Want to learn how to price your online course?
Pricing can feel confusing and seriously hold you back… But it doesn’t have to. In today’s guide, you’ll learn how to set the price for your course offers.
Want to learn more? Read on!
Is it profitable to sell online courses?
An online course business can be massively abundant and profitable—not just financially, but also personally.
If you compare course businesses to other business models out there, you’ll see why. First, online courses are an asset that you sell over and over without that many additional costs.
Take ecommerce businesses—you have to pay for things like shipping and inventory. You make far less for every product you sell.
Online courses are different. After deducting your business costs like taxes and marketing costs, most of your course sales are pure profit.
So for instance, an ecommerce product might cost $10 to buy in and shipping it to customers costs $10. You also factor in your marketing costs and taxes, which can easily eat up 50% of your sales. A $50 product doesn’t necessarily have a very high-profit margin.
An online course, on the other hand, doesn’t have those extra costs.
But apart from being financially profitable, online courses offer something more. They offer you the chance to make an impact in the world. Online courses are all about sharing information people can use to improve their lives (be it learning a new skill, finding a dream job, or improving themselves somehow). Creating that sort of value is priceless.
For instance, my student Ruby, who is a relationship coach, sells online courses that help her clients in various areas of their dating lives.
Similarly, career coach Emily sells “Happily Hired”, a program for job seekers who are looking for their next career move.
But there’s one mistake plenty of course creators make… They price their course too low. Let’s talk about why you should charge a premium price.
Why you shouldn’t price your courses too low
Here’s the thing: Selling a course isn’t about the price at all.
I used to be scared of charging the price that I really wanted to the point that I started to resent it. As a result, I stayed stuck in charging the same price for years.
But once I realized that selling a course has little to do with the price, I began to set whatever price felt good to me. And no matter the price, my programs always sell.
It can be easy to look around and think, “people sell courses for $49, so I guess I have to do the same.” You don’t.
Those $49 courses offer a completely different experience and results than higher-priced courses. And there are customers for both types of offers.
Sure, your price depends on the type of course you sell. If it’s a simple PDF or a mini-course, you need to adjust your price accordingly.
But don’t assume you have to set a low price to sell it.
As research shows, people value higher-priced products more than lower-priced products because they associate a high price with quality.
Psychologist Robert Cialdini highlights a telling example in his book Influence. When a shop wanted to put items on sale but accidentally increased the prices, they sold much faster than they had before.
In other words, premium prices can help with selling your product.
That said, there is one type of online course you should sell first to increase your profits fast. Let’s take a look.
Sell this product first to increase your profits!
There’s a simple step you can take to command both higher rates and sell your course more easily when you’re first starting out.
And that’s to sell a group program.
A group program is a self-study course with more personalized support. If you’ve been coaching or consulting before, you’d take that coaching offer, turn it into a course, and add on coaching in a group setting.
But why should you start by offering a group program?
Simply put, group programs are easier to sell because your students get that extra support. They also offer faster results (thanks to the support).
And you can ask for a higher price than if you sell just a self-study course on its own. Personalized support has a higher perceived value and so more people are likely to be happy to pay for that support.
So for instance, if you’d priced your first self-study course at $497, you can price your group program at $1,997. Which means faster profits for you—profits you can use to grow your course business even faster.
Your students will likely get a more premium experience and you will simultaneously learn how to create a course. Win-win!
In this short video, I show you how to start a group program:
Remember that you’re creating an asset
Something that keeps people back is the fear that they’ll pour a lot of time into creating an online course… only to make one or two sales.
Yes, you might not make that many sales the first time you sell your course…and you might even end up without making any sales at all.
BUT it’s the wrong way to think about your course sales. Your course is an asset you can sell over and over, so even if you make just a few sales in the beginning, you can grow your course sales later on.
And even if you sell just one or two courses, those are one or two people who wanted to buy your course! They can provide testimonials and with their feedback, you can improve your course.
Now that you know what it takes to sell an online course, let’s take a look at how to price your offers.
How to price training courses
How do you price training courses? That’s what we’ll look at in this chapter. Pricing a course doesn’t have to be hard, but you do want to know what your options are.
First, is there an average price that you should use? Let’s find out.
What is the average cost of an online course?
There is no average online course price because there are so many different types of courses and pricing models out there. In other words, it all depends on the type of course you sell.
The different course types/pricing models are:
A free course is typically used to generate leads or to promote a course or a product. For example, if you want to show people how effective your courses are and build trust, you could offer a small, free course to either build your email list or get people interested in your products.
Learn the top 3 reasons course creators fail
(and what to do instead to sell out your online course)
The next option is self-study courses. Here, the prices depend on what you sell.
A simple PDF/ebook can sell for up to $20.
A simple video training series with about 4-10 videos, each under 15 minutes, can be sold for anywhere from $47 to about $147.
A 4-6 week group program or course with weekly audio/videos and PDF’s can sell for anywhere from $197 to $497.
And you can sell longer courses with audio, videos, and PDF’s for around $1,000 to $3,000.
A subscription or membership program is a course people sign up for and then they have access to the course material until they unsubscribe from it. Usually, subscriptions also have a moderated community of some sort and new material is dropped regularly to keep people incentivized to continue their membership.
Subscription prices typically range from around $10 to $100 a month.
Hybrid course or group coaching
The last option is hybrid courses or group coaching, AKA you offer a self-study course with coaching or consulting. The hybrid part could also be another type of service, like reviewing people’s resumes.
Your students typically meet in an online community hosted on Slack, a Facebook group, or Voxer.
Longer group programs ranging from 3 to 6 months can be sold for $1,000 to $10,000, depending on what you sell, your experience, and so on.
How do you determine a course price?
To set your course price, think about the results you offer. Because if your course can promise results that people really want, price and format are secondary.
That said, when you create your first course, you likely don’t have THAT many testimonials just yet. So if you’re in doubt about your pricing, start on the lower end. You can always raise your prices after you’ve sold your course the first time around.
If you create a group coaching program, your price could be somewhere between $997 to $1,997. And once you have a few students, you can raise your rates to $2,997 and more.
However, if you decide to start with a self-study course without any group coaching, I recommend starting with a course that costs between $197 to $497.
Ultimately, if you find that it’s difficult to set a price, just pick one and focus on creating and selling your course. You can always adjust your price later on.
How to create an offer
Your offer, AKA the thing you sell, needs to be created in the right way to be attractive to buyers. Here’s how to package your offer.
First, you need to know your audience. Who are you targeting with your course? And why are you targeting them? Is your course the best fit for that specific audience?
You will need to know your audience to set a price. For example, someone who is early in their career and is looking for a career course will typically have less money to spend than someone who is further ahead.
And you need to know what your audience is willing and able to pay for your course.
Your experience and background
This part can include your certifications, your formal education, personal experiences you’ve had or that you’ve helped others with solving this problem, and of course, testimonials from those you’ve helped.
If you don’t have any testimonials right now, you can offer a few free one-time sessions to help people get results and get that proof you need. You definitely WILL need some proof to show people you know what you’re talking about and to build trust.
Your course features
What do people get when they enroll in your course? The features themselves aren’t what make your course valuable, but you do need to know what your course will look like to set a price.
Think through if you’re going to offer video, audio, and written material (PDF’s and ebooks) and how you’ll present your course. Also consider:
How long will your course be? This depends on how much content you need to help your clients. But don’t confuse value with length. In fact, a more concise course will often help your students much better than a long course with everything crammed into it because a concise course is easier to implement.
How will you deliver your course? You can use videos, audio, calls, and written content to deliver your course. But be clear on this when you price your course because a PDF or ebook won’t sell for as much as a video course.
What support are you going to offer to your clients? The support you offer can significantly increase the value, and price, of your course. So think through how you support your clients with group coaching calls and feedback.
Other things to think about when pricing your course
When you price your course, you do need to take your other costs into account. How much money will you ultimately keep?
This isn’t as important when you’re building your first course. After all, you have other things to focus on like creating it, figuring out how to sell your course, and delivering it.
But once you’ve sold your course successfully, it might be time to set a more strategic price for it.
To do so, calculate your bottom line, set a budget for your marketing, and track your income/expenses. That way, you’ll know if your pricing is on par with your marketing expenses (for instance, if you run ads and are unsure about what your ads should cost).
Offer payment plans
Finally, a great way to make your course more accessible is to offer payment plans. For a $497 course, you might do 6 payments of $97 and for a $1,997 course, your payment plan might be 12 payments of $199. Then, you charge your client every month.
Online course pricing calculator
What price should YOU set?
Use this online course pricing calculator to figure out the best price for your course.
You can calculate how much you’ll make with different price points and sales projections.
Now you know what price to set for your course.
But how do you create a course that sells… and that warrants a premium price?
That’s what we’ll look at next.
How to create a stand-out course
To justify a premium price, you need to offer a stand-out course.
But how? That’s what we’ll explore in this chapter. First, let’s take a look at what it means to offer a transformation.
Offer a transformation
The real value of your course doesn’t come from the course material or how you present it. It comes from the transformation you offer.
Transformation essentially means: where are your students at the start of your course? And where are they at the end of it?
Figure out what result you offer
To figure out what transformation, or result, you offer, ask yourself:
What is someone going through your course or program going to get from it?
For example, if you teach people how to improve their relationships, how will their relationships change after going through your course?
Or if you teach something intangible like happiness, how much happier will someone feel after going through your course?
This can be measured in different ways. For instance, do students’ day-to-day look different after going through the course? Do students feel differently? Or will they interact differently with others in their everyday life?
Once you know what result you offer, you can reverse-engineer your course so that it becomes easier for your students to achieve it.
You can ask yourself what content your students really need to implement your course. That’s how you only teach them the content they need, instead of filling your course with information that doesn’t really serve them.
Learn the top 3 reasons course creators fail
(and what to do instead to sell out your online course)
Break down the result into step-by-steps
You want your students to get amazing results from your course. And the best way to make it implementable and easy to follow is to break down your result into sub-results or milestones.
For example, if you help people get a new job, the first milestone might be to figure out what job your students even want.
The second milestone might be to update your application material, like your resume and portfolio.
The third milestone might be about connecting with people in their industry.
This breaks down your goal into manageable steps, so that your students can get faster and better results.
You then take the milestones and organize your course in the best way possible. This has a huge impact on how valuable the course will be.
You can either organize your course according to steps so that you have module one (step one), module two (step two), and so on so that every module is a milestone that helps people move forward.
Alternatively, you can organize it around areas of mastery. For instance, I have a course called Sold Out Sales Pages and each module focuses on mastering a sales page for a different type of product.
You can also organize your course based on different tips. My course Your First Paying Clients offers different strategies to get clients.
If you want to learn more, I talk more about organizing your course here:
Next, don’t think you need to offer support unless it’s part of the promise…here’s what I mean.
You don’t need to offer support… unless you promise it
One common misconception is that you need to equate your course with coaching or mentorship. That’s not true. A course should not involve the same type of support as a coaching program does (unless you explicitly promise it or you’re selling a group program).
You can’t compare courses and coaching because they are two different animals. In the same way, you wouldn’t buy a book and think that you’ll get a ton of personalized support from the author. If you wanted more support from the author, you’d go to their talks, watch their seminars, or buy their consulting or coaching packages.
But what is then the value of your course if it doesn’t include support? It’s that you share your entire experience regarding the topic you teach. You’ve frontloaded the work by creating a methodology that you teach in your courses (versus coaching or other services, which you get paid for delivering in real-time).
I talk more about it in this short video:
Have a strategy to sell your course
Finally, you do need a strategy to sell your course. And no, your strategy can’t be that you’re going to publish a few social media posts and write some sales emails… Or at least, that type of strategy won’t get you very far.
Instead, focus on a launch strategy to set yourself up for success. This works well even if you don’t have a massive audience.
Basically, you launch your course in stages, by first pre-launching it, then building up momentum with for example a live challenge, and finally launching it.
See how you build up much more buzz and are likelier to sell your course than if you just haphazardly publish a few social media posts?
If you want to learn more about this launch strategy, watch this short video:
Over to you!
There you have it! Now you know how to price your online course.
What it comes down to is that you offer a transformation people want. With personalized support in place, you’ll be able to ask for an even higher rate and create a highly profitable course business.
Now I’d love to know:
What course are you creating?
Let me know in the comments below!