Last updated on January 26th, 2022
Flash sales can be a really smart move for online course creators and creative entrepreneurs.
However, let’s be honest… Black Friday and Cyber Monday usually turn out to be the headliner “flash sales” events of the year for most online course creators, coaches and consultants.
A Black Friday promo is circled in red for most course creators and coaches.
For online course creators and service providers, it’s a chance to tempt (and convert) window-shoppers and fence-sitters with a well-placed, tactical nudge.
But it’s gotta be said…
Despite the electric anticipation building and all the promotional buzz, getting noticed (even if you have to-good-to-be-true-deals with big discounts to boot) is HARD.
It’s steep competition on a very crowded stage. Even for seasoned course creators and service providers, selling a decent amount of seats during BF/CM is no cakewalk.
All that aside, you can 100% hop on the prime-time sales cycle bandwagon and be successful. If it’s your jam and it feels right – the more power to you.
If you feel the exhaustion from keeping up with the competition and need breathing room, hop off said bandwagon and add “Seasonal Sales” to your course promotion sales mix.
So…what are flash sales (aka seasonal sales)?
It’s another option to promote your course or service.
Flash sales aren’t anchored to the big heavies like Black Friday and Cyber Monday and to a lesser degree, Labor Day.
Basically, you schedule and create your own sales event (like your birthday, business anniversary or any other meaningful-to-you milestone!) or link it to an existing special event (like Diwali, International Yoga Day or a Scouts Day) aligned with your brand and your value system.
With a well-timed seasonal sale…YOU create your own stage.
Flash sales have a short window and are fast-paced.
This compact and time-bound cycle has natural urgency baked into it. With most events averaging between 24-48 hours (72 hours at the most).
The tight turnaround means it’s easier to manage (versus the traditional 4-6 week launch runway), which means you can use these for quick cash injections into the business.
Why use a flash sale strategy to sell more courses
High-season sales cycles mean that your prospects inboxes’ and social feeds are going to be FULL. The surge of constant promotion can weaken and wane the excitement and emotional anticipation of even the most loyal ride-or-die fans and die-hard deal hunters.
With spam folders bursting at the seams and inboxes nearing capacity, the must-have “it-factor” of your offer has a slippery grip on your prospect’s now fractured attention.
Being spoiled for choice can backfire. Sometimes too much is simply…too much. 🤯
A seasonal sales strategy, on the other hand, uses a well-timed and more aligned moment to capture your prospect’s attention.
It steps aside from the full-court press of traditional year-end sales cycles and opts for a little extra legroom.
There are ENDLESS opportunities to use a seasonal sale to promote your digital product, service or programs.
With so many options at your disposal, you don’t have to wait and watch the days go by on the calendar for your next launch or traditional headliner sales event.
Here are 5 easy-peasy ways to use seasonal sales as a course creator, coach or consultant:
- Celebrate your birthday 🥳🎂🎉 The more, the merrier! Celebrate with your audience and graciously gift them with the perfect offer, bundle, or discount you know they will love you for and rave about.
- Celebrate your business anniversary or a milestone 🏆💰📈 Is it your 5th year in business? Your first year exceeding your revenue goals? Is it your first successful year moving from struggling solopreneur to CEO? Celebrate it and show your love and appreciation for your prospect and customers who supported your business along the way.
- Country/holiday-specific 🎅☘️🧨 Are you celebrating Diwali? St. Patrick’s Day? Chinese New Year? Independence Day? If it’s meaningful to you AND it’s on-brand, piggyback on it! Make it an event to remember and tie it into your offer.
- Dedicated day for your niche 👩🏾⚕️️🏫👩🏾🏫 There’s a lot to choose from…Administrative Professionals Day, Teacher’s Day, World Water Day. If your audience recognizes the significance of that event and it mirrors your personal and/or professional values, then you can go to town and use it to leverage your offer.
- Just because 💛📅❓ Running your online business means you can throw a promo party for whatever you think warrants a little sales celebration. And why not? Did your youngest child just graduate high school? Did you finally achieve a personal goal or cross something off your bucket list that you never thought you would have the opportunity to do? If there’s something significant in your life, personalize it and make it your event.
Looking for the perfect occasion to host your seasonal sale, but drawing a blank? Check out Hootsuite’s compendium here.
When linking to or celebrating a special event, make sure it’s aligned with your values system and has a genuine brand fit.
If you’re a Virtual Assistant celebrating International Virtual Assistants Day, it’s a no-brainer, right?
If you’re a course creator helping women find a niche to grow their business, International Women’s Day makes a solid sales springboard.
But if you’re a fintech consultant, celebrating National Superhero Day may will feel conspicuously off.
How to make your flash sale a real success
The key is in the ⏱ timing.
Keep your seasonal sales event (and your promo emails) short and sweet and tightly scheduled.
Brief but punchy, flash sales infuse interest and capitalize on its natural urgency.
Don’t do these all year round.
The urgency in seasonal sales is linked to its time-bound scarcity.
On the other hand, if you’re running these promotions frequently, your irresistible offer feels like something they definitely can resist until your next round of sales.
If you’ve ever had the misfortune of being on a big box store’s mailing list like Old Navy or Wal-Mart, you’ll know what I mean…when is there ever not a sale?!
Which is why not only do you want to time and schedule these sales with intention, you also want to write emails that help you attract perfect-fit buyers with ease.
Write seasonal sales emails that have prospects reaching for their Apple Wallet
Writing emails for your seasonal sale is fairly easy once you’ve optimized your offer.
Once you’ve chosen your event and polished your positioning, it’s time to create anticipation and excitement.
It’s time to promote your event with the world and get your “hit send” 📧 finger ready.
Try the 3S approach to put your offer on your prospect’s radar and more importantly, stand out in their inbox:
1. Strong offer 💪🏾 – Again…it’s ALL about the offer. Make sure your offer is strong, clear, benefit-focused and optimized for your audience and your promotion.
What does your audience care about? Why do they need to buy it now? What do they get and why shouldn’t they wait for it later? Lead with that.
2. Stand out Visuals 🖌️ 🖼️ – Unlike a regular launch, seasonal sales emails need to be:
a) extremely eye 👀 catching, AND
b) need to do some heavy-lifting when it comes to selling.
A short time frame means you need to move things along quickly.
Visuals are not only persuasive but they also help punctuate your main points and fill in any gaps in your copy.
IDEA: Use images for behind-the-scenes photos, an inside view of your digital product, before/after pictures and visuals of what your course “looks” like so they can gauge the experience.
3. Straight Forward 📝📥 ❗ – Get.To.The.Point.
Keep your emails concise.
Make your approach as straight forward as humanly possible,with clear CTAs and clearer outcomes-slash-benefits.
You don’t want your audience to have to sift through random talking points and secondary benefits.
With a condensed sales schedule, you have no time to waste.
The more optimized and compelling your offer is the easier it is to get to the point and the quicker it is for your audience to decide.
Keep this 3S Approach in mind when you write an email for these seasonal sales or any promotional event with a tightly-paced sales cycle.
Know thy audience
The better you know your prospect (and not a shapeless blob of a vague “avatar”), the more on-point your course promotion strategy will be and the easier you’ll find it to write your seasonal sale emails.
Your emails need to be short and specifc. Don’t leave any room for vague copy.
Consider how your audience sees themselves now and how they want to see themselves after taking your course or buying your product or service. You need to understand, specifically, what value means to your customers and prospects.
Quick sidebar 👉🏾 It’s also worth noting “flash sale” doesn’t always mean deep discounts. Your sales event can be value-based instead of solely focusing on price.
Discount pricing is one way to perk up interest, but your sale can also include:
- exclusive content
- an intimate mentorship program with limited enrollment
- a bundle created from your VIP course modules
- an ROI-heavy asset transformed into a masterclass
Offers that are thoughtfully curated and tailored with elements you can’t buy off the shelf?
That, my friend, is true value.
Let’s next consider something that happens very often.
Sometimes your flash sale doesn’t live up to its expectations.
If your seasonal sales flopped and things went sideways, read on.
3 reasons flash sales can sink like sad souffles
Here’s the RX ➕:
1. Lack of Uniqueness
Evoke curiosity and excitement and create brand recall with your flash sale strategy. It needs to stand out with your big idea.
Why are you running this sale?
How are you distinguishing your seasonal sale from other run-of-the-mill sales?
“SALES” written in big red letters on the virtual sandwich board isn’t good enough. Make it memorable and distinct.
2. Lack of cohesiveness
Your sale strategy didn’t align with your personal or business value system or your brand as a whole.
It’s a jarring mismatch of expectations, like a holistic Ayurvedic nutritionist celebrating World Nutella Day. Is that an impossible pairing? No, but it’s unlikely.
Your flash sale needs to have an intuitive connection to who you are and what you’re known for.
3. A weak offer
Throwing a slap-dash offer together or simply handing out discount codes by the dozen wouldn’t convert because your audience won’t lend you their time and attention.
Get strategic and take the time to dig deep on your offer, your promise and solution.
Even if you’ve tried your hand at seasonal sales and had a few hits and misses, once you double back, debrief your data and re-optimize your offer (or create an entirely new offer), you can revise and reschedule.
There’s a lot to unpack here, so let’s do a recap! 👇🏼
- Mainstream seasonal sales cycles like Black Friday and Cyber Monday and traditional launches aren’t the only model to create urgency and promote your course, digital product or service.
- Seasonal sales or flash sales are not your regular launch – they are shorter in duration AND linked with a special occasion.
- Seasonal sales cycles are usually between 24-48 hours – no more than 72 hours at the most. Never-ending Cyber Monday sales are the retail equivalent of never expiring deadlines.
- Your flash sales strategy can be based on an existing special event OR you can customize the event and create your own.
- 5 ways you can use them: your birthday, business anniversary or milestone, country/holiday-specific event, niche-specific event, and just because.
- There are SO many opportunities to create seasonal sale events but make sure the event you select is on-point with your brand and is aligned with your business and personal values.
- Use the 3S formula to write your Seasonal Sale emails:
- Strong Offer (be unique)
- Stand Out Visuals (use images to prop the sale) and
- Straight Forward (be clear, don’t waffle, and get to the point).
- 3 reasons your Seasonal Sale failed or can fail:
- Lack of uniqueness
- Lack of cohesion
- Weak offer
- Yes, you can run seasonal or flash sales anytime you want but don’t run flash sales year-round. That sorta defeats the “flash” positioning, right?
- Discounts and price drops are not the only way to position a sale.
Seasonal sales offer a refreshing break from the mainstream sales cycle.
For many, Black Friday/Cyber Monday are a hectic time of the year and the scarcity feels unreal when you have more promos and sales that any sane person could possibly keep track of.
In addition, it’s an intense year-end season full of work and family commitments. Translation: reduced purchasing power.
At the same time… Seasonal sales are not the end-all and be-all.
But they are another option worth exploring to add to your promotional launch toolkit.
A well-planned flash sale may open the doors to more sales with a quieter sales cycle.
You create your own opportunities with a seasonal sale and potentially set the scene for a more focused and attentive audience.
You set the pace, build brand recall and create engagement while using natural urgency (without waiting almost 365 days) to inject much-deserved cash flow into your business.
Want to know how to plan a seasonal sale and write copy for it? Be the first to know when Ready-to-Sell opens so you can master sales strategies and copywriting techniques for everything needed to increase course sales, the feel-good, high-profit way!