They’re like a modern-day Whack-a-Mole. 😂


You manage one. Only to have a million others crop up.

Case in point: I’ve been meaning to sign up for a course on organizing our photos (it’s a bigger project than all the launches I’ve wrangled!) and somehow or the other … get distracted or pulled away right when I’m about to hit the “complete your purchase” button on the checkout page.

Then, I forget about the course for a few weeks.  🙈

Until my messier-than-a-toddler’s-playroom photo folder stares me in the face.

This 👆🏼ongoing cycle is what inspired this post.

IF I’d gotten even the slightest reminder to complete my purchase, by now, I’d have been the proud owner of a well-organized photos folder.

Sadly, that’s not been the case.

I will sign up. Someday. I’m sure. 🤷🏻‍♀️

But will that day be today? Squirrel! 🐿

More course creators need to realize that their prospective students are a distracted bunch — with a life that demands attention.

AND the path to signing up isn’t (and rarely is!) a straight line.

A gentle nudge or reminder goes a long way in helping them make a decision.

The Complete Guide to Abandoned Cart Email: Best Practices for Course Creators

Enter … the Abandoned Cart Email Sequence

By now, you should know that we’re BIG on leveraging the audience you already have and a prospect who’s reached your checkout page is definitely a part of your existing audience.

We’ve shared how we use an “abandon cart” strategy to increase our conversion rates by 70% for the services side of our business.

Today, let’s talk about how online educators, membership site owners, and course creators can use this oft-overlooked “sales email” sequence to increase conversions.

But first …

What IS an Abandoned Cart?

An abandoned cart is what you get when potential students add your course to their cart but leave your site before checking out and completing their enrollment. Gasp! 😱

This means they’re slipping away, distracted or unsure …  and we’ve got to do something before that happens.

Do You Even Need Abandoned Cart Emails?

Short answer: yes.

Did you know that the average cart abandonment rate is almost 70%? (source: Hotjar)

That’s like a supermassive black hole swallowing a gigantic chunk of our potential revenue!

Not only that … according to the folks at Barilliance, cart abandonment email open rates are as high as 49% with CTRs that can go up to 8.38%.

Imagine that!

Imagine being able to 2x or even 4x your conversions with a simple 3-4 email sequence. 🔥

Why Do Prospective Students Leave While Enrolling?

Besides the fact that they may be as distracted as a baby Dalmatian with a new toy?

Well … folks may leave without enrolling because:

  • Your checkout page is too basic or too complicated (need me to review your buyer journey? Let’s talk!)
  • They’re unsure about the course and its impact on their life. Your sales page may be to blame here.
  • Limited payment options. For instance, recurring payments via Stripe can be a pain for us in India.
  • Unclear messaging about what’s included in enrollment — are their calls? Or a community? Or neither?
  • Website gremlins at play leading to crashing pages and frozen screens

Point being … there can be a number of reasons your prospective students decide to drop off and forget about enrolling.

Your job is to reach out and remind them. Without being pushy. While being intentional and helpful.

Which brings me to … 👇🏼

Best Practices for Sending Abandoned Cart Emails as a Course Creator Who Cares

There are THREE key elements you need to keep in mind when strategizing and creating your cart abandonment email sequences.


Consumer Intent


Let’s tackle these so you know what abandoned cart email best practices look like:

Abandoned Cart Email Best Practices #1: Establishing Cadence

Ideally, you want to send out the first email an hour after they’ve left the checkout page or abandoned the cart.


Recency and relevancy.

Their decision is fresh in their minds and your email reminder is timely.

The next reminders can go out a day or two after the original email.

Ideally, 3-4 emails are usually more than enough to

a) remind them, and

b) understand whether or not they’re ready to enroll right now.

This cadence isn’t carved in stone because a lot depends on the offer and audience as well as your brand perception and positioning.


Over the years, after creating hundreds of abandoned cart email sequences, I’ve found that a 3-email sequence usually does the job beautifully. 👏🏼

Abandoned Cart Email Best Practices #2: Identifying Consumer Intent

This is a key element that most course creators and even, eCom retailers or other businesses like hotels often overlook.

What’s the consumer’s intent behind signing up for the program?

IF you have that knowledge, then do you know …

What’s their intent behind abandoning the cart?

How can you know this?

Exit surveys, for starters.

Or better still …  use your first abandoned cart email to identify the reason.

Once you know their intent is to enroll but they aren’t clear or sure … you can address that right away by overcoming those objections in your next email OR even the checkout page that you send them to.

(Yes! Objection-specific sales pages/checkout pages/emails are a conversion magnet and you should be using them!)

But slapping a standard “Hey! You forgot something” email and calling it a “cart abandonment” email is a waste of time for everyone. 🤷🏻‍♀️

The Complete Guide to Abandoned Cart Email: Best Practices for Course Creators

Abandoned Cart Email Best Practices #3: Copy for Your Emails  

Alright, once you have your strategy in place … you need to write the copy for these emails.

Remember … your audience for this is very different from say, someone who’s maybe attended a webinar and didn’t buy.

This is someone who not only read the sales page but also clicked through to the checkout page and then … for some reason clicked away without enrolling.

Your email copy needs to keep that in mind. 👇🏼

Once you know their reason for abandoning the cart (see #2 above), you want to craft email copy that:

  • Acts as a friendly reminder — For audiences who are more distracted than undecided, a friendly reminder like this one by AppSumo is all that’s needed.
Abandoned Cart Email Best Practices: An example from AppSumo
  • Addresses specific objections —  price, timing, or commitment. Acknowledging and removing these may help potential students feel more confident about their purchase decisions.
  • Clarifies the value of your course — why should they choose this over other options? What makes your course truly unique?
  • Highlights urgency — is this a LIVE launch? Do you have time-sensitive bonuses? An exclusive cart abandonment bonus? Is there user-generated urgency that they cannot afford to ignore?
  • Strengthens your connection — storytelling and creativity go hand-in-hand to not only strengthen the connection you have with these prospective students but also increase relatability and make your cart abandonment emails a reflection of your brand and values.

There you have it! 👏🏼

Everything you need to know about strategizing and sending abandoned cart emails that have all of the intention and none of the ick so you can increase conversions and recover almost-lost sales with ease.

Want to know HOW to strategize AND write ALL the emails you possibly need for selling your courses and/or services?

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