How To Build An E-course With Autoresponders

If you’re thinking of selling an e-course, we’ve made it

If you’re thinking of selling an e-course, we’ve made it super simple for you to get it all set up.

The best part? You can charge for your e-course with our PayPal app – and you don’t need any special tech knowledge to do it.

Just focus on writing your email series, and let AWeber and PayPal handle the technical side for you. Here’s how to get started:

Step 1: Make A List

Create a new subscriber list in your AWeber account specifically for your e-course. It’s better to use a new list to keep yourself and your subscribers organized.

Step 2: Write Your Series

Write your e-course as a series of autoresponders – aka follow ups.

Why autoresponders and not plain broadcasts? Because autoresponders send themselves automatically to anyone who registers for your e-course at any time. A person who signs up late can still start fresh at the very beginning of your series.

You can also space the messages out to send automatically over the timeframe you think is appropriate for your course.

Plus, it saves you time. Instead of having to create a new email every week, you can write your entire course in advance and have it go out on its own.

Step 3: Hook Up The App

First, set up a subscription in PayPal for your e-course – their site has quick and easy instructions. You’ll also get a button to put on your site that people can click on to register and pay for your course.

Then, use our PayPal app to set up payment and registration for your e-course – it’s super simple to set up. The app lets you choose a specific list to add people to once PayPal processes their payment – this is where that separate e-course list comes in handy!

Step 4: Launch!

Put your registration button on your site. You’re ready to launch your new e-course!

Wasn’t that simple?

Do You Have An E-course?

Share your experience in the comments! What’s the most successful topic you’ve sold an e-course on? Have you found a perfect length?

Share your sage e-course wisdom with us.


  1. Nancy

    6/13/2013 10:36 am

    Thanks for this post. AWeber is GREAT for e-courses. I am currently running a number of auto-responder courses through your platform. I have also experimented offering e-courses in other formats, e.g., downloadable audio courses, but students seem to prefer receiving the lessons as auto-responders.

  2. Shelby

    6/13/2013 1:37 pm

    I currently use AW for my online e-courses for our nutrition programs. The program runs all by itself (thank goodness!) I don’t use the paypal app currently, I collect payments via Docusign e-contracts.

    Work smarter, not harder!

  3. Bonnie

    6/13/2013 1:37 pm

    Perfect timing! Start-up for writing my e-course starts next week! Thank-you for the tips 🙂

  4. Nathalie

    6/13/2013 1:37 pm

    Thanks for the posts! What if you have audio or video that you’d like to deliver as the course, where would that live or does this model apply only to an E-course that is text-based?

  5. David Vallieres

    6/13/2013 2:05 pm

    I recommend that anyone who hasn’t done this before to give it a try.

    My very first ‘info-product’ online was a course I sold that was delivered 100% by email.

    I still do it today. It does really work very well. It’s a great experience for you because once your course is written it’s on 100% autopilot and it’s a great experience for your audience. Why is it great for them? Think of all the times you’ve searched for that URL and username and password to enter a membership site only to contact their support to figure out how you’re supposed to access the paid-for content. With an e-course all the content is delivered – securely – into each paid members email box. And they can keep it to refer to later at any time. Very convenient!

    Try it, I think you’ll like results.

    David Vallieres

  6. kate

    6/13/2013 2:45 pm

    can you do a video tutorial from start to finish

  7. Susan Elcox

    6/13/2013 3:05 pm

    I am working on e-courses, but on my website, announced my AWeber. Is that what you mean here, or are you thinking the e-course would be right in AWeber only? I like your ideas about AutoResponders. Great idea.

  8. Steve

    6/13/2013 4:16 pm

    Is there any way a subscriber can advance to the next e-course in the autoresponder?

  9. Cindy Youngblood

    6/13/2013 4:44 pm

    I love this idea, it sounds super simple compared to the membership site I just built. Will definitely use this soon and want to hear how its working for others.

  10. Mark

    6/13/2013 5:28 pm

    i was just thinking to start en e-course and this post just comes in handy. building your own product is the way to go to succeed. the paypal integration is really cool and you can build a separate list of buyers at the same time. Thanks Rebekah, very good read.

  11. Jeff Baker

    6/13/2013 5:31 pm

    Question: what if I want the customer to be able to review the course at their own pace? I know I would get frustrated if I “want to know more now” but only get one email (of, say, 15 in ‘the course’) lesson per day. Is there a way to allow the customer to get the email autoresponse lessons at a faster pace?

  12. Richard

    6/13/2013 8:08 pm

    Very interesting! My autoresponder has basically changed into a full (free!) teaching course already with a year’s worth of content in the works!

    I wonder what’s the best way to do this, maybe give a few weeks for free, then charge? Any suggestions?

  13. Andre Gussekloo

    6/13/2013 9:13 pm

    This sounds interesting, but it would be a very “sober” course, e.g. just emails. Can I embed videos or attach PDF documents? What about if I decide the autoresponder mails will just be teasers and I link to material hosted on my site. Should I password-protect that content?

  14. April

    6/14/2013 12:45 am

    I don’t currently have an e-course, but it’s been on my mind. Definitely a great way to manage this process. I will definitely keep this in mind!

  15. Stephen Byrne

    6/14/2013 5:26 am

    Thanks so much, Rebekah. I was looking forward to reading this article. It’s excellent. And exciting! Thank you.


  16. Nancy

    6/14/2013 8:08 am


    You can program different courses as different lists in AWeber. At the end of one course, you can provide instructions (e.g., link to sign up page) for subscribers to sign up for the next course.


    You can attach PDF documents if they’re not too heavy. But to improve deliverability, I’d recommend hosting documents and videos on your site and providing the links in the auto-responder. If you want to password-protect the pages, you could do that. Otherwise, you could just block search engines from indexing the page and assume that no one will find the links who isn’t signed up for the course.


    You could offer a short free course, then use that to encourage people to sign up for your paid course.

  17. Malaika

    6/14/2013 11:57 am

    Hello there,
    How do you create urgency to sign up for a DIY e-course?
    How do you encourage them to follow through with course?
    How do you encourage conversation?

    Just questions I’m asking while creating content for my course.

    Also, want to know how to embed video? Do you send the person to a hidden site page to watch video and get a fun action?

    Anyone else has experience with this?
    Thank you

  18. luisa

    6/14/2013 5:35 pm

    I can not believe that you just sent this now that I am working on my first e-course!! Great info! I will defenetly do it in Aweber, it looks really simple and efficient! I can not stress enough how blown away I am right now by this information.

  19. Ben

    6/15/2013 4:22 am

    I love using AWeber to send out my e-courses, although my e-courses tend to be free giveaways.

    @Richard – If you can I would pitch your course with the first months training for free. If your subscribers have followed you for a full month and are using the content you provide to good effect, they won’t mind paying to see the rest.

    This is how I do it. On the last day of my free eCourse I make my sales pitch and send my subscribers to sales page where they can sign up.

    I hope this helps,


  20. Randall Magwood

    6/15/2013 8:30 pm

    Awesome post. I’ve migrated from the “e-course” to more of an endless email training series for my subscribers. But the e-courses that i’ve seen in the past seem to work well when you’re not emailing everyday, and if you have more than 10 messages in your autoresponder.

  21. Tyronne Ratcliff

    6/19/2013 5:15 pm

    Thanks for sharing this with us Rebekah. I’ll keep you guys in mind when I decide to create my own e-course. The information you just shared will make the whole process of selling an e-course a whole lot smoother. Have a good one!

  22. Oscar

    6/22/2013 12:53 pm

    Great article, thanks!

    When using Paypal, are you referring to a once-off payment or a recurring billing payment? If its recurring billing, how do you stop the billing when the user unsubscribes from a list?


  23. Dennis Marshall

    6/24/2013 9:00 am

    I didn’t know Aweber had this feature where you import people who bout via paypal.

    I have an ecourse I was giving away for free to people who join my real estate list. Reading this, I’m now enticed to create a short ecourse and try this out… Thanks for sharing

  24. Jen Jones

    7/4/2013 1:01 am

    The timing of this article is amazing! I’ve just started working on my ecourse and was deciding what the best way to deliver it will be. I’m going to have mostly audio, but there will be some text as well. I was thinking the text would be in pdf format, but now I will definitely consider doing it the Aweber way! Thanks for the idea!

  25. Paul

    7/20/2013 2:39 am

    Can this be used for information in general instead of building a whole membership site?

  26. lucinda

    10/20/2013 3:35 am

    Ok I’m starting to learn about this ok

  27. Tiq

    1/30/2014 3:58 am

    Interesting. Auto responders are a great tool but I guess for it not to look “spammy” you need to be careful about your email content.

  28. ana pascoa

    2/17/2014 11:07 am

    I’m having problems in my blog, especially in creating email sequence, I am creating a video course on “How to create a wordpress blog”
    It would be very interesting to create a product on autoresponder, but can not without help. Someone has a video course that I can buy? My blog is in Portuguese.

  29. Rebekah Henson

    2/18/2014 9:52 am

    Hi Ana,

    You might want to check out our Knowledge Base for help setting up an autoresponder series:

    Hope that helps!

  30. Jackie Notman

    4/28/2014 6:07 am

    This is really helpful – especially knowing that I can apply the paypal app to just one list.
    My question is regarding the list though. My on line course will start with a free lesson to get an email address. That will be list 1.
    Then if anybody from that lists signs up they will pay via paypal and the app and so will go onto a new list – list 2.
    So, if I want to continue communicating to list one – trying to entice them to buy the course I don’t want to say that stuff to those who have already purchased.
    Is there anyway subscribers can be marked as paid on list one so I can filter them out of prospect communications?
    Hope that makes sense!!
    Thank you

  31. Justin Premick

    4/28/2014 8:28 am

    Hi Jackie,

    There are a couple of ways to handle this:

    – You can use an automation rule to remove people from your prospect list when they join your customer one. More on this here:

    – When creating a broadcast message to be sent to your customers, you can choose to exclude/suppress your prospect list. More on this here: