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Offer Free Trials and More with Coupons | Thinkific

Commitment can be hard to come by these days. With international trends that rise quickly and begin to fade even faster (Pokémon Go, anyone?) you need to convince prospects that your content will be valuable in the long run when they’re in the process of evaluating your Thinkific course.

When used strategically, coupons can help tip the scales in your favor when it comes to signing up new students for your course, plus help with long-term retention down the line. By reducing the up-front investment risk, you’re able to prove your worth to first-time visitors by delivering a taste of your content, and then keep them coming back for more!

If you offer subscription or payment plan options for your students, you can now apply coupons to these payment methods! Let’s look at some creative ways you can use these new coupons in Thinkific:

Provide a Time-Limited Free Trial

Free trial periods are perfect ways to offer content to people who aren’t quite ready to buy, but are close! Previously, if you wanted to offer free trials to your students, it was complicated to provide that for subscription-based courses and payment plans. Now, you can quickly give them access to a month’s (or more, at your discretion!) worth of content at little to no charge.

Thinkific course instructor Tash Corbin recently ran a promotion that allowed certain students to access her Heart-Centred Business Academy (a ladies-only business membership course) for free for the first four months:

Tash Corbin Courese Page
One of Tash’s courses with a coupon for 100% off the first 4 months applied

Don’t forget to keep students coming back with reminder emails, so that they’re encouraged to continue on the path of course completion and get a strong grasp of the value you’re providing. Think of this time as your real chance to shine—you want to get them to convert!

Once the time period expires on the free deal, your students will be automatically charged for the next month and from then on for the duration of their subscription or payment plan. This saves you the hassle of having to manually adjust pricing later on for each subscriber.

Provide a “First Timer” Discount

If you’re already promoting your course to new prospects through various channels and offer payment plans as an option, you can use exclusive, duration-based coupons as a way to motivate your audience to try out your course. Whether you’re directing traffic through social media, joint venture partners, from a blog post, or even from a podcast like Thinkific course creator Jonathan Levi, providing a special discount can help sway those who are considering signing up for your course.

Jonathan recently discovered the ability to add a specific duration to his coupons and has already been putting it to use for his SuperLearner Academy’s Master Class:

This was a HUGE win for us, and I’m sure is going to boost our sales tremendously. Now, we don’t need to give separate coupon codes or separate links depending on how people want to pay.

Hats off to the team at Thinkific for continuing to improve this incredible platform!

Next, we’ll start experimenting with marketing campaigns like “Get Started For Just $1 TODAY!”


They actually ran the “Get Started for Just $1” and in just a couple of weeks, have already signed on 70 new students as a result. That’s 70 x $29/mo x 11 months + $70… totalling over $22,400 in new revenue! Because his team also provides the option for one-time payment, they’re now able to use just one single coupon code whenever they mention a course in their podcast, and it will automatically be applied to all payment types. Talk about a time saver! Check out the full post on Facebook to see his example in action (if you’re not already a member of our Group, you’ll have to join first to access it—and we’d love you to!):

Jonathan Levi Facebook Post
Jonathan’s ready to start launching some experiments.

Provide a Retention Discount

If your current students prefer paying over a course of a few months rather than once up front, you can use that to your advantage when upselling your new courses.

Create a custom link pre-populated with a coupon code, then upsell your new course to current students in their completion email. It could look something like this:

Completion Email
Don’t forget to take advantage of our variable options to dynamically personalize each email.

You can continue this method on an ongoing basis, so you always have a great base of prospective students to feed into your latest courses!

Don’t Overdo It

While coupons can be fun and effective for attracting new students, they can also be easy to overextend. Consider setting redemption limits and only distributing them to highly targeted, closed audiences, otherwise you run the risk of devaluing your content and losing money fast!

Keep an eye on your coupon metrics to measure success: follow along with the students who are using them to make sure their completion rates remain as high as those who sign up without one. Over time, you’ll likely be able to uncover either positive or negative trends and decide whether it’s time to rethink your strategy.

How To Set Durations For Your Coupons

Ready to start using this updated feature right away? Jump into your Thinkific dashboard and under “Coupons,” look for the “___ months” field that will automatically appear when you apply the coupon to a subscription-based or payment-plan based course:

Coupon Settings
Choose one or multiple payment options for a single coupon code!

Set your number of months, save the changes, and that’s all! For more complete step-by-step instructions on how to set up coupons for your courses or bundles in Thinkific, check out our Knowledge Base.

How will you use the new flexibility built into our coupons for your own courses? If you’re on our Business Plan, you can get started today! And, if you don’t have a Thinkific site yet, create one for free in a few seconds.

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