If you’re an independent content creator or a small business owner looking to monetize your coaching site through a WordPress LMS, you might be realizing that building an online course is no small feat.
You’ve navigated through a maze of choices:
- Figuring out what topic to teach;
- Gathering all the equipment you would need;
- Deciding on a title and course calendar that pops;
- Planning your lessons; and
- Figuring out the best ways to create and market your content.
That’s a lot on your plate!
But amidst all this, there’s one decision that can be particularly challenging: setting the right price for your course.
There are multiple factors to consider – from your target audience‘s budget to the cost of your course production.
And all that can make the pricing of your online course seem like a daunting task.
Learning how to price your online course is about striking a balance.
You want a price that’s fair for the hard work and knowledge you’re offering, and at the same time, something your audience can comfortably afford.
This comprehensive guide is here to ease your fears.
This guide aims to provide you with insight into the key factors influencing online course pricing and how to strategically address them.
Most importantly, we’ll discuss how you can leverage the awesome MemberPress feature set to optimize your pricing strategy and maximize profits.
Let’s unpack this together and find a price that feels just right.
The Challenges of Pricing Your Online Course
What exactly makes pricing your online course such a tough nut to crack?
Let’s dive into the intricate world of pricing and uncover the challenges that make it seem so tough.
Lack of a Standard Pricing Model
For the most part, physical goods have a clear cost of production. However, the cost of creating an online course can vary greatly.
This makes it difficult to determine a price that covers costs and generates a profit.
Value Can Be in the Eye of the Beholder
You want customers to believe your course is worth their money. But you also want to price it within their reach. This can be a tricky balance to achieve.
Choose a pricing strategy that matches the budget and expectations of your audience.
Are they willing to pay a premium for high-quality content? Would they prefer a monthly subscription or a one-time payment?
Understanding their preferences will provide guidance for your pricing.
A Highly Competitive Environment
The online learning market is vast and diverse.
Determining a competitive price requires research into what others are charging for similar content. And this is lot easier than it might seem.
Just take a look at what your competitors charge for similar courses.
You don’t necessarily have to undercut them, but you do need to price within the same ballpark.
Your Target Audience
The unique nature of your audience adds to the difficulty. Different audiences have different price sensitivities.
For example, a course aimed at corporate professionals may command a higher price than one aimed at students.
Understanding your audience’s willingness to pay will also mean a bit of research. But it’s no biggie.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to simplify the work. Again, be sure to check out our target audience post to find out exactly how easy it can be.
4 Key Factors that Influence the Pricing of Your Online Course
Creating a successful online course business is a journey, and you learn a lot along the way.
But understanding how to price your courses is one of the most important things to learn. It can be the deciding factor in your success!
And the golden question, “How much should you charge per course?” doesn’t have one straightforward answer.
But keep reading! We’ll guide you through a few steps to help you arrive at your course fee without too much fretting.
1. Course Development and Delivery Expenses
Consider the costs you’ve incurred while creating your online course. That’s valuable energy that deserves reimbursement.
These costs include everything from scriptwriting to video creation, editing, hosting, and advertising.
Moreover, as your course gains success and your brand grows in popularity, you must consider scaling up.
As you welcome more students, your hosting needs may increase, leading to additional expenses.
Include these costs in your price tag to ensure you don’t operate at a loss.
2. Perception of Value
The price of your online course also sends a message about its quality.
A low price may lead potential students to perceive your course as low-value or of poor quality.
On the other hand, a high price may communicate that your course is premium or advanced.
Therefore, your pricing strategy should align with your brand positioning and the value you offer.
3. Consumer Behavior
Your pricing strategy can also influence the behavior of your students.
For example, students who pay a premium for a course are likely to be more committed and engaged than those who get it for free or at a low cost.
They may also be more likely to complete the course and provide positive reviews, which can boost your course’s reputation and attract more students.
4. Segmentation and Reach
Lastly, your pricing strategy can be a tool for segmentation and differentiation.
- Segmentation is dividing a large group into smaller groups based on similar characteristics or needs.
Think of it like organizing a closet where you put shirts in one section and pants in another.
- Differentiation, on the other hand, is about making something stand out.
It’s like if you decorate one bicycle with cool stickers and bright colors so it looks different and more special than the others.
Different pricing tiers can cater to different segments of your market, allowing you to reach a wider audience.
For instance, you can offer a basic version of your course at a lower price and a premium version with additional features at a higher price.
This way, you can cater to both budget-conscious students and those willing to pay more for extra value.
How to Price Your Online Course in 7 Steps
So far we’ve identified the importance of a strategic pricing approach for your online course.
Now, let’s move to ensuring you have a solid understanding of the basics of online course pricing.
By understanding these basics, you can make smarter decisions for yourself, not just based on competition but by acknowledging the unique value you offer.
1. Determine Your Course’s Value
Figure out the value your course offers to your learners. Is it solving a significant problem or teaching valuable skills?
Identifying the unique value of your online course allows you to set it apart from other similar courses in the market.
Additionally, distinct advantages or features of your course become selling points which can justify a higher price.
2. Know Your Audience (and their willingness to pay)
Understand their financial capability to ensure that they can comfortably afford your course.
Always be mindful that the price you set should make your course an attractive proposition.
To gain deep insights into your audience’s spending habits, consider administering surveys and conducting one-on-one interviews.
This interactive approach will not only reveal their financial capacity but their perceived value of online courses.
For this, we recommend using a plugin like Jotform. It offers a range of free online survey templates, making it easy to start.
Whether you’re looking into customer demographics or conducting market research, their pre-made survey forms are a time-saver. You can even create your own survey from scratch in minutes.
3. Estimate Production Costs
Take into account all the costs involved in creating and maintaining your online course.
This insight is crucial in being able to accurately price your course to cover these costs and yield profits.
Let’s break down some of the typical costs involved:
- Research materials: You may need to buy books, participate in other similar courses, or even hire a consultant for your course. These costs add up and should be in your calculations.
- Production costs: Tailoring your course to your audience may mean you need to film film videos or set up a home studio, all of which have associated costs.
- Design Costs: The visual appeal of your course can’t be overlooked. You may need to hire a graphic designer or invest in design software for high-quality visuals.
Or heck, you could just use MemberPress, since it’s already got ReadyLaunch™ built right in. 😁
This page styler makes it super easy to add branded design to every one of your site pages – no coding required.
Marketing expenses: Paid advertisements, social media campaigns, and other forms of promoting your course will also have their share of costs.
PRO-TIP: Start by setting a price that covers your costs and offers a decent profit margin. This not only makes your online course sustainable but also provides the resources you’ll need for future course development and business growth.
4. Do Market Research
Analyze the prices of similar courses available in the market. This information aids in setting competitive prices.
Researching your competition isn’t only about understanding what you’re up against, but also about accurately pricing your online course.
So, where should you start?
Your first step should be to identify your main competitors.
Look out for courses that have some similarities with yours in terms of content, complexity, and target audience.
Afterward, study their pricing structure.
Are they charging a similar price to yours? Do they offer any discounts or bundled deals? Do they have any extra materials for sale?
Pay close attention to these details.
Note: While it’s important to know what your competitors are doing, don’t simply mimic their prices. Your pricing should reflect the value of your course and its unique selling points.
5. Choose an Appropriate Pricing Model
Identify the pricing model that suits your course. Options vary, from one-time payments to subscriptions or even freemium models.
Let’s check out the pros and cons of each.
This pricing model is ideal for self-paced courses that provide lifetime access.
Pros: This model offers an immediate return on investment and clear initial profitability.
Cons: These are typically higher-priced, given the extensive value included within the package.
A subscription-based approach suits ongoing courses with constantly updated content.
Pros: This model provides a consistent income flow, which can simplify budgeting and planning.
Cons: However, as a course creator, you must continually provide valuable content to keep your subscribers interested and engaged.
The freemium model allows users to access select content for free and offers paid access to additional or advanced materials.
Pros: This model can attract a large audience, as it lowers the barrier to entry for prospective students.
Cons: Course creators have the challenging task of striking a balance between free and paid content to entice free users to upgrade to the paid version.
6. Monitor and Adjust Your Pricing
It’s crucial to regularly review and refine your pricing strategy.
As the online course landscape changes swiftly, along with audience preferences and competition, your pricing may need to adapt.
- Monitor your pricing effectiveness over time, adjusting and refining as necessary.
- Respond to changes in clientele, market trends, and course enhancements.
- Always stay reactive and ready to adjust your course cost if necessary.
7. Use Flexible Pricing Tools
You might be wondering by this point, “Is there a tool that can simplify this whole process?”
You might’ve guessed the answer is MemberPress.
It’s a comprehensive, feature-rich plugin that simplifies the entire process of setting up, managing, and selling online courses.
MemberPress takes the guesswork out of pricing while bringing value to your wider audience.
And just in case you want to even turn your performance up to an 11 (who doesn’t?), MemberPress has another element you’ve got to try – the WordPress coaching platform CoachKit™.
It lets you unlock the full potential of the Courses WordPress LMS with a click of a button.
This powerful duo transforms the way course creators manage and optimize their operations.
With CoachKit™ you can craft a thriving coaching business right within WordPress, where simplicity meets limitless possibilities.
How to Use MemberPress to Price Your Online Course
Let’s explore the features that can make your pricing journey a lot simpler and more profitable.
Easy Pricing Options
A significant feature of MemberPress is its ease of setting up and modifying pricing options for your courses.
All you have to do is create your course, specify the price, and you’re ready to roll.
Whether you’re looking to offer one-off purchases, subscriptions, or free courses, you can do all of this and more with MemberPress.
Unlimited Membership Levels
A popular strategy is to start with a basic tier at a lower price, and then offer packages with progressively more content and features at higher prices.
This makes your offerings accessible to a wider range of budgets while also increasing your potential earnings from customers who are willing to pay more.
Coupons and Discounts
MemberPress allows you to create custom coupons and discounts for your courses.
This feature offers you the flexibility to adjust your pricing as per seasonal demands, promotional campaigns, or as a strategy to boost sign-ups.
Setting up discounts need not be a hassle, and with MemberPress it certainly isn’t.
This allows course creators to gradually release content over time, rather than all at once.
This can be particularly beneficial for pricing, as it allows for the introduction of subscription-based models.
Instead of charging a large upfront fee, course creators can charge smaller, recurring fees for continued access to new content.
Not only does this feature empower you to reach a global audience, but it also provides ample flexibility when it comes to pricing your courses for different markets.
This flexibility helps to reduce barriers to enrollment, potentially leading to higher revenue.
Reporting and Analytics
Gaining insights about your course’s performance is crucial when shaping your pricing strategies, and MemberPress ensures you don’t skip a beat.
These can provide valuable insights into member behavior, including what content they are most interested in and how much they are willing to pay.
Its built-in analytics and reporting feature offers you essential data on sales, revenue, active subscriptions, and more, enabling you to make informed decisions about your pricing models.
We’ve walked through the following important stages of determining your online course pricing:
- Understanding the true value of your course
- Having a deep knowledge about your target audience
- Accurately estimating the production costs
- Conducting extensive market research
- Choosing an appropriate pricing model
- Continuously monitoring and adjusting your pricing strategy
- Selecting the right tools that simplify the process for you
Wading your way through these stages on your own can feel overwhelming. However, you don’t have to face these challenges by yourself.
MemberPress is the all-in-one tool designed to help you optimize your pricing strategy and everything else around your online business.
As a WordPress LMS, membership and coaching plugin, it allows you to adjust to market changes, adapt to your learners’ behaviors, and ultimately, price your course in the most effective way.
Overcome the hurdles of online course pricing – start your journey with MemberPress today and unlock the full potential of your course.
Have any hot tips or questions about pricing strategies for your online course? Jump into the comments section – let’s get the discussion rolling!