You know you need to grow your audience and email list before you launch your course. Maybe even heard that you need at least 1000 subscribers before you even think about it.

So far so good, no? Except, if you don't already have said audience... you're kinda screwed.

Stay with me here. If you don't have an audience and you want to launch your course now, I have 5 strategies you can try this week to fast-track your email list growth.

Now, important disclaimer. These strategies may cost you time, money or effort. Choose the one that fits what you can invest!

Run paid ads to your lead magnet

When I first started building my business and creating courses, I had the belief that you shouldn't run ads in your business until you're making big money and want to scale further.

For me, ads were the next step after having an organic foundation. Not a way to fast-track your way to having an audience without spending months on it.

You do want to make sure you've got your niche, messaging and offers down before you spend a cent on ads though.

But if you know what you're selling, to whom and why - ads can help you grow your email list and be ready to start selling consistently in weeks rather than months or years.

When you've got your lead magnet or freebie ready (preferably if it's in a topic that matches your course topic closely), start running lead gen ads to your landing page and see your email list grow with ease.

If you need help figuring out how to run profitable ads, I highly recommend Laurel Portié's membership (it's just $7/mo but holy cow the value is priceless).

Last year I decided it was finally time to start running ads in my business. I didn't have time to wait years or spend tons of time on organic growth strategies, but I did have a budget for paid ads.

I was able to get to my first 100 email subscribers in two weeks thanks to my ads.

For this strategy to grow your list quickly, you'll need...

  • Money: ★★★
  • Effort: ★☆☆
  • Skill level: ★★★
  • Time: ★★☆
Free templates

Supercharge your landing pages + opt-in forms with these lead magnet mock-up templates

2. Host a joint-venture webinar with someone who has the audience you want to target

Does your course launch include... webinars? If so, this is something you probably want to give some serious consideration to!

Joint venture webinars are webinars you teach to someone else's community. That means you don't need to have a big audience of your own, you can leverage someone else's community!

Talk about fast-tracking your results.

Teaching a free training to someone else's audience will help you:

  • Get in front of your ideal audience quickly without having to spend months, tons of cash or putting a lot of effort building an audience.
  • Gain a lot of exposure from the promotion your JV partner will do of your webinar
  • Position yourself as an authority and start building your reputation
  • Drive sales and generate cashflow even if it's your first time launching a course
  • Increased credibility from being recommended by someone this community trusts

You get tons of benefits. But what does the entrepreneur you partner with get out of this? Money.

Normally JV webinars are affiliate events for the party that brings the audience. You will want to agree with them beforehand on a commission fee tha they will receive for every sale you make from the JV webinar.

The best part is that this method has no risk for you. You don't have to pay them upfront and pray that you make sales. Instead, you get to teach an epic class and then pay a commission fee from the sales generated. Woot, woot!

That said, this strategy may involve a bit more effort since you need to create and teach a class. But if you already planned to do it for your launch anyway, it's not extra effort!

To host a JV webinar to grow your list, you'll need...

  • Money: ★☆☆
  • Effort: ★★★
  • Skill level: ★☆☆
  • Time: ★☆☆

(psst, need a sleek webinar presentation template? I've got you covered!)

The Zero-Fuss Course Creation Toolkit Preview

Quickly create your online course with customizable, done-for-you templates.

Get access to lesson presentation templates, guided webinar slide-decks, workbook templates, plug & play launch plans, pricing calculators, course name + tagline generators, social media graphics pack, and more! 

3. Find affiliate partners for your course launch

Uh oh, your launch doesn't include a webinar? Is your schedule too packed to teach extra sessions? No worries. This one is for you.

It's very similar to the JV webinar but instead of teaching a class and your partner getting a commission, they will do the heavy lifting for you.

You want to reach out to a handful of people in your niche that have the audience you want to target (or very similar to avoid direct competition) and offer them the chance to become affiliates for your course.

As affiliates, they will earn a percentage of every sale they drive through their affiliate links.
So, it's up to them how and when they promote their affiliate link and you don't really have to do anything, unless you want to.

For example, if you want to make it easier for them to promote your course, you could do the following:

  • Give them prewritten email copy that they can customize to save them time and also make sure your course is described accurately
  • Include premade promo graphics they can share with their emails, put on their websites or share on social media (along with captions, if you want?)
  • Make their affiliate link easily accessible so it's always handy and there's no obstacles to promoting your course

For online courses, affiliate fees tend to be around 25-50%. But find the % that you feel comfortable with. Just keep in mind, it needs to be worth it for them to promote your course. If they only make $25 per sale, they may not be too excited to share it.

Need a system to host your courses, sell them AND have an affiliate program? Check Thrivecart out (affiliate link). I use it and highly recommend it. You can get lifetime access for a one time fee for a limited time.

To attract affiliate partners to promote your course, you'll need...

  • Money: ★☆☆
  • Effort: ★☆☆
  • Skill level: ★☆☆
  • Time: ★☆☆
Free guide

Go from course idea to launch with this step by step roadmap

4. Book podcast interviews leading up to your course launch

Let's talk about podcasts. Being a guest on a podcast can help you build authority and connect with your ideal audience easily. But... if you need to build an audience fast to launch your course, one podcast won't do.

You'll want to find many podcasts you can be a guest speaker on so you have a better chance to reach your audience goals before your course launch kicks off.

Podcasts fill up way in advance so you'll need careful planning and, frankly, a bit of luck to pull it off. But if you do... You're in for a treat.

First step is making a list of every podcast you could be a guest at. Prioritize podcasts with audiences that match yours so you know for sure you're attracting the right crowd.

Start reaching out to the hosts and their teams and make a compelling argument for why you'd make an amazing guest and propose a release date that fits your launch schedule.

Will you get everyone to say yes? Probably not. But reach out to as many as you can and see what kind of response you get back. Time to put your marketer hat on and negotiate with them to get on the podcast, my friend 😉

At the end of the episode, you'll often get the opportunity to tell people where to find you and/or promote something. Use this chance to promote a juicy lead magnet to attract more people to your email list ahead of your launch.

To leverage podcasts to grow your audience, you'll need...

  • Money: ☆☆☆
  • Effort: ★★★
  • Skill level: ★☆☆
  • Time: ★★★
Free templates

Supercharge your landing pages + opt-in forms with these lead magnet mock-up templates

5. Paid sponsorships and newsletter blasts

So far, all of the strategies in this list have required money, effort, or time. This one is only going to cost you money but it can be a massive catalyst for your business.

You want to find people in your field that have the audience you want to target with your course and sponsor them to promote you to their audience.

Unlike the JV webinar where you have to teach a class to their audience AND give the host a commission of every sale; or like having affiliates that promote it for you but you have little control of what they say, when and how...

The beauty of sponsorships is that you pay them to promote you in a very specific way so you have control and fixed expenses. For example, you can pay them to send an email (or newsletter blast) to their entire list promoting your webinar, challenge or lead magnet.

Depending on their email list size, you could be paying anywhere from $500 to thousands of dollars for this sponsorship and to get promoted to their email list.

But if it's the right fit, you will get that back and then some with your launch (and future launches, cause those who don't buy now will likely buy in the future!).

Having a set fee without commissions means once you break even, you keep the rest of the profit. You don't have to pay more the more sales you make.

Important: Avoid promoting a paid offer here, as not everyone will be ready for it and you'll lose out on hundreds of email subscribers as a result. Promote a really juicy free offer.

It'll bring you an influx of new email subscribers that you can now launch your course to!

Most important thing to remember is to find the perfect audience for your launch. That'll take some time digging to figure out who to target and then reaching out with your proposal.

If you're sponsoring someone to promote your challenge or webinar, make sure they do it a few days before the challenge kickoff or webinar session date. Promoting these too soon or too late can have expensive consequences.

To offer paid sponsorships or buy newsletter blasts to grow your list, you'll need...

  • Money: ★★★
  • Effort: ★☆☆
  • Skill level: ★☆☆
  • Time: ★★☆

Bonus: In the future, when your own audience and email list have grown, you can offer a cross promotion instead. You'll promote their offer to your email list, and they will promote your offers to theirs.

Over to you - Are you going to try any of these to build your email list ahead of your course launch?

If you've been holding back from creating and launching your course because you don't have an audience or email list, this is it.

Follow any of the strategies I listed above and you'll see how quickly you can grow an email list full of your ideal subscribers. Your course launch will be ah-mazing.

If you're not ready for these and prefer to take your time to grow your audience organically, stick around. I'll share more about organic strategies too soon.

Is there another way to grow your list in a short period of time that I didn't include? Let me know in the comments, and I'll update the post. 

About the Author

I'm passionate about helping course creators get their courses in the hands of more students with ease so they can build a profitable business that fulfills them.

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