Setting the right online course price is a challenge for every online course creator. With so many different variables going into creating and launching an online course, it’s easy to get lost in the sea of information available and make a decision that could cost you money. There are many misconceptions first-time online course creators face, so we’re going to break those down and look into pricing your online course the right way.
Misconceptions for pricing your online course
1. Price for just your knowledge
As an online course creator, you’re an expert in your field. You have years or even decades of knowledge on your topic, so your first instinct might be to sell that within your course. This is where some course creators make their first mistake. Instead of putting a price on your expertise and experience, you should be pricing the transformation your course will provide to your students. Dwaine Roberts, the creator of It Master Key, believes that a course’s price “is based mostly on what it provides the student.”
When you’re pricing your online course, think about the transformation you’re promising and its worth to your potential students. Dwaine always has the return on the investment for his students in mind saying, “If a course is $2,000 and can land a student a $50,000 a year job, that’s one hell of a return!”
Of course, this isn’t to say that your expertise level of experience doesn’t come into play when it’s time to price your online course. But, instead of being the core reasoning for the price of your course, it’s more of an added bonus—proof to the student that you’re the go-to expert in the field.
Edward Zia, the creator of The Awesome Marketing Vault, also believes that transformation and your expertise go hand in hand when you’re creating and pricing an online course. “You need the experience to create the transformation, so in a way, they are both interlinked,” he says.
Reality: Price for the transformation your knowledge offers.
2. You’re set on one selling strategy
One of the most common misconceptions course creators have is that focusing online course pricing on the 1% of the market is the only way to go. This belief is simply not true. Truthfully, who your pricing is going to target—whether it’s 1% or 99% of the marketplace—all depends on your business and what you want for your brand long-term. Both options are valid and can work great with different course creators.
Dwaine Roberts has found success by targeting that 1% of the marketplace with his online courses. “Better to target the 1%!” he says. “When you price your courses too low, the perceived value is also low.” Dwaine’s course prices start at $110 and go all the way to $1,600 for a bundle, which makes his courses an investment for people looking to learn about cybersecurity and the IT industry.
“You can have the exact same course, one priced at $10 and the other priced at $100. If your goal is to make $5,000 a month, you’d need 500 students at $10 and only 50 students at 4100,” Dwaine explains.
When you choose to price your course lower, you’re going to have to increase the volume of your sales to meet your revenue goals. Choosing to target the 1% of the marketplace with a high-ticket price course, you’re going to have to enroll fewer students to meet the same income goals.
No one way
However, Dwaine’s approach is not the only way to succeed as an online course creator. Edward believes that targeting 99% of the marketplace is the way to success with his online course business. He shares, “I’m in the 99% camp because the volume is what wins the day. Having fewer customers who pay you big dollars is a risky strategy, and I got into a lot of trouble once following this dangerous logic.”
But, this strategy has worked for Edward for a few reasons, the main one being: It brings in more customers. This minimizes the risk of only relying on a few people to run your business and also serves as a way to get superfans of your brand.
“I’m a massive fan of having a low entry price point,” Edward goes on. “It gets people into your ecosystem, and then it’s easy to upgrade them (as they become happy clients).”
Offering lower prices to one of your courses can be a great way to introduce more people to your business and what you have to offer. You warm up your students with one offer that is priced at a lower price. Once they see that there is value in what you offer, it’s easier to convince them to buy another course from you at a higher price point. Remember: It’s always easier to sell to existing customers than it is to sell to new ones, so this sales strategy can be a great way to grow your business.
Reality: Premium pricing works, but it’s not the only solution.
3. Your price and your brand aren’t related
While it doesn’t matter which percentage of the marketplace you are targeting with your online course pricing, it’s important to note that pricing is going to become part of your brand as you grow your online course business.
When pricing your online course, people will expect consistency with prices just as they would with your branding and tone of voice in the content you produce. Your pricing has to go along with your whole brand experience, as it will help you establish yourself as an expert in your field.
So, be sure to remember this when you’re deciding on your online course price.
Reality: Price is part of your brand identity.
4. Pay attention to competitors only
One of the first things you might want to do before pricing your online course is to look at your competitors. You might go and explore their curriculums, prices, payment options, and everything else you’re unsure about in your own business. Although there is merit to competitor analysis, this might not be the best thing to do. Hear us out.
Paying attention to competitors’ prices are important, but paying attention to the overall market is crucial. Pay attention to what the people are looking for and what they’re willing to pay.
“I don’t really care about my competitors’ pricing,” says Edward. “I’m more interested in what people are willing to pay and offering the best transformation possible.” Paying too much attention to what your competitors are doing and charging for their online courses can take away your attention from things that matter the most—your students and their needs.
“I would not try to compete directly on price with a competitor,” Dwaine notes. “You don’t want to make your course price lower than competitors because you may find yourself in a race to the bottom. You also want to make sure your course isn’t 10 times more than everyone else as well. If you want to compete with a competitor, compete with results as opposed to price,” he says.
When a customer is choosing which course to take, they’re deciding between the value and your brand offering as a whole. So, focus on what makes your online course and your brand, in general, different from your competitors:
- How does your course material vary from your competitors?
- How is the overall transformation you’re selling going to look different?
- What is it that makes your online course unique?
Finding the answers to these questions will—not the price of your course—will help your business stand out in the sea of competitors.
Reality: Pay attention to what people are willing to pay.
5. Your time is your only expense
Your time is valuable; there’s no doubt about that. So it’s natural that most content creators pay attention to how much time they spend working on a course and factor this into the price of the course. However, this might not be the best to approach when setting your online course price.
Your time isn’t the only thing that matters when it comes to pricing your course because it’s a one-off investment. Dwaine shares, “When pricing courses, I don’t look at my time. The time is irrelevant to me because, most likely, I’ll only have to create it once. That’s the beauty of course creation, usually, once you’re done…you’re done!”
Instead of looking solely at your time you spent creating the course material, pay attention to other costs that come with course creation, such as:
- Maintenance post-launch (updates and new information)
- Promotion and marketing (paid ads, newsletter investments, etc.)
- Tools needed for recording (software, camera, lighting, etc.)
- Subscriptions (Adobe, Canva, Zapier, etc.)
Focus on calculating all of your expenses of recording and creating a course and calculate how much you’ll need to make to cover those costs when pricing your online course.
Reality: Consider all of the expenses outside of your time when pricing your online course.
6. A high price tag will scare off students
A larger price tag means bigger investment. Not just from you, but from your students. When people invest larger amounts of money into things, they tend to spend more time thinking about the purchase. But once they make the purchase, they’re more invested in getting the full value out of their money. The same goes for students who purchase your course.
“When you have a higher price point, you usually get a more dedicated student,” says Dwaine. “Everyone has $10 to throw away. What about $100? Not so much,” he explains. This means that pricing your online course with a premium price might scare off some students. But those who truly want to get the value from your course likely won’t budge.
Those who buy your course and take action from it are the ones who matter most. Seeking them out is how you get your testimonials and dedicated supporters of your brand. Setting a higher price might be scary, but it’s worth it when you think about the pay-off of having a dedicated student base, all rooting for your online course business.
Reality: Those who want to learn will pay.
7. “I can’t charge that”
We’ve said it before: Imposter syndrome is a real thing that online course creators deal with on a daily basis. So, if you’re struggling with the feelings of not being good enough or that your courses are overpriced, know that you’re not alone. It might be tempting to set your prices lower and say, “I can’t charge that.” But, we encourage you to respect yourself, as an expert and entrepreneur. Don’t give into the doubt of your online course pricing being too high.
There are ways you can make this easier:
1) Increase your value without lowering the price
You can increase the value of your course without lowering your price tag. In fact, there are several different ways you can do that:
- Offer Q&As on a monthly basis
- A 30 min coaching call
- Offer a private community for your students
Offering more interactions with you or connecting your students to each other is an amazing way to increase the value of your online course. And the best thing is: It doesn’t require much time or effort on your part and allows you to keep your pricing at the level you want.
2) Offer payment plans
Make your course more attainable by offering 3 or 6-month payment plans. Payment plans are a great way to attract more people who are interested in your course but might not be able to pay $200, $300, or $1,000 in one go.
It’s a win-win situation for both you and your students because they don’t have to compromise on their financial situation, and you get to have more control over your business.
But don’t go longer than six months with your payment plans, or you might do more harm to your business than good. There is more time for things to go wrong with the payment plans, which can turn out to be messy and hard to deal with in the long term.
3) Increase the value of your paid content with free content
Your free content leads people to your paid content. So, if you want to increase the chances of people buying from you, ramp up on your free content, making sure that you provide tons of value.
Dwaine has used this strategy in the past to attract more students to his online courses. And according to him, this marketing strategy really works.
“Free has made me more money than anything else, meaning I provide value on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and Youtube for absolutely free,” he says. “Many times people think, ‘If his free stuff is this good, the paid stuff must be amazing!’ This can drive so many sales. Provide value and results, and you can price your course at any price point you like” he adds.
Free content gets people familiar with you and your brand. It builds a connection with your potential customers and allows them to warm up to you before they decide to move onto your paid content to help them achieve their goals.
Reality: You can charge that.
No matter what you price your online course, remember that you have done the work and are primed to start earning.