- What happens if I apply a dollar amount coupon to an annual subscription?
- How do flat-rate coupons work with different pricing options?
- Can I apply the same coupon to a one-time price and a subscription price?
- How do coupons work with custom first month payments?
Coupons are a powerful tool for promoting and selling your courses. But if you are using a lot of different pricing options — especially multiple-payment or subscription plans — it can be hard to keep track of all the different ways your coupons might interact.
This article covers some of the less obvious interactions, so you can be sure that your coupons are going to work the way you want them to.
- For a general description of coupons and the different options we'll be using, please refer back to our main article on Creating Coupons.
- A coupon cannot reduce the cost of a course — or a specific payment — below $0.
- If in doubt, test your coupon! Creating a student account and walking through a specific coupon checkout is the best way to make absolutely sure everything is working as intended.
Applying flat-rate coupons to recurring payments
If you apply a dollar value coupon to a recurring pricing option — including both subscriptions and monthly payment plans — the coupon discount will apply to each payment period until the duration expires. If no duration is set, it will apply indefinitely.
Monthly Payment Plan Examples
Example #1 - No duration
The student uses a $50-off coupon with no duration to buy a $600 course on a Monthly Payment Plan. The payment plan splits the $600 over six monthly payments of $100.
Every month the student will be charged $100 (regular price) - $50 (coupon discount) = $50. They will pay $300 in total.
Example #2 - Duration set
The student uses a $50-off coupon set to 2 months duration to buy the same course.
For the first two months, the student will be charged $100 (regular price) - $50 (coupon discount) = $50. Then, since the duration is over, they will pay the full $100 for the remaining four months. They will pay $500 in total.
Subscription/Membership Plan Examples
Example #1 - Annual subscription, no duration
This time, the student is using the same no-duration $50-off coupon to sign up for a $600/yr membership that renews annually.
Every year the student will be charged $600 (regular price) - $50 (coupon discount) = $550. They will pay $550 every year until the subscription is cancelled.
Example #2 - Monthly subscription, no duration
Everything is the same as the first example, but this time instead of a $600/yr membership, they are signing up for a $50/mo membership, which would also normally work out to $600 per year.
Every month the student will be charged $50 (regular price) - $50 (coupon discount) = $0. They will not be charged for the subscription at all, and this discount will last until their subscription is cancelled.
Example #3 - Monthly subscription with duration set
This example is the same as the second example, but this time the coupon has its duration set to 6 months.
For the first six months, the student will be charged $0. Then, since the duration is over, they will begin to pay the full $50 from month seven onwards. Assuming they do not cancel their membership, they will end up paying $300 for the first year, and then $600 every subsequent year.
Remember that the duration for a coupon is always set in months, so if you want to set a duration on a subscription that renews annually you will want to work in multiples of twelve, plus one for the initial month; i.e. a duration of 13 months will apply to the first and second payment, 25 months to the first three years, etc.
Custom first payments
If you are applying a coupon to a subscription plan with a custom first payment amount set, the duration must be set to 1 or left blank. If you set a duration of 1, it will apply the discount to only the first payment. If you do not set a duration, the coupon will apply to both the first payment and all subsequent payments. If you set the duration higher than 1, the coupon will not be valid for that pricing option at all.
If we apply our $50-off coupon with no duration to a monthly subscription price that has a custom first payment of $100, then an ongoing monthly cost of $75, the student will be charged $100 - $50 = $50 the first month, and then $75 - $50 = $25 each following month.
The same coupon with a duration set to 1 month would mean the student pays $50 the first month, then $75 each following month.
Best Practices & Solutions
As is hopefully clear from these examples, applying the same $50-off coupon to a course with different pricing options can have dramatically different effects on how much the student is charged, depending on the duration you set and the subscription interval. If you want to apply the same coupon to several different pricing options, you should carefully consider the results.
- The simplest solution to this problem is to create separate coupons for different pricing options; that way you only have to worry about how one coupon will apply to one payment plan. The downside to this is having to manage a larger number of coupons and coupon codes.
- A flat-rate coupon with a duration set to 1 month is generally the easiest option if you want to have only one coupon for all your different pricing options, as this way the total discount will be the same regardless of which option is chosen: the student will only receive the coupon discount on their first payment, whether it's for the whole course, their first month, or their first year.
- The most foolproof option is to make use of percentage-based coupons whenever there are a lot of different pricing options in the mix. This way the discount will apply evenly across the board, no matter the price structure.