This year’s Black Friday/Cyber Monday bazaar is around the corner and people from all around the world (and the web!) will start taking advantage of their one-and-only chance tο buy their favorite products at a discounted price!
Do the dates 23rd and 26th of November ring a bell? Of course, they do! But if you haven’t saved these days on your calendar yet, this is the perfect time to do so!
For every online instructor, BFCM offers the best opportunity to promote their products and approach more people from their target group. In fact, this is exactly what every business and their customers have been waiting for all year long. Haven’t you?
What’s awesome with online courses is that you can offer the gift of knowledge at a better price and with unlimited options on discounts! Besides, is there a better way to invest in the everlasting piece of knowledge and help others share and promote education?
If you are looking for an opportunity to increase your sales, reading through this guide may be exactly what you need…
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Do Your Research
The right mentality for the success of this big November sale comes with good preparation. Starting your marketing planning as early as October is ideal, as it gives you plenty of time to prepare your marketing campaign for the day(s). In fact, the earlier you start the better.
A survey from RetailMeNot finds that more than half of US shoppers begin their holiday shopping before Black Friday. This means they are on ‘scouting’ mode well in advance and you need to start early and be able to respond accordingly.
Now, the real question to ask yourself is how can you make this special occasion profitable for your business. Essentially, this is your starting point:
First, it might help to ask yourself the following:
- What do you want to promote? – Is it an existing course, a new course especially featured for this holiday, or any other upcoming courses you want to give that ‘extra boost’ and draw some more attention to?
- How will you promote it? – Think about what marketing channels work best for the promotion of this event. Create a list of the online (or offline) means you are planning to use and figure out if they are time and cost-effective for your business. For example – email marketing, newsletters, social media (through a Facebook group, event, advertisements etc.)
- How will you measure success? – Set up some clear goals from the start and define your success metrics. Decide how long the offer will last, give time to plan your campaign, check your budget and decide how much discount you can offer. Lastly, choose the tool that suits you best (e.g. MailChimp, Facebook) to track your marketing campaign through visits, orders and sales.
Start from scratch and make everything count! PS: You don’t have to paint it all black!
Make Your Plan
Take the time to plan and organise your course sales and by all means, don’t save it up to the last minute. Planning your course sale campaign needs more time than money and allowing yourself to schedule things in advance is essential to BFCM success.
1Choose Your Product:
The main product here is courses and this can work as an advantage since you sell an intangible product that can be easily promoted in a bulk number. However, along with these, some instructors may choose to ‘bargain’ other products that are physical and supplementary to courses. A welcoming gift bucket along with a course could be the perfect present for attracting newcomers.
Amazon does a great job promoting the right products judging from the interest of their clients. For example, the business is more likely to offer products that are similar to each other and are often bought together. Drawing examples from previous customer behaviour they can predict what will sell or not. For courses, this would mean choosing and promoting the most popular by customer demand.
Tip: Just like every successful marketer, you have to think about who you are approaching and give attention to their main needs and characteristics. This should help you choose the most appropriate product to put ‘on sale’. Defining your target audience is always important, but more so when you have are getting your ‘Sales Benchmark’ out.
An excellent idea would be to re-target past visitors and customers. These are people who have come across your school, but possibly forgotten about your ‘product’ but today are may be willing to buy from you.
2Choose Your Discount Type:
After choosing your product, it’s time to set up your discount strategy. Should you give out a free gift, massive discount, other services except for courses (consultation), coupons for course deals? Or does a seasonal coupon that creates the sense of urgency and scarcity works better?
Here are a few good options to consider:
- Massive discounts: Black Friday gives you the opportunity to experiment on discounts and offers the ‘green light’ for putting up massive discounts. Discounts starting from 70%, 80% or even up to 90% aren’t uncommon and you can try it with your courses to see how people respond.
Example 1: A bundle of cooking courses sold at $50
- Coupons: Use coupon codes and share them on social media, add them on ad/banners in your online school or email. This could be a special discount gift for courses you already have and want to promote to a larger audience. You can create your own BFCM discounts using the course review templates on page builder. Print screen the page and transform the images to course thumbnails.
Example 2: Limited offer on a course using a coupon code
- The FOMO technique: this is the ‘fear of missing out’ and it works with limited-time and limited-items offers. You can offer private offers/discounts to a small number of people only available for the BFCM weekend. Check out other psychological tricks you can use to create scarcity and more demand on selected products.
- Free courses: An all-time favorite technique that works is offering a free course as part of a bundle e.g. 2+1 free. You can call this the ‘Deal of the Hour/Weekend’ or anything you like, really. This creates the need for people to buy and save money on this special holiday.
Example 3: A big discount on 2 Fine Arts Courses + 1 for free
- Extra gifts: Other offers may include free consultations, coaching sessions, private courses, or downloadable material such as PDFs, webinars, videos/audios. Also, while courses are exclusively sold online, there is no reason why you shouldn’t send out a physical gift to your most dedicated customers or even the last ones who you welcomed on-board.
Tip: Most retailers and entrepreneurs choose to start their offers from Thanksgiving and now it has become the norm. This gives them a total of 5 days to advertise, promote, to sell and go all-in on course sales!
3Set Your Price:
You might think that price isn’t as important but as far as newcomers are concerned, what you decide to put on that price tag matters…a lot. Think about it: It helps to create first impressions and those who don’t know you need to have an extra motive to buy.
At this point, it’s important to pay attention to weight out your costs and profits after choosing the specific product. This means that you have to evaluate how much it costs to create the product and how much to promote it. Weighing out your options can help you decide on the best deal for you and your customers.
Setting the right price for product sales is easy. All you have to think about is the cost per unit (including money and time), the target value you intend to generate as opposed to the number of people you are targeting and expect to respond. When shipping is involved it gets more complicated with all the expenses for it, but you don’t have to get into that with courses! (That’s another plus!)
Now, the following examples on course bundles can help you decide on your own sales price:
- Example 1: A catchy e-learning deal from Stack Commerce that offers ‘The Complete Python Programming Bundle’ which includes seven courses and provides the ability to build your own games. The price was at $1,176 and dropped down to just $79 for a limited time.
Example 2: Another interesting deal that you can follow and try out is Stack Commerce’s ‘2017 Zero to Hero Game Developer Bundle’. This course bundle offers 83 hours of instruction and training on building games. The standard price was and $1,477 but was reduced to only $49! That’s an eye-watering discount.
Example 3: Lastly, a collection of seven courses that was originally sold for $745 in total, now is only at $39. Is this even possible? Apparently, yes. In fact, you can choose what to do with it and set your own price. This course bundle offers lots of valuable knowledge, advice and training on Digital Entrepreneurship summarized in not only 1 or 2, but 7 courses and it’s worth every penny of it. However, when you are putting on sales you have to be flexible on the price and be able to see the bigger picture.
*All case study examples are taken from Popsci
As you can see, all three case studies present a tremendous drop in the price during a sales period. Following these examples, you can create a bundle of courses that you would normally let’s say, sell for $350 at $89 available for this holiday and limited-time only.
Choose your own discount percentage and promote your sale!
Planning is over and it’s time to out and about. In case you haven’t thought of these, here are some strategies you can try out to make a difference this year:
- Go Live: Don’t forget, you have the option to broadcast the offer using YouTube’s live session or on Facebook and Instagram. If you are willing to go the extra mile, prepare a small introduction to present your product.
- Reward Loyal Customers: it’s always a good idea to thank those who have been there for you all along. These people deserve special treatment, don’t you think? For these guys, the option of a private offer such as a specialized study group, a webinar, or even a coupon to use in the next purchase, works perfectly.
- Recruit Affiliates: Apart from your customers, you can also work with your affiliate partners and distribute promotions and coupon codes to their audience. Alternatively, you can increase their commission just for this holiday, organize contests and give out prizes. Here is how you can setup your very own affiliate network in your LearnWorlds school.
- Create a Dedicated Landing Page: Go all-in with the branding and adjust your landing page to fit the BFCM mood. Make it festive and give it a special character to show people that there’s something ‘going on’. Simplicity, bold colours, effective CTAs, and the use of pop-ups win over people and encourages them to opt-in to your email list to check out future offers. The page design plays a huge role in retaining customers and your images – whether you are using stock photos or mock-ups, they need to be carefully selected.
- Present Your Offer: Promoting your offer on social media without direction is one thing though putting some money into to reach more and better audience is quite another. The BFCM holiday provides the perfect time to invest a few bucks in your social media marketing strategy. Also, a few blogs from relevant authors/journalists can help to feature discount guides and other information, people might find relevant.
- Invest in Email Marketing: By now, you should have realized how email marketing can do wonders. As research shows, about 1.5 billion emails are being sent during Black Friday holiday and this increases the number of clicks and views on the email and your site.
A safe bet would be for you to start sending emails to your customers from your email list a few weeks before the event. For better effectiveness, you can also send a VIP group and call out to 100-200 participants or offer early-bird access to the most loyal customers. Also, make sure to customize the emails and their subject lines. Some popular BFCM words that you can use and catch the attention are ‘Black Friday’, ‘Cyber Monday’, ‘Holiday’, ‘Free’, ‘Don’t Miss’, ‘Save’, ‘Now’.
Record your process and check your campaign’s performance!
Track Your Results
All of the strategies we mention in this article, can work if they are executed in the appropriate time-frame and are given the right amount of focus they need. What’s important for every online instructor is to come up with a better and more valuable offer each time and every time a big event like BFCM is on the calendar. For this reason, every marketing campaign needs regular monitoring and an ‘after-match’ evaluation:
- Check out what/how advertisements on marketing channels and website work
- Calculate email response rate and engagement
- Keep track of the progress and make the changes as you go
- Evaluate the key performance indicator (KPIs) against your business goals
- Check out the daily performance and keep a note of what’s working or not
- Prepare a report on how each social platform performed
- Check how the traffic has resulted in revenue via other paths and conversions
Trial and error can help you figure out what works best and then apply it to your existing marketing strategies. Google Analytics and Google Tracking are essential tools for tracking and measuring campaign success. The purpose of this is to figure out what to avoid doing the same mistakes in the future. However, demand changes frequently and keeping an open eye to marketing and consumer trends is essential!
A Few Tips ‘on the Go’:
- Keep things simple: Simplicity wins every time. Make sure to use clear CTAs pointing your school visitors to the right online path – through the funnel.
- Be mobile and desktop ‘active’: Make sure that your online school is well-optimized and your school visitors can access the site on mobile and desktop. Also, and make sure that your site can handle an increase in traffic.
- Be organised: For your convenience, organise a plan-map for upcoming sales in Google Sheets or Excel to keep everything in line.
- Show that you care: Consider raising awareness for a cause or for a charity and commit to giving a % to them. This might attract more people who are willing to help out.
- Be humorous and funny: People appreciate honesty and are always in need of some laugh. If you manage to make their mouth curve you are in! Using appealing, catchy content and media such as GIFs can work just as brilliant.
- Focus on the benefits: Courses are great because they provide much better value than any other product. Through them, people can develop their skills, undergo training and learn one thing or two to develop both personally and professionally, and it doesn’t hurt to remind them that.
So, are you ready for BFCM 2018? The upcoming Black Friday and Cyber Monday is going to be the busiest shopping weekend of the year! Even though it’s more than a month away, it’s important for online business/schools to start preparing.
Make sure you don’t miss out! Oh, and good luck!
Create a beautiful online school without any technical skills.
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