Email marketing Funnels The Art Of Selling Online Courses

How To Use Email Marketing To Sell More Online Courses By Engaging The Right Audience With Allen Matthews

Allen Matthews is the founder and content creator at Classical Guitar Shed where he teaches people how to play classical guitar. He started his online course business in 2013 and for two years, his only focus was delivering massive value through his website and blog. Two years later he launched his first online course and today he makes over $400K per year.

In this episode of “The Art of Selling Online Courses: Winning Strategies & Secret Hacks From Top Performers”, Allen is going to share with us how he did it, reveal his entire tripwire funnel and shows us behind the scenes of what happens after a visitor becomes a lead and later on converts to a customer.

Allen goes on to share what a big difference one tactic made in increasing conversions and overall audience engagement. That tactic was adding a $7 tripwire right after his website visitors would sign up for a freebie, a total of $2,5K a month or somewhere around $30K per year in revenue.

We also get a peek inside his email nurturing and segmentation strategy as he walks us through tactics that include segmenting his audience just as they become subscribers, nurturing content and the use of a bridge sequence that introduces his offer.


For more interviews and tips on building funnels to sell more online courses, join our Facebook group for Advanced Online Course Creators.

What You’ll Learn In Today’s Interview:

  • How a tripwire builds trust with your audience
  • How to segment your audience as they enter your email list and why
  • How to segment your audience by engagement KPIs 
  • How to use email marketing to nurture your audience from cold, warm to hot
  • What is a bridge and how to use it to prepare your leads for a pitch
  • What a pitch email sequence looks like
  • How to introduce a downsell via an automated email sequence to warm leads

Ideas Worth Sharing:

“It’s about weeding people who are out for immediate results, it’s more about just targeting the people who are interested about the craft of playing, and that’s what classical guitar is, ongoing study, and it is also about what my membership is, so my content speaks directly to those qualities and those persons” – Allen Matthews

“Your suggestion was just go right to a tripwire. And so I did that and that’s been a great improvement. But those come in constantly, it’s somewhere around 130 to 150 of those a month little $7 things and oftentimes people will also get upsells with those” – Allen Matthews

“(the bridge sequence) starts talking about the course just a little bit at a time, and then the day before the pitch is supposed to hit their inbox, they get a reminder that they should be on the lookout for that offer. They get three emails that are saying the pitch is coming” – Allen Matthews

“There’s a few clever things there: You are finding who is your hottest people because you don’t want to make a pitch to somebody until they are hot, you are giving them a build up so they are excited about what’s coming, three times you’re doing that so that they can get really excited about it in advance, and then you move into the pitch itself” – John Ainsworth

“I have a different pitch to people who are beginners versus intermediate”  – Allen Matthews

“How many people stick around for month 2 – we’ve seen 30% is reasonably common, and 50% is working very well. We’ve used a consumption sequence to get from 30% to 50%” – John Ainsworth

“One of the things we’ve seen work very well in terms of launches is layering all the different tactics together, like warm up content, going live on Facebook, plus a challenge, plus webinars, plus the sales copy and downsell, it all comes together… If you have the time to do it, it just works amazingly” – John Ainsworth

Resources In This Video Interview:

This interview is part of our video series “The Art Of Selling Online Courses”, where we talk with top performers about their winning strategies and secret hacks. When you join our Facebook group “Advanced Online Course Creators” you will be able to see the full videos and get more exclusive content to help you grow and scale your online course business.


Two Best Sales Funnels For Online Course Creators

I work with amazing online course creators. They are great at what they do – creating and improving courses, communicating with students… That’s their full-time job. On top of that, they are trying to figure out how to scale their business, and to learn all the best ways to do that. I admire them. It’s not easy to do all of that. 

There are so many different suggestions out there about how to market your online course:  drive more traffic, run more ads, start a YouTube channel, record your own podcast, do a webinar, write more SEO friendly content, set up a funnel… It’s overwhelming.

Do you feel the same? 

I can’t tell you what to do in other marketing areas, because I’m not an expert on everything. But when it comes to funnels, I will share with you three proven strategies for scaling your online course business.

You don’t have to learn about all of the different sales funnels. I’m going to give you a shortcut so you can implement what’s proven to work. I talked about this in a lot more detail, with many examples, in my webinar, Funnels for online course creators. 

But if you want a short summary or you prefer to read, then keep reading 🙂

There are two funnels that we use on a regular basis at Data-Driven Marketing because they are the best for online course creators. These are:

  • The tripwire funnel 
  • The webinar funnel

We also spend a lot of time on email promotions, because they’re such a great way of getting customers into your funnel. Email promotion to a funnel is the third most effective tactic for selling more online courses.

Ok, now that you know, let me give you useful resources about these three tools, so you can go ahead and set them up. 


A tripwire offer is a cheap but useful offer you give to your audience right after they sign up for your lead magnet (a free gift you give to your audience to subscribe to your list). The idea behind a tripwire is simple: make an irresistible low-cost offer to gain a new customer. 

Once people have bought an inexpensive item from you, they are more likely to purchase something else. Additionally, if your traffic is high enough, your tripwire sales can cover your ad costs. That’s the real value of a tripwire funnel. 

Using this method gives you the best opportunity to upsell your new buyer once they are in your sales funnel. If you’re interested in turning more visitors into buyers, then read this blog post.


The webinar funnel is a bit more complex and it will take you more time to set it up. But webinar is a great tool for selling online courses. 

Webinars are great for building trust and showing people how you can help them. They’re a powerful tool. You can set up an automated webinar funnel and then you’ll be literally making money on autopilot. It’s not easy, but it is possible. 

One of our former clients, James from BNB Mastery, has an automated funnel that brings him 271% ROI.

This is what an ideal webinar funnel looks like:

I wrote a very detailed guide on how to create the ideal webinar funnel. You can read it here

Creating an evergreen automated webinar funnel is one of our specialties. If you need help, book a call here.


Some of the best online course creators I work with do at least two email promotions to their list monthly. They are great at using all the resources they already have. 

If you have an email list and people who applied to receive useful content from you – use it!

Can it really make a big difference?

One of our clients, Seonaid, is making an additional $10,000 per month just because she started doing two promotions per month. If your email list is smaller, your results won’t be like hers but it will still make you additional money.

Is email promotion a funnel? No, but you can send people to a funnel from your email promotion offer. If you add an upsell and order bump to your offer. 

Upsell is a more expensive offer you show to people after they’ve bought something. Usually, it’s related to what they already bought and it can be your other course or level 2 of what they already purchased. 

An order bump is a small offer shown on the order page. People can just check the checkbox to include the order bump in their offer. It can be a workbook or something additional that goes well with the purchase. 

Both of those can increase your average cart value and your profit. 

I hope you see now there’s no need to try and figure out everything by yourself. You now know what works and what are best funnels for online course creators. 

If you end up stuck at any point, need help, or have additional questions book a call here.