How to Educate Followers Through Emails

Sarah is not happy with sales for her first online training course.  She accepts first attempts are rarely brilliant but she can’t see what else to do to sell an online product she knows is very good.  She promoted the course through email marketing and wonders whether there’s more to educating followers before she makes an offer.

Educate Followers by Adding Significant Value

Use the OVO method to mail valuable information to your list before making an offer.  The offer appeals to those who value the free information and sign up for a deeper exploration of the subject.

The information shared during an initial marketing campaign serves several purposes, by

  • demonstrating your knowledge of the subject,
  • showing you convey it in an accessible and clear way,
  • pointing to further knowledge and expertise they gain by participating, and
  • showing the benefits of mastering the subject area.

Use an initial sequence of emails to help your market understand the value of your offer.  It is common for markets to be unaware of a problem, perhaps because they are unable to name it, or don’t believe there are solutions, let alone you offer a solution. 

Share information that opens the gap between their current understanding of their problem and the possibility of doing something constructive about it.  Your offer must bridge that gap.

Teaching during your marketing takes various formats.  It should be enough to sell the offer and no more.  You would expect less work to promote a low-end offer and much more for a high-end offer.  Aim to convey the value of your offer so the customer finds the offer worth more to them than its price.

There are many online media to market your offer and what you choose depends on the information you must get across.  Everything in this list is promoted through email and social media.  Use social media to find opt-ins to your email sequence.  Here are some possibilities:

  • Use email to promote low-end offers, with a link to a landing page
  • Long sales letter on a webpage
  • Video
  • Audio, for people to listen to driving or jogging.
  • Webinars

Resistance to Education

There is resistance to education, from a variety of sources.  Some people don’t like reading on screens, for example.  Others have bad experiences of education. 

Beware of words like “education” or “learning” and their derivatives.  People want to know the benefits of your product.  “Find out how to…” may work better than “Learn how to…”. 

Educate followers about the value of your offer.    In the earlier stages, where you raise awareness of the problem and demonstrate it can be addressed, you don’t need to mention your offer other than to hint it is coming.  Simply communicate interesting and helpful stuff. 

Once people see the value of taking this work further, offer your solution.

How Much Value?

How much value should you offer during your marketing?  There’s no one size fits all answer.  There’s no in-principle limit to the amount you share.  However, your offer should promise a step-up in value from your marketing.  How? 

  • Offer bonuses that cover essential areas you did not cover in your marketing. 
  • Present teaching material in a variety of user-friendly ways, eg handouts via pdfs.  Diagrams and mindmaps appeal to some customers. 
  • Demonstrate your offer presents in-depth knowledge for those who appreciate your marketing.  What is the value of going deeper?
  • Demonstrate your offer helps them apply new skills to their specific circumstances. 
  • Offer contact with other customers, supporting a community of users who help each other with application of learning. 
  • Share materials produced by customers as a result of your offer.
  • Feedback to customers.
  • Offer opportunities to ask questions.
  • Sometimes confidentiality may be important.  Also consider related issues, such as copyright.

Few of these happen during marketing campaigns.  Think about the support customers need to implement solutions you offer and work out how your offer delivers them

The next post is the final one in this sequence about email marketing.  Email saves time.  Really!  Read it to find out more!

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About the Author

I've been a community development worker since the early 1980s in Tyneside, Teesside and South Yorkshire. I've also worked nationally for the Methodist Church for eight years supporting community projects through the church's grants programme. These days I am developing an online community development practice combining non-directive consultancy, strategic management, participatory methods and development work online and offline. If you're interested contact me for a free consultation.

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