“The best thing about waiting until the last minute is that it only takes a minute.” —Wake Forest

If there’s one thing people love, it’s taking the easy way out. We’ll go out of our way not to do something, no matter how simple it is.

Have you ever procrastinated on something small, like putting away the dishes, even though you know you’ll feel better when it’s done?

Have you ever cancelled plans with friends, even though you know you would end up having a good time, because you felt a little lazy?

Or maybe you’ve put off buying something you need, or reading an unopened email, or even walking the dog, because you don’t feel like it right at the moment.

Welcome to the club. That’s human nature at its finest.

It’s an unavoidable fact that people need to be poked and prodded in order to take action. As a course creator and product seller, it’s vital for you to understand how, exactly, to get people to stop being lazy, and actually sign up for your course.


It all starts with Action Tactics. These are creative ways to shake your customers out of their “Say No” mindset and prime them to “Say Yes.” Since the dawn of marketing, people have been using these tactics.

Now it’s your turn!

Take a look at a few of our favorite tactics, illustrated by real-life examples.

When most people think of action tactics, they think of discounts. Here’s an example of a classic “50% off” discount.

actiontactics2Sometimes a discount isn’t enough, and you need to highlight a pain or pleasure point. While we like to think people will naturally do what will bring them pleasure, more often than not, pain is a more effective tool. Sometimes the stick is more effective than the carrot! Here’s a great pain point example from the olden days.

A free trial is the perfect way to let someone take your product for a test drive.

Two great action tactics in this Snuggie ad: Buy one get one free, and buy now to receive an additional gift.

This vintage snake oil ad worked well because it promised an instant payoff. Nowadays, we might also call that a quick win.

Entice first time customers with a first timer discount or offer.


Provide early access to a product or sale to encourage your customers to take action right now…

and to make them feel like they’re part of an exclusive club.


Monetary incentives are great for winning over on-the-fence buyers, even if the amount of money saved is small. Two incentives to consider are free shipping and no taxes.




Shout your expiration date from the rooftops to get people to buy now instead of later.



Give a discount or added value to customers who refer a friend.

Here’s a classic example of a high-value free gift with purchase.


Induce “fear of missing out” by announcing that you’re only selling a limited number of products. This worked fantastically for products like Tickle Me Elmo and Target’s recent Lily Pulitzer collection, both of which had shoppers lining up outside stores and getting into fights. We also call this the scarcity tactic.

Build buzz with a seasonal offer that rolls around once a year, like McDonald’s McRib. This ad also includes uses the scarcity tactic, with a limited number of offers available.

actiontactics15Another solid use of the scarcity tactic, indicating the dwindling number of tickets still available. If you’re selling a specific number of products, make sure you let your customers know when the numbers start going down.

This ad also mentions two pain points: waiting at the will call line and paying shipping fees.


actiontactics16When it gets down to the wire, send your customers a countdown reminder that indicates how much time they have left to make their purchase, like on this Kickstarter ad.

Hotel booking sites do a FANTASTIC job at making customers pull out their credit card and book that room. Look at everything happening in this one small part of their website. There’s a “last purchased” indicator, an “items remaining” indicator, a counter of other customers viewing the page at the same time, free cancellation, and an option to pay later. Whew!

actiontactics17.jpgOnce your product is sold out, let the world know…and start a waiting list to attract even more buyers.



Hold a blowout or overstock sale. You might also call this a warehouse sale or a clearance sale…whatever term makes the most sense for your product.


Have a business birthday or anniversary promotion that’s good for one day only.

In fact, any holiday is an excuse to hold a holiday promotion or sale.

actiontactics20Here’s an example of a high-value rebate offer…along with a 30 day trial.

A line outside the door is the best advertising money can’t buy. (Like all these folks waiting to buy the iPhone 6.) You can create a virtual line by encouraging your customers to let others know that they intend to buy, that they’re excited to buy, or that they’ve just bought. You can also share information (like the hotel booking site example above) about how many visitors are currently on your site, how many purchases have been made to date, etc. to generate excitement.

actiontactics23Give your customers a reason to keep coming back with a loyalty program or returning customer coupon. (If it works for every coffee shop in America, it can work for you!)


Is your product seasonal, like a “New Year, New You” self-improvement course, or a “Learn to Jet-Ski This Summer” program? Try offering your product at odd times for an out-of-season discount.

Whatever your marketing plan, and whatever Action Tactics you choose, remember that your customers are SMART. So, make sure you deliver exactly what you promise.

If you advertise a discount, follow through. If you say your product is only on sale for a limited window, make sure you close that window on the deadline date. Don’t try to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes in order to make a quick buck. It will catch up to you, and it won’t be pretty.

Honesty is important. You need it if you’re going to build trust and create loyal, long-term customers who keep coming back to buy again and again.

Having a fantastic product is also important.

Have you ever heard that old saying, “garbage in, garbage out”? It means if your content isn’t up to snuff, no sales tactics in the world will make up for it. So don’t forget about the quality of your product when you’re thinking about how to entice customers to take action.

Make great content, and the sales will follow.

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