Choosing the right price for your online course is one of the most difficult decisions to make as a course creator.
Charge too little: your content will look cheap, and you won't make enough to put food on your table.
Charge too much: no one will buy your course, but you will receive creative insults to you and your relatives.
So how much should you price your online course?
Let me be clear from the beginning: there isn't a one-size-fits-all response that I can give to every instructor.
My first course was around 4 hours of content, and since I was incredibly afraid of charging too much (and I was suffering from a severe form of impostor syndrome), I set the price at $47.
When I launched it to my small email list of 300 people, I sold 10 copies in the first month. I still remember the excitement I had, seeing the purchase emails arriving in my email inbox.
I made $470 in a month. I know it's not incredible, but hey, it's passive income.
The most important thing about this experience wasn't the revenue, but the validation of online courses. Before that, I was skeptical about selling online courses, and I was afraid this entire concept was a scam.
Selling my first low-price course gave me the confidence to invest further effort in my marketing strategy.
Increasing the Perceived Value
Over the following year, I slowly increased the price while simultaneously increasing the value offered by the course.
As I raised the price, I found that more people bought the course. So I wasn't just earning more revenue, I was actually getting more customers!
Month after month, I learned that having a higher price created a higher perceived value among potential students, which led to more sales.
This doesn't mean I kept raising the price. I tested it at different levels over the years, and I finally found my sweet spot that was $497, 10 times my original price.
I've been talking with many entrepreneurs since I started with this business, and it's crazy how all our pricing stories are the same!
Unsure of what to charge for their first course, they test the waters by starting at a low price point. From there, they gradually increase their prices until they find what works best for their market. Sometimes they improve their content before a price increase, sometimes they improve their marketing, and sometimes they do both simultaneously.
The problem with Premium Price Courses
But why there's this fear of charging too much?
There are many reasons.
Maybe you're not confident about your content. Or perhaps you don't have a massive email list. Or simply, you think you're not teaching anything that can't be found online for free.
These are all reasonable concerns. Why would someone pay a high price for your course when there are so many free and inexpensive resources?
The answer is that there is a big group of people on the web who will gladly pay a premium in exchange for high-quality information that is organized and delivered in a format that is convenient for them.
And let's not forget the fact that they would have direct access to an expert or a community of people.
This is what makes your content worth to be paid.
Why low-price is a bad idea
When you sell your online course for a low price, first of all, you're undervaluing your time and your value. You're saying to yourself, “I'm not good enough”, and this is never a good point where to start.
You will attract the “Groupon” type of customers. I don't know you, but I hate those guys.
The amount of money people spend on a course is directly proportional to the effort they will put into that.
Ergo, what do you think they'll say when you will ask for a testimonial video?
And with cheap products, you can't afford to advertise them. When you sell your online course for a low price, you immediately limit your ability to spend money promoting your course and generate a positive return on investment (ROI).
Does it mean you should never charge a low price?
You can definitely do it offering a mini-course, for example. If you teach multiple things, you can take a module and sell it as a stand-alone. This will become a tripwire offer that will lead to your primary course purchase.
Should I create a long course to charge high prices?
Many online instructors think that they have to create a very long course in order to charge a high price. That's totally wrong.
Your course cost should be in line with the value of the content.
If you can teach how to reach your course's goal in a couple of hours, you don't have to create a 10-hour program.
On the other hand, if your students pay $1000 to join your program and then find 30 minutes of content, they will probably feel ripped off and request a refund. There's no general rule, but I suggest you use your best judgment.
Your job is to help your students get the result as fast and as safe as possible. And a solution (and possible answers to doubts and questions) can never be just 30 minutes long.
How to choose a price for your online course
The first thing you should do is to research your competition. This isn't meant to copy your competitors' prices or charge a little lower, but instead to validate your market demand. If possible, you could purchase a competing course just to see what is in it and get ideas on how to create something better and more specific.
The best way to quantify your course value is to quantify how much money and time your student would spend to reach the goal without your help.
How many months or years of trial and error would it take?
And how long and how much money did it take you to learn what you're teaching?
Put yourself in your followers' shoes and think about how much you would spend to reach the goal your course promises.
Start with a low price, and then, as your customer base increases, raise your price accordingly until your sales numbers start to show resistance.
During this process, work on improving your course, updating content, and reducing learning traction.
Your program is a continuous work in progress, and it will stop selling when you will stop working on it.
How to make your audience buy a premium price course
What you sell is a solution to a problem, and the more help you can provide to it, the more your viewers will consider buying your course.
Many online instructors give their students the ability to download their video lessons, or alternative versions like slideshow presentations or audio versions. Doing so gives their students more control over their learning experience.
Another thing you shouldn't underestimate is creating a private group for your course students.
One of the biggest stumbling blocks for buying a course is the question, “Will I have support if I get stuck?”
Having a private group for all the students, with access to you or other experts, is a great solution. And they also get the benefit of interacting and building a community with the other students.
The last thing to make a high-price course affordable is to provide a payment plan. Give the possibility to spread the cost over an extended period, rather than pay for it in full upfront.
Time to take action
All you need to do now is building your course! Shut down all the negative voices in your head and just start.
If you don't know which platform you can use to store and manage your course, I've created a pdf with the 5 best online tools.
And if for whatever reason you still don't know how much to charge, simply pick a price and see what happens.
Growing an online business is a matter of testing and adapting to results. Worst-case scenario, your price it too high, and no one buys.
If this happens, it's a new possibility for you to learn something and test another price.
To summarize all the advice I gave on this video, I've created a document with all the steps. Download the doc below, and keep it close when you're about to create a new course.