a deep dive into the latest trend in course creation
Students want to try before they buy
Scenario 1: Your course is packed with value. Your live facilitation, video production, site copy, supplemental templates... all best-in-class. But from the student's perspective, spending multiple hundreds (or thousands!) of dollars is still hard to justify from a landing page alone.
Scenario 2: You're at the beginning of your creator journey — ideas are smashing around in your brain like particles at the large hadron collider. It's time to turn your perspective into tangible, income-producing assets. Without an audience, that's gonna be harder than you might expect. So how are you going to get customers into your funnel?
In the simplest terms: You need to de-risk the buying process for your prospective students.
There's still a lot to be learned about EBCs
I'm a guide, not a guru (although I had a pretty cool mustache a few months back) — but here's what I do know after 1400 paid students, a 68% open rate, and 100+ glowing reviews:
- They'll explode your email list overnight
- They're an easy entry point for the student-teacher relationship
- They convert 4x better than traditional top-of-funnel assets
Let me be super clear
An EBC should stand on its own as a valuable, education-oriented product, with a transformation promise that is abundantly clear. An EBC is NOT an opportunity to send 5 emails with 5 upsells. Treat your EBC participants with this level of respect and conversion becomes the natural consequence.
A great email-based course turns the inbox into a classroom. It is a discrete container for your expertise.
This means going beyond a simple email "sequence" by incorporating principles of learning experience design, student autonomy, and elements of surprise and delight.
An EBC is not a newsletter — don't treat it like one.
Email-based courses are the HIIT workouts of online education.
The learner gets the benefit of short-form, high-impact content (~750 words per email), over a period of time such that a long-form transformation can be delivered (10-20 emails). And best of all, there's a sensation of a developing relationship. When done right, an EBC simulates a daily conversation between student and teacher.
This course is a great fit for creators...
➕ With existing courses that want to convert more students
➕ Looking to test a new course concept
➕ Wanting to add an evergreen email course to an existing business
➕ Early in the journey, looking to build their email list
➕ With a perspective on something!
It’s a less great fit for creators...
✖️ Who aren't willing to think and work hard... EBCs aren't easy
"Actionable takeaways within five minutes of digging into it. Huge value." — Dickie Bush, Ship30for30
"Sometimes, to build something ambitious, you need a path to follow. For the past 2 months, I’ve been working with Will to create an email course — he has an insane ability to synthesize huge amounts of information and organize that info into a coherent narrative... I’m extremely proud of the final product" — Andrew Barry, Course Creators Collective & Course of Action
"You have done a fabulous job of putting together your program and taking me from someone who had literally next to no idea what you were banging on about to being really excited about the idea of creating an EBC as a top option for my own teaching work.” — Sir Steven Wilkinson, Good & Prosper
"I launched my email course a couple of weeks after taking Will’s course. 600+ subscribers now.” — Richard Clarke, Athlete Agility Lab
Hi, I'm Will. Here's my shtick in three dots.
- Founder of Big Later, the internet’s most entertaining crash course on personal finance, investing, and employee equity
- Spent 6 years at Salesforce in strategy, growth, enablement, and partnership roles
- Free time goes towards practicing Brazilian jiu-jitsu and doing all the outdoor sh*t you can do in Bend, OR (which is where I call home)
It started out as an experiment in internet learning...
Two years ago I set out to test a kooky idea: could I deliver a transformational learning experience, covering more than 25 topics over the course of a month, entirely through email?
After hundreds of hours developing, optimizing, rebuilding, refining, and occasionally screaming at my computer... The resounding answer is "yes". And best of all, the regular follow-up question from readers was always, “where can I get more?"
You'll walk away with everything you need to create your own EBC. That means a comprehensive playbook breaking down strategy and tactics that can be put to immediate use. And better yet, with the accompanied EBC Builder tool, you'll have a course outline, at least one complete email, and your automations underway, because learning is doing.
Learning Experience Design
A great educational experience guides the student through their own transformation. The inbox is not a classroom. It's not a live zoom call. However, employing a handful of techniques CAN make it an amazing place to learn. From how you craft your curriculum to the copy in individual emails, I'll cover the whole gamut through the lens of LED.
One of the best things about email-based courses is the simplicity of the tech stack. Be that as it may... there are all kinds of tricks that I've picked up over the past 2 years that improve the learner's experience. Skipping weekends, self-pacing, deliverability improvements — everything at the intersection of an Email Service Provider, Survey Tool, Landing Page, and Zapier.
Your content is the soul of your course. And with the email format, long-form copy is king. Fortunately, readability is a surprisingly tactical affair, and there are great strategies (and templates) for crafting your voice and executing the perfect 1-cup-of-coffee email.
Should I go paid or free? There are numerous trade-offs to consider around your business model that ultimately dictate aspects of your launch strategy, growth levers (referral programs anyone?), and messaging.
All the ticky tacky things I wish I had known at the outset of my email course creation journey (that would've taken months off my learning curve). And, as always, lots of laughs.
SAMPLE: For $0 you get...
- The first chapter (it's like an EBC inside an EBC! Takes about 10 minutes to cruise through)