How to Sell Online Courses and Build an Upsell Strategy with Company Swag

August 25, 2017

How to Sell Online Courses and Build an Upsell Strategy with Company Swag




The eLearning market is exploding!  The 2016 income forecast for those of you creating and selling online courses in the United States alone, was a whopping $27 billion, and by 2023, the global industry is expected to exceed $240 billion.


But if you've done any research at all, you know the big pay-off comes from product upsells — the products you follow-up with during and after the original course.

We've done some research too, and we've spotted a quiet little trick using company swag that not many course creators are sharing. This gem will boost your upsell rate and branding at the same time.

And that translates to your share of a $240 billion industry.

If you're a business coach, personal coach, or you're selling an online course of any kind, we've got a secret for you.


The Future of the Course Creation Industry

The best news for everyone from universities to stay-at-home moms is, the Docebo® eLearning Market Trends and Forecast Report for 2017-2023 projects the online eLearning industry will continue to soar.

The global industry total was over $165 billion in 2015 and expected to grow by 5% through 2023, exceeding $240 billion.

What caused that incredible escalation?

A variety of factors from the rising cost of traditional education, to the popularity of finding instant how-to advice online made the online learning industry an instant success.

Now, rather than just reading, we engage and interact on every level with personalized information, teachers, coaches and others who are learning alongside us. And we do that at our convenience.



Technology plays a huge role. Online social platforms like Facebook have grown in popularity in part due to their ability to provide members only groups where students can discuss and compare the latest course module.

Online course creation is an industry that is quietly changing the traditional learning environment and not just for adults. Public grade schools and high schools are routinely promoting a fully accredited, high quality education, with challenging content at every level.

But that's not where the true popularity of eLearning shines.

The average person looking for a specialized skill (without signing up for an expensive traditional course) is likely to find exactly what they are looking for, online.

And they are prepared to pay a premium price for specialized, expert advice.

The day the average student realized, "Hey, I have a special skill I could share!" was the day that online learning was poised to take over.

Online course creation will continue to skyrocket and the ability to provide quality information and usability is the key to the future of successful online course creation.

So what does company swag have to do with selling your expertise especially if you’re a single mom, company of one? And how will it help build an upsell strategy for your course?





Course Creation Has a Glitch

No matter what size your company is, the essential foundation of your strategy is to present a product in a way that empowers the student and entices them to keep coming back when they need information.

Many of you are providing specialized information for people who just want to improve some part of their daily life, whether that's family issues, health or even their business. Your goal is to provide a quality experience that will enhance their life so they will recommend you and come back for more.

Here's the catch.

Generally speaking, people will forget up to 50% of what they learned within an hour. Tomorrow, they will forget 70%, and within a month, they’ll forget 90%.

To provide the ultimate experience and build your reputation as a coach or teacher, you have to understand that people don't all learn or retain what you teach in the same way.

Some are more likely to remember written material, while others are more auditory...they like to listen. Others learn best in a group and still another group would prefer kicking back in front of a screen alone, taking it all in.

The trend we've spotted that will help you boost your upsell rate AND build your reputation is to provide content and bonus info in as many different ways as possible, but do it with a twist.

Providing course material in a way that is most beneficial to your audience is fairly common.

Putting your course, webinar, bonus templates, video, podcast and any other product you offer on a company branded USB and providing it as a bonus or an upsell is!

Does it really work?


GKIC is the Glazer-Kennedy powerhouse marketing and entrepreneur network. It stands for Glazer-Kennedy Insider's Circle. Most people in the marketing world are familiar with the books and products written by one of the founders, Dan Kennedy, who combines classic lead generation with multimedia for more effective sales.

GKIC is one of the recognized industry experts in course creation AND — the upsell.

I recently attended a GKIC seminar and purchased one of their many marketing products. In the back of a notebook full of information were sleeves of DVD's with the course recorded for auditory and visual learners.

And...a tiny, USB branded with their company logo.

Now let me ask, would an industry leader provide a USB packed with the entire course and bonus information if it didn't work?




Build Your Upsell Strategy

Most of us aren't multi-million dollar companies like some of the big names, but the take-away is that you don't have to be if you can spot a trend.

Building your strategy begins by recognizing trends.

Right now, the trend for promoting and selling online courses is public speaking, so let's take that and build a strategy blueprint.

Wait...what? Public speaking? That doesn't make money or sell courses, does it?

Meet NY Times Best Selling Author, Suzanne Evans, who landed on the INC 500/5000 list for four straight years after realizing that the key to selling was a 15 minute (or less) stage pitch.

Suzanne ditched her secretary's gig and went from there to a six million dollar business in 6 years by selling her program from the stage.

And now, of course, she teachs others how to do it with an online course!

Not everyone is going to be able to take it to that level, but as an upsell strategy, it's the beginning of a great blueprint.

Just imagine talking to a room full of friends about how you gained some really useful information and how it changed your world. As simple as talking to a friend on the way to the parking lot.

But at the end you let them know that you have a tiny USB with everything you learned going from secretary to six-million.

Now that’s the beginning of a beautiful upsell!


The Blueprint

Start by assessing your material and your offers.

Can you build quality materials to add value?

  • Check lists
  • Templates
  • Reference Library
  • Key Terms
  • A bonus related mini-course
  • Tip Sheets
  • Past recorded webinars


Any of those would make perfect material to add to your branded USB.

Make sure that the USB you choose is a match to your brand and even your course. For example, let's make our blueprint for a health and wellness course that promotes yoga, non-toxic living and simplifying your lifestyle.

I would choose a USB that reflects those qualities. An Eco-Friendly Bamboo USB or these Rectangular Shape USB's will reinforce the message. 




So what if you are offering a course to help people clean up their credit and get financially stable?

Let them know the only credit card they need is the credit card-thin USB Flash Card (with the ability for you to add full color customization on both sides.)


You get the idea. 

The next step is to make sure you don't miss opportunities to share your products.

  • Make them a bonus for early sign-up
  • Use them as an upsell after a free webinar
  • Offer them as a thank-you
  • Mention them in related courses
  • Sponsor a contest
  • Add them as a suggested item with related products (Amazon-style!)
  • Sell them on your website
  • Preview future courses inside the material


And, yes, take every opportunity to speak about your course, whether it's a thirty-minute mini-course at a local coffee shop, or asking to tag on to someone else's presentation in a related field.

It’s incredibly easy to find opportuinites to build your brand. If you're getting into the online course creation field, and we highly encourage you to look into it, or you already have a business that could benefit by providing a course, start looking for ways to provide a quality user experience along with your expert content.

Don't forget to brand your documents, and of course, call us and we'll show you exactly how to make the most of your own branding opportunity.