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5 Surprising Ways To Rapidly Increase Online Course Sales

By now you’ve probably heard about someone who created an online course, started selling it, and made a living doing it.

The question is, how can you do it effectively? And profitably?


Over the last 5 years, I built Social Triggers from scratch into a multi-million dollar online business.

And as you know, much of this revenue was was generated by creating and selling online courses.

Needless to say, I learned a things about how to do it – and I know MANY of them will surprise you.

So, today, on my blog, I’d like to reveal 5 big insights I learned.

More specifically, I’ll show you.

1. Why I offer payment plans (the secret? yes, it helps increase sales, but it also does this ONE thing).

2. The BIG secret behind why people “Open and close” enrollment for online courses (People think it’s just about “scarcity.” Not true. There’s another BIG reason why people do it…).

3. Should you give all your content out at once or should you drip it out? Believe it or not, there’s a right answer. And it affects your bottom line AND your students success rate.

4. The psychology of a new customer (and how to ensure they don’t fall into the dark pit of despair after they buy your course).

5. A simple way to increase the revenue of your next launch by 25% (or more).

So, let’s dive in…

#1 The Power of Extended Payment Plans

I recently stumbled on a sales page for a premium online course. The cost was $2,000 or two payments of $1,000.

I laughed.

Here’s why:

A payment plan makes your premium online course more accessible to people who don’t have the money “up front.” But if your prospect doesn’t have $2,000… they probably don’t have $1,000 either.

So, what are you really accomplishing with a “two payments of $1,000?”

You’re not increasing sales. You’re not making it easier on your customers. You’re not reaching a new segment of the market.

In reality, all you’re really doing is giving yourself the headache of collecting two payments when people could have easily have afforded the single payment.

And that’s why longer, extended payment plans are great. As you bring the monthly payment lower, you can reach a new segment of customers that you couldn’t reach with the larger, one time payment.

Plus, here’s the benefit that most people don’t talk about: payment plans help you create predictable revenue. And if you want to scale your business to multiple six figures – and seven figures – predictable revenue is important because you can make smart hiring decisions without worrying where the money will come from.

So, the next time you launch your course, try an extended payment plan. Maybe try 5 payments of $400. Or Even 10 payments of $200. The goal is to reach a new demographic of customers you can’t reach otherwise and Im willing to bet you can increase your conversion rates.

How Zippy Courses “All-In-One” Makes This Easy: Creating payment plans used to be a real big pain. Not anymore. In the new Zippy Courses “All-In-One” Platform, you can create multiple payment plans in just a few seconds.


Want to get access to the new Zippy Courses “All In One” Platform? Request an early invite here.

#2 The Power Of “Opening” And “Closing” Enrollment

Let me share a staggering number with you…


That’s how many sales often come in for my online courses during the last 24 hours before I “close the cart” for an online course.


In the last 24 hours.

It’s pretty ridiculous. But as you know, one of the main reasons why people don’t buy is because they like to procrastinate. But when you “close enrollment” for your online course, you help light a fire under people and get them moving.


There’s an added benefit here too: when you sell online courses during specific enrollment periods, you often generate a larger group of students going through your course at the same time.

This is GREAT for your students. When you sell something on evergreen, you might get 1 or 2 people going through your class at any given time. But when you create a larger enrollment group, you give your students the opportunity to form connections amongst their peer group, and that’s GREAT for the user learning experience.

So, yes, it’s good for sales. And it’s also good for your students. It’s truly win-win.

How Zippy Courses “All-In-One” Makes This Easy: You can open and close enrollment for your online course with Zippy Courses, again, in just a few seconds. It’s as easy as creating what we call a “Launch Window” attached to your product, and this “launch window” determines when something is on sale and when it’s no longer for sale.


Want to get access to the new Zippy Courses “All In One” Platform? Request an early invite here.

#3 The Power of “Dripping” Your Content (vs Releasing It All At Once)

My friend told me that his refund rate was much higher than he liked. I asked him why, and he told me he didn’t know. So I recommended that he run quick survey on the people who bought his product and refunded it.

What did he find?

The #1 reason why people refunded his product was because they felt overwhelmed by all the stuff they needed to do.

And that made sense.

Here’s why: He sold a 10 module online course and he gave his students all 10 modules as soon as they purchased the course. And then, people would log in to their membership area, see all 10 modules, click around to 5 or 6 videos and think, “THIS IS SO OVERWHELMING.” And they’d leave the membership site and ask for a refund.

All because he offered too much content too fast.

So, I told him to drip his content out. And it will help focus your students on “what’s important now.” And it will help eliminate overwhelm. And sure enough, that’s exactly what happened. As he helped eliminate overwhelm, his refund rate started to drop.

How Zippy Courses “All-In-One” Makes This Easy: In the new Zippy Courses “All-In-One” Platform, you can drip course content out with ease. Some “membership software” requires you to create special configurations and special coding to drip out content. But in Zippy Courses, it’s as easy as clicking a few buttons during the “Course Scheduling” part of the “course builder.”


Want to get access to the new Zippy Courses “All In One” Platform? Request an early invite here.

#4 The Power Of Strategic “Follow Up” Emails After People Buy Your Course

I bought an online course from a well-known course creator. It was expensive too. About $1,000. But after I bought the course, I noticed something: I got an email with information about how to login to my course…

…but I never heard from this course creator again. Yes, he went on to try and sell me more things, but he never sent any emails specifically related to the course I just bought.

This is DUMB.

When people buy a premium online course, “getting the sale” is just part of the problem. You also need to KEEP the sale. And you need to make sure your customer is happy with the purchase.

And that’s why strategic followup emails are so important. You can manage customer expectations when they need it most.

As an example, if you join a course from Social Triggers, I often email you once a week about each module that I release. But, after about 2 or 3 weeks, in those emails talking about each module often start including phrases like: “If you fall behind, don’t worry. Now that you’re a member, you get lifetime access to the training material.”


When people buy online courses, it’s natural that they fall behind after a few weeks. And when they start falling behind, they start feeling bad and they think about giving up. However, when you reassure them that it’s okay that they’re falling behind… and that they still have plenty of time to catch up… it keeps people focused on their main goal.

It also helps prevent people from refunding the product prematurely.

So, again, it’s good for business. And it’s good for the student, too.

How Zippy Courses “All-In-One” Makes This Easy: And as you might imagine, you can configure these “followup” emails VERY quickly inside the New Zippy Courses “All-In-One” Platform. Take a look:


Want to get access to the new Zippy Courses “All In One” Platform? Request an early invite here.

#5 How to Increase Sales By 25% With Multiple Tiers

What do I mean by multiple tiers?

Quite simply: instead of just selling one course at one price… you should create one course with multiple tiers at different prices.

As an example, you might sell an online course for $500. You should also consider creating a $1000 level of that same course.

(In this more expensive level, you can offer additional training material, live group coaching calls, one-on-one consulting, whatever you like to make the value worth more).

And you’ll watch your revenue soar.

Here’s why:

When you sell an online course with multiple options, you’ll often see a breakdown that looks something like this: 75% of people will buy the cheap option. And 25% will buy the more expensive option.


Run the numbers:

Let’s say you sell 100 copies of your course. If you only offer one option at $500, you’ll collect $50,000 in revenue. However, if you sell 75 people into the $500 option and 25 people into the $1000 option, your total revenue skyrockets to $62,500. A solid 25% increase.

Why does this work so well?

In my experience, there are always people who buy the nice toilet paper at the store. And these people want more service, more training, and a more premium experience. And if you fail to offer one, you’re leaving a tremendous amount or revenue on the table.

How Zippy Courses “All-In-One” Makes This Easy: You can create multiple tiers of an online course in SECONDS. It’s really just as easy as clicking one button, and setting one little configuration. Take a look:

As a matter of fact: I’m willing to bet it will take you less than 30 seconds. That’s how easy the new Zippy Courses is to use.


Want to get access to the new Zippy Courses “All In One” Platform? Request an early invite here.

Now I Have A Quick Question…

#1 Which tip did you love most and why?

#2 Did you learn anything interesting about creating and selling online courses?

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43 comments Leave a comment

All of the ideas are great. I liked best what to include in the strategic follow-up emails.


What is the best way to use Zippy Courses with multiple courses? For example, I assume that you would likely benefit from creating a website specifically for your courses as this is what most industry leaders do with their courses, but how does Zippy Courses deal with creating multiple courses? Is it a matter of creating a new website for each course, or is there a seamless flow between several courses on the same website? Thank you


I. good content. I brought the plugin Zippy Courses 18 months ago and found it very clunky and not good looking at all. How is the new version different? I wanted a good looking template that I could put my courses on easily and could not work out how to do it. It would have been good to have ‘how to’ videos so that they looked decent. I ended up giving up!


    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Some people may find the plugin out of the box perfect for their taste. Is impossible to please every single person’s taste.
    I don’t find the plugin to be clunky like you say, but in my case ( just like in yours ), obviously I wanted to make some visual changes in the front end and by using the WP customizer you can easily achieve quite a lot by just clicking on things, no code required. Now if you want something really specific design wise, you may want to get your hands on the CSS code.
    I guess they don’t have videos for that like you mentioned because that is more like ‘how to use WordPress’ type of knowledge an that is out of their scope. There is plenty of information on how to use WP out there.
    The goal Derek and his team have is obviously to give you a very clean front end and a plugin that in the back end makes life easier for you developing your courses. Its like a new house, the topping on the cake is our job, not theirs.
    All the best.


In the enhanced zippy course being offered, can a countdown clock (similar to yours) be added to the upper left hand side of the landing page? I find this incredibly useful in encouraging me to sign up on time.


How can you make sure that your clients pay you under the payment plan option and don’t just cancel that credit card or something?


    Good question, anybody knows the answer? I have students on subscription based courses and I see Stripe and PayPal being blocked all of a sudden by Credit Card companies.
    How is this handled?


      I asked the same question. I still am very curious!


These tips were really great. Hard to say which was the best since I’m only planning my courses but I definitely enjoyed the Tier tip and Time limited enrollment. Thanks again!


This has been an extremely interesting – and helpful – article on tips to read, and I find it very difficult indeed to choose just one tip. However, as I have to choose one, it has to be the payment plan. I had always thought I needed the entire payment upfront as a prerequisite to commence the course, but of course I don’t. By offering a staged payment plan, I end up with the full cost anyway, later rather than sooner, but that’s OK. Just to say thanks for ALL the tips!


Hi Derek,

I must say I like all the five tips you have shared and also learnt a lot from your post. For me the one tip that stands out is Drip Content and second one is different tier. These two tips look great to levearage.

Amit Patel


This article is fantastic!
How do you make sure people actually pay you? If they finish the course before the 12 months, then, what if they decide, you know what? What the heck am I paying this for?
What do you do if a person cancels their credit card during the payment plan?


#1…. And I’m going to try this on my webby tonight…. Why not, eh? I’ll let u know how it goes. Cheers and thank you!


Great tips! I’ll be applying this to my course.


Great blog Derek! I learned the value of dripping the content slowly to prevent overwhelm! Makes perfect sense!!! The importance of staying engaged with your students once they bought their course, through follow up emails. You made a very good point on how to create more revenue with multiple tiers to offer those who want it all, and added value and those that cannot afford it, but want the basics. Good timing too, as I am working on my online course, and want to make sure it is launched successfully. Thanks Derek.


Hi Derek great content as always. Love the email follow up. I always fall behind on courses and it is great to feel reassured by your email πŸ˜€


I loved tip # 3 on dripping content. My partner and I are on the completion phase of putting together all our modules for the online course. I suggested to my partner that we should use a tool where the next module could only be given until they are done with the previous. In that way, they will not feel the overwhelmed of having too many. As the same time, they would still need to finish the current module before going to the next.

Awesome tips! Thanks!


“Dripping ” or scheduling course content is extremely important because these courses with lots and lots of info can be extremely intimidating for us newbies especially in the online marketing field.
You really dont know what is important and what you can just page through.
Having said that, follow up emails especially with advice on the course and
Feedback on progress are also very important ,unfortunately the sellers of most of these courses are just interesred to sell you more because they can only sell and not teach.
Success to all


Thanks for the article Derek, I’m off to check out the all-in-one product. We currently use the standard Zippy courses product but a question, with the upgraded product can you set the payment plan to recur annually? We run an annual membership and offer 2 monthly payment instalments but a problem is these don’t recur a year later. Is this the case with all-in-one?

Your product is fantastic – thank you!


Hi Derek,

I am absolutely thankful for this! In fact I have just emailed my students with a reminder that they can always catch-up at their convenience and I will be here for them. Thanks for the suggestion!

By the way, with Zippy courses, is it possible for a unit to be in different courses, much like tiers, but it’s more like a different batch of students that will access different courses. Based on your explanation of tiers, I believe this is possible but I just want to make sure.

In my current LMS, I have to duplicate the course units for the different courses as a unit can only exist in one course.


My favourite tip is the two-tiered course offerings. I also provide marketing coaching so I’ll now create a higher level for the course I’m developing with a session or two added for those who feel like they need additional support (and limit the enrolment – there’s only one of me.)


Thank you immensely Derek for the jewels of info. As I am on the creative process, those tips are precious.
They are all important and the course-creators who followed those points made me buy their products πŸ˜‰ for that matter one of my teachers covered them all and I really feel good about the investment. I feel like a person and not a CB.

I make sure to remember the tips 2, 3 and 5.



Does Zippy allow for the use of promo codes? We would want to offer free introductory courses, but track the codes by event versus a sale that would last a specified amount of time. Very interested, so hoping for a response.


All 5 tipps are equally valuable. Many thanks!

Besides, how you combine sharing valuable advice with demonstrating the elegance of your Zippy Courses solution is a class of its own. Fantastic!


Thanks for these tips. I had #4 happen to me this summer (bought a course for several hundred dollars) and NEVER heard from the “teacher” again. I’ve taught High school for years which is obviously a VERY hands-on environment, and it actually surprised me at how annoyed I got that the teacher vanished as soon as I hit the “buy” button and got the login info. The good part was that I was able to make sure that my own online students have plenty of access to me while the course is happening as well as follow-up. It’s so important!!

The other tips are great too. Thanks for the post.


These were ALL SUPERB and helpful Derek, Thank You Kindly!!
I’m in the midst of course creation, and was deciding on price points and extended payment plans, so this concurred my thoughts. I have a 3 Tier offering in place.
Now will make sure to open/close enrollment- and this is SO TRUE- I’ve purchased many courses in the last 24 hrs myself πŸ˜‰ Dripping content phew yes thank you! and email follow-up yes.
Thank you Derek, You’re Awesome! ~ Bernadette


How can I choose?? Nice and very beneficial.


I loved the last tip. I didn’t think of it in terms of your toilet paper analogy. Although most people will go for the less expensive option, others will want the extra content and resources. Everyone gauges success differently and learns in their own way. Providing options allows you to reach a more diverse audience.


My favorite was actually within #4. I wish I’d thought about telling people that it was okay to fall behind, and I wish several other people had thought of it, too.

I’ve abandoned several courses simply because I fell behind and didn’t think I could catch up and ‘stay with my grade’.


My favorite tip was #4. I have rarely seen follow up on any course I have taken. I see lots of “leave comments” under the module videos or “check out my FB group for questions you may have.” But nothing that actually feels personal. It would be nice to know that I am not just another dollar sign on someone’s excel sheet. Perhaps the author’s could even get some feedback from me on how I liked/disliked the wonderful course that I took forever to actually I sign up for because I was unsure of its value, and then magically the author disappeared as soon as I hit the BUY button. Follow up PEOPLE – Great Tip!! πŸ™‚


i loved everything! thank you!


Theyrec all my favorite. I believe all 5 are important to have success at selling online courses. Now, I just need to find the right course to sell.


Thanks for sharing Derek! Excellent advice! I liked #5 the most, because I had never heard of or considered doing that option. I do training and consulting, so that fits in really well with my business. Thanks again!


Hey Derek,

Are you planning to update the plugin to reflect some of these really cool features of the new platform?

    Derek Halpern

    Many of these features are already in the plugin. Email support, and they can help. The only thing that won’t be in the plugin right now is the email delivery, mainly because that takes special configuration that we do on our servers (whereas the plugin is installed on your server).


I liked the point about drip courses.

I’m just glad to know that drip courses are actually necessary for most people, and not just me:

I took a course on launching a online beta test course, and I was quite overwhelmed by the delivery method–it was all up on teachable.

I took a launch your online business course that had quite a few modules on it, but the way it was dispersed was so easy that I never felt overwhelmed. He also sent out weekly emails of encouragement, like you said, which were also helpful.

Thanks, Derek! Looking forward to this software! I have been procrastinating on an online course for over a year, and I think this is the solution to my problems!


Love the drip idea. I bought an online course and asked for a refund because I was given all modules at once and it was indeed overwhelming..the exact scenario you played out in this article.

I also really like the strategy of checking in with students to let them know that falling behind is ok. Great stuff Derek thank you! You are truly and expert at your craft. – Ashley


Wonderful advice! I’m working with my team this afternoon to start using Zippy!


Number 4 was my favorite. It’s definitely something I need to add to the course I already have and will add to my upcoming course. I didn’t want to overwhelm people with emails but I think it’s really smart and thoughtful.


Hi, great insights into course delivery. Question: Will Zippy have options to attract affiliates to the course and be able to give a variety of commissions to affiliates?


I loved the idea of tiered course levels, especially for anyone who is working as a coach already. Throwing in some personal time with them adds serious value alongside the course materials! I’ll remember to have 2 or 3 different price points. Thanks Derek!


Hi Derek,

Great post! I agree with you. Many people don’t buy able to buy a course because of its high price with a single payment or two as you mentioned. But, if the payment comes in parts then people can think about it.

And also, if someone buy your product you shouldn’t forget that person. If you are in a business wants to survive you will need repeat clients than new. Getting new clients is harder than keeping existing clients. And sending them mail after purchasing your product makes strong relationship between consumer and producer.

Thanks for sharing such a useful information with us.

Umesh Singh


Great advice! Sounds really logical but hard to find on pure experience!

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