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How to Optimally Price Your Online Course

November 18, 2021 | 9 Min Read

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The meat and potatoes behind selling virtual training programs undoubtedly focus on making decisions about developing and delivering your online course. But figuring out how much to charge for online courses on your learning website can be difficult.

If you don’t have any starting point of reference, your first inclination might be to just take what your competitors charge, do some price-cutting, and hope that your targeted learners, including some from the competition, will come flocking to your website to buy your awesome training product.

course pricingPrice your courses judiciously  

Unfortunately, that might be an oversimplification in creating a more solid price-setting plan for your course. This article will give you a run down into what you need to examine when setting a price that strikes a good balance for both you and your customers, as well as how to utilize the features in the best online course platforms to optimize sales for your course.

What Factors Should You Consider when Setting Online Course Prices?

In establishing how to price online courses, you need to consider the amount of time, effort, resources, and the type of marketing strategy you’ll employ to develop your eLearning course.

Investment of Time and Effort 

On a variety of levels, the saying “time is money” should be a guiding force when determining course pricing. If you spent long hours and a lot of effort planning out and producing your course content, your price point for the course should take this into account. Just keep in mind that even if you have prepared a long training session, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should charge more. Quality is always more important than quantity in the eyes of your customers.

The inclusion of resources like videos, exercises, worksheets, quizzes, and assignments you created or found that cater specifically to your learners and enhance their training experience are other factors increasing the value of your course. And don’t forget to factor in the extra time you’ll be devoting to evaluating assignments and quizzes.

Remember that organizing and making all the information available readily to your learners will save them countless hours of trying to do the same thing on their own. This again should be included in the dollar value of your course. 

In addition, as an expert or someone with authority or credibility who invested hours or even years acquiring professional credentials to master the subject matter presented in your course, your wealth of knowledge is worth a substantial amount to your students, as well as the subsequent impact you will create in their lives. The price tag on your course should reflect the value of these intangible assets.

Delivering Outcomes for Learners

For any online course, you need to look at what your primary objective is. On the simplest level, your goal might be to present information. More specific or technical information will fetch a higher price. Alternatively, you might be aiming to produce in-depth learning experiences that alter your learners’ outlook and help them make profound changes in their lives and careers. Naturally, charging a premium for the expectation of gaining a more extensive impact is a reasonable endeavor. 

From a psychological standpoint, customers equate higher prices with high-caliber content especially if it comes with extra perks and support. So don’t hesitate to charge more for it. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how many customers are willing to spend their hard-earned money to reap the rewards of receiving a significant outcome that potentially benefits their lives. As well, they’ll be more motivated to complete the course and likely achieve successful outcomes. When these past participants leave positive course reviews, your course ratings will receive a boost to ultimately increase the value of your course.

It should be mentioned that there are still those who believe that virtual learning is inferior to attending in-person classes. Holding onto this school of thought might prevent you from charging a higher price for your eLearning course. However, as we emerge into the post-COVID-19 era, online learning has been elevated to a more mainstream form of training and is now seen as being at par with in-person learning. In fact, many learners prefer virtual learning and embrace the additional merits and advantages offered through a virtual learning environment. This shift in ideology should have you re-evaluating what your online training is worth.

Marketing Costs

Marketing remains one of the most essential activities you will perform to promote your course. Because you’re selling a product that can’t be consumed or used, a unique marketing strategy has to be adopted. The type of marketing mix you choose to go with depends on who your audience is and the subject matter and format of your course.

Cost factorsConsider all the factors while setting course prices

In order to generate, develop, and build on leads, your marketing activities will typically include running ads along with executing email and phone promotions. However, be aware that you may end up using similar strategies to obtain a sale, regardless of whether you price a course at a lower or higher price point. Knowing this probably makes you wonder if you shouldn’t go for that higher price point to get a better return on your investment (ROI) and justify the hard work and expense you put out.

To ensure you get a good ROI, it’s wise to do a cost analysis to stay on budget within your projected sales. For example, you put $1,000 towards advertising and receive 200 leads for your $50 course. In order to make a profit, you have to make more than 20 sales or gain a greater than 10 % conversion rate.

Compare this to charging $200 for your course. 5 sales will allow you to break even with a conversion rate of 2.5%. The same end result can be obtained through fewer customers at this higher price point.

This example also serves as a reminder that marketing is an important component that helps you reach out to the learners your course is targeting. Aiming to merely break even should not be your goal. Generating a higher sales volume will help you not only earn more profits but allow you to increase your marketing efforts so that you have the funds to provide extra support and services that will benefit your students.

What Happens If You Charge a Price That’s Too High or Too Low?

Giving due consideration to all the elements discussed so far should help you arrive at a more appropriate price range to set for your course. However, in some cases, you may still not get the expected returns you are hoping for. In the event this happens, there is no need to despair. You can still adjust your price. But it’s helpful to be aware of the repercussions of charging too high or too low of a price point. Let’s look more closely at the cons behind these scenarios.

Charging too high of a price:

  • Need to drop your price (lose face with your customers)
  • You get fewer customers 
  • Existing customers will switch to competitors (limiting your upselling and cross-selling abilities)

 

Charging too low of a price: 

  • Customers associate your course with low quality (remember: you get what you pay for) 
  • Cuts down on your revenue potential and marketing abilities 
  • Decreases your incentive to put more effort into developing your course
  • Learners are tempted to buy many courses and not complete them 
  • Attract one time customers with decreased brand loyalty (limited upselling and cross-selling)

 

Concerning upselling and cross-selling, these are sales practices directed at surpassing the competition and enabling you to fulfill your revenue targets. Upselling entails selling your existing customers a more expensive option or extra incentives like a premium learning package, whereas cross-selling is based on the concept of adding a complementary or related product or service to your original sale, such as when you add a service like one-on-one coaching.

Read this wonderful article to learn more on upselling and cross-selling

 

What are the Best Ways to Incorporate Special Pricing?

Depending on what your business goals are, it can be advantageous to set a lower price or offer discounts under certain circumstances. Here are some examples of special pricing you may want to consider incorporating into your online course’s sales strategy:

  • Test out a lower price point and get feedback before finalizing your course content
  • Offer a lower price or bonuses to your customers before increasing the price of your course; bonuses include cross-selling strategies such as: 
    • One-to-one sessions with instructors or coaches
    • Free or discounted access to other courses
    • Physical merchandise
    • Chat groups and live calls for students
    • Access to free software downloads or resources on partners’ websites
    • Completion certificates
  • Discounted or free purchases for select new customers 
  • Free onboarding for new customers (helps to simplify complicated processes)
  • Free mini-course to whet potential customers’ appetite to buy the full course
  • Make available payment plans
  • Provide courses with tier pricing.

 

How Can Pricing Options Be Supported?

To facilitate the inclusion of the various pricing options discussed, utilize the best online training platform. Lambda Suite is an all-in-one learning management system that can manage your special pricing options by allowing you flexibility in setting the price, along with the dates of your promotions and your specific group of customers.

set right course pricingSet Flexible pricing 


  • Offer group-level pricing or discounts to select customers or organizations 
  • Set up discounts with coupon codes for specific groups of customer groups or companies.
  • Tier-pricing based on quantity purchased (for two or more customer groups or companies)
  • e.g. Buy 2 courses and get 50% off the third one or buy 5 courses at $79.99 each and 10 courses at $69.99 each (with the ability to display it as a fixed price or percent discount)
  • Bundling feature to sell multiple products in a packet through the use of the Dynamic Pricing feature
  • Stock Status option permits you to select the number of bundles you have available and will indicate “out of stock” when your course sells out

What Advantages does Multi-Currency and Tax Invoice Features Offer?

Two other Lambda Suite capabilities you’ll want to take advantage of are its Multi-Currency and Tax Invoice Features. (Learn more about Multi-Currency features here).

With an almost 70% rate of withdrawal by customers reaching the shopping cart stage, facilitating more customers on a worldwide basis to automatically calculate exchange rates is the key to helping them complete their sales of your online courses more smoothly. 

Invoice Keep Tax and Invoice Simple

Having the capacity to handle more than 135 different currencies, Lambda’s LMS platform makes it easy for you to sell internationally and allow your foreign customers to simplify their financial transactions in their country’s currency.

On top of this, the Tax Invoice feature can determine the correct amount of tax customers are required to pay and easily generate tax invoices. 

Customers or groups of customers can choose their tax class (e.g., military, government, or retail customers) in their account profiles and the software will then be able to calculate the appropriate amount of tax owed. 

Additionally, by entering their location, customers will be charged the right amount of taxes following their country of origin. This capability along with the option to not charge taxes for certain products goes a long way in ensuring that your business won’t have to deal with messy tax calculations that could have serious consequences through the increased likelihood of making errors if tax calculations have to be done manually.

With so many factors to take into account to set an optimal price for your online course, it might seem more complicated than ever to decide what to charge. However, if you have faith in the fact that there is value in what you are offering your customers, charging a premium price for your course shouldn’t intimidate you. If you find your sales aren’t achieving the ROI you hope for, there is always the option of adjusting the price for your course. But if you’ve done your homework into what affects your course’s pricing, you likely won’t have to make major changes to your price and can rest assured that your customers are receiving the quality learning experience you envisioned for them.

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