Stop Discounting Your Course

Kyler Nixon
March 28, 2022
5 min read
Stop me when this sounds familiar... You launch a new course. You decide to discount it because you want to have a successful launch. You end up making some good money when the course goes live, but now it's time to remove the discount and increase the price back to normal. Sales stall out in the coming weeks and months and you're scrambling trying to get them back up. You remember that the discounted course sold when you launched, so you discount it... again. "It's just temporary," you tell yourself. "I just need some quick sales." The cycle repeats over and over again until, eventually, the course isn't selling unless it's discounted. You're on the discount rollercoaster and can't get off.

I've seen this scenario play out over and over and over again. If you've been stuck on the discount rollercoaster, this post will share some tips to help you end the ride. If you're getting ready to launch your course, you'll learn why it's important to avoid (most) discounts in the first place.

Not All Discounts Are Created Equal

Before we get too far, let me say this: I'm not telling you to never discount your course. I actually have no problem with discounts.The key is to know that not all discounts are created equal. Let's quickly look at the different types of discounts and promotions we encourage clients to run.

Launch Discounts

When you're launching a new course, it's okay to offer a slight discount (10-15% max). We do like to set some ground rules here, though. When we're helping clients launch, the discount is only offered to an email waitlist for a temporary period of time. We want the discount to be a lead generator that also rewards your early customers.

Once-Per-Year Promotions

Most of our clients offer some type of Black Friday or Cyber Monday sale. They have one sale per year and then they don't run another until the next year. Maybe you'd like to capitalize on holiday spending, or maybe your course has another time of year you can run a promotion.

Affiliate Discounts

Proceed with caution on this one. You may also consider offering discounts when you partner with other brands. Typically, these brands will promote your course and offer a slight discount to their audience. Just be smart about the brands you partner with and how the discount is structured.

Stop the Discount Rollercoaster

On paper, it makes sense to discount a course. You're trying to generate some quick sales and a discount helps you do that. The problem with frequently discounting your course goes a little deeper:

  1. It trains your audience to expect a discount. They may not even be willing to pay full price if they think there's a discount in their future. Why would I buy now when I know you'll have another sale next month?
  2. It devalues your course. Let's say your normal course price is $99, but you discount it down to $65 once every month or so. In your customer's eyes, your course price is lower than you hoped it would be.
  3. You can't get a sale without a discount. This is pretty closely related to #1... if your audience expects a discount, you won't get sales unless you offer one.
  4. It doesn't separate you from the competition. Let's face it, everyone discounts their course and product. If you're frequently discounting as well, you're just blending into the competition.

You get it. No more discounting. But what do you do if you're stuck on the discount rollercoaster? How the heck do you get off? Here are a few tips.

1. Add value to the course.

The end goal here is to have a normal, fixed price that's higher than the discount. We need to start preparing for that by raising the perceived value of the course. We are eventually going to drop the discount, but we need to make the course feel extremely valuable in the meantime. You might consider adding...

  • Bonus resources, downloads, or templates
  • Additional video content
  • Supplementary instruction or information for big topics
  • A community component like a Facebook group

All of these things enhance the course and make it feel more expensive.

2. Rip off the band-aid.

After you've added value to the course, stop discounting it. Seriously. Make a clean break and don't allow yourself to discount it again. This is more of a mindset thing than anything else, so just remember: your course is valuable. You've added useful bonuses in tip 1 and created a product that can solve your customer's problems. You deserve to sell it at this price and your audience needs what you have to offer. Now, if that's still a struggle...

  • Delete all of the coupons and discounts from your learning management system
  • Get one final discount out of your system and then move on
  • Tell your audience you won't be discounting the course anymore (it'll hold you accountable)

3. Change or reorganize the course.

We had a client who was discounting their courses every. single. Sunday. It was literally the only day they would get any sales because their audience knew a discount was coming. It would have been incredibly challenging for them to just stop cold Turkey, and their courses had already been devalued so much, a few extra bonuses wouldn't have helped enough to make a difference. Instead, they decided to restructure their courses by combining some content, refilming a few things, and adding resources. They went from 6 courses down to 3. In the process, they were able to increase the price of all of their courses (from between $39-$79 to a consistent $139) and get off the discount rollercoaster once and for all. Of the tips on this list, this one requires the most work and planning, so be sure it's something you absolutely want to commit to. Discounting your course can be a slippery slope, and it's important to consider the consequences before you offer discounts. When you discount your course, people may see it as less valuable, and they may be less likely to purchase it at full price. If you're stuck on the discount rollercoaster, hopefully this post will help end the ride!

Kyler Nixon