7 Kinds of Promotions to Boost Your Course Sales

When interest in your online course is lagging, use these course promotion strategies to help boost sales.

Even if your online course is top of the class, it is likely that you will need to use a promotion to boost sales from time to time.

The following promotional techniques have all been tried and tested for boosting sales figures in any online store. All you have to do is adapt them slightly so they fit your online course business.

1. Flash Sale

Flash sales are short in duration, typically lasting no more than a day or two. The purpose of this kind of sale is to create a sense of urgency in your target customer.

For people who have been considering purchasing one of your online courses, the message of a flash sale is clear: you must buy now if you want to enjoy a significant discount. In many cases this incentive is enough to tip people from “thinking about it” into paid-up customers now invested into your online course.

2. Seasonal Sale

Many online stores offer seasonal sales to boost the number of sales they make during particular times of year. The most obvious seasons to target are Christmas, New Years, the Black Friday / Cyber Monday weekend, and summer, but you can go for less obvious seasons as well. Why not run an Easter promotion, or offer discounts in the run up to Valentine’s Day? If your online course has a theme that could be related to all things spooky, such as gothic literature, Halloween is the time for your marketing campaign to shine.

Seasonal sales allow you to design marketing materials that use seasonal messages, themes, and imagery to connect with potential customers. Be sure to relate all the seasonal messages you put out to the content of your course to make sure customers see the connection.

3. Black Friday / Cyber Monday Sale

Black Friday is a seasonal sale, but deserves some extra attention. Every year Black Friday is the day after the American holiday of Thanksgiving. In the United States, this is traditionally the day when people start to stop for Christmas presents for their friends and family members. Today, people are just as likely to be shopping for themselves on Black Friday as they are to be searching for the perfect gift.

A huge proportion of retailers in the United States hold Black Friday sales every year to attract customers on this popular shopping day. In recent years, the tradition has begun to catch on in other parts of the world, with the result that many businesses in the UK and Europe also now offer Black Friday promotions. Many online sales last throughout the weekend and into the following Monday, which is sometimes known as Cyber Monday.

During the Black Friday period, customers are on the hunt for bargains. They expect to be able to get the things they want at a discount, which could mean that you lose sales to your competitors if you do not offer a promotion during this season.

4. Lifetime Access Sale

One type of sale that is particularly effective for marketing online courses is the lifetime access sale. During a lifetime access sale, you can give customers the opportunity to get access to your course forever, freeing them from the burden of yearly or monthly fees.

You need to carefully consider whether offering lifetime access makes financial sense for your business. Customers are often prepared to pay as much as three or four times the annual course fee for lifetime access to a course, but in addition to this immediate source of revenue, you also need to consider the potential negative impact on your cash flow in future.

5. Buy Two, Get One Free Sale

If you have a large number of courses that you want to market, consider running a promotion that offers discounts to people who purchase more than one course at a time. “Buy two get one free” is a fantastic offer, as it encourages people who might otherwise have bought only one course to sign up for a second in order to take advantage of the discount.

When designing this offer, think carefully about which courses to include. Are the courses similar enough to appeal to a single individual? Is there a large overlap in content that might leave a buyer feeling cheated?

It is a good idea to design your marketing to highlight which courses are likely to complement each other. Many customers who would like to take advantage of this offer will walk away if they have to work too hard to find three courses that match their interests. Do the hard work for them by suggesting courses which go together to enhance an individual’s learning.

6. Limited Time Bonus Sale

There are various bonuses that you can offer alongside your online courses to make them seem more attractive. By limiting the time during which these bonuses are available you can create a sense of urgency in your target market and encourage them not to put off their purchase.

Both physical and digital products can be suitable bonuses to use in this kind of sale. Digital products, such as ebooks and audiobooks, have the advantage of being easy to deliver right away to customers all over the world. If you decide to offer a physical product as a bonus, you must think about the cost of shipping and other practical concerns.

For online course creators, sometimes the best thing you can offer to your customers is yourself. Why not include an online coaching session as part of the promotion? Many of your students will jump at the chance to learn from you directly, especially if they have enjoyed your online courses in the past.

7. Refer a Friend Bonus Sale

Online course creators can reach a wider audience by offering a “refer a friend” bonus. For a limited time, you could give customers the opportunity to gift access to a course to a friend or family member for free at the same time as they purchase it for themselves.

Not only does this kind of promotion boost sales, but it also introduces a new group of people to your online course content. People who have been gifted courses could go on to purchase other courses from you if they enjoy their online learning experience.

Course promotions can boost sales as part of a strong overall marketing strategy.

You can use course promotions any time your sales need a boost. However, promotions are often most successful when you tie them to a particular season or event, and when they are limited by time.

When planning your promotional strategies, be sure to calculate how much each promotion will cost you in terms of the free access or bonus gifts you plan to give away. Compare this figure to the number of courses you expect to sell to work out whether a particular promotion idea is worth pursuing.

If your course sales need a “shot in the arm”, why not give one of the sales strategies listed here a try? If you find the right promotion to match the audience you want to reach, you could give your sales a significant boost. After the promotion ends, be sure to keep your focus on marketing to keep your course sales figures healthy throughout the year.

Author

Justin Ferriman is the co-founder and CEO of LearnDash, the WordPress LMS trusted by Fortune 500 companies, major universities, training organizations, and entrepreneurs worldwide for creating (and selling) their online courses. Twitter | LinkedIn

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