8 min
read •
May 14, 2024

How to write a welcome email sequence for your online course

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You've poured your heart and soul into creating an online course that you know will change people's lives.

But here's the truth: your customers won't know that until you show them. Get this wrong, and you'll leave them feeling confused, disengaged, and unimpressed.

Quick story… A long time ago, I had a temp job.  Two weeks in, and still…No one spoke to me.  No one paid any attention to me at all.  

And after a week and a half in, another employee asked why I always ate at my desk.  The answer: because I didn’t know where else to go.  No one had even shown me the breakroom!

You never want your readers to feel this way.  

Alone.  Ignored.  Unappreciated.

It’s bad for them, and it’s terrible for your business.

Your welcome email sequence contains the most important emails you will ever send.

Whether you call it an email sequence, a flow, an onboarding series, or a drip campaign, these first emails are how your customers get to know you.

  • When someone gives you their email address, they expect you to send an email immediately.  Or at least within a very short time.
  • We see good welcome sequences deliver the highest open rates.  By FAR. Compared to any other type of email, on average 3-4X higher.
  • Readers who receive a welcome email are about a third more engaged in everything a brand sends for the next 6 months.
  • New subscribers make 45% of first-time purchases within 24 hours of opting in. – Convertcart
  • Welcome email flows show a Revenue-per-Recipient of $2.54 instead of regular campaign emails with an RpR of $0.12. – Klaviyo

If you do your welcome email sequence the right way and with a good list, you should aim for open rates of 50% and target a CTR (assuming you want people to take an action) above 15%.  At least for the first email in the series.

Each following email in the sequence will likely have slightly lower rates than the previous email.  That is normal. It still puts them way ahead of anything else you’ll send.

You don’t want to waste this first impression –  you want to knock their socks off.

Quick primer: what is a welcome email sequence?

A sequence can be as few as 1- 3, but most course creators choose 5-6 emails.  These are automated to send as soon as the reader gives you their email address.

If you say everything in the first email, you will overwhelm the reader, and they won’t finish it.

An email every day or every other day allows you to ride their wave of enthusiasm, stay top-of-mind, and still not give them too much to digest.

Is a welcome email sequence the same as an onboarding sequence?

Not exactly, but they are very similar and might include some of the same emails.  

Your welcome email sequence will go out to anyone who opts into your newsletter (usually via a lead magnet), even if you aren’t launching any courses. All the emails will create and increase the know-like-trust factor for your business.

An onboarding sequence (which you want to write next) will go out once people have purchased or engaged with your course content.  These emails will focus on the course you are selling.  Some of these subscribers will be new to the brand and the course, so you need to include some brand-focused content.

OK, what exactly do I need to say in all these emails?

Your first email should be, well, welcoming.  You should thank your reader for opting in, then introduce yourself and your company. Include your team (optional).

Remember, people like to buy from people.  

You need to:

  • Tell them what to expect – how many emails, how frequently, and maybe what topics you talk about.
  • Give them any login information, if needed, and ‘how to get started’ instructions.
  • Remind them why they are getting this email, and make sure you deliver the lead magnet or discount they signed up for.
  • The CTA (call to action) should be a small ask at first – using the lead magnet, responding to a question, or just white-listing your company.

After the first email, you have more options.  You know your customers best and can choose which they will respond to.  You can:

  • Tell your brand story (origin, values, and or mission)
  • Give your FAQs with answers
  • Ask their preferences (for frequency or topics, if you are segmenting)
  • Links to your other platforms (social media)
  • Your best content (free tools, blog posts, videos, podcasts, etc.)
  • Demo, challenge, or free trial
  • Give a discount to them or a friend
  • Remind them of their pain point and the benefits of your courses
  • Encourage and Inspire them
  • Get them to imagine their better future in detail
  • Give testimonials or a case study

Each email should have a teaser about what they will receive in the next one and a CTA.

Don’t worry about getting it perfect right away.  You can (and should) continuously measure performance and test what works best for your audience.  

You need to see what content and which emails from your regular campaign are performing and start adding the best to your welcome flow, discontinuing pieces that aren’t performing as well.

Can you give me some examples?

Here are a couple from fellow course creators.  You can find the following examples in Hoppy Copy’s Competitor Monitoring tool and hundreds more if you want more inspiration.

Example #1 from Laptop Empires — launching the Facebook Side Hustle Course

This welcome email sequence uses elements from a Soap Opera style lead nurture sequence, which is designed to tell a personal story, create drama, and inspire the reader to have an ‘aha’ moment.  These guys are really good at inspiring the reader to take action.

Day 1

subject:  [FBSH Waitlist]: Please confirm your spot

Day 1 – Welcome MessageThanks the reader for signing up.Tells them what type of emails to expect and that there will be several in the next few days. CTA - asks the reader to reply to the email.

We like this one because it is clear – the reader knows what they signed up for, what’s coming, and what to do next.  Also, by making them reply to be on the waitlist (which is why they signed up), they increase engagement with the reader, hence increasing their deliverability metrics (we’ll talk a lot more about that in another post).

Day 2

subject:  This could be a game-changer for you in 2023

Day 2 – Inspirational Message and Product TeaserRobert introduces himself and tells an Inspiring story.It’s about how he succeeded with an ‘I wish I had this course when I started’ theme.

This one is good because it makes the reader feel like success is possible for them too.

Day 3

subject:  This sentence helped me earn $10k in 1 month

Day 3 – Inspirational and Promotional AnnouncementAnother inspiring story linked to the courseIt’s about how Robert struggled until he worked with a coach.And how he wants to pay it forward to help the reader succeed.

Again, they make the reader feel like success is possible for them.  They tell the reader it is easier with help and how much they want to be that help.

Day 4

subject:  (Time-sensitive) 2k Copywriter is open

Day 4 – Promotional AnnouncementAnnouncing that enrolment is an option for their course.Tells the reader the most important things they need to know about the course.

We like this because it hits the main points without going on and on about the course details.  It also shows enthusiasm for the reader to continue on the path.

Day 4 (again)

subject:  No copywriting experience? You need to read this.

Day 4 again – Promotional AnnouncementAddresses a big objection to getting the course and gives plenty of evidence why the objection doesn’t matter.

A separate email addressing a big concern for the reader works because it resonates with a reader hesitating to join.  It works best as a stand-alone email.

Day 5

subject:  Doing THIS puts you WAY ahead of other copywriters

Day 5 – Inspirational and Promotional AnnouncementAn inspiring vision for the reader's future.This email is about why this course matters to the reader and the near-future results they can expect.

Getting the reader to see short-term improvements in their life makes success seem reachable and possible.  They really start to believe.

Bonus email subject:  7 best investments for your side hustle income

Bonus email – Inspirational MessageThis is the day 6 email for their FB Side Hustle course, but it’s so good I had to include it.An inspiring email about what the reader can do with all their extra money.It is a list of smart ideas (mostly) that will be useful to the reader.

The guys at Laptop Empires do a fantastic job creating belief in the reader’s success.  Even I think they can do it.

Example #2 from Marie Forleo

Marie uses a standard lead nurturing sequence. She is great at connecting emotionally and encouraging her customers.  

Day 1

subject: You’re SERIOUSLY amazing, Tom!

Day 1 – Welcome and Educational ContentThanks the reader and welcomes them.Offers a great piece of content – an audio fileGives the reader encouragement.

We like this email because it is short but gives readers a good feel for the brand.  Including audio training is a great way to include people who prefer audio over reading.

Day 2

subject: Look at YOU, Tom!

Day 2 – Educational ContentFollow up on audio training sent on day one.Gives exercises based on that training.Testimonials for that training.

This email is great because it really encourages the reader to engage with the content she’s sending.

Day 4

subject: Keep going Tom! (more resources for you)

Day 4 – Educational ContentNotice that she skips a day here.Gives links to 8 videosLots more encouragement.

She introduces another form of content with a lot of resources for the reader and yet another in the PS (her podcast).

Day 6

subject: If I got hit by a bus tomorrow…

Day 6 – Soft Sell Promotional MessageSkipped a day againShares a personal story related to her book.Includes a gif for visual interest.Gives a link to buy her book.Tells the reader what to expect in future emails.

This one shows her personality well and is very encouraging.  She tells the reader that this is the end of the welcome sequence, and they will start receiving her regular emails next.

Want more inspiration?

Here are some creators we love:

  • Lisa Nichols
  • Digital Marketer
  • Demand Curve
  • Rich Dad Poor Dad - Robert Kiyosaki
  • Dean Graziosi
  • Jeff Walker
  • Click Funnels
  • The Motley Fool

These are big names with quality marketing. And there are hundreds more companies and creators you can ‘spy’ on, learn from, and use for inspiration by following them using Hoppy Copy’s Monitoring tool. Add any brand you want. And It will show all their emails being sent, including many historical emails for brands already being tracked.  

I don’t have time to write all these emails.
And what if I do it wrong?

Don’t worry. We’ve got you.  We have a classic 5-email welcome sequence guide for people who want a framework to follow.  You can get started quickly and knock out the whole series faster than you’d expect.  And no worries.  You’ll find it in our Sequence tool.

Hoppy Copy’s writing tools will give you several versions to choose from.  Mix and match pieces, expand sections, shorten the wording, and change the tone.  You can produce exactly what you need in minutes.

Got it.  Is that everything I need to know?

Nearly.  Just a few more tips to help you succeed.

  • An easy-to-click call-to-action button can increase your click-through rate more than a simple text link.
  • Emails with video have higher click-to-open rates.
  • Increase your open rates by using quality preheader text.
  • Welcome emails that contain an offer get around 30% more revenue than those without.

Even if all you can do right now is one email to welcome your readers, make it count.  Make them feel appreciated and encourage them to connect with your brand.

Don’t leave them eating lunch alone at their desk.

PS - … Still worried about writing your welcome email sequence?  Here’s a video showing you how to use our Sequence tool.  I’m sure you’ll do amazing!

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