You’ve done all the hard work of creating an online course, it’s all built in ThriveCart Learn and you’re ready to enroll your first students… except, there’s one vital thing you’re missing.
What do you charge for the price?
It can be the hardest thing in the world to put a price on your own hard-won knowledge, expertise and labor. Even if you often advise others what to charge, it can be difficult to do it yourself for a variety of reasons.
Don’t worry — we’re here to help. In this article we’ll show you exactly how to price your online course, and by the end you’ll be confident enough to set the price tag on your course like a seasoned pro.
Step 1: How Valuable is it?
This can be a tough question to answer, but really it all boils down to: how bad is the problem your course teaches them to solve?
For example, if your course is all about how to make an excellent base for soups, that’s awesome but fairly low-stakes. No one is likely to be desperate for a solution to the problem “not knowing enough about soups” (unless you’re up against Gordon Ramsay).
However, if your course is about how to survive in the wilderness, or lose weight to improve your health, or secure your house against intruders, those are high-stakes problems. When there’s more to lose, the knowledge you have to offer is more valuable, and you can charge a higher price.
Step 2: What’s the Course Level?
Second, you need to consider what kind of knowledge you’re offering on your course: is it fairly general and easy to find online, or specialist info you can only get after decades of hands-on work?
No shade for offering a broad-strokes, general beginners’ course: more than half the value you offer is providing all this info in one place, so your students don’t have to hunt around on Google by themselves. However, it does mean that pricing for these courses tend to skew a little lower, to account for the fact this information is more widely-known.
However, if your course is in a very niche subject, or for advanced students, you can charge a higher price because the information on offer is more specialist.
Let’s take our example from earlier: a course about how to survive in the wild. You would charge a little higher for it compared to, say, a beginner’s knitting course, because surviving in the wild is a more high-stakes problem — but you wouldn’t charge quite as much as if you included advanced information about water filtration techniques, shelter building walkthroughs and so on.
Step 3: Spy on the Competition
Let’s go, Sherlock: it’s time to do some sleuthing. Chances are you’ve already got some competitors in mind, or at least people offering education in a similar niche: what are they charging for their online courses?
You can get a good idea of what to charge using this method, even if you’re the only one in your space with your specialist set of skills. Look at course length, any included learning materials, expert level, and so on. Are they more or less skilled than you? Are they offering more resources, or different formats?
It’s a good idea to check out course marketplaces such as Udemy. Check out their course offerings, peek into their reviews, and snoop around for any discounts or freebies. It’s not about copying; it’s about getting a lay of the land.
Step 4: The Rule of Thumb – Costs and Profits
Now, let’s talk about checks and balances: what did it cost you to acquire this knowledge you’re sharing with your online students?
Chances are, if it took a bunch of higher education degrees and a decade of experience to gain the wisdom you’ll be sharing, you’ll be justified in charging a higher price for it. After all, those student loans were expensive: the same principle applies to your online course. You may not be an accredited institution, but if the materials in your course are more university level than high school, you should absolutely charge accordingly.
Of course, don’t forget to add on a healthy dash of profit to your course: after all, you run a business! It’s perfectly reasonable to pay yourself for all your hard work.
Step 5: The Psychology of Pricing
Let’s get a bit psychological. People can be a bit weird when it comes to prices: they may think a $99 course is a steal, but a $100 course? Too rich for their blood. When another digit is added on to the price, people perceive the difference as more than it may actually be. Crazy, but that’s how our brains are wired.
That’s why you often see products for $19, $97, or $9.99 — the difference between these and the next big round number is marginal enough not to make a dent in profits, but the psychological benefit is immense.
Keep this in mind when marketing your course, and don’t forget to go in-depth when describing absolutely everything that’s included in the course description: it’s the best way to add perceived value.
Step 6: Add Value Bombs and Bonuses
Upsells! Downsells! Bump sales! ThriveCart can do it all, and you absolutely should. If you have extra products, offer them at the point of sale to sweeten the deal.
Inside your course, consider adding in extra formats (such as audio and video), workbooks, checklists, and info sheets. The work you put into making them might not be much at all, but the extra value for your students will further justify the price they’re paying (and maybe allow you to charge a little more).
Consider offering long-term goodies such as exclusive webinars, or a community of fellow students where they can find support. By adding in as much as possible, you make the decision to buy an easy one.
Step 7: Test the Waters – Free Trials and Discounts
Feeling a bit unsure? Why not offer a free trial? For your students, they can preview your learning experience without committing to the full shebang. For you, a free trial allows you to attract the most students possible while you try out different pricing options: if the number of students who then go on to pay the full price goes up, you know you’re on the right track.
Discounts and offers can also help you out if you suspect you’ve set your price too high, but use these wisely – too many discounts can make a course look low-value.
Testing can also include asking your students outright: run some beta tests, give surveys, and get feedback. This will help you find the sweet spot.
Chapter 8: K.I.S.S. with Transparent Pricing
Nobody likes hidden fees or surprises. Keep your pricing crystal clear. Break it down for them, step by step – what do they get, and what will it cost? Transparency is the key to building trust and a tribe of loyal learners.
Your course description is your opportunity to showcase the monumental amount of learning materials, add-ons and value they’ll get, so you can position the final price as a steal compared to the time and money it would cost them to learn on their own.
Offering a satisfaction guarantee is also a good way to bolster trust: not as many people as you might think end up asking for a refund, but it looks amazing on your checkout page.
The Price is Right — But it’s Not Everything
Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all magic spell when it comes to pricing. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Launch different versions, tweak your pricing strategy, and see what works. The beauty of an online course platform is that you can always hit the reset button, change your pricing strategy, and start over.
Don’t forget: pricing matters, but it’s not everything. The success of your course isn’t solely determined by the number on your price tag. It’s about the value you provide, the community you build, and the impact you make. Just do your best, and the students who matter will love you for it.
Pricing your online course is a journey, not a destination. It’s about finding that sweet spot: and the only solution is to start. So, if you haven’t already, head on over to ThriveCart to discover our in-app course creation tool, Learn. It’s the perfect platform for building and hosting your course, and our low lifetime license means you won’t be shelling out hundreds of dollars a month in subscription fees. Good luck!🚀✨