The Public Relations BlogDigital PRContent & InboundI Created a Free 28 Day Email Course and This Happened

I Created a Free 28 Day Email Course and This Happened

A DIY content marketing experiment that exceeded my expectations.

Cover photo: @jerrysilfwer


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

I just wanted to test if there’s any interest in the type of insights I might have to share if I com­piled them into an email course. 

After all, email com­mu­nic­a­tions are still underrated.

I had a one-week email course five years ago, but that was before I had an actu­al email list. Now that the email course has been live, I want to share what I’ve learned.

Here we go:

Why I Wanted To Convey Ideas Instead of To-Do’s

I wanted my email les­sons to serve as short but inspir­ing aha moments.

I know that send­ing 28 emails for 28 days straight is quite a big ask. 

Therefore, I 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.”

How I Managed To Get Enough Content for the Course

It took me the bet­ter part of a work­ing day to write 20 drafts. 

It also took me an hour to cre­ate a land­ing page and tweak some menu items and links on the blog. 

Then, I pub­lished an early draft of the course to get a few sign-ups, which forced me (in a good way!) to final­ize all those 28 emails in time.

Please note: If you’re char­ging for the course, invest in a pro­fes­sion­al to proofread and copy-edit your email course. My email course was free, but I still regret not doing this.

Setting Up an Email Automation Drip Was Easy 

The tool setup couldn’t be any easi­er. I cre­ated an auto­mated respon­der in Mailchimp. Very easy to use and very easy to set up. 

I used an ele­ment­ary tem­plate because most email send-outs do bet­ter when they look like emails often do.

Affiliate: I use Mailchimp as my default email list manager.

How I Managed To Promote the Email Course 

I pro­moted the email course with 20 USD on Facebook and sent it to my email list, but you could do so much more.

Results: In 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 and manu­ally unsub­scribed about 20+ people. And only sev­en people have emailed me about vari­ous tech­nic­al difficulties.

I Unsubscribed Competitors Behaving Like Douchebags

Unsubscribe people who mis­be­have — it’s your list and your giveaways.

A few people emailed me back to give me “advice”:

For some reas­on, they’ve all been male Swedish digit­al mar­keters aged 35 – 45 who seemed angry with me for shar­ing know­ledge. Why they bothered to sign up will remain an irony, I guess.

I unsub­scribed them with a polite notice explain­ing why I did so.

Affiliate: I use Email List Validation to pro­tect my sender’s repu­ta­tion by keep­ing my PR email lists free from boun­cing emails.

Yes, I Would Consider Doing Another Course

All in all, I think cre­at­ing an email course like this was 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 it, you’ve got your­self a great mar­ket­ing asset!

Update 2020-12-18: The email course is now unpub­lished since it’s due for an update. I’m also con­sid­er­ing pub­lish­ing an online PR course.

Signature - Jerry Silfwer - Doctor Spin

Thanks for read­ing. Please sup­port my blog by shar­ing art­icles with oth­er com­mu­nic­a­tions and mar­ket­ing pro­fes­sion­als. You might also con­sider my PR ser­vices or speak­ing engage­ments.

PR Resource: Pavlov’s Inbox

Spin Academy | Online PR Courses

Pavlov’s Inbox

Most email pro­ductiv­ity sys­tems (e.g. Inbox Zero and sim­il­ar sys­tems) focus on struc­ture and effi­ciency. Such sys­tems run the risk of reward­ing unfa­vour­able sender behaviours.

  • If you allow, your inbox can eas­ily become oth­er people’s agenda for your time.

Pavlov’s Inbox is a sys­tem built around the psy­cho­lo­gic­al idea that your inbox prob­lems aren’t email prob­lems — they’re sender problems. 

Pavlov’s Inbox assumes that you can influ­ence the beha­viours of those send­ing you emails — via conditioning.

  • Reward favour­able email senders. Reward senders by reply­ing swiftly and doing as much work as possible.
  • Punish unfa­vour­able email senders. Punish senders by politely push­ing work back to where it came from.

The typ­ic­al res­ult of Pavel’s Inbox is that you quickly get more and more good emails from favour­able senders and few­er and few­er bad emails from unfa­vour­able senders.

  • The basic rule of beha­vi­our­al psy­cho­logy is that you get more of what you reinforce.

How To Reward Favourable Senders

  • Reply swiftly and thoughtfully.
  • Eliminate their work by put­ting in work yourself.
  • Include praise or oth­er pos­it­ive reinforcement.
  • Express an interest in their work.

How To Punish Unfavourable Senders

  • De-pri­or­it­ise their emails (let them wait).
  • Instead of doing work, push work back.
  • Ask them to qual­i­fy their requests.
  • Question the valid­ity of their reasoning.

Please note that the pun­ish­ing aspect should be executed in a socially viable man­ner (since being con­front­a­tion­al or aggress­ive as “pun­ish­ment” is likely det­ri­ment­al to your pro­fes­sion­al repu­ta­tion).

Learn more: Pavlov’s Inbox

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Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwer, alias Doctor Spin, is an awarded senior adviser specialising in public relations and digital strategy. Currently CEO at Spin Factory and KIX Communication Index. Before that, he worked at Kaufmann, Whispr Group, Springtime PR, and Spotlight PR. Based in Stockholm, Sweden.

The Cover Photo

The cover photo isn't related to public relations obviously; it's just a photo of mine. Think of it as a 'decorative diversion', a subtle reminder that it's good to have hobbies outside work.

The cover photo has



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