Do you struggle with procrastination?
Procrastination is one of the biggest struggles I have. Staying focused and getting things done can be difficult, that’s for sure.
For me, it all stems from fear. When I say I procrastinate, I’m not talking about heading to the beach instead of working on my business. I mean “working” on things that are safe. By safe, I mean things that are simple and I’ve done before. Things that don’t scare me.
I’ve been wanting to create an email course as an opt-in for a few months now. I’d wake up in the morning excited to get to my computer and start cranking the course out.
After I had a coffee and actually sat down at my computer I’d end up finding something else I thought I needed to do first and that would bump creating the course down the list.
This would happen time and time again. Can you relate?
I’d finally had enough and decided to find a way to force myself to do it.
I’m so glad I did that.
How did I get around to creating the course?
The craziest part of this whole story is that when I finally buckled down and committed to creating the course, I had the landing page up and was ready to collect emails within about two hours.
Wild, right? Two hours of work and I was ready to have people start my email course.
You’re probably wondering how I did that?
Here’s exactly what I did, in a nutshell.
One of my more popular blog posts taught beginners how to use Pinterest for business.
I created a simple landing page that talked about why Pinterest was so awesome. Then I created a mini-course outline that showed the reader what each of the 5 emails in the course would be about.
I then connected an opt-in form to that landing page in order to collect emails.
Next, I wrote just the first email. When someone signed up for the course they would receive that email right away. So before I could actually send traffic to the landing page I had to at least have that one written.
That’s the only email I wrote at that time. I took a minimum viable product approach, focusing on nothing but what was required to allow me to drive traffic to the landing page.
The course was set up so the subscriber would get the rest of the 5 emails a day apart. The first emails would go out right away, then the second would be 24 hours later and so on.
This is precisely how I put the pressure on myself to get this thing done. I knew if I focused for a couple hours I could create the landing page and write 1 email. To me, that was an easily achievable goal.
Then when I got the first notification that someone subscribed to the course, I had a day to get the next email done.
Each day I had to make sure the email for the next day was complete. How’s that for putting pressure on yourself?
It all worked out great. Five days later, with only a little work each day, I had a completed email course I was proud of.
So, how can you do this?
Let me explain each piece.
How to go from idea to active email collection for your course in 2 hours
First, you’re going to need a course topic.
You don’t want to just throw anything together for the sake of having a course. The course needs to serve a purpose.
If you already have a product you sell, you should focus on making the course a lead up to that product. Think of the course as the first step. What could you teach someone so that when they finished the logical next step was your paid product?
It could be a small portion of your main course. It could be an “Introduction to…” and your main course is more advanced.
Maybe you don’t have a product you’re selling yet. You could be just building your email list because you’re going to launch something down the road. In this case, make sure your course matches what you plan on selling. You don’t want to try to sell people something they’re not at all interested in when it comes down to it.
The course is free and it should be fairly short. I used a 5-day course in mine. I’ve seen others that are 3 days, 7 days and up to 90 days. I would steer clear of anything over 7 days. People tend to lose interest quickly. You really do want to help them and have them finish the full course. Otherwise, they’re probably not going to pay much attention to you when you go to sell something.
Here’s a little shortcut. Think about the content you’ve already created. Do you have a blog post teaching people how to do something? You could break it down and expand on it to make it a course. Maybe you have a podcast or a video series? You can do the same thing. Repurpose it as free course content. Don’t recreate the dang wheel!
In my case, I had a comprehensive blog post about how to get started with Pinterest for business. A good portion of the content was already there, I just broke it up into sections and expanded a little on each. It was SO much easier than starting from scratch.
I’m sure you have something you can use as a starting point. If ya’ got it, use it! Don’t create extra work for yourself.
Create The Landing Page
Most people think that creating the landing page should be the last step. No No No! The key is to make it your first step.
Let me explain.
Your landing page is going to serve as a guide for you in creating the course. I mentioned above that one of the sections of the landing page was an overview of what the subscriber is going to receive in each daily lesson.
I didn’t have these lessons created. They were created based on the course overview I used on the landing page. It’s a lot easier to see how the course will flow if you look at it from a high level.
Each day you can refer back to the landing page and build out the lesson you promised the reader. You don’t have to scramble thinking about what you should teach next. It’s already there, you just need to expand.
For this particular course, I wanted to create my landing page like a miniature sales page. Instead of just throwing up an opt-in box saying subscribe for my free 5-day course I wrote it like I was trying to sell it (even though it was free).
There were two reasons I did this.
- I was hoping this would lead to a higher opt-in rate than if I just put up the form on its’s own. Like I said, I was almost trying to sell the free course. I explained how great Pinterest is, what the benefits of using Pinterest are and what’s included in the course. These are some of the exact elements you’ll see on most sales pages.
- I wanted to have an outline to work from. Just typing up an outline in Google docs and following that each day would leave the door open for me to change things up or get lazy. Promising the reader something specific forced me to stick to my outline and deadline. Remember how much of a procrastinator I am? I know myself so I set it up in a way that I could not put this off.
I used LeadPages to create my landing page. There are all kinds of different ways (free & paid) to create landing pages. LeadPages is my favorite. It’s, by far, the easiest landing page builder I’ve used.
Plus, it works like a charm with my autoresponder (more on this below).
If you want to check out LeadPages, you can see it here. If you’re not super technically inclined, I’d highly recommend it.
I started building the page using the Parent Blog Sales Page template. The template doesn’t matter all that much because you’ll be editing it for your specific needs. It acts as a starting point. Choose one that looks good to you, and go from there.
If you’re already a landing page pro then go ahead and create one in whatever software you’re most comfortable with.
If you’re new to landing pages just follow this guide.
There are 5 important elements you should try to include on your landing page.
First, always start with your opt-in form as the first element. You want it to be the first thing someone sees. Use a strong headline (and a subheading if you want). Add your opt-in box with a call to action. Here’s what mine looks like.
With your call to action, try to avoid generic things like “Sign Up” or “Join”. Use something that gets the reader excited. Bonus points if it makes them feel like they’re telling you what to do.
Example: “Sign Up” makes me feel like you’re telling me to sign up and I’m accepting. “Yes! Send me the course!” makes me feel like I’m telling you to send it to me. I feel like I’m in control.
Interesting, isn’t it? This one small thing can have a huge impact.
The second element I used was a little introduction. I reassured the reader that the methods they’ll learn are not out-of-date. I also told them the course wasn’t trash…lol!
Here’s what that section looks like. It’s super simple.
The third element is important. It’s where you want to dispell any myths. In mine, I talked about things they may have heard that would keep them from using Pinterest. There’s a good chance that if someone believed any of these myths, they wouldn’t bother with the course. You want to overcome any objections they might have.
The fourth element was describing why Pinterest is so great. This helps push the reader to want to sign up for the course because they realize the potential Pinterest has.
Here’s what that section looks like. Keep it simple.
The last element was the most important, specifically for me. This was the outline of the course. I explained what each of the 5 emails would cover. This is what served as my guide in creating the course.
Some of the descriptions are also meant to intrigue the reader. I tried to keep them simple and brief but also leave them wondering. Day 4, for example, I said I would let them know what the biggest mistakes people make on Pinterest are. That gets people thinking. The reader gets curious and is more inclined to sign up. Sneaky! Well, not really…smart!
Then, at the bottom, I added one more opt-in form so the people that read through the whole landing page could sign up right there instead of scrolling back out. This is just a case of making things as easy as possible for the reader. Anything friction decreases your chance of getting that subscriber.
Here’s the live landing page if you want to see what it looks like all together.
Connecting Your Opt-In To Your Landing Page
The next thing you have to do is to connect your opt-in form to your landing page. Oh, the tech…the tech!
LeadPages doesn’t actually collect email addresses. You need another service (autoresponder) to collect the emails for you.
If you’ve already got another autoresponder in place feel free to connect it to your landing page and move onto the next step.
The first thing you need to do is create a new opt-in form specifically for your course.
Click on Create Form under the Forms menu.
Sidenote: You can actually skip LeadPages by using a ConvertKit landing page. I’ve never used their landing pages. They are less customizable. It’s up to you.
Click A Form.
Just choose form style on the far right, the most basic one.
Don’t worry about the content section. Move right along to Settings.
Name the Form whatever you’d like.
Now you can choose what happens when the visitor subscribes. You can show a success message or redirect them to a thank-you page. It’s completely up to you.
Any of the other settings are optional.
All you really need to do is Create the Form and Name it. Then save it. Don’t worry too much about the rest for now.
Create the “Sequence” and Write The First Email
After you’ve created and saved your form you need to create a sequence. This is the actual course content.
Under the Sequences Menu click on Create Sequence.
Name the Sequence whatever you want (related to your course).
Now you’re ready to write your first email.
You may see some default emails in the sequence when you start. ConvertKit has these in there as placeholders. Remove all the default emails until you’re left with one.
At this point, you are ready to write the first email.
Once you’re done with that first email, change the status to Published and change the Delay Sending By to 0 days after subscription. This will change it so the email is delivered as soon as someone subscribes.
Now click Save All.
You’ve not got the first lesson complete. Well done!
Connect The Form To The Sequence
Now we need to connect the opt-in form to the sequence (email course). This is so simple in ConvertKit (that’s why I love this software).
In the Automations Menu click on Add Rule.
For your trigger, you want to select Subscribes to a form and find the form you just created for this course.
Then the action is going to be Subscribe to a sequence. This is where you choose the sequence you just created.
Then click save rule.
Connect Your ConvertKit Opt-In to your LeadPages Landing Page
Integrating ConvertKit and LeadPages is super-duper easy. You can do it via LeadPages in the integrations menu. You’ll find detailed instructions on how to connect them up inside LeadPages.
To connect your newly-created ConvertKit opt-in form to LeadPages click on the form on your landing page (in the LeadPages landing page builder). This will bring up the integrations menu.
Click Add an Integration. Find ConvertKit and select the form you’ve created. The Click save.
That’s all you need to do.
Now everyone who signs up via your LeadPages landing page will be automatically added to your email list on ConvertKit and will start receiving the sequence you created.
Writing the Remaining Emails
Now, depending on how long your course is, you’ve got more emails to write. If you decided to only write the first one (like I did to get started) you’ll have to keep an eye out for subscribers once you share the landing page.
As soon as you get that first subscriber you have a day to get the next email written. The same goes for the remaining emails after that. Each email is required a day after the one before it.
If you’re a keener just go ahead and write all the emails right away. That way you’re not under any pressure as people enter the course. It’s all done, you just need to drive traffic to the landing page.
If you’re a procrastinator, like me, that first subscriber will light a fire under your ass!
Follow the outline laid out on the landing page, that’s all you need to do. You promised to provide the subscriber with a specific lesson each day. Write that! Or record a video or whatever you want to do. That’s it!
Light That Fire More Often
If you have trouble getting things done (or even started) try to use this strategy where you can. Find ways to force yourself to get things done, and on schedule.
In this particular case, all I had to do was set up a simple landing page and write a single email. That wasn’t too big of a jump. Finishing just those two pieces created a true sense of urgency to finish the rest of the course.
If you’ve read this far you must be pretty serious about putting together a course. I challenge you to build your landing page and write your first email.
Leave a comment letting me know when you’re landing page is live and the course is ready.