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Discounts on online courses: should I apply?

Common doubt among those starting in the eLearning market, deciding whether it is worth giving discounts on online courses as a strategy to attract the consumer is a matter that should be carefully analyzed.

Discounts on online courses: should I apply?

Pros and Cons of Giving Discounts on Online Courses

Offering discounts can be a powerful weapon to convert and  build customer loyalty. But without the right planning, this feature can end up causing damage to your brand or, worse, loss.

How to retain customers

In this post, we’ll cover some of the pros and cons of offering discounts on online courses, examine some of the most popular ways to use offers to drive customer loyalty and conversions, and, of course, how to use this strategy in the right way. 

Discounts on Online Courses: Pros 

  • Easy and fast to implement using apps or features of the hosting platform
  • Increased customer loyalty
  • Increased customer acquisition
  • Increased conversions
  • Meets sales goals

Discounts on Online Courses: Cons 

  • Margins and Profitability
  • Possible damage to the brand
  • Conversions decrease outside of sales periods if you train visitors to wait for offers
  • Trend to attract non-loyal buyers (driven by price)
  • Trend to reduce average order size

When are offers and discounts appropriate?

As mentioned earlier, offering discounts on online courses can be an effective tool not only for acquisition but also for customer loyalty. However, it’s important to consider your overall branding strategy before starting with offers.

If you want to position yourself as a high-end brand or have tighter profit margins, it may be a better idea to implement a customer loyalty plan with benefits rather than one-off offers.  

5 Steps to Creating a Loyalty Program

On the other hand, if you have healthy margins, discounts and periodic offers may be better for achieving your goals.

Ultimately, you need to consider what types of offers are right for your brand. Building an online business usually involves a lot of experimentation to understand what works best. 

The best approach is to choose a goal for each discount campaign and measure the results.

Types of discounts on online courses

There are several types of discounts you can implement. Let’s take a look at some of the more common ones:

Percentage-based discount 

One popular way to offer discounts on online courses is on a percentage basis. 

This can include lower incentive percentages, such as 5% or 10% off, or higher percentages to really boost sales, such as 20% and 25%. On special dates like Black Friday, or to move the sale of some product that is very weak, you can offer significant percentages like 50%. 

10 Tips to Sell More on Black Friday

Fixed Amount Discount 

Offers based on a fixed amount can be positioned as a credit. This makes people feel like they are wasting money if they don’t use it. For example: “Spend $200 and get $20 off”.

An easy trick to decide between a percentage or a fixed value discount for a specific product is the “rule of 100”. If your item is less than $100, use a percentage discount; if it is bigger, use a fixed amount discount. This is a psychological trigger that will result in higher perceived value for your customers.

Free gift

Linking the offer of a free gift to a purchase can be a great way to add value to customers. If used strategically, it can also help to increase the average order value.

You can set a minimum purchase or volume amount to win the gift, such as “Free gift for orders over $200”, or “Buy 5 course modules and get a gift”. 

Automatic discounts 

Automatic discounts apply to all qualifying shopping carts, and customers see them on the cart page before they begin the checkout process. 

It’s a great way to run a site-wide promotion, a specific product or category without customers having to enter a discount code.

Streamlining the discounted buying process helps encourage orders and speed up checkouts, favoring impulse buying. 

Also, when there is already a discount applied to the cart, customers don’t need to leave the checkout to hunt for a discount code or send an email because they couldn’t find the coupon you sent. 

All of this contributes to a better shopping experience for your customers and higher conversion rates for you.

Discount codes

Discount codes are codes that your customers enter during the checkout process to redeem a specific offer. 

They’re a tried and true way to offer discounts on online courses to the right people, whether it’s everyone on your email list or a specific segment such as new subscribers or repeat customers

Using discount coupons can also help you track the success of your marketing efforts. If you’re running multiple campaigns, creating a separate discount code for each can make it easier to see the relative impact on sales. 

How to use a discount coupon in your online business

How set the discount amount in online courses


To give discounts on online courses so that the positive results outweigh the financial loss, you should evaluate different factors related to your product and company. 

In the rush to see their first students arrive, the entrepreneur may simply decide to reduce the course price in half, without analyzing whether this practice is consistent with maintaining the business in the long term, whether there is a strategy to return to the original price later, and when and how it will be applied.

So that you don’t make this mistake, check out some issues that should be considered before stipulating discount values ​​for online courses.

Consider the profit margin accurately

First determine the cost of producing your course. This calculation includes the amount of direct expenses such as materials used and working hours, up to implied fees such as energy and rent.

Thus, if you have a production cost of $60, for example, and decide to sell your course for $100, you will know that your profit margin is $40. Based on this result, you will know if it is feasible to give a discount and what is the maximum amount of price reduction you can practice.


Analyze the interest and search for the topic of your course, so you can get an idea of potential sales.

This knowledge is important when defining the discount rate for online courses, because if the product is sold in large volume, it is possible to offer a greater discount, as it will be worth the amount sold. If this is not the case, practice a lower discount rate so that the sale remains healthy for your business.

How to know if my course has a market

Know the value of your product

The temptation to give in to discount requests and enroll more students is high, but before doing this, know exactly how much your elearning content is worth.

If your course addresses a specific subject, about which it is difficult to find material, it is a product with greater added value and anyone interested in the topic knows that they will pay a higher price to have access to this knowledge.

If your course is about something lighter, that the public may be interested in but is not a necessity, it might be a good idea to play around with discounts so that more people decide to buy it.

Conducting market research, seeing who your competitors are and the price they charge is also a good metric to help you decide about discounts on online courses.

Remember that an online course is a personalized material, developed by you specifically for your students, and this customization also reflects in greater added value to the service and product.

Analyze your company’s cash flow

Before discounting, check your finances. Cash flow will determine your need to sell more expensive or cheaper.

If you have invested a large part of your savings in the production of your course and need it to start paying for itself as soon as possible, take it easy on the discount and use other strategies to attract students, such as dissemination on social networks, videos presenting the course content, teaser of the lessons, among others.

5 tips for attracting students 

Ponder the question: I need to sell more, so I’ll sell cheaper, or, I need higher revenue, so I won’t give discounts because every course sold will have a high impact on my cash.

After analyzing these variables, it will be easier to discount smartly and strategically.

By hosting your content on you have complete freedom to define the value of your material and make it clear to the student if discount rates apply.

In addition, our platform for hosting and managing online courses allows you to fully customize your page and domain, creating an identity of your own, with which your students can identify.

Ideal solution to create, sell and promote online courses, serves students and instructors in more than 60 countries.

Complete Learning Management System, presents a pleasant and intuitive interface, integration with different payment platforms, optimization for SEO, and other various resources for you to have the best online teaching and learning experience.

Whats is a Learning Management System

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