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The popularity of online learning has exploded in recent years. In 2015, e-learning was a $166.5-billion industry, and that value is only going up, as estimates have it clearing the $255-billion mark.

The growth of e-learning is beneficial for everyone involved. For students, it allows them to take courses on anything they want to learn and complete them at their own pace.

As a teacher, setting up an online course allows you to use your knowledge to create a passive income stream, where you earn money every time someone buys your course.

But to maximize your income, you need the right strategy. One area many online course creators are lacking is the upsell, which is a simple, effective way to increase revenue for your online course business.

Here are 5 tricks to upselling your online course and increasing your revenue:

1. Create a Custom Thank You Page with an Upsell Offer

There’s no reason to stop selling to a customer just because you’ve already made one sale. That customer may be willing to purchase another course.

Give them the opportunity to see what else you have to offer by setting up a custom Thank You page for a completed course purchase. The Thank You page should include an offer to enroll in a similar course. For the best results, the upsell offer should complement the customer’s original purchase.

For example, let’s say you’ve created a course on creative writing. On the Thank You page for customers that purchase this course, you could include a link for your course on pitching book ideas to publishers, as customers who are interested in creative writing are also likely interested in getting their stories published.

The key to a winning Thank You page with an upsell offer is relevancy. Focus on other courses you offer that are similar to the customer’s original purchase.

For a few examples of Thank You pages that help boost conversions, check out these case studies from Unbounce.

2. Show Similar Online Courses

Although this tactic is technically considered a cross-sell, and not an upsell, showing similar products or courses before a customer makes a purchase can help boost your bottom line profits. does this all the time. On nearly every product page, there’s also a section with similar products purchased by other people. The reason so many successful e-commerce sites do this is simply because it works.

5 Tricks to Mastering the Upsell for Your Online Course

You can do the same thing with your course pages. On each one, include a section that says “Other students were interested in:” or “Students who purchased this course also purchased:” and list a few of your similar courses.

There’s no downside to giving your customers more options, and many will purchase additional courses or related add-ons.

3. Add a Limited Time Offer

The limited time offer uses the concept of scarcity, one of the principles of persuasion. The strategy is that you offer another course that a customer can purchase at a discount, but only if they purchase it right away.

When a deal is only available for a limited time, customers are more motivated to take advantage so they don’t miss out.

According to CrazyEgg, the most effective limited time offers mention a specific deadline for taking advantage of the discount. Using vague language like “act now” or “limited quantities available” aren’t as big of a motivator as setting a specific end date for the sale.

You can include a limited time offer at any stage of the purchasing process, including when a customer adds a course to his cart or after they complete a purchase. It doesn’t need to be a large discount. Even smaller discounts such as 5% or 10% off can convince a customer to take advantage of a limited time offer.

4. Compare Your Premium Courses with Your Low-Cost Courses

With this upsell technique, you’re luring customers in with your lowest priced courses (or even free courses), and then showing them how much better your premium options are. It’s a popular tactic across many e-commerce sites, and for good reason.

For example, let’s say you have courses priced at $30, $60 and $90. You’d advertise “Courses starting at $30!” On your courses page, include a breakdown of what each course offers to demonstrate how much more value your higher-priced courses provide.

A simple way to make this technique even more effective is to include all the features the most expensive course has under each course option. If a course doesn’t have a feature, grey it out or put a red “X” next to it. This ensures customers see what features they’re missing out on if they don’t choose the best option.

The idea here is that the customer will essentially sell themselves on the higher priced course, without much work on your end.

Related: How to Price Your Online Course (Complete Guide)

5. Include Upsells in Add-to-Cart Popups

There’s a golden opportunity to make another sale after a customer adds an item to his cart. Instead of taking the customer to his cart or just adding the item to his cart, set up an add-to-cart popup overlay (using a tool like Sumo, for example). This will encourage customers to check out your other courses and products before they head to check out.

According to Best-in-Class research from Inflow, the best treatment for the upsell tends to focus on what other customers bought with that specific course previously, if you have that data available.

This overlay should include confirmation that the course was added to the customer’s cart, links to continue shopping, or go to the cart and start the checkout process, and a couple other courses that the customer may be interested in. This doesn’t inconvenience your customers at all, since they have the option to checkout, but it still includes upsell options.

If you’re not upselling your online courses, you’re leaving money on the table

If you’re not offering upsell or cross-sell options to your customers, then you’re leaving money on the table. Not every customer will spend more money because you’ve included upsell options, but some will, and as long as your offers aren’t intrusive or annoying, they won’t have any negative impact on the customer’s shopping experience.

Because of the benefits of upselling and how little risk it presents, you should be upselling on your courses everywhere you can. Put all the tricks mentioned above into action and you’ll see higher average spending per customer.

5 Tricks to Mastering the Upsell For Your Online Course @MediaMogulsPR Share on X

Blair Nicole is the CEO & Founder of Media Moguls PR, host of the #KickassPR podcast, and Columnist at several well-known business outlets. Marketing and traveling are her passions, and she travels around the world full time with her 4 year old son, working remotely, and speaking to business audiences of all shapes and sizes.