How to sell online courses: increase the sales of your online courses

How Course Creators Can Increase Their Revenue by 20-300%

In this episode of the Course Creator Community Podcast, Jono interviews the Founder of Data Driven Marketing John Ainsworth. John shares his strategy on how any Course Creator can not just sell their online courses but actually increase their revenue by 20-300%! 

You can either 

Jono’s Summary / Take Away’s

John breaks his system down into 3 components, how to:

  • Grow Your Email List 
  • Convert More of Your Subscribers into Customers
  • How to not just make sales on your online course but actually increase Your Revenue per sale

I’ll break down each component 1 by 1 – in the order that me and John discuss them in the podcast.


In John’s opinion, this is the easiest way for a Course Creator to sell their Online Courses and make more money! He has two simple tips that ANYONE reading this blog can do… Which are simply

  • Include an order bump
  • Include an upsell

The Order Bump

See sample below

An order bump is a ‘tick box’ you include on the CHECKOUT page that a prospect can choose to ‘add to their order’ and make you sell more online courses!

In all other aspects of life, order bumps are extremely normal. For example if you go to McDonalds – they will  ask if you want fries with that… if you go to the cinema – they will ask if you want popcorn with that – it’s just part of life. 

There are always little things you could add in that are complimentary to your ‘main offer’. Obviously not everyone is going to add the order bump – but if you get it right (the offer, the pricing, the wording etc) a lot of people will!

If you want an example of an order bump – in my Fitness Education Online business (where I sell online courses to Fitness Trainers) – most of my courses cost around $500. I always include an order bump on my courses – which is usually my course around “How to Train Pregnant / Post Natal Women” which is $97… Because no matter what other course you purchase (how to use Kettlebells, how to run a Bootcamp, how to run a studio) – you’re also going to make sure that you cater for training pregnant women – so it’s a no brainer! It’s about a 50% ratio of prospects who ad the order bump.

The Upsell

See sample below

An upsell is something extra someone can purchase on the THANKYOU page that a prospect can choose to ‘add to their order’ after they’ve already entered in their CC details.

The upsell is the ‘next logical step’ or the ‘bundle’ to sell your Online Courses. The most simple example, let’s say you’ve got a Level 1 course and a Level 2 course (beginner and intermediate) – if someone purchases your beginner course, on the thank you page, give them the option to purchase the Level 2 / intermediate course at a discounted rate. 

If you don’t have a Level 2 / Intermediate course – that’s ok, just offer the next logical step. 

In my Fitness Education Online business – my best selling course is “How to Grow Your Fitness Bootcamp” ($500). The upsell to that course is my “Battlerope Essentials” course (Usually $197 – one time offer $47 if you get it now). If you don’t know what Battleropes are – they are those big black ropes that you see people slamming into the ground in gyms / bootcamp. In the upsell I explain, you’re going to have a successful Bootcamp – sooner or later you’re going to want to master the Battleropes – so you may as well do it now for $47! Around 25% of customers will add this to their order.

So if you do nothing else but these two things – you’re going to make more revenue in your online course business – because every sale you make, is going to be worth that little bit more! 

The most important thing here though is DON’T USE THIS AS AN EXCUSE TO CREATE ANOTHER COURSE. Look at what you ALREADY have and use that as your upsell / order bump.

Strategy 2: Convert More of Your Leads Into Sales

If you’re reading this – chances are you already know the power of an Email List to sell more of your Online Courses… and you probably have one. But the most common mistake Course Creators make is they don’t email their list enough, soo it’s worthless… 

John’s basic email strategy is as follows

Every month – you will have a “special” on one of your courses. Let’s say for arguments sake – you have 3 different courses.

January: The special is on Course 1

February: The special is on Course 2

March: The special is on Course 3

Repeat for April, May and June

The month that your course is on special, you are going to send out 5 emails in ONE week! 

The first 4 emails (Monday to Thursday) are going to include “tips”

ONE tip per email – nothing crazy, just a little tip from your course that someone could read adn implement in a couple minutes. 

Along with the tip – you’ll have a little “PS” down the bottom of the email, also letting your subscribers know that you actually have a full course on this topic which is currently on special.

Your 5th and final email (on the Friday) will be telling your subscribers that your cart closes at 11:59pm that night and if they want the course at the discounted rate, they need to register tonight.

The reason John loves this strategy so much is because 

  1. The emails are quick and easy to write – you don’t need to ‘think’ what to write because you’ve already got the tips from your course
  2. People love getting tips and love discounts so your subscribers will be happy
  3. You’ll make a whole heap of sales for your online courses so you will be happy

Now, if you’re reading this and you only have one course – don’t sweat ! You still options! 

For example

… The “special” is different each month… 

Month 1: Course 1… special is a 30% discount

Month 2: Course 1… special is a free 1 on 1 consult

Month 3: Course 1… special is a free bonus course 

This way – you’re not just “selling the same thing” every month! And the person who purchases with the 30% discount may be a different type of person who purchases due to the 1 on 1 consult.

Or you may go down the affiliate pathway…

For example 

Month 1: Course 1 (this is your own course)

Month 2: An affiliate’s course (ideally at a 50/50 split)

Month 3: An affiliate software (ideally there is a certain software that you recommend your audience use – which you get a kickback for recommendation… if not – there’s always amazon – recommend a book) 

Strategy 3: How to Grow Your List / Convert Your Traffic to Leads

You’ve got two main options here depending on what you’re strategy is

  • Using your ‘website’ to convert ‘traffic’ into ‘leads’
  • Your social media to convert ‘followers’ into ‘leads’


The first thing you need is a “Lead Magnet” as opposed to a ‘newsletter’. For example my Lead Magnet for this business is… 

How to Launch Your Online Course… Even if You Have No Email list

Once you’ve got a Lead Magnet that you know your audience wants – there’s two things you want to do.

  • Have a pop up on your website: They may be annoying but they work! And if someone isn’t interested – they’ll just close the pop up.
  • Put your Lead Magnet in multiple places on your website: The pop up is just ONE place your Lead Magnet goes. Where else can it go? In the sidebar? In your blog post (like I just did)? Multiple places in your blog post? The more the better

Social Media 

Like your website – you’re going to use your Lead Magnet! Once you’ve got that there’s two things you want to do 

  • Create a Landing Page for the Lead Magnet – don’t just send the follower to your website and hope that they find it. Send them to a specific Landing Page where their only option is to opt in.
  • Like the website, put your Lead Magnet in multiple different places. It’s going to depend on what Platform you’re using – but let’s use YouTube as an example. Put your Lead Magnet in the description, mention your lead magnet at the start of your video, mention it again at the end of the video. If you’re using Instagram – put the link in your bio, mention it in your story, mention it in your post etc etc.

And that’s my summary from the interview :)! If you’d like to listen to it on Podcast – simply click here

If you’d like to see more of what John does – you can check out his website here – where he also has a free funnel calculator – where you can learn how much a fully optimised funnel could make you.

AND… feel free to join my Course Creator Community Facebook Group! There are thousands of course creators in there, everyone is super supportive and we all share tips and ideas! Click here to join.

Blog Author

Jono Petrohilos

Director at Course Creator Community
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