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I think "learning by doing" is the way to go. Here's what I learned from creating a free email course.

by JERRY SILVER // Twitter, Facebook, Instagram
Digital PR specialist and CEO at Spin Factory

Two months ago, I created a free 28-day email course.

I did have a one-week email course four-five years ago, but that was before I had an actual email list.

For the past year, I’ve been working on-and-off on creating a paid video course on digital PR, so I wanted to see if there’s any interest out there for the type of insights that I have to share.

I’m also struggling with a manuscript for a book on digital PR, and I wanted to test some of my ideas on smart professionals in my target audience.

Now that the PR course has been live for a while, I want to share some of what I’ve learned so far.

Here goes:

A Free 28 Day Email Course — The Takeaways

The Idea (“Aha-Moments!”)

Sending 28 emails for 28 days straight is quite a big ask, I know. I, therefore, didn’t want to send out stuff that would feel like work, but rather ideas or concepts. I wanted to share insights that would give the reader a boost of energy and inspiration and a notion of “yeah, I could do that”.

  • Make your email lessons into short but inspiring aha-moments.

The Investment (“Proofread!”)

It took me the better part of a day to write up 20 drafts. It also took me an hour to put up a landing page and to tweak some menu items and links on the blog. Then I published an early draft of the course to get a few sign ups, and this forced me (in a good way!) to finalize all those 28 emails in time.

  • Get a professional to proofread and copyedit your stuff (I regret not doing this from the start).

The Tools (“Automate!”)

The tool setup couldn’t be any easier. I created an automated responder in Mailchimp. Very easy-to-use and very easy to setup. I used a very basic template because I believe that most email send-outs do better when they look like email often do.

  • Besides Mailchimp, I often hear professionals recommend AWeber. (If you have suggestions on email send-out providers, please share with everyone in the comments!)

The Numbers (“Promote!”)

In a bit less than 60 days, 1,452 participants have signed up for the email course (744 of those are not already on my blog email list). I’ve only had 12 unsubscribers so far, and I’ve manually unsubscribed about 20+ people. And seven people have emailed me about having technical difficulties of various sorts.

  • I promoted the email course with 20 USD on Facebook and a send-out to my email list, but you could do so much more, of course.

The Freeloaders (“No Mercy!”)

A few people emailed me back to give me “advice” — and not in a pleasant way. For some reason, they’ve all been male Swedish digital marketers between 35-45 who seem to be angry with me for sharing knowledge for free. Why they even bothered to sign up in the first place will remain a mystery, I guess.

  • Unsubscribe people — it’s your list and your free stuff after all.

Summary

Yes, I think creating an email course like this is worth the effort. If you’re a B2B company, consider letting your experts share their best advice in a giveaway course for sign ups. (And no, it doesn’t have to be 28 days long!) As long as people taking your course are willing to recommend it after taking it, then you’ve got yourself a great marketing asset!

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Behind the keyboard:

Jerry Silver is the author of Doctor Spin, a PR blog that's been around for 15+ years. His fascination for corporate communication and human psychology runs deep. Via his own agency Spin Factory, every day's spent on coaching people and organizations on how to adapt to a 'digital first' world. In 2016, Cision Scandinavia named him "PR Influencer of the Year". Jerry lives in Stockholm, Sweden with his wife Lisah, journalist and television host, and their two-year-old son, Jack.

Interested in Jerry’s services or speaking engagements? Learn more.

Add your comment:

Karoline Goldberg

Bam! It turned into a 29 days course ;-)

Reply
Jerry Silfwer

:) — and thank you for your awesome testimonial, very valuable!

Hampus Landelius

Thank you for these 28 fantastic days. It has been a true joy and inspiration to start the day with you great insights, hands-on-tools and knowledge. Until I can buy the book I will return many times to these emails. I knew it would be great stuff but was surprised of all the secret top content. Forza Jerry!

Reply
Jerry Silfwer

Thank you so much Hampus for those kind words. So happy the course brought value to you. And stay tuned for that book! ;)

Jimmy Mannung

I truly loved what you did here. I’ve recommended everyone that I could think of to sign up (mailed my colleagues, posted in fb-groups IRL-recommended and so on) and I can pretty much guarantee that I will buy your book when it comes out =)

Reply
Jerry Silfwer

You’re too kind, Jimmy. Thank you for your support and and your kind words. Your words brings me so much motivation!

Hans Ahlborg

A great refresher and good new insights to add to my memory.

Anyone in marketing should take up on the class due to the down to earth approach and slightly cheeky style

Reply
Jerry Silfwer

Thank you for the recommendation, Hans!

Steve lubomski

I missed it… Is the content posted somewhere?

Reply
Jerry Silfwer

Hey Steve, only via the send-outs over at http://doctorspinpr.wpengine.com/free-training. Can’t make it too easy, right? :)