Give Away Online Courses (Then Up-Sell The Rest

June 29, 2018

Give Away Online Courses (Then Up-Sell The Rest)

If you’re new to selling courses online or if you’re trying to break into a different niche, it might be difficult to get people to overcome their hesitations and buy your course.

The good news is that there are a number of up-selling strategies you can use to position yourself as an authority in your niche, establish trust with prospective learners, and capture leads.

In this article, we’ll explore four different ways you can generate revenue for your online business through up-selling by giving away your online courses for free. But before we begin, let’s take a look at what up-selling is and how it works.

Let’s get started.

What Is Up-Selling and How Does It Work

Every time a prospective customer visits your online course website, you want to get them to buy as much of your stuff as possible. By making more money on every sale, you receive more revenue without any extra work on your part.

Up-selling is a marketing strategy to (1) sell a more expensive version of what the customer is buying or (2) sell add-ons to that product/service. The main idea here is to get people who are already interested in your offering to spend more money instead of finding new customers.

For instance, say you’ve created three online courses. The introductory course is priced at $80, the mid-level course at $120, and the advanced course costs $180. Of course, you’d want your customers to buy all three courses. And at the very least, you’d want them to go for the advanced $180 course.

In this scenario, up-selling is all about encouraging prospective customers to buy the more expensive course. Here are a few different things you can do to up-sell your course:

● Offer more tutorials and downloadable guides with the advanced course.
● Offer a one on one, 30-minute consultation call.
● Offer deliverables that optimize your course for a particular industry.

Notice a pattern here? When your customers see that they’re getting tangible value out of a premium offering, they’re more likely to spend more money.

Up-selling strategies can benefit your business in more ways than one. Let’s quickly step through some of the key advantages of up-selling:

Builds Deeper Relationships With Your Customers. By spending more money on your online courses your customers will become more engaged with you. As long as you continue to deliver value, your relationship will grow stronger and your customers will appreciate the attention you give them.

It’s Easier Than Selling to New Customers. Acquiring new customers is far more difficult that retaining existing ones. You have to spend a lot of time and money to convert prospects into customers. Through up-selling, you can maximize revenue without having to go out looking for new customers.

Increases Customer Lifetime Value. Up-selling helps you sell more expensive products to more of your customers. In this way, it increases the customer lifetime value (CLV) of your customers thus helping you increase revenue without extra effort.

Now that we have a pretty good understanding of what up-selling is and how it works, let’s look at four powerful ways you can increase your revenue giving away your online courses.

How to Make Money by Giving Away Your Online Course for Free

Everybody loves free stuff. And a lot of the time people will give up something important (their time, energy, or data) to get that free stuff.

When you offer a free course, you obtain a lot of useful information in return. This could be the customer’s username, email, demographics, interests, or even analytics data. This information can be pretty useful if you know what to do with it. For example, you could use this information to determine which courses you should give away for free in order to up-sell the rest of your offerings.

Making money creating and selling online courses can be tricky. To help you out, here are four super-easy ways you can make more money by giving away your online course for free.

#1: Launch a Micro-Course

If you’re new to selling online courses and your main offering is a fairly lengthy course, prospective students will most certainly have a few concerns. What happens if the course instructor isn’t particularly helpful? Will the course be too difficult to complete? What if the user interface is too complicated to navigate through?

To sell your online course, you must first convince your potential customers that their investment will give them definite results. You need your students to realize that even if the course is expensive or if it takes a lot of time to complete they will get their money’s worth.

By creating a micro-course you can start by taking baby steps. Focus on winning over new students, getting some positive reviews, and building a community of passionate learners. Once your students know exactly what you have to offer, they’ll be more likely to sign up and pay for your full course i.e. the one you’re trying to up-sell.

#2: Offer a Trial Membership

Offering free trials is a great way to get new customers in just about every business. The same applies to selling online courses.

Do you remember the last time you were given a free trial for a product and ended up becoming a paying customer? It happens all the time which is why most subscription-based businesses offer free trials in one form or another.

In any case, you should not offer free trials to trick people into buying your courses. Instead, your goal should be to get your foot in the door. By letting prospective learners experience your offering for themselves, you’re essentially relieving them of any hesitations and misgivings they may have against taking your online course. The real purpose of offering a free trial is to instill confidence in learners who are interested in buying your premium course.

Another key benefit of handing out free trial memberships is that you can exchange them for email addresses. This allows you to build your email lists and establish a marketing connection with people who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer. You can reach out to them after they’ve completed the trial membership and ask if they’d like to continue their subscription or cancel it.

#3: Offer One on One Consulting

Online courses help you build a reputation of being an expert in your particular industry. Once your students complete your course, they’ll be more inclined to work with you directly. They will see you as someone they trust and someone who can help them achieve their goals.

The online consulting industry has grown considerably in the past few years. And with the availability of so many conferencing tools, it is easy to see why. It doesn’t matter how engaging your online course is, it cannot replace the personal connection learners feel with a one on one video call or a phone call.

You’d be surprised to learn how many people are willing to pay a premium for personal counseling. The only problem is that you need to establish yourself as an authority in your niche first. And offering a free online course can help you do just that.

#4: Use It to Grow Interest in Your Product

You can use your online course to market other products or services that you offer. For instance, if you have an e-book, downloadable resource packs, or related services that you’d like to sell then you can use your online course to grow interest in your other products.

This may seem too simple at first, but a lot of companies use it as a marketing strategy to capture leads and increase sales. And it works the other way around, as well. So, if you’ve been creating online courses for some time now, you might consider commodifying your offerings?


By offering your course for free, you get something more valuable in return.

It is up to you decide what you want in return. You could give away your online course for free and get marketing information or email addresses. Or, you could use your free online courses to build trust with learners, obtain reviews, and establish yourself as an authority in your industry.

Have you tried giving away your online course to up-sell a different product or service? We’d love to hear all about your experience so let us know by commenting below!

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