A Beginner’s Guide to Pricing Your Online Course (2024)

Can you put a price on your years of experience and expertise as a teacher?

If you’re looking to get the balance right with an online course that delivers a result, but find yourself stuck on what price to position yourself at, you’re not alone! 

Finding the right pricing point can help indicate the value of your course to potential customers, which in turn can help you attract people that will benefit from your course. 

In this way, effective course pricing can be an important factor in helping you achieve your teaching and business goals.

That said, there are lots of factors to consider when settling on your course pricing, and it isn’t always straightforward to know where to start. 

If you fall into this category, don’t worry – you’ve come to the right place! In this post, we’re going to show you exactly what it takes to price your online course just right.

A woman recording content for an online course.
(Source: Pexels)

Pricing Your Online Course

Pricing is one of the most important decisions you’ll have to make when launching an online course. It does not just showcase what the value of your content is, but it can help you determine:

  • What people are willing to pay for your content.
  • If the course content is worth creating or not, based on the demand and the amount people are willing to pay.
  • If your expertise and the quality of your content are enough to make your course profitable.

What Are the Benefits of Online Courses?

Before you set your course price, you must consider what your customers will get out of the experience and expertise you offer. Here are just a few of the benefits of online courses:

  • Convenience. As people are looking for courses that fit around their lives, teaching online provides the flexibility people need.
  • Accessibility. Online access in the comfort of a student’s home provides many benefits over a real-life classroom. For example, learners can access content when and where they want, and the lack of commute makes online learning more viable both in terms of time and cost.
  • Additional support. Teaching online makes it easier to offer 1:1 support as there is no requirement for the teacher and student to meet face-to-face in order to facilitate this.
  • Increased effectiveness. Despite online teaching being viewed as impersonal, it has been shown to be more effective than traditional teaching methods, increasing information retention rates by up to 60%!

What to Consider When Pricing Your Course 

Pricing an online course demands the teacher to understand a variety of factors, including: 

  • The market demand for the type of course you want to run.
  • The competition that already exists and how you will position yourself in the marketplace.
  • The quality of the content you can provide and how this stacks up against competitors.
  • Your skills as a teacher and any unique value you can bring to potential students.
  • The budgetary demands of running an online course and the price point you will need to achieve in order to make your course profitable.

Let’s dive into some of these points in more detail.

The Cost of Producing Your Content 

One advantage online course creators have over those who teach in-person courses is the reduced costs associated with teaching online. 

You won’t need to dedicate any of your budget to things like classroom hire, travel costs, or physical course materials like workbooks.

That said, depending on the type of course you want to run, you may still require supplementary materials that are not readily available online. 

If you need to create videos, audio, PowerPoint presentations, podcasts, or hire subject matter experts, it will cost you money.

When setting your price, you’ll need to weigh up the costs associated with creating your course content against how you plan to sell your courses to ensure you can make the enterprise profitable.

The Value of Your Content 

The perceived value of your online course or coaching program will be a major factor in what students are willing to pay for it. 

Naturally, if your content is perceived as being highly valuable and likely to help students achieve their goals, they will be willing to pay more for it! 

This is particularly true if your content covers a niche subject for which the course marketplace is not already saturated.

That’s not to say you can’t provide value in more popular subjects, especially if you offer a unique teaching style or a greater level of expertise than your competitors. 

You’ll need to consider the value of your experience, qualifications, and what students will get from enrolling in your course when calculating what people will be willing to pay for your content. 

Pricing Psychology 

People often make decisions based on their emotions rather than logic, and you can use this as a benchmark for setting your course pricing.

For example, discounts on multiple purchases or freebies with larger purchases can help you take advantage of what is known as pricing psychology

Essentially, when customers feel like they’re getting a better deal, they will be encouraged to buy from you.

Strategies like offering bulk discounts for students who enroll in multiple courses at once or providing free supplementary eLearning materials with certain course content are both effective ways to encourage more sign-ups for your online courses.

The Competition 

It might seem like a good strategy to undercut the competition by offering a cheaper course when there are similar ones on the market, but a lower cost can actually mean your course is perceived as less valuable.

Analyze what other courses in the market are priced at, and consider if yours should be at a higher price or lower than theirs based on the value you offer. 

A lower price can discourage customers from enrolling in your course, as they may think it doesn’t offer the same value as can be found elsewhere!

On the other hand, if you offer a higher-priced course than others, potential students may think that you offer better quality than your competitors, encouraging them to buy from you instead.

Consider Different Pricing Models 

There are many ways in which you can price your online course, including fixed pricing, percentage-based pricing, tiered pricing, and many more.

The method that works best for you will depend on the content you’re offering, who your audience is (for example, students or professionals), and the business model you’re using. 

For example, you might be offering a membership-based system for students or accepting one-off payments for course material.

While the average online course costs $137, there are no set rules when it comes to determining your online course pricing. 

Ultimately, it depends on what makes sense for your business. If you are still unsure, here are a couple of different examples of ways you might consider pricing your online courses:

Fixed Pricing

This is when customers pay a set amount course-by-course. This works well if customers can be sure of exactly what they’re getting before signing up and don’t mind paying a fixed amount. 

Tiered Pricing

This involves charging customers different amounts depending on the pricing tier they fall under.

For example, you might charge $100 for “Silver” members, and $150 for “Gold” members, and offer different levels of value depending on which tier students have opted for.

This works well if you work with students that have different requirements. For example, a “Gold” member service might get access to supplementary course material and additional “extras,” such as 1:1 support, which not all students will necessarily need.

A woman teaching an online music course.
(Source: Pexels)

Strategies for Increasing Earnings 

As you build momentum for your online course business, you may look to find extra methods to supplement your earnings. 

There are many pricing strategies you can implement to help increase your earnings, and the following methods can help you deliver better services while remaining competitive:

Increasing the Price

As we’ve covered, setting the right pricing point should always reflect the value to the customer because the price reflects the quality of the content. 

If you offer high-quality course content, increasing the price of your course allows you to: 

  • Better support students, encouraging repeat business, referrals, and a better overall experience.
  • Increase your personal earnings from your business, making it more viable as a long-term career.
  • Fund promotions and other marketing methods to help increase uptake for your courses.
  • Reinvest in the course, improving its quality, as well as other areas of your business. 
  • Help you work towards creating an “evergreen” model, instead of getting stuck working in endless launch and pre-launch cycles. 

Creating more evergreen content can help to produce a flywheel effect, where your business is able to build momentum and consistently improve its offering. However, this will only work when you’ve built a big enough customer base.

Offer Subscriptions 

A subscription model is where users pay a pre-defined fee on a regular basis (usually monthly) for access to your online courses and other content. 

This approach provides many benefits, including: 

  • A low barrier to entry for students, as people can easily sign up for an affordable fee and consume your content.
  • Generates a more regular flow of income for you as the course provider.
  • Helps to improve retention, which will boost overall earnings. 

Despite the benefits of this model, the world of subscriptions can be difficult to police. 

If you offer all of your course content as part of this model, people may sign up, consume all the course content in a short period of time, then cancel their subscriptions, which will reduce your course profit margins.

For this reason, it is essential to have a strategy in place to keep people over a longer period of time, for example, by providing supplementary content at specific times or consistently upgrading and improving your course offering.

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Utilize Upselling and Cross-Selling

Upselling and cross-selling involve offering additional products or services which can be added to existing purchases to increase order value and revenue per customer. 

An example would be offering supplementary video content alongside an ebook product, rather than just the ebook on its own. 

Upselling usually involves offering supplementary products or services that are priced higher than the original product, while cross-sells are usually priced lower than the original product.

Create Bundles

As we’ve already explored, customers like to get value for their purchases. 

For this reason, bundles appeal to new customers as they can get more for a lower price than buying one course at a time. 

If you offer a variety of courses or digital products, bear in mind that the most effective course bundles are cohesive. 

This means you’ll likely find more success bundling together courses on related topics.

Offer Payment Plans 

Payment plans allow customers to pay in installments, which makes high-value courses more accessible to everyone. 

In some instances, payment plans can be more effective than a subscription model, as students will be tied into paying for the full value of the course over a given period, rather than being able to pay for a single month and consume all of the course content without having to renew their subscription.

Offer Multiple Payment Gateways

Offering a range of different payment gateways, such as Stripe and Paypal, gives your customers more choices when it comes to how they pay for your course content. 

Going beyond the standard payment options and offering more flexibility can help optimize conversion rates.

Offer Additional Products and Services 

Online courses can provide many options for supplementary material, such as: 

  • 1:1 support and/or coaching.
  • Downloadable resources, for example, ebooks.
  • Mini-courses.
  • Video and audio content.

Additional content is particularly important when running a subscription-based model, as your subscribers will expect to see regular, fresh new content to continue justifying the cost.

It is worth bearing in mind that while offering additional services can hook in subscribers, it can be time-consuming and costly, as you’ll need to assemble the supplementary content yourself. 

As a result, it’s important to weigh up the benefits of offering additional products and services against the costs, both in terms of time and money.

Create Evergreen Courses

A catalog of evergreen courses is an excellent alternative to new product and service launches.

Evergreen content is always harder to create, as it needs to be timeless, but when done effectively, it can save you the time and cost of releasing and promoting new content on a regular basis. 

You can start drip-feeding content based on the day a customer signs up, slowly engaging the individual over time. 

As customers need value out of their investment, quality material is the most important factor, not quantity. 

Utilize Promotions and Discounts 

Promotions such as free courses, discounts, or flash sales on social media are excellent options if you’re struggling to make initial course sales, as this can increase enrollment rather than lowering your prices to stay competitive. 

As users sign-up, you can add them to your email list and retarget them later with new courses and product offers.

Use a WordPress Plugin That Makes Payments Easy

Online course pricing may seem like a fine art that takes time and hard work to get right. 

While you will still need to invest the time to do market and competitor research and consider different pricing structures, there are tools available that can do a lot of the heavy lifting for you.

For example, a WordPress plugin that can handle all the aspects above, as well as course creation and selling, is one of the best tools to increase your earnings. AccessAlly allows you to do just that. 

AccessAlly is a WordPress plugin built specifically to cater to people that want to create interactive online courses by providing all of the tools they may need in one convenient place.

This saves you the time and effort of researching a range of disparate tools and trying to patch them together into a cohesive system for creating and selling your online courses.

Here are just some of the ways in which AccessAlly can help course providers to create and sell their own online courses: 

  • Increase earnings with built-in features to sell recurring subscriptions, offer payment plans, and accept one-time payments.
  • Promote your courses with the help of built-in marketing tools, including email marketing automation and affiliate marketing, so you can hit your target audience, increase customer satisfaction, and grow your sales. 
  • Scale your business with the help of a range of flexible and customizable tools that ensure your needs are met every step of the way.
  • Increase communication and collaboration with your students through the use of an integrated community plugin, improve engagement through built-in gamification tools, and produce high-quality course content with the help of AccessAlly’s own dedicated LMS (learning management system).

Increase Your Course Earnings with AccessAlly

A beginner's guide to pricing your online course - laptop image

The right pricing is critical when running an online business as it can make all the difference between a course with major engagement and one that gets left behind. 

You need to be confident of the value of your course content to ensure that you can price it effectively and break into the crowded online course marketplace.

AccessAlly provides all the features course creators need to build and sell courses and programs that offer serious value to students. 

With built-in tools to help with creating and selling courses, marketing, boosting student engagement, and more, AccessAlly makes managing every aspect of your course, including your pricing, simple.

Whether you are in the process of creating your first online course, or you are a seasoned professional looking for a new approach, you don’t need any other tool!

Give AccessAlly a try today and see how it can take your online course business to the next level.

Nathalie Lussier

I’m a writer, technologist, and regenerative farmer. I founded AccessAlly with my husband in one frantic weekend to solve my immediate course platform issues. Over a decade later the company has grown, and our product has evolved to serve millions of learners across the globe.

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