s why Lambda Solutions has made MailChimp the official integration for the Lambda Suite, our integrated revenue solution for the business of eLearning.

When it comes to email marketing MailChimp provides a user-friendly way to utilize the most effective email marketing tactics and strategies, which we’ll cover below.


What Is Email Marketing?

According to the experts over at MailChimp email marketing can be defined as a form of direct marketing that uses email to promote your business’s products or services. 

We’ve seen above that email can be an incredibly powerful channel of communication, which makes it an ideal avenue of promotion for pretty much any business in any industry.

From a pure marketing perspective, email has some pretty great advantages that allow you to leverage some effective marketing tactics:

  • It forces people to take action (Click, Read, Reply, Forward, Delete, etc)
  • Your email subscription list is full of people who actually want to hear from you
  • Cost-efficiency. Did we mention that already up above? We did. Good. And again here. Because it really is that good!

Another reason why email marketing is important is that it can go far beyond just pure promotion. Utilized correctly, email campaigns can build a real relationship with your audience and drive traffic to your website, social media, or partner sites.

As mentioned before, when it comes to email marketing MailChimp is an industry leader, and everything we cover in this article can be done with the features provided in their platform.

Mailchimp Email Marketing Pricing

Budget is important, so let’s get that bit out of the way first.

Lambda Suite does come complete with its own email marketing functionality, which means you can execute the following tactics without using MailChimp at all.

However, we know that budget, workload, and time can limit the number of resources an organization can commit to building intricate email campaigns. 

That’s why we partnered with MailChimp, as even a free-subscription can save incredible amounts of time (and frustration) for those of us unable or unwilling to build everything from scratch.

With that caveat, let’s take a look at MailChimp’s pricing.

There are 4 options with MailChimp, designed to fit any budget and company size:

  • Free
  • Essentials
  • Standard
  • Premium

All billing is based on usage and feature sets (so make sure to consider the size of your audience!) with more features being unlocked at higher pricing tiers. 

Here’s what you can expect from each pricing plan:

  • Essentials ($9.99+) 
    Everything that comes with the free versions, plus a library of templates and A/B testing functionality for optimizing the content and effectiveness of your email campaigns.
    Perhaps more importantly, all paid tiers remove MailChimps’ branding from your emails and campaigns.
    On top of all that you get 24/7 support from MailChimp’s customer support experts.
  • Standard ($14.99+)
    Once again, everything listed above plus the following additional features:
    Multichannel marketing campaign integration makes it easier than ever to deliver a consistently effective brand message to get the best results from your marketing tactics. Predicted demographics and custom workflow automation will simplify the complexity of your integrated marketing campaigns and make sure you’re targeting the audience that’s most interested in what you have to offer. And the cherry on top is advanced reporting for the insights you need to make your communications even more effective.
  • Premium ($299+)
    All of the above, plus customization! Need custom domains, complicated user segmentation, and multivariate testing? You got it, in addition to premier phone, email and chat support to get you up and running as soon as possible.


How to Use MailChimp for Email Marketing

Consider this your crash course on how to create an email marketing plan. These 6 steps will get you ready to start writing and sending your first email campaigns. Let’s get started!

Of course you’re not only limited to email when it comes to digital marketing, check out our article on the Top 6 Best Practices to Promote Your Online Course in 2020 for some difference eCommerce marketing tactics/


1. Set Your Goals

What do you need your emails to accomplish? Having a target in mind is the key to unlocking the results you need from your email marketing efforts. Below are some of the most common goals for email campaigns. Which one(s) are applicable to you will be largely dependent on the nature of your business, industry, and how established your mailing list is.

Common email marketing campaign goals:

Increase open rates and improve clickthrough rates

For these first two, it’s about benchmarking your existing email campaign metrics, and going back to the design and copywriting drawing board to try and improve results. Obviously, you want as many people opening and engaging with your content as possible, whether it’s to build a relationship or drive traffic to sales pages as part of your eCommerce marketing strategies.

As a starting point for Open Rates, take a look at testing your subject lines and preview text (adding in a sense of urgency and intrigue can help get people to open your emails).

For click-through rates, consider the copy on your Call To Action links and the placement of those links within the email itself.

Implement automated email campaigns

If you think sending automated emails will hurt the personal touch of your campaigns, you might be underestimating what automation can do.

With MailChimp’s personalization tokens and workflow automation you can set up some great “templates” that will boost engagement, open rates, and help nurture your audience’s relationship with your brand.

Some simple yet incredibly-effective automations to get started with are:

  • Welcome emails
  • Thank you emails
  • Transactional emails
  • Birthday emails

Design personalized customer journeys

Speaking of the power of automated workflows, personalized customer journeys (also known as drip campaigns) send out emails on specific timelines with highly relevant content. What this looks like in practice can be something like this:

  1. Send a welcome email when someone registers their email address with you

  2. Send a brand/product introduction to them 1 day later

  3. Send a survey about what products/services they’re interested in most 1 week later

  4. Send a follow-up related to their area of interest, possibly with a promotional offer

It can get much, much more complicated than that, but a simple drip campaign can be optimized and build on to become something far more intricate (and effective) over time.

Connect with your audience of subscribers

Part of the information you’ll get from your email subscriber lists are demographics (age, location, interests, etc) and you’ll want to use that information to build a relationship with your readers. 

Taking this information into account will let you compose your mass communications with a personal touch, so that it reads like you’re not just talking directly to them.

Support integrated marketing campaign success

If you have more marketing going on than just email marketing, there is absolutely no reason why you can’t bring them together to improve results. Integrating your email campaigns with social media ads, SMS campaigns, search ads, and pretty much anything else is a great way to double down on your marketing efforts for some jaw-dropping results.

We cover how and why integrated eCommerce marketing campaigns can launch your business growth sky-high in our deep dive into Integrated Marketing Communications: What It Means & How To Do It Right.

Just to be clear, while all of these goals are great to have it might only be practical to go after one of these at a time.

2. Know Your Audience

Do you know who’s on your mailing list? Do you know who your product and service are for? Getting to know your audience sounds pretty obvious and easy, but this is truly easier said than done (especially if your first thought is “well our product is for everyone”).

With MailChimp you can utilize user groups and segments within your audience for personalized communications (the importance of which we discussed above), which will result in increased engagement and a better ROI for your marketing efforts. 

Remember: The More Relevant Your Content Is, The More Success It Will Have!

Utilizing sign-up forms to provide even more data on your audience will let you deploy even more personalized messages and establish some solid insights into buying behaviour. All of this helps inform you of what kind of emails to send to which people and even how often to send them.

3. Get People Signing Up & Subscribing

When people sign up, where are they coming from? That’s one of the most important questions to ask because knowing the answer will let you direct your efforts (and budget) to the places that will net you the best ROI.

This is especially if you have eCommerce integrated with MailChimp, for example, if you’re using the Lambda Suite to sell online courses. Understanding where your customers started their buying journey provides you with some incredibly useful data for personalizing and customizing your content.

Speaking of audience (and business) growth, email marketing is an excellent avenue for scaling up your business, but so are these 4 Easy Marketing Tactics Your Business Needs To Boost Online Growth.

4. Pick The Content

Once you know who will be receiving your emails, it’s time to actually start writing them!

Nobody wants to receive emails that serve no purpose, especially not from a brand or company! So make sure all of your emails give your audience what they wanted when they subscribed. 

In general, try to make all your content useful: you want people to feel like they got a return from investing their time with your content.

 This can take many forms, such as:

    • Upcoming event announcements
    • Photo recaps of previous events
    • Popular posts from social media
    • News coverage
    • Details about featured or new products
    • Holiday shopping guides
  • Newsletters

5. Schedule

You don’t want to spam your audience. You also don’t want to send them emails so infrequently you can’t build a relationship between them and your brand. So what’s the sweet spot?

The secret formula for how frequently to send emails is… non-existent, unfortunately. 

Send frequency will largely depend on the nature of your organization and of your audience. If you’re running a new aggregator, one email a day might not actually be frequent enough. But if you’re in the landscaping business a daily email is probably way too much and will result in your messages being flagged as spam while your audience unsubscribes.

That said, at least one email per month is recommended to keep your subscribers engaged. Playing around with send frequency and keeping a close tab on the results (key metrics being open rates and unsubscribes) can help you determine the happy medium for your audience.

Email Laws & Regulations

Despite what your spam folder may have you believe, there are things you can and can’t do with your email marketing. 

Before crafting your next campaign make sure you understand the relevant regulations for your audience demographics. Many of these regulations work so that it’s not about where you are based, but where the recipients call home that determines if they apply to you.

Always adhere to the CAN-SPAM Act in the United States, the Canadian Anti-Spam Law (CASL), or the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union. The burden of responsibility for complying with these laws is 100% on you. So don’t treat this lightly, because the fines and repercussions are nothing to be scoffed at!

Never buy email lists!

You get that random email from some company you’ve probably never heard of with targeted messaging, usually your name, job title, maybe even location in the message. Then you think “How the *heck* did they get all that info, I never subscribed to this!” and hit the spam button.

Somebody sold your info to that company, that’s how they got that info! This is an extremely bad idea for several reasons:

  1. The major email marketing companies (including Mailchimp) all maintain a strict, permission-only policy when it comes to email addresses (thank you government regulations above!), which makes sending emails to purchased lists is prohibited.

  2. Nothing is worse for your brand than having people react the way we all react to unsolicited spam. The “quick and easy solution for growing your mailing list”, as it is often pitched, will only ever result in alienating everybody on the list you bought. Kind of defeats the whole purpose, right?

All the email marketing strategies and tactics above can be applied to essentially any industry, but at Lambda Solutions our focus is primarily on the business of eLearning. MailChimp has the capacity and capabilities to do everything listed in this article, and so much more. 

That’s why we partnered with MailChimp as the official email marketing extension for the  Lambda Suite - the easiest, most efficient way to sell, market, deliver and optimize online courses and remote training programs.

A truly integrated eLearning revenue solution, the Suite is designed to work with Learning Management Systems and award-winning Analytics Reporting, to provide the best solution for delivering integrated marketing campaigns that will grow your eLearning business.

For more advice, best-practices, and how-to guides for creating, boosting, and improving your digital marketing and eCommerce, check out these additional resources:

Need to sell more online courses and remote training programs? Get in touch with one of our LMS experts!

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