Pricing an Online Course (7 Strategies You Need to Know)

Updated on April 11, 2023

Online course pricing is a delicate balancing act. You want to choose a price that is fair considering the amount of work you put in, but you might be concerned that you won’t attract any new students if your course is too expensive. At the same time, you might be worried that you won’t be taken seriously if your course is too affordable. If you want to know how to price your online course, this article is here to help. 

We’ll look at all the factors you need to consider to arrive at the best pricing options, from the length of your course and number of lessons included, to the level of expertise that you offer, and more. And we’ll condense all this information into 7 strategies that you can use to help you price your online courses. 

Why Choosing the Right Price for Your Course is Important 

The profitability of your course largely depends on whether the price you set is fair in relation to the investment you’ve put into creating it, and is attractive enough to convert your audience. We have an article on how much money you can make selling online courses, which has lots of useful information on this very topic. 

One misconception about pricing your online courses is that higher pricing correlates with more profits. But the reality is much more dynamic than this. There are course creators making sales on courses priced at $10, and there are other course creators, such as Love As A Kind of Cure, who are selling courses at $2,000

The AntiRacist Work.Kin.Cure is an expensive but profitable course. 

Both models can be profitable! Choosing whether to price yourself on the lower, middle, or high-end of the market depends on a few different factors, such as:

  • How unique is your course content? If no other courses like yours exist on the market, then you can afford to price higher, especially if the content you offer is in demand.
  • How much money have I invested into my course? If it cost next to nothing to create your course, then you can price it moderately and still make a profit. If you have put in a lot of resources, then you should consider charging a price that reflects this.
  • How many students can I expect to enroll? If your course will attract a lot of students, then it makes sense to keep the price affordable. If your course content is niche, then you would expect fewer students to sign up. This isn’t a bad thing per se, as you can present yourself as an authority to people looking for information on a very specific topic.
  • What’s the end goal of your course? Is the course the main product you offer, or are you using it as a lead magnet? Are you trying to pique your students’ interest in other products or services you offer? 
  • How many courses do you offer? Many of the most successful educators create entry-level courses that give their audience a taste of what they offer. These free or low-priced courses are the gateway to more expensive and more detailed courses that go much deeper into a particular topic and provide the real value they are looking for. 

It’s worth pointing out that you can try different pricing strategies at any time, which means you can adjust your pricing accordingly if you’re not seeing a profit.

When Should You Price Your Course?

If you’re in the process of creating an online course to share your knowledge with learners conveniently in a way that’s accessible to them, you might not get to pricing until you’re close to the upload stage. However, this can be a big mistake.

Understanding the value of what you create before production is vital to long-term success, saving you time, energy, and resources. After all, you don’t want to create a course just to find out your target audience wouldn’t pay more than a couple of dollars for it, or worse, nothing at all.

Many course creators spend months on their lesson plans and topics, refining every aspect. Often, they take time off their regular work or neglect other projects just to complete their content. Unfortunately, this approach entails a real opportunity cost. Investing time in creating a course means you can’t do other things, like work in a regular job or set up another type of business. 

Because of this, you need to know what your course is worth ahead of time. You can’t afford to take chances. The best strategy is to price your course before you create it, after researching whether content like this will be valuable to your customers. This way, you can apply a cost-benefit analysis to see if the effort is worth it. 

Only you can be the judge of this. For some, selling a course for just $5 to 100 people, making a total of $500, is worth the effort. For others, it doesn’t make sense to commit any energy to it unless the course makes $100,000 or more over a certain period of time.

7 Strategies for Pricing Courses and Increasing Revenue

If creating a course is on your agenda, start following these steps to price your content and increase your bottom line over time.

1. Understand Your Audience

Whether or not you’ve already gathered a following, having a buyer persona in mind is essential for creating any product, including your first online course.

Create a buyer persona by researching which demographics would be interested in the type of content you want to create and are willing to pay for it. To get this information, join Facebook groups, create online surveys, listen to podcasts, read testimonials, and talk to people that fit different demographics to test whether your content speaks to them or if they have feedback about what you should add. 

Always validate your theories about what people want or will buy with surveys and testing. You could even host small webinars or run mini-courses for free, to see how many people sign up. Track the conversion rate for course sales and enrollment to deepen your insights at different price points. 

Understanding your audience in this way lets you know their income level, how much they value what you offer, and what words to use when marketing to them. 

2. Consider Your Course Content

Knowing your target audience makes it easier for you to determine how much people are willing to pay for your content. For example, audiences may consider your course to cover a “luxury” or “exclusive” topic, in which case, they may be willing to pay a high price tag. Other students may view your course as generic, in which case, they would only convert at a lower price. 

You can determine your online course pricing by using a formula based on the hours put into course creation, expenses such as the cost of your course platform, and your hourly rate. This approach is solid as lets you calculate when you’ll break even, at least in theory. This is an easy approach, but it doesn’t take into account other factors like the quality of your content, the uniqueness of your course, and so on. Therefore, only use this method if you have no idea how long it will take you to create the content for your course or if you are creating a very short course with little content. 

3. Research Your Competitors 

While you do want your topic to be unique, you also need to understand that you’ll have competitors teaching similar topics and presenting them in their own way. Therefore, it’s a good idea to purchase their information products and understand how you’re adding value to what’s already out there. View their social media pages to see what type of engagement they get, the amount of time they spend posting, and their pricing tiers. 

4. Know Your Value

Once you’ve learned what your competitors are offering and you’ve understood what your audience isn’t getting from that content, you’ll have a better comprehension of your value. 

Ask yourself what this course will allow learners to accomplish, what that means for them, and if you offer a different topic from anyone else. That will be the key point of your sales, pricing, and marketing going forward.

5. Research Examples of Price Points

Knowing what the range of possible prices is for your courses is a great way of starting to set the value of your content. For example, if you only think courses can be free or $19.99 for a premium service, you’ll automatically think of the latter as a “high price.” But if you understand that courses can be free, lead magnets, or cost up to thousands of dollars, and where these price points work best, you’ll be able to better conceptualize your potential pricing.

From here, you can research what people charge for all types of courses and why. Find out how they justify the price they charge. Do they offer 1-on-1 consultations, in-person events, personalized feedback on results, or a combination of those services? Don’t be afraid to take ideas from other creators to increase the value of your course and optimize the potential revenue you’ll make from it. You can even use their materials as templates. 

There are many different types of pricing models and payment plans, and you don’t have to fit into just one. If you’re using Sensei Pro to create and sell courses on your WordPress website, then remember that Sensei integrates with WooCommerce and all of its extensions. This makes it possible to offer a variety of pricing models, from one-time payments with unlimited access to your course, as well as subscription-based pricing models.

Sensei Pro includes tight WooCommerce integration so you can set up any pricing model you like using WooCommerce extensions

6. Test Your Course Price

If you have a large following, you can set up and tease a course product on your website to test whether you’re on the track when it comes to pricing. There are a few ways you can go about this:

  • Add a tentative price along with a mailing list form so that interested users can subscribe to find out when the course is released. This way you’ll know whether the price is attractive to your site visitors.
  • Add a pre-sale option to your course. We only recommend this if you’re close to completing or launching your course. You could even offer a discount at this stage, though it might not help you properly deduce how your sales will fare once you’ve launched. 

Another way of doing this without actually putting your content up for sale is running ads and A/B testing prices to get emails. Whichever price gets you the most leads can be the one you set your course to.

7. Regularly Re-evaluate Your Pricing Strategy

The final step is to regularly re-evaluate your pricing strategy after the course launch. The best way to do this is to adjust the pricing at set intervals. For example, every 6 months you can raise the price of your course by $30 and check whether the number of enrolments drops. Or, you could increase the price of your course by $50 every year and see what the impact is. 

It’s also important to check whether you’re providing the right payment gateways. Can your audience actually pay for the services you provide? Multiple payment gateway plugins are available through WooCommerce, including WooCommerce Payments, Stripe, PayPal Payments, Square for WooCommerce, Amazon Pay, and more. These facilitate credit card payments, e-wallet payments, and more. Experiment with these and see if they make a difference to your sales in the long term. 

WooCommerce payment gateway extensions

Launch Your Course With the Right Price

Pricing your online course is far from straightforward. There are many factors involved, from identifying your target audience to determining what unique value your course offers compared to the competition. Choosing the right pricing for your course can seem daunting and time-consuming.

However, we’ve looked at 7 strategies in this article to help you launch your course with a price that will attract students and is fair compared to the work you put into creating your course. And it’s really important to keep in mind that pricing isn’t fixed – you can keep experimenting with pricing as you go along. 

Creating your online courses with WordPress and Sensei LMS is a great way to experiment with different pricing structures. Sensei Pro integrates with WooCommerce and all of its extensions, which means you get all the flexibility you need to set up one-time payments, subscription models, membership models, and more. You can also integrate any payment processors and gateways that are part of the WooCommerce network.  

Get Sensei Pro today and create your first income-generating course. 

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