What does it take to stand out among the swarm of competition in the digital course market? 

Seems like everyone, and their mom and cousin, has an online course these days. And because e-learning is projected to exceed $375 billion by 2026, and with COVID pushing more in-person classes online, I don’t expect the influx of new course creators to slow down. 

If the newbies weren’t enough competition, there are the big names who’ve been in the game for years and are still clocking in with 6- and 7-figure launches. It’s enough to make you wonder if you can ever get any real traction in the market.

While there are a million and one strategies for creating and selling your online courses, I’m here to tell you about the one thing you might be overlooking: surprising and delighting your customers AFTER the sale.

What Is “Surprise and Delight”?

So, what do I mean by surprise and delight? That’s all of those awesome, valuable bonuses you packed into your online course, right? 

Not exactly. I do love my bonuses (who doesn’t), but bonuses ideally serve another purpose in selling your course — overcoming objections. Each bonus should address a specific buying objection. 

Example objection: “I don’t have time to implement what I learn.” 

Example bonus: “The Decision-Making Tool That Saves You Two Hours a Day”

Please keep your objection-wrangling bonuses, but don’t miss the chance to continue the good will after the purchase. 

Most course creators simply overlook the chance to surprise and delight at this stage. After all, the sale is made. 

This is a huge mistake. Instead of building brand loyalty and trust, and making your buyer a superfan for life, you’re delivering exactly what was promised, and nothing more, which is pretty much what everyone expects. (Or worse, you drop out of their inbox until the next time you have something to sell.) 

“But wait, Allie, shouldn’t I meet their expectations?”

My reply: Why just meet their expectations when you can consistently EXCEED them?

To surprise and delight means exceeding your customer’s expectations after the sale.

Why It Works

Think about the last time you made a mid- to high-ticket purchase. Maybe it was a $3,000 online program, or a sofa, or even a house. 

How EXCITING was it to be courted, to imagine all of the wonderful things that would be possible AFTER you got your hands on the item, to make the decision to BUY what you want?

Then what happens? 

Usually a giant let-down. You WANTED the program, sofa, or house. You got it. Now what? Was it everything you expected? Did you make a mistake?

Ah, good old buyer’s remorse. 

A few actions you can take as a course or digital product creator to proactively combat buyer’s remorse:

  1. Target the right audience and offer a specific solution. Otherwise, you’re selling the wrong thing to the wrong people, and you’re bound to get a lot of refund requests.
  2. Be clear about who it’s for and not for, and what the consumer will have to do to get results. Let’s be real: We ALL want the easy button for everything, but life doesn’t work that way. So, be sure to set realistic expectations right from the start.
  3. Make sure your tech works! And that it’s FAST. One of the biggest advantages of buying a digital product is INSTANT ACCESS. Deliver their receipt and log-in/next steps email ASAP. If your course has a future start date, make that clear on the sales page and in the post-purchase email. 
  4. Keep the relationship going AFTER the sale. A lot of course creators send the confirmation email, then…disappear from the buyer’s inbox. WHY?! Don’t be that person. Guide them through the milestones of the course or offer. Follow up and ask how it went. Nurture them. 
  5. Add something unexpected and genuinely valuable. This is your chance to surprise and delight. What can you add? What have past customers asked for? Is there anything you wished you had ready at launch but didn’t? Add it after the sale. Send a note to your customer and deliver the unexpected bonus.    

How I’ve Used Surprise and Delight in My Business

Inside the Tiny Offer Lab, we provide a TON of value and support up-front. But my team and I are always listening to what our students tell us they need. 

We added live offer bootcamps, group mindset coaching, and co-working sessions. And after COVID-19 hit, we changed the length of the program from 12 weeks to 24 weeks because we knew our students were affected and needed more time to get results.

My biggest hit so far — a swag box full of Tiny Offer branded goodies delivered straight to their door.

Inside the box: A journal, a coffee mug, a phone charger, and a sweet, inspirational pen.

But it wasn’t what was in the box that mattered. The gift was a sign that we’re thinking about them, that we care.

Yes, the thought matters, but you better send a gift box too!

As a business owner, I searched for months and months to find the perfect solution to get these gift boxes into my students’ hands. I considered sourcing the swag direction from China and purchasing a pallet for storage in a warehouse down in Texas. I considered outsourcing to one of those swag shops where you have to buy 10,000 of each product – complete with awkward, pitchy and confusing chats with swag vendors at networking events. 😬🙄

In my early days, I ordered products myself from Amazon or AliExpress and stored 1000 selfie lights in my utility room (they’re still in there, btw).

I used to write thank you cards one by one and carefully stuff those free USPS boxes full of the perfect amount of crinkle paper (while trying to keep it away from my curious, ever-destructive children). I also spent hours filling out customs forms for our international students and stood in the post office lines with exhausted arms full of utility bins full of spare ribbon, crinkle paper and gift boxes.

None of those solutions were easy – nor would they work at scale.

Then I finally found SwagUp, and my swag life has never been more simple. I selected the box I wanted to sent and sent them my program logos, and they did all of the branding and design AND mocked up the gorge box that gets shipped to all of my TOL students.

Turns out the students loved them too. ☺️

The ordering platform is super simple to use and I’m ecstatic (and so are the students!). Every week or two, Michelle, my customer success specialist, uploads an excel list directly to SwagUp of our newest members (which is zapped into creation from Zapier and ThriveCart). She’s able to verify the addresses and click send, and SwagUp handles all of the packaging and shipping. (They even handwrite the gift cards!)

I was so happy with my experience sending out the giftboxes for students with SwagUp AND I had so many business owners asking me how they could source their own, that I decided to partner with them.

If you’re interested in learning more, or ordering your own set of student gift boxes, you can do that here.

Spread the love