How to Price Your Online Course: The Ultimate Guide to Course Pricing

You've created your online course (or used our white label courses to save time and money), and you know how much it all cost you to create that course. But many coaches struggle to build an additional revenue stream with courses because they never answered one of the critical marketing questions: "How much should I charge for my online course?"  Ouch. You don't want to start out growing your coaching business only to find that your spark fails to ignite and extra cash.

The following guide to how to price your online course will eliminate any pricing challenges and frustrations that you may have so that you can scale your coaching business by adding online courses and workshops.

Ideas for how to price your online course

This is a complete course pricing guide, so the post will take time to read and digest. There's also a mini-workbook available at the end of this post you can download and use to implement your course pricing strategy effectively!

The Hell That Is An Incorrectly Priced Course

You’ve done all your research, created an amazing course, and written an epic sales page. Despite all this, your course isn’t selling.  Is your course not worth the price tag? You lower the price… and it still doesn’t sell. You lower it again. Still not selling. You start to wonder if it's you.

Your self-esteem is at an all time low and you appear to be on the helter-skelter downslide to the lowest of bargain basement prices. That's the price where you’d have to sell a billion courses just to break even (or it seems that way). 

An incorrectly priced course can destroy your confidence and the way people view your business. And it can set back scaling your business for what seems like an eternity. That’s the point where you say to yourself, “If only I priced my course so that it ended with a 7…” or some other magical digit.

What If You Priced Your Course The Right Way?

Imagine for a moment what your business would feel like if you sold 10 courses a month. Imagine that those courses are $100 each. What would you do with the extra $1000 each month? What difference would that make to your life?

A properly priced course will change not only your life, but also the lives of your students. What’s the right price? Well, pricing your courses involves many variables. In this guide, we’ll touch on the main ones so that you can work out the number that makes sense and works for you.

Do You Have a Self-Destructive Money Mindset When It Comes to Pricing Your Online Course?

Mindset for pricing your online course

The Top 7 Excuses You Make to Keep Your Online Course Price So Low You Can’t Give It Away…

  1. I'm not that experienced in the field I wish to teach
  2. My audience won’t ever pay for this
  3. Someone else does it better/cheaper/whilst dancing on the ceiling
  4. People can just watch a free YouTube video
  5. It’s easy. People don’t pay to learn easy stuff
  6. It will sell if only I could afford ads  
  7. I don’t have any testimonials 

All of these are money mindset issues, and they’re all yours and nothing to do with your potential students. You use them like a shield to protect yourself from potential failure, from probably succeeding, and from having to face some uncomfortable truths that are keeping you and your business small. 

Even if you believe these statements, none of them are reasons to charge less than you're worth. Every online course creator and every education-based business owner has said these things at some point in their career. The difference is that they push through to overcome their excuses and become successful. You will too. Maybe not by the end of this article, but you’ll certainly be on your way when you opt-in for the worksheet.

Let’s reframe some of these mindset issues so that they work for you.

1. You think you’re not experienced enough to teach

pricing your online course doesn't depend on how much of an expert you are

Meet Seneca, toga-wearing male from 2,000ish years ago who said some very truthful things about teaching… 

  • We learn when we teach
  • Opportunity is where luck meets preparation
  • We suffer more in imagination than in reality

If you are capable of learning, then you are capable of teaching. It doesn’t matter what topic. All that matters is you have the ability to learn. If you're reading this, you're already learning and have skills you need to teach. 

Opportunity, luck, and preparation are all it takes to teach. If you think any differently, you’re just making excuses not to make money. Don’t believe me? Read the Opportunity, luck, and preparation are all it takes to teach quote again…

Opportunity, luck, and preparation are all it takes to teach. #Seneca #OnlineCourses

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2. Your audience won’t pay…

You’re not the first course creator to think this, and you won’t be the last. It’s simply not true. Visit Udemy and type in your course topic. Skim through to see how many people are already buying what you teach. Visit Amazon and see how many books there are on the topics you wish to teach. See how many reviews there are for the books.

Your audience is there, and they’re already buying. Your audience needs to know, like, and trust you in order to buy. So get out there and get known!

If you’re already known and are not selling your courses, then you need to look at your message and ensure you’re building the right audience. 

3. Someone else is better than you

We’ve all had moments of imposter syndrome from time to time. That’s where you think you’re not good enough, or you’ll be found lacking in some way. The healthy way to look at it is to remember that everyone better than you also started where you are right now. So you can be successful selling courses because they’ve blazed a trail for you. You no longer have to pave the road as you build your business!

4. People can just watch a free YouTube video

Of course they can, and they can also look up anything on Google or in their local library. It doesn't mean they will, and it doesn't mean they won't buy from you. What's your favorite book? Let's say it's The Game of Thrones. You have a copy of the book, even though you can get it free from the library. You have the DVD, even though you could watch a version on YouTube. You even get email updates from George RR Martin's blog. When is that next book coming out?

People pay for convenience. They pay for the golden nuggets not commonly known. They read the book after watching the series so they can read all the mischievous things Tyrion gets up to, and discover that Catelyn Stark hangs around a lot longer in the books than she does in the series!  

Students pay for your attention and your insights. Sure, they can get them from a book or a video, but nothing beats the real thing!

5. It’s easy. People don’t pay to learn easy stuff

Just because it's easy for you, it doesn't mean it's easy for everyone else. Most things are easy when you know how. Blogging is easy when you know how. List-building is easy when you know how. Writing a book is easy when you know how...

But when it's all new to your audience, it's not easy.

It may be easy because you have a great system to get it done, or you know how to hire the right people. You make it look easy because of your experience. And people love to know what you do and how you do it. They may choose not to do it, but they love the experience of watching you teach a skill. 

6. It will only sell with ads

If your course will sell with ads, but you don’t know how to run them or don't have have the budget, that's just another excuse not to price your course properly. Your course will sell other ways. Most course creators validate their pricing and make a few early sales on social media, proving their course is viable. Ads are not essential to selling courses. If it sells with ads, it will also sell in other ways.

7. You have no testimonials

Everyone starts with no testimonials. However, successful course creators will go and hustle for them. Ask friends to take your course and give you a testimonial in exchange for free learning. Always ask more friends than the number of testimonials you need. You’ll be surprised by the number of people who won’t complete a course!

How to Research How Your Competitors Price Their Courses

The worst pricing advice in the world is to find 10 competitors and price your course right smack-bang in the middle.

Look at the competition to see that courses are selling to your audience. Use the research to validate your course, but that’s it. You are not your competition. Your course isn’t comparable, so you cannot price it the same. They may not have the audience you think they do… And what if they guessed their pricing or they have under-priced and spent a fortune in ads? On the surface, they look successful, but are they? What if they never broke even or made a profit with their pricing?

Price for your audience of ideal customers and not your competitors. 

Pricing Your Online Course Starts With Your Ideal Customer

Your ideal customer profile is the linchpin for everything you do online. Your ICP is at the heart of everything, from content to course creation. However, in our years of creating courses and training materials, we’ve noticed that course creators don’t dig deeply enough into their ICP.

Let’s use moms as an example. 

Where is your audience of moms based? In North America, mom is the norm. In the UK it’s mum, mam, or Ma. In Europe, you could use mom/mum/mam/ma, and you’d be mostly fine. You might want to refer to them as mothers to tap into a global audience and avoid the inevitable mom/mum debate.

Now we’ve identified what our mother calls herself based on her location, we can add that to our ICP.

Next up is age… How old is your mother? Younger mothers have limited savings and work experience. Older mothers may have a bigger budget and own a property. Add your mother’s age to your ICP.

Marital status? This is far more important than you realize. Single mothers are the breadwinners, so they are cautious about where they invest their money. Everything depends on them and they can’t afford to get it wrong, so they need lots of reassurance and guarantees. Married mothers also feel the financial pressures, but differently. She may discuss her development with her partner. She may work and feel guilty for being away from the home. She may have a great support system. She may have none of these things. However,  all these factors impact how your mother spends her money. Add your mothers' marital status to your ICP.

How old are the children? If her children are babies, your mother will be pushed for time and money, which needs to be factored into your pricing. If the children are school age, your mother may have time and extra resources and be looking for additional development and new skills. If your mother has teens, she may have more time as her children become independent, and she may be in a stronger financial position than a mother with toddlers. Mothers with children that have left the nest still identify as mothers. They usually have more money, may have a different marital status, and make health a part of their decision-making. Throw in college-age kids and your older mother is just as broke as your mothers with young children. Add the age of the children to the ICP.

So, if you think your audience is mothers, you must dig deeply to price your course correctly for that particular mother's needs. Because as you know, mothers are not all the same. They grow and evolve as they become better at parenting.

Start with your ideal customer when pricing your online course

Once you've determined everything about your audience of mothers, you now need to complete the empathy map. This determines what your mother says, thinks, does, and feels about her problem, and how she looks for the answer.

(You'll get a chance to download the map and other worksheets at the end of this guide to course pricing!)

When you’ve adjusted your ICP to fit your ideal customers' full facts, the next step is to talk to them. Ask them about their current frustrations on the course topic. This is so that you can find out the language that they use.  

In the business world, a PDF could be called a report. In online marketing it could be called a lead magnet, an ethical bribe, or a printable. Some will call it a digital download. 

So talking to your ideal customer to understand their language and call them by the correct title will help you sell your course more effectively. 

You can add these things to your empathy map, and determine that you have the right responses on it. 

What's in Your Course at Each Price Point?

What you have in your course impacts how you price it. I’m going to go through a variety of price points for courses from $27 up to $1997, and you can see what you need to add or subtract to your course to price it correctly. 

Course Price Point 1 - $27

The 27 price point is perfect for the low-ticket offer. This course is one idea / one challenge, with one solution. It’s the tentative first step to working with you. It’s the test you have to pass for your students to become regular customers and buy more of your courses.

Your student doesn’t expect a huge course at this price. 3-5 videos are the perfect amount of content or a 30-page ebook.  

You may have a worksheet or a course guide. But your audience doesn't necessarily expect that amount of content at this price. If you add them as a bonus they’ll be thrilled and appreciate the extra value you’re sharing. 

Case studies are also a good bonus here as they help your student understand how your course can help them. 

Need help with this? Check out Low-Ticket Offers and Virtual Bootcamps

Search "Low-Ticket Offers or "Virtual Bootcamps" in the shop

Teach Yourself. Then teach your audience.

VirtualBootcamps SalesPageCollage
Course pricing for low ticket offer

Course Price Point 2 - $47-97

As the investment into your course is a little higher here, your students will expect more from you in terms of content. You’ll have more videos - maybe 10 to 15. You’ll be expected to have specific learning objectives and key takeaways for each section or module of your course. Again, this is a one idea / one challenge and one solution course.

The content in a course at this price point is often the big-picture content. It's not the deeper, instructional how-to content unless it's very specific. For example, you may have an SEO course like our SEO Master Class where you give the big picture of SEO with many takeaways and action steps. Or, you could take out one section and dig really deeply - like how to optimize blog posts or how to obtain backlinks. 

I recommend you have 3 to 5 bonuses here, such as easy checklists, cheat sheets, and visual guides (infographics saved as PDFs are perfect). You might already have some lead magnets or quizzes that you could repurpose into bonuses. 

Need help with this? Low-Content Products make powerful bonuses. Students love planners, trackers and journals.

Low-Content Product Bootcamp

Teach Yourself. Then teach your audience.

LowContentProducts SalesPageCollage
course pricing for mid-price course

Course Price Point 3 - up to $497

At this price point, your audience isn’t looking for the big picture or one small problem/solution. They’ll look for a more comprehensive solution to a bigger issue than the one you solved with the low-ticket offers. 

So while you might have a few how-to videos on one process in a low-ticket course, you'll need more as you get to your $497 price and up. For example, you'll not only need how-to videos of looking over your shoulder, but also related worksheets, action steps, and action guides. At this price point, your audience wants a tangible, actionable solution for their investment. Your students will also expect transcripts of video and audio content.

Checklists and cheat sheets are not bonus content at this price point but are expected as part of the main program.

Regarding bonuses, you’ll need 3-5, and here you might want to add a smaller $27 or $47 related course as a bonus, as well as audios, transcripts, and interviews with related experts.

You can also add swipe files and templates to make your offer more attractive. And at the $497 price point, you might find it beneficial to add in some live Q&A sessions with your students. 

Journals and planners make a nice bonus too. If you use a print-on-demand service, you can send a planner directly to your new student. Having a branded piece of content on their desk is very powerful.  

A course isn’t priced on length or materials; it’s based on the transformation it brings

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Course pricing for core offer

Blaze Packages

Teach Yourself. Then teach your audience.

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Course Price Point 4 - up to $997

At this price point, your audience will expect some live interaction with you. Video content alone will not sell your course for you. Students want to interact with you at this point more than any other level. This may be in the form of live Q&As, personal coaching, group coaching or even live training. This is your most advanced information. Your audience is anticipating deep transformations and needs your support to achieve their goals.

Your content may be intensive, as in it’s delivered over 2-3 days, or it may be a 6-week experience. It’s up to you.

The bonuses here are also bigger. There may be bigger courses that are related that will help your students that you sell for $297, and you’ll use these as bonuses. Ebooks tend not to be good bonuses at this price point. Swipe files and templates tend to be expected in the main program, not as a bonus. Spreadsheets and calculators are popular here.

Interviews and audios make a great bonus at this level.

Course pricing for main offer

High-Ticket Courses ($1997+)

At this level of investment, your student wants shortcuts and fast tracks to their outcome; anything that accelerates their results should be included in the course with the bonuses so mouth-watering they’re clamoring to pay you. 

Course materials can be sent via a print-on-demand service, and there are group sessions. At this level, your students want to network with each other. For them, it’s part of the reason they invested in a high-ticket offer: to meet likeminded people. 

Often, a high-ticket offer includes an in-person event such as a mastermind day or a ticket to their seller's next in-person event. 

High-Ticket Courses: it helps to think of your course as an experience rather than just a course.

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At this price point, it helps to think of your course as an experience rather than just a course.

The high-ticket can also be an intensive experience or VIP day, or a mastermind. 

Bonuses at this level are designed to make a “yes” easy. 

Bonuses can be calls with other experts where your students can ask questions. It can be a stack of your other (yet related) courses and swag. Students who invest in HTOs love swag and branded items that enhance their experience. 

Some high-ticket experiences include access to exclusive software for a limited time, or 1-2-1 coaching.

How to Price a Series of Courses or Curriculum

As you can see from the course price points, none cover how to price a curriculum. A curriculum is a series of courses on a specific theme. For example, if you were interested in teaching sales training, you would cover Essential Sales Skills, Overcoming Sales Objections and From Prospect to Paying Client. You’d probably need to add how to Create Your Ideal Customer Profile as most sales training doesn’t detail finding prospects and connecting with them. If you don’t know who the prospects are, how will you find them?

These four courses make up our sales curriculum. There’s still room to add things in, but enough content to teach an intensive for four weeks or spread it out over four months. 

A curriculum is a different experience and therefore is priced differently. You’d be looking at starting in the $1297 range up to the $3,000 bracket. Bonuses are not as essential to selling a curriculum, but time is. You’ll need to schedule time for Q&As, coaching, and support. This is almost always a high-touch experience hence the higher price point. 

How to Price Your Signature System

Your signature system is the particular methodology that you are known for. It’s something you’ve branded and probably getting a trademark for. Sure, you can get trademarks for your course names and protect your intellectual property, but not everyone does that with their first few courses. However, a well-designed signature system will need extra protections. 

If your Signature System is a course, you will be pricing it between a high ticket price and a curriculum. You are looking for between $2-10k for a signature system. 

A quick example for you:

Marie Forleo asks $2499 for B-School, a 6-week program. It has videos, live streams, fun sheets, assessments, MP3s, and transcripts. Fifteen additional pieces of training are presented as bonuses that make up a learning library. Marie Forleo International owns the trademark for B School, which is what she's best known for.

Need More Help With Your Signature System?

Create Your Signature System

Teach Yourself. Then teach your audience.

SigSystemCollage

Determine Your Course Format

The more expensive your course is, the bigger the expectation for personal / group access to you. With a low-ticket offer, your format can be video where it's self-study.

In a low-ticket offer, your questions are dealt with via a FAQs section with some video content, which may upsell to the next level. 

In a high-ticket offer, you’ll deal with questions in group coaching or personal coaching. If you offer Voxer or WhatsApp access, you might find you answer questions this way.

At the $97 to $997 price point, you will find that Q&As via Livestream work well. 

Offering content as downloadable audios for your students is very valuable at higher price points. This means your student can listen to your content as they drive, run or work. They feel more productive by having your content in this format - it’s very convenient and portable.

All video content should be captioned. Various disability acts mean that you are expected to make your content accessible. This means captions on videos, and can mean creating fillable pdfs.  You cannot charge extra so that people with disabilities can access your course. That's discrimination.

You’ll find that having audio recordings that can be listened to is vital when it comes to curriculums. Those that take a curriculum of skills training are making a higher investment and are more committed to succeeding. They want ease of consumption which audio provides.

No matter what level your student purchases at, they need to be able to access your materials with ease and see your passion in the content.

How to Deliver Your Course at Different Price Points

The course delivery experience is important and crucial to your success. Starting at low investment, you can focus more on delivery than the feel, but you must avoid giving a cheap experience for a higher-end investment.

Delivery of $27-$97 Courses

At a $27 to $97 course price, you can deliver your downloads via email or link. Even delivery via a Facebook group is acceptable.  However, given the low cost of entry to set up a course using a tool like New Zenler, there's no excuse for a poor delivery experience.

Branding can be minimal at this price point if you don't have any (yet). Branding helps deal with content thieves and reinforces what you stand for, so include it where you can on all your course content.

What’s not acceptable for courses at this level?

  • Links to unlisted YouTube videos. This is against YouTube’s terms of service.
  • Videos hosted in Dropbox - these don’t play properly
  • Bad quality audio

Delivery of $97-$997 Courses

A private membership space is preferred. This creates a feeling of exclusivity and safety. Because you deliver your content in a learning management system (LMS) you are seen as more professional. This gives your courses a better feel and overall experience.

At the lower end of the investment scale a Facebook group is acceptable. Groups are great for live Q&As, but people also like the intimacy that a Zoom Q&A provides. You can poll your students and find out what they prefer. 

Your content should be branded. This helps with piracy and intellectual property theft. Your videos should have your logo at the top. Your PDF content should link to your membership area, and your audio content will benefit from branded intros and outros. 

What’s not acceptable at this level?

  • Links to unlisted YouTube videos. This is against YouTube’s terms of service.
  • Videos hosted in Dropbox - these don’t play properly
  • Unedited videos
  • Bad quality audio

Delivery of High-Ticket Offers

A community is desirable, but not everyone enjoys Facebook. If your LMS has an app, use it. Otherwise, look into tools like Mighty Networks or others that integrate with your online course platform.

A Facebook group for Q&A is acceptable, but an app is better. And for a higher-ticket course, it's not acceptable to use a Facebook group for content delivery. You need your own platform.

Zoom delivery is acceptable so long as you have the replays hosted in your LMS (course platform). At this level of investment, not having the replays available is poor etiquette and could be seen as laziness. At this level people are cash-rich but time poor.

If you have in-person events included, you must ensure that those who received this as part of their course investment feels special. 

What’s not acceptable at this level?

  • Links to unlisted YouTube videos. This is against YouTube’s terms of service.
  • Videos hosted in Dropbox - these don’t play properly
  • Unedited videos
  • Bad quality audio
  • Not having transcripts
  • Not having replays
  • Not having captioned videos

No matter what level your student invests at, they should always know the boundaries and rules. If you offer a group for questions and keep getting messages from students with questions, you need to gently send them to your group or to your support team.

Support and rules / guidelines should be made available to all your students. 

Should You Let Your Audience Choose Your Course Price?

Only if you wish to die poor and lonely, and possibly win a world record or prize for being the poorest coach on the planet. 

The Impact of Scarcity on Your Course Price 

Course availability impacts pricing. If something is high-end and available for a limited time, then the price of your course should be higher.  If you offer lifetime access (and we recommend you don't), then this factor impacts how much you charge for your course.

What does lifetime mean?

When it comes to offering lifetime access to your course, you first need to think about what lifetime really means:

  • Does it mean to give access to your course for YOUR lifetime?
  • The lifetime of the course?
  • The lifetime of your business?
  • The lifetime of your website?  
  • Someone else's lifetime?

 And that's the problem with offering lifetime access. It's vague and leaves you open to a lifetime of  potential legal troubles.

In your course's terms of business (aka T&Cs) you need to specify what lifetime means if you offer it, and what's the reasonable expectation.

Should You Offer a Refund Policy or Guarantee for Your Online Course?

91% of consumers according to a Harris Poll agree that a refund policy is an important factor influencing their purchasing decision, as reported by the New York Times

Do you need a guarantee for your course? It depends. It depends on a few variables, including your ideal customer. Let's take our mothers example from earlier, if she's a single mother then she might need extra reassurance and you offer a 60-day, no questions asked money-back guarantee.  If she's an empty nester you might offer her a 14 day money-back guarantee. 

A guarantee doesn't have to be a money-back thing, it can be a satisfaction guarantee, or a quality guarantee.

How confident are you about your course content? 

If it's from us, Content Sparks, you'll be extremely confident.  Confidence in your content means you have a longer guarantee.

It depends on course deliverability. You might determine that as your course is delivered live, there's no refund policy, you might decide as it's digital there's no returns once it's downloaded. 

Course refund policy and perception

If you don't offer a refund policy how does that look to your ideal client? Will they think you have no confidence in your course? You might ask for proof that your student has completed the first module, you might offer your money-back guarantee as no questions asked. A lot of high-ticket offers ask for your first piece of course homework to be submitted and proof of action before they issue your money back. 

Can You Offer an Installment Plan for Your Course?

Firstly, I have to confirm that I'm not a lawyer, and that I've never played one on TV. What you're about to read is not legal advice, you must get that from a lawyer. Disclaimer finished. 

Depending on where you are in the world will determine whether you are allowed to offer installments. For example,  to offer installments in the UK, you must be licensed to offer credit by the Financial Services Authority.  You are also not allowed to charge more for installment payments in the UK. For example, if your course is £200 but you offer 4 installments of £55, totaling £220. 

You may be able to position that as £55 x 4 payments for a total of £220, or pay £200 with a £20 discount for paying in full. Again, check the laws for advertising and pricing in your own country. 

In the USA, you are allowed to offer installments, and you are allowed to charge extra for this. However, you should strongly consider how this positioning looks. For example, will it look like you are punishing those less affluent for taking your course. For a better perception, position it as a discount for those who pay in full. Or you could offer additional bonuses for those who pay in full for your course, like an exclusive coaching session.

How Global Factors Impact Your Course Price

Whether it's a global pandemic, economic crisis, or a war, the economy isn't always in great shape. People may be struggling to deal with a higher cost of living or finding a job. 

If your audience is dealing with personal or financial challenges, you might want to factor that into your pricing. If your audience looks as if they're about to batten down the hatches and go into survival mode, you need to strongly articulate the value of your course, or switch audiences.  

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Maslows hierarchy of needs for course creators 1536x922 1

It's known that those of your audience in the bottom two layers of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs will struggle to commit to your course financially and emotionally. Their minds are on keeping a roof over their head, eating and surviving. They may not be able to access your course as they don't have a suitable device. These people do not make the best students right now.

We all move up and down the pyramid at various stages of our lives. Do your absolute best to share your free content with everyone at every level, but your paid content is for the upper tiers. This helps you avoid claims of your content not working, chargebacks and fraud allegations.  Remember your audiences' needs and motivations change all the time and just because someone is struggling right now, it doesn't mean they will struggle forever.

You need to keep your finger on the market outlook at all times, especially if your audience is price sensitive. 

Your Next Steps for Pricing Your Online Course

Phew! We've covered so much in this post. Most people find bookmarking this page for when you need the course pricing guide again is a big timer-saver. 

They also love this fantastic workbook we've put together to help you price your course for success, using the worksheets and information from this guide. 

Would you like a copy of the course pricing workbook?

Just add your name and email address below and I'll send you a download link via email. Be sure to whitelist contentsparks.com so you don't miss it! 


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  1. From start to finish this post was chunk full of great information. The use of Maslow Hierarchy really gave me a new take how his theory fits in helping us understand our customers buying motives. And the breakdown of course pricing is so useful. I hope this is something we will have an option to turn into a course.

    1. Hi Cheryl! Not sure yet about putting into a course, but you should definitely use if for your own course pricing. I’m glad it was helpful 🙂

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