If you're encountering issues or warning notifications while you're attempting to send an announcement or promotional email, then these troubleshooting steps should help. In addition, this article includes steps you can take to help avoid formatting and delivery errors.
Troubleshooting Announcement And Promotional Email Delivery Issues
If you're encountering a warning notification regarding links, please note that external links are not permitted in promotional emails, and Udemy course links cannot be sent in announcements. Please remove these links and try again.
False External Link Warnings
If you don't have any external links, the announcement and promotional email editor may be mistaking a string of text with a period in the middle as a link. Removing any unnecessary punctuation, and ensuring there's a space after every period, may resolve this. For example, the text "Here's a great deal.My course is only $15." could trigger the external link warning, because of "deal.My".
Occasionally false warnings for links can also occur when a promotional email or announcement is copied and pasted from another source (Microsoft Word, Google Doc, etc.). We recommend instructors compose the notification using the text editor, as embedded formatting may cause unexpected issues. Pasting the copy into the announcement and promotional email tool with no formatting intact, may also resolve the issue.
Sending Promotional Emails to Free Courses
Ensure that you are not attempting to send a promotional email to any free courses you're teaching. Promotional emails are not permitted to be sent to free courses.
If you continue to encounter issues sending your notification, please contact Udemy support and include its text, and any images you're including, so we can trouble shoot the issue further. Sending a screenshot of the error sign you're seeing will also help the support team.
The Course Has Been Changed From “Free” to “Paid” Too Many Times
Instructors are always free to change their courses from free to paid, or paid to free. Once a course is published our system starts tracking "free to paid" switches, and if more than one "free to paid" switch is made the ability to send promotional emails to this course is disabled. Here are a few scenarios, and their implications for promotional emails:
1- Publish a course as free, and switch the course to paid - promotional emails not affected
2- Publish a course as paid, switch to free, switch to paid, switch it to free, switch it back to paid - promotional emails disabled
3- Publish as free, switch to paid, switch to free, switch paid - promotional emails disabled
The amount of changes is different in these scenarios, but if you look closely, you can see that in both cases where promotional emails are disabled, the published course changes from free to paid twice.
Are You Listed as a Visible Instructor?
In order to send a promotional email or announcement, you must be listed as a visible instructor for the course. If you're not listed as visible instructor, then the Create icon will not be active on the Communications page.
For more information on instructor permissions and how to edit them, please click here.
Attempting to Send Emojis in Your Message
The announcement and promotional email text editor does not support emojis, so do not include emojis in your message. Doing so will cause formatting and delivery errors.
Formatting Issues in Sent Messages
As noted above, we recommend creating your message in the announcement and promotional email text editor, rather than copying and pasting in your message, to help avoid unexpected formatting issues.
A clear and compelling subject line for your promotional emails can draw the attention of your students, and prompt them to open and read your messages. On the other hand, if a subject line sounds too "salesy" and cliche, it can turn students away and they are likely to unsubscribe from your promotional emails.
Here are some best practices to help you get the attention of your students.
- Keep subject lines short and concise
- Data shows that students often ignore emails with long subject lines.
- Avoid subject lines with exclamation marks, phrases in all capital letters, or very splashy and spammy language
- Subject lines with exclamation marks and in all capital letters often perform poorly with students. Students may unsubscribe from emails, which will prevent them from receiving your future notifications.
- Give your students a compelling reason to open the email but avoid overused words like ‘free’, ‘sale’, ‘% off’
- Overused words like free can often trigger spam filters and make your promotional emails sound cliche, so when crafting subject lines, consider creating an occasion around your promotion. The occasion could be the time of year, a birthday, a personal achievement, etc. For example, you could offer a special promotion on your course during the week of your birthday. The subject line to the promotional email could be “Celebrate with me this week”.
- Consider framing subject lines as questions
- For example, you want to send a promotional email about your new course on the common mistakes beginner entrepreneurs often make. The subject line framed as a question could be “Why do the majority of all entrepreneurs fail?”.
- Test different subject lines
- Testing will help you determine which subject lines resonate most with your students. If you keep using the same subject line, students can quickly lose interest and are likely to not open your messages.
Check out some examples of subject lines below:
√ Recommended X Not Recommended √ Announcing new courses X Buy my new course for the lowest price ever √ My new course, Pastries for Beginners, is open X Don't miss these amazing discounts √ Impress your friends with this new skill X Super sale: 50 courses for $1 each!!! √ New content: 3 things to remember about gardening X Claim $500 in Udemy Promos NOW! √ What are students saying about this course? X Very Important 2017 Announcement
- Keep subject lines short and concise
Announcements can be used to reignite engagement in your course. Did you recently find an interesting article about your course’s subject matter? Or maybe you want to let students know about the new lecture you’ve added? Crafting and distributing a great Announcement could help you activate the student base and regain their interest!
Here are some things instructors do to create great Announcements that drive engagement within their course:
- Include a contest or call to action and challenge students to finish certain lectures or sections of the course.
- Inspire your students with news from the field and keep them engaged on the subject matter.
- Let students know when you’ve updated or added content. Your investment in the course will grab their attention!
- Remember, announcements are meant to activate and re-engage your students and bring them back to your course. Don't direct students to promotional material, on or off-site. That’s a violation of our policies.
Instructors who send out useful Announcements can see a significant increase in the number of students engaging with your content, (like Seth: as much as an 86% increase in students consuming his content). See below for examples of people who have done this well.
A few days after Seth launched his course, he sent out an inspiring announcement that boosted visits to his course page by 86%! Check it out:
“Welcome and thanks for taking the freelancer course. I’m thrilled to be helping you move up – more and more people are realizing just how capable they are.
A few suggestions as you dig in:
If you possibly can, find someone to take the course with, or find someone who’s already in the course to discuss your challenges with. It’s easy to post in each section of the class, and you’ll be delighted to see how open your fellow students are to hearing from you. This is the first and best step to getting the most out of this course–learning from other freelancers.
If they audio or video ever stops, go ahead and restart your browser. This happens rarely, but I’m told a restart helps.
I wanted to give a public thanks to Winnie Kao, Michele Daoud and everyone else who has helped me bring this course to you. And thanks to Keller Williams for his extraordinary music.
Photographers, if you get a chance, check out Dane Sanders’ writing and podcasts. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t point you to Bernadette Jiwa’s work on telling a story and Dan Pink’s on selling. [All links are to free content…(Seth included links to free content in his message)]
PS If the course resonates with you, I’d appreciate it if you would post a review, and please, feel free to invite your friends to take it as well.
Go make a ruckus.“
Send this type of announcement shortly after your course launches or after any large waves of enrollments. Here’s the recipe for success:
- Craft a strong introduction:
- “Welcome to the course that will…”
- ...change your life with the power of your keyboard!
- ...give you the tools to build your confidence and start your own business!
- ...(enter your specific mission here!)
- “Welcome to the course that will…”
- Offer advice for getting started:
- Advise students to take the course with a friend or Udemy colleague, post on the discussion board, ask questions, stay involved, and keep learning.
- Let students know that you and their classmates are there to help and support each other!
- (optional) Link to free resources:
- You can provide free resources within your supplemental materials sections of your lectures, or you can let your students know about updates in the field continuously by linking to an article or blog post
- Remember, if you’re going to use external resources, don’t link to paid content, “squeeze pages,” or other non-educational material. Announcements should not be used for promotional purposes.
- Seth Godin’s “Go make a ruckus” echoed through his course. Motivate students with your own words of wisdom!
Having trouble with engagement? You may want to try a contest to incentivize course completion. Sometimes students need an extra push to get them to the end of the course! Check out how Silviu holds his contests:
“What are the rules of this Contest?
In order to be eligible, you need to be as active as possible inside the 10x Your Potential – How to Become a Top Performer course. For that:
You need to watch at least 80% of this course
You need to be as active as possible inside the Discussions Section of this course. Open Discussions and ask questions, share your experience, be critical, make suggestions. You need to challenge me as I want to truly help you succeed. The more discussions you open, the higher the probability it is to be memorable and Win!!!
Duration of the Contest: September 6th – September 13th 2015
What are the criteria for choosing the winners?
-The quality of the interaction(s) inside the Discussions Section
-The percentage of the course watched
On September 14th, I will choose the 4 winners of one Amazon.com Gift Cards worth $10/per winner. The lucky ones will be revealed on September 15th with the next Educational Announcement.
So, what are you waiting for? Start watching the video lectures, Be involved inside the Discussions Section and Make a Difference in your life!
Disclaimer: I don’t collect personal information from students. As an Instructor, I hold the contest using your Udemy username, so I will not ask you for your email or anything like that. I will contact the winners through the Udemy direct messaging system. If the prize winners will prefer to have their prize delivered through another channel, I will work that out with them at their own choice.”
Here’s how you can hold a successful contest within policy:
- Offer a prize to one lucky winner or up to five students
- Reassure students that you do not collect their personal information, and ensure that you can deliver the prize through an alternate safe channel if needed.
- Have one or more measures of participation such course completion, questions, or discussion posts. Make sure that you don't ask them to leave a review in order to win a prize. That would be considered against Udemy policies, since it would be considered an exchange of reviews for goods or services.
News From The Field
Gregory Caremans sends short but useful Announcements to let students know about the neuroscience and behavior articles that he’s found:
I have to confess something. Even though I have a small (healthy) dose of dominance myself, I'm not really keen on people who have a strong tendency towards it. As mentioned in the course, when it gets out of hand, it becomes narcissism. Now we all have some degree of narcissism in us, and that's ok. I'm talking of the type of people who are full of themselves and look around them with dismay...
I wanted to share a really interesting article I read this week, packed with research on the topic. You'll find the article HERE. Don't hesitate to leave your comments.
Hope you'll have a fabulous weekend
Above, Gregory has linked to an article in “Psychology Today,” gaining insightful comments from students. We’re sure that you keep in touch with news in your topic area, so feel free to share the knowledge with your students! Again, it must be free, accessible, and educational. Try The New York Times, WIRED, BBC, or any public website about your course’s subject matter.
Updates And Revamped Content
Adding new content (or replacing old content with something better) shows students that you’re invested in the course and their learning experience. Take a look at Tim Buchalka’s announcement. These announcements receive lots of comments and generate more discussion posts from students (Tim consistently has over 100 student posts per month). If you’re engaged with the course, the students will often return the favor!
I just wanted to give you an update of what has been happening since last week in my Android Lollipop development course you are a part of on Udemy.
1. Updated Eclipse Videos
I've added a video in the Windowos, Mac and Linux sections to show how to update Eclipse to API 22 and how to update Eclipse to remove the "rendering error" that pops up if you update to API 22 using Eclipse.
Take a look at the video if you are stuck. It's an easy fix once you watch the video.
2. Android Studio API 22
If you want to know how to update Android Studio to use API 22 take a look at the Personal notes app, and in particular lecture 181 where I show how to do it.
3. Personal Notes App
Now over 2 hours of content has been added to that section, and more is on the way next week.
Thanks for reading, and I'll see you in the course.
As always, if you have any questions drop me a line. I am here to help.
The recipe for this one is simple: Upload new material, write the announcement, and be open to feedback and suggestions!