How Marie Poulin uses ConvertKit to manage her $40K/month course business

Business Models Case study
9 min read
In this Article

Marie Poulin is a Notion pro. She teaches business owners to design their life and business systems to match their unique lifestyles.

Notion Mastery, her flagship course, counts more than 2,100 students. The course and Notion templates she sells generate around $40,000 per month. Marie’s free, organic content—blog posts, YouTube videos and tutorials, webinars, podcast interviews—draws people into her online world, which now counts over 21,000 subscribers.

ConvertKit is how she nurtures them, especially after they join the course.

Marie Poulin’s email subscriber growth.

Instead of manually tracking the progress and timeline for each student, Marie uses ConvertKit to send the right course email at the right moment in a student’s journey.

“ConvertKit is strongest for us after people make a purchase. That’s where we really start to implement our systems and automation. Tagging, confirmation emails, advanced sequences, rules, they’re the foundation of our communication with students and subscribers,” says Marie.

Dive into how ConvertKit’s features—landing pages, automations, and ConvertKit Commerce—support Marie’s business, which is now run by a team of four full-time employees.

1. Email list growth through relentless value creation

Marie is well-known in the Notion community. Her YouTube videos dig into ways she uses Notion in her work and life. She shares new things she’s learned or experimented with in Notion with her 30,000+ Twitter following. She’s also hosted dozens of sessions of Notion Office Hours and Hot Seats on Notion’s YouTube channel.

Marie Poulin YouTube
Marie Poulin’s in-depth videos and livestreams about Notion. Image via Marie Poulin’s YouTube channel.

Marie is so good at what she does that Ivan Zhao, Notion’s CEO and founder, named her “a world-class expert and an exceptional teacher” when it comes to organization and productivity in Notion.

Her reputation is what’s helped her bring new people into her online world, grow her email list, and sell her digital products.

For example, Marie’s YouTube videos list a relevant landing page based on what she covered in the video. She’s been blogging for a decade, and makes sure that her blog posts include a newsletter opt-in or a template download related to the article topic.

Marie links to relevant templates and downloads in her blog posts. Image via Marie Poulin.

YouTube is probably the main way people find out about me and the course, so I link to free templates in the video descriptions. It’s an amazing driver of new subscribers, it’s been a huge list builder. I think we grew to 10,000 people within a couple of months on YouTube.

One more way Marie grows her email list is through custom landing pages. For example, she creates a dedicated landing page for a podcast she’s being interviewed on or a webinar she’s teaching so that those watching or listening can grab the materials she’s mentioning or templates to help them apply what they’re learning.

Marie’s custom landing page for a talk she gave at the ClientCon event. Image via Marie Poulin.

An additional example is creating a landing page for a potential idea for a free or paid resource. “If I want to test interest in a resource on Twitter, I'll tweet about it. If people are kind of excited on Twitter, I then share a custom landing page to build a waiting list of sorts,” Marie explains.

Once I started getting 20, 50, 100+ signups, pretty quickly I realized there was an opportunity to sell this template and make it widely available. I started with a super basic landing page, then updated it from a waitlist to a download once I had the screenshots ready.

Marie’s experimental landing page for a template that eventually became one of her go-to lead magnets. Image via Marie Poulin.

The best part about it? The speed and ease of making it happen. With ConvertKit’s library of templates (here’s the template Marie used in this example), setting up a landing page won’t take more than a few minutes.

It's so easy for someone to just set up a waitlist or any other type of a landing page with ConvertKit. And even setting up WordPress, we'll often set up a WordPress page that can just point directly to a ConvertKit landing page. So the speed to just make a quick page like that has just been incomparable.

2. Scalable student communication with automations

After someone joins Notion Mastery, they start receiving customized emails that tailor their journey as a student. Using sequences and automations in ConvertKit, Marie personalizes the onboarding experience on autopilot.

Two options for joining Notion Mastery. Image via Notion Mastery.

Everything starts right after the course purchase, which can be the Solo option or the Tiny Teams option—the latter includes an additional team member. Based on the option they choose, students get tagged automatically and receive a welcome email with next steps.

Emails that follow over the coming weeks and months share details about:

  • Joining the Circle community
  • The event calendar and getting support in the course
  • Call recordings and how to access them
  • A two-question form for sharing wins and challenges
  • Being an affiliate for the course
  • Booking a 20-minute feedback chat with Georgia Cyr, Marie’s director of operations
  • Providing in-depth course feedback through a form, six months after joining

Students also receive follow-up reminders for important steps like joining the community and sharing wins and challenges. But Marie wants to make sure students don’t get overwhelmed with course-related emails, so if a student completes a step (for example, joins the course community on Circle), they’re exempt from nudge thanks to tags that were automatically added when they took action.

The sequence that Notion Mastery students receive over the course of six months.

ConvertKit’s integrations are what makes customizing an onboarding sequence so easy. Marie’s ConvertKit account is connected with ThriveCart (a checkout platform) and Tally (an online form builder). It’s a lean tech stack with only a handful of tools, but it’s powerful enough for Marie to manage student communications almost entirely hands off.

One thing I find really handy is just the way ConvertKit talks to other things so easily. If somebody's in our course and they love it and want to add somebody else, we offer them the ability to do that at a discounted price. They fill out a form and there are automations that happen in ConvertKit to send them an email so they can make that purchase smoothly.

3. Digital product sales as an easy starting point

Marie’s library of Notion templates counts over a dozen templates, including free, paid, and pay what you want pricing options. All templates are listed on this one page, so it’s no wonder Marie links to it on her homepage, in blog posts, and in YouTube descriptions.

Marie Poulin’s page with paid and free Notion templates. Image via Notion Mastery.

Marie knows that for many people, this page is the entry point for learning more about Notion. If someone isn’t willing to spend any money yet, they’ll grab a free template and become a subscriber (and many do—these landing pages have a conversion rate of 25% or more!).

Conversion rates for Marie’s free Notion templates.

And if they do want to invest some money, they can start as low as $5 or $10. Many folks who buy templates upgrade to the full Notion Mastery experience, so Marie knows that getting a new template purchase means she can nurture that customer and warm them up to the course.

Product pages for all of Marie’s paid templates feature a dark color palette. Free templates, on the other hand, are distinctively brighter—but have matching background and button colors to the paid ones.

This is intentional. Marie worked with a designer to build beautiful sales pages and landing pages that she can then easily duplicate inside ConvertKit whenever she wants to add a new template to the library.

Landing pages for paid and free templates in Marie’s template library. Image via Notion Mastery.

ConvertKit Commerce makes it easy for Marie to launch a new product in minutes, tag those customers, and onboard them into that product with automations and sequences. Instead of spending days setting everything up, she can set the entire backend up quickly.

I find ConvertKit easy to navigate, support is super responsive, and there are consistent updates that make it even better. It’s what I recommend to all my clients because it’s easier to use than any other option—and it’s more powerful.

Implement systems to serve your customers even better

Emails are a potent tool in your business. You can use them to build an audience, send them the right pieces of content at the right time, and nurture them after they’ve become paying customers.

Because getting a customer isn’t where your emails should stop. It’s the opportunity to deepen that trust and create even more value for them—and have a loyal fan for life.
ConvertKit’s creator marketing platform will help you personalize every email at scale, for every stage of the journey your audience is in. Want to try it out? Start today.

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Marijana Kay

Marijana Kay is a freelance writer for leading B2B SaaS companies. She uses data-backed, actionable content to help them hit and exceed their growth goals. In her spare time, she collects books and logs running miles.

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