Pricing an Online Course: A Brutally Honest Guide

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When creating an online course, one of the most significant decisions you'll have to make is how to price it. It can be tricky to determine the right price for your course, and getting it wrong can kill your sales because nobody will buy it. 

The good news: This article walk you through everything you need to know about pricing your online course. 

We'll discuss how to evaluate the value of your course, how to set a price that will generate revenue while still providing good value for your students, and more.

Pricing an Online Course: What Not To Do


Before we dive into what you should do, let's look at what NOT to do. 

Racing To The Bottom 

One thing you never want to do is price your course as low as possible.

This is a race to the bottom that you will never win.

There will always be people willing to sell their courses for cheaper than you, and nothing stops them from undercutting you on price.  Instead of competing on price, focus on creating a high-quality course that provides value. 

Meaning: Compete on value, not price. 

We'll look at how you can increase the value of your course later in this article. 

Pricing Based On The Effort You Put In

 Although the effort you put in is essential, it's not something the student cares about. 

They only care about the value they receive, so put your effort into increasing the value. 

And price your course based on the value they receive, not necessarily how much effort you put into it. 

Many creators will think that this sounds harsh. However, once you realize this, it becomes a lot easier to build a course they find valuable and will pay more for.

Pricing The Course Out Of Your Ideal Customers' Budget 

Although you shouldn't price your course as low as possible, you must consider your ideal student's budget.

Learning the skill, you are teaching has different values for two different people.

For example, if you teach how to get a job in tech vs. a job in retail, the first will usually provide a result worth more to the customer.

Meaning: You probably couldn't charge as much for the latter, and if you would, it'll likely be out of your ideal student's budget. Take your ideal customer's budget into consideration when pricing.

Charge More, But Strategically. 

The standard advice: Charge More. 

The not-so-common advice: How to charge more and do it without the target market thinking it's overpriced. 

You see, slapping a $997 price tag on the course you worked so hard on might feel suitable for 20 minutes, but when nobody buys it, it will hurt. 

We're not saying you shouldn't charge $997 - or even more.

Just make sure that the target market values it there too. We'll look at the factors you should use to determine how much your customer will value it, and then you'll be able to find the right price.

Pricing an Online Course: What Are The Factors You Need To Consider? 

Pricing an online course is hard. On the one hand, you want to price it high enough to generate revenue and profit. But, on the other hand, you don't want to price it so high that people are turned off by the cost and don't enroll in your course.

 So how do you find the sweet spot? 

It ultimately comes down to what the customers/students value because they are the ones who will pay you for it. 

The factors that decide how much they value it includes:

  1.  Value of the dream outcome you are teaching
  2.  The likelihood of obtaining that dream outcome 
  3. The budget of the target audience 
  4. The depth of information within the course 
  5. How much time will they save taking your course vs. figuring it out on their own 
  6. Your Credibility 

 Value of the dream outcome 


 The value of the dream outcome is one of the most critical factors because it will directly impact how much people are willing to pay for your course.

 For example, if you're teaching someone how to start a successful online marketing agency, the value of that dream outcome would be very high.

 The dream outcome of starting a marketing agency could be $10,000, $20,000, or even $50,000 per month. 

So think > what dream outcome do you provide? 

To give you a better idea of this, we've listed some example dream outcomes below: 

Weight loss course → Healthier life, Social approval, looking good at the beach, helpful for dating life. 

How to become a freelance web developer → New career path, more freedom, $4,000 to $10,000 per month. 

How to start a dropshipping business course → Freedom, $20,000-100,000 per month, etc.

Extra tip: This isn't just helpful for evaluating the pricing but ALSO for copywriting and marketing your online course. Need help creating your sales page? Check out: These Sales Page Examples. 

The Dream Outcome Doesn't Have To Be Monetary 


Remember that the dream outcome doesn't always have to be monetary. 

For example, if you teach a course on cooking or dating, the dream outcome is precious to the correct type of person.

Meaning: They'll pay monetary value for it. We just wanted to clarify if you thought this blog post was strictly for pricing business-related courses. 

The likelihood of achieving the dream outcome 

The higher the likelihood of achieving the dream outcome, the higher the perceived value of your course or product. 

This is one of the reasons it would cost more to hire you, the expert, than getting you to teach it through a course.

  •  How can you increase the likelihood of the student achieving the dream outcome? 
  • Give them additional resources like templates, scripts, checklists
  •  Make the process as easy to follow as possible 
  • Include case studies and results of students who have taken your course 
  • Get feedback from your first students to see what they struggle with and double down on explaining that .

 Side note: This is why to this date, many value formal education exceptionally highly, as you get a degree that many jobs will value, so it increases the chance of getting hired. 

The Depth of Information

Of course, the information inside the course also increases the value.

Generally speaking, the more in-depth the course is, the higher the price can be. 

But the course should be laid out so that there is a maximum chance of the student getting results.

 Don't just put information into the course for its sake; this will likely confuse your students. 

 Try to offer them a clear path to the dream outcome and give them every piece of information they need to get there. 

How Much Time They Will Save

 "Oh, I can find all this information online for free."

 We've all heard it.

But the point of your course is to help the student save time when working toward the dream outcome we discussed earlier.

And how much time they will save = Increased Perceived value. 

If you're teaching how to build a dropshipping store, and you've got ten years of experience that you package into your online course, the student will save a lot of time... as they don't have to go figure it out on their own. 

 Some good indicators of how you can find out how much time they will save: 

  •  How long did it take you to achieve the dream result of the course? 
  • How long did it take for you to learn the course content and specifics?
  • How long does it take most people that try to achieve it? 

Your Credibility, Brand, and Reputation 

This is Bob. 

 Bob lives with his parents and has no real marketing experience because he never ran or worked in a marketing department. 

 But he says he studied marketing and has a passion for it. 

 Now imagine Bob was trying to offer you marketing advice.

 How much would you pay for it? 

Probably $0.

Plot twist: 10 years later, Bob became one of the most outstanding marketers the world has ever seen. 

How much would you pay for it if he'd put the knowledge into a course?

Probably quite a lot.

Would you even buy the first course we discussed, as it might have some of Bob's insights? 

Maybe.

Here's the thing: The more known credibility you have, the more people will pay for your knowledge. People are willing to pay for Tim Ferriss' or Neil Patel's courses, even though much of the information is available online for free.

Credibility increases: 

  • The likelihood of the information inside the course being good
  •  The possibility you will take action from it 

 And ultimately, the likelihood of the student getting that dream outcome. 

Does The Competition Matter?

Not really. They might be a good indicator if you don't know where to price your online course, but they aren't definitive guides. 

 I've bought many online courses and rarely remember looking around for the competitors' courses. 

 This is because when you market your online course well, you show the customer: 

  •  How much they want the dream outcome
  •  How well can you help them get it
  •  Why is your course worth so much more than what you're charging 


When you do this, their eyes will usually be fixated on you, and the purchasing decision will be whether they buy your course or not. 

Of course, in some cases, they may shop around and see where else they can purchase the knowledge they want. 

However, if you have some USPs and build a strong brand, this won't be the case as much. 

The Psychology Behind Course Pricing 

Now that we’ve looked at the value of your course, we wanted to cover some Psychology behind the actual price tag. 

Customers Assume You Get What You Pay For

If you'd have to guess which one is better, the $50 marketing course, or the $500 one, you'd probably think the $500 one to be better. 

This is because, as consumers, we often equate price with quality.

This is why products priced too low are often perceived as lower quality than they might be. 

If you want to increase the value of your course in your customer's eyes, consider raising your prices. 

 Anchoring Bias 

The anchoring bias is that humans rely too heavily on the first piece of information. 

 For example, if you see a shirt for $120 and then see another one for $30, the second shirt will look like an absolute bargain, even though it might not be.

The $120 shirt is the anchor price to which your brain compares everything.

When it comes to course pricing, you can create anchors in your customers' minds to increase the perceived value of your course.

 For example, this may be adding up the $value of your course and then comparing what it's worth to how much you are charging.

 Or, it may be introducing one price and offering a discount/lower-priced plan. 

Value of Course > Cost = Purchase


If the perceived value of your course is higher than the price tag, your customers will purchase. It's that simple. 

We have already shown you some of the factors that determine the value, but we'll give you more examples of how to increase the weight later.

Questions You Need To Ask To Find The Right Price 

  1. How much is the dream outcome worth to my ideal student?
  2.  What is the likelihood they will achieve it with my course? 
  3. How in-depth is the content within my course?
  4.  How much credibility do I have? 
  5. What is my ideal student's budget? 

 Of course, the point of these questions isn't that they all give you the same number. Instead, they should all give you different figures that help you find a reasonable price point by considering them. 

How Pricing Your Online Course Affects Your Marketing

One thing you need to keep in mind is that how you price your online course will affect your marketing. 

 If you're charging a low price, it will be much harder to invest in marketing, and it may even make you lazy with it.

 Whereas, when you charge what it's worth, then you'll:

  1. Be able to spend money on the marketing 
  2. Be forced to make people see the real value through your marketing 

 Remember: Target people who value your course's dream outcome; that way, they will pay much more for it. 

Marketing Your Online Course Based on The Price 

The higher the price, the more effort you will have to put into marketing.

 A nice sweet spot for many online courses in pillar niches (Health, money, relationships) is around $200, which is an amount that most people would spend, but it's not so low that you can't market it. 

But you always have to test it out. 

 Some of the channels you can consider when marketing your online course: 

  •  Social Media (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook Groups, YouTube)
  •  Ads (Especially YouTube ads can work well) 

 And of course, we'd recommend building your email list as well, so you can promote it there too. If you are running a newsletter, check out: Email Newsletter Best Practices. 

Related: How To Create Content For Social Media

Pricing an Online Course Strategies 

Now that we know what should determine the cost of your online course, we wanted to look at some strategies to find the right price. 

Subscription-Based vs. One-Time Fee 

The main two ways to charge for your online course are:

  •  One-time fee 
  • A monthly subscription 

 The one-time fee option is more popular, but the monthly subscription can be effective, too, as it's less upfront and enables you to do trial periods. 

 You can also consider payment plans like Pay in 1, 3, or 6 if your payment processor/sales software has the option available. 

Which One Is best? 

It depends. 

For most courses, a one-time fee is best suited. 

However, if you regularly add new content, do live streams, or have an active community, you can consider charging a monthly price. You could also give the customer a monthly and one-time fee option.

Beta Testers

Like many platforms and tools have beta testers, your course can too. A beta tester is somebody who uses your course before it's launched to help you improve it. 

But, they also allow you to see how much value they think it brings them. 

You can also sell your course at a lower price when it launches or reaches out to friends to see whether they want to be the beta testers. 

Surveys


You could also survey your target market to see what they would be willing to pay for such a course.

 You can do this by: 

  •  Asking on forums related to the topic of your course 
  • Send out a survey to your email list/Community
  • Reach out to people via Social Media that you think would be interested and ask them (make sure you offer something in return for their time). 

Of course, there are a few things you need to consider with surveys:

  1.  You'll likely get lowball offers as people don't want to spend much money on something new. 
  2.  The survey should be short, as most people won't have the time (or patience) to answer a long one unless you give them something they value in return. 

Course Pricing Examples and Why They Work

 Next, we wanted to show you some real-life course pricing examples and explain why the price is worth it for the student and creator. 

Superstar SEO Academy - $33.5 Per Month


Superstar SEO academy is a complete SEO course by our CEO Chris M. Walker that teaches: 

  1.  Local SEO 
  2. Affiliate SEO 
  3. Ecommerce SEO 
  4. How to build an SEO agency 

 Not only does Chris have years of experience in the SEO field, but he's also built his businesses with SEO... including Legiit. 

This means he has the credibility + the know-how, and he also has student results... which means someone who buys this course and puts in the effort has the maximum chances of being able to get the dream outcome: 

  1.  Building an agency
  2. Starting a successful affiliate site 
  3. Building a successful ecom site 

 All of the above is worth more than $33.5 per month. Chris and the other SEO coaches inside the course, also regularly update the content, host webinars, and answer questions inside the members only Facebook group. 

So the buying decision for the target audience is very much in favor of the purchase. 

How To Make Money on Legiit - Free 


Next, we wanted to show you an example of an excellent free course. The course is on the Legiit Training profile, and it's "How to make money with Legiit." 

Why is it free?

 It helps people get started with Legiit, and when the freelancers make money, the platform makes money. 

Therefore, it's our interest to allow the freelancers to succeed and grow their business on Legiit.

 Free courses should usually help you earn in another way.

 Here are some examples of that: 

  1.  You teach people how to do XYZ with your affiliate product and ask them to sign up with your link, which is why the free course. Now you earn affiliate commissions, and you probably get more people into the funnel in the first place.
  2.  You teach people something for free to generate leads and sell the complete implementation to the ones that need it. 

Make Money With Chatbots by Nico Moreno


 Nico Moreno's Chatbot marketing course for $47 is another example of a great course.

 The reason it's a great offer is: 

  •  The people that follow the course will make more than $47.
  •  With $1m+ in chatbot sales and 650+ students, Nico has credibility and social proof. 

Furthermore, the course doesn't require any previous knowledge/experience (which is excellent as he can target many people too.

When people successfully follow the course, they can use Chatbots within their own business or even start an agency. 

The dream outcome would equal around $10,000 per month, so $47 is a good deal.

Increase The Value of Your Course

 Here are some ways to increase the value of your course. 

Include a Community If you want to increase the value of your course, consider adding a community. A community will: 

  •  Help keep people accountable
  •  Give them moral support 
  • Let them network with other like-minded individuals 
  • Provide feedback on the course content itself. 

 This ultimately leads to a higher probability of success/dream outcome. 

Plus, humans always need to socialize and be a part of a community, increasing the perceived value even more. 

Adding a community to your course will also make it more expensive, as you'll need to account for the time investment required to manage it. But, if done correctly, a community can be a powerful addition that helps increase the value of your course. 

Related: A Complete Guide To Community Marketing

Build your credibility 


If you don't have credibility, it will be harder to charge more for your course.

Credibility can come from: 

  •  Your personal experiences (what you've done) 
  • The approval of others (testimonials, social media following) 
  • In-depth breakdowns of topics within your niche 

 If you have lots ofcredibility, you'll likely have an easier time charging more for your course, as people will believe it's worth the investment. 

Promote student success

When people see success stories, they want to be a part of that too. It's the same reason we see people sharing their weight loss journey on social media or their new cars... because they want others to know that it's possible for them too. 

The more student success stories you have, the more people will want to join your course and become a part of it. This ultimately increases the value.

 Give the user additional resources. 

If you want to increase the value of your course, consider adding additional resources to help them succeed. 

 This could be:

  •  Templates 
  • A private Facebook group 
  • One-on-one coaching calls 
  • Downloadable PDFs, worksheets, or checklists 

 These are just a few examples, but the goal is to give them something to make their lives easier. It can be as simple as a Google sheets template.

Is it ok to sell a low-price course or give it away for free? 

Yes. You can use a low-priced course as a lead magnet or if you are selling a course on a platform like Legiit to get visibility to your profile. But usually speaking, you wouldn't want this to be your greatest course. 

But instead, you'd like it to be a shorter course. You can also sell courses as tripwire sales, where you charge a low price intending to sell them a higher course or service afterward.

For example, you give away a small SEO resource > Then show them your DFY SEO service they can purchase. 

Sell Your Online Course With Legiit and Get Everything You Need - Get Started Free

Over the years, Legiit has become much more than a freelance platform. Instead, it's become a complete platform for digital creators and freelancers. You can create a listing for your course and start selling in minutes. Not only this, but Legiit also allows you to drive traffic to your course for free. 

How?

Legiit Mondays and Legiit Round-ups via the Facebook group enable you to directly. 

Legiit is used by 10,000s customers and freelancers daily, and when they browse the courses section, they'll find yours. 

Plus, with the marketing resources on our blog, and the exciting community of over 10,000+ freelancers, professionals, and business owners, you'll have everything you need to get your course off the ground.

Step 1: Sign Up Here

Click the sign up button above, and create your free Legiit Account today to start selling online courses.

Step 2: Go to selling > Courses in the Main Menu

Step 3: Click "Create New Course"


Step 4: Fill Out The Course Information 


Step 5: Publish!

Pricing an Online Course: Frequently Asked Questions

Finally, we wanted to answer some questions about pricing an online course. 

How do you determine a course price? 

There are a few things to consider when determining the price of your course: The value you're providing The value of the dream outcome The depth of information Your target market The amount of time your students are saving When you take all of these into consideration, you can find a fair price. It is also worth speaking to your target market directly through surveys or personally asking them. 

Can you get paid for creating online courses?

Yes! This is a great way to make money online. You can create an online course on any topic you're passionate about and sell it through platforms like Legiit. The important part is that your course solves a problem people want to pay for. 

 What's the best way to market my online course? 

There are many ways to market your online course, but some of the most effective include: 

  •  Having a solid social media presence 
  • Collaborating with other course creators or digital marketers 
  • Create webinars Guest blogging on popular websites in your industry 
  • Using paid ads
  • Build your email list 

How long does it take to create an online course?

This varies depending on the topic and what you want to include. However, a good rule of thumb is that video content will take about two hours to produce each hour. So, if you create a 20-hour course, expect it to take 40 hours (or more) to complete. 

How much does it cost to develop an eLearning course? 

Assuming you are creating and editing all the content, you can develop it for free. Legiit gives you everything you need to host and sell your course. Therefore, you can start with as little as $0.

 How many hours should online classes be? 

There is no correct answer to this, as it depends on the topic. However long it takes to explain everything the student needs to learn to feel comfortable and achieve the dream outcome is a good rule of thumb.

Which is the best online course platform? 

Legiit gives you everything you need to create, build and market your online course. You can host your course on the site for free and even start marketing it through the Legiit Facebook group for free as well. So if you want to get started, just sign up for a free account and upload your online course. 

Final Thoughts

We hope this guide was helpful and provides everything you need to know about pricing an online course. Now that you know how to price an online course, it's time to start creating one! We've created a list of additional resources that might be helpful for you below. Make sure to join our Facebook group as well, as you'll be able to promote your course during our weekly promotional events too.

 Resources 

About the Author

SamPoyan

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I provide premium content for Entrepreneurs and business owners who want to establish themselves as an authority. ---- About me: I'm Sam a Freelance writer with a passion for marketing. Besides freelance writing, I also run my own affiliate sites, so I know a thing or two about SEO, conversion-rate-optimization, etc. And if you're looking for a freelance writer that doesn't just write, but heavily understands these areas - I may be your guy. I've written for dozens of agencies, business2community, Superstar SEO, Legiit & many more.

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