How to Calculate the Selling Price of an Online Course?

If you want to sell courses online, pay attention to how to calculate the selling price.

On the web you can find any information, of any nature, completely free of charge. We live in a time of plenty of information.

So even before asking the price to be attributed to a training course, it’s worth asking yourself if it’s not appropriate to abandon the idea of monetizing a course right away.

Doesn’t this abundance of materials, resources, videos, articles, make it completely useless to create a paid training course?

Free and Paid Training

Free training has totally replaced paid training. The answer is counterintuitive. Paid online training, in terms of volume, has been growing for years and it is not decreasing. People pay, and pay generously —when it is worth it— to enroll in a course.

Why? Because quality training still has room. There’s room for everyone and also because free information still requires a research effort on the part of the student (and results are not guaranteed).

An online course built ad hoc by an expert, if you think about it, is an accompaniment to a competence. Maybe one gets there anyway with free resources, but it could take years to reach the same level as an online course.

So there’s room for both. Free information (easy to access but messy, of dubious origin, unstructured) and paid information (delivered by experts, well organized in the fruition, on a single platform).

Paid training courses exist, therefore, and are well sought after. All this brings us directly to the theme of this chapter, that is, what price to give to an online course.

Paying for a Service You Can Find for Free

The problem with online courses is that engagement is very low. Many students start a course and do not complete it.

This is a phenomenon that affects us all when we are dealing with a good or a free service.

Think about it. We keep the products that cost a lot well, we take care of them, we are careful not to break them. The products that cost little, or even free, after a while we no longer consider them.

It’s the same for an online course. I don’t know if you’ve ever paid for a course, but I bet you’ve attended a paid course very carefully, while with free courses you had no difficulty in leaving them halfway.

It’s a paradox, but as a trainer, you have to think about it: if you really want your students to learn something through your course, it’s good that you make them pay for it.

Your goal is basically to train people, your course exists solely and exclusively for this goal.

If you love your students, make them pay!

Low or High Price?

A training course can be priced from free to a few thousand dollars. What about your course?

Here’s my strategy: it is better to place a course at a medium-high price range, let’s say not below $100.

In this way, you exclude students who are not ideal, those who do not understand the value of your course, those who would drop out after a while, those who are not really interested, and those who could easily ask you for a refund.

Now, only those people who believe in your education, believe in your person, believe that you have something important to convey would remain. It would be much more interesting to work with these students.

Selling a Benefit

I invite you to open your eyes to the most decisive issue in deciding the price.

With a training course, you sell a benefit, an accompaniment to the resolution of a problem, which a student of yours feels the need to solve.

This last step is important, I invite you to reread it and digest it in depth.

Your hypothetical student doesn’t care how long the course is, if it has professional-quality videos, if it has well-designed PDFs, or if you are tall or short, man or woman.

What matters is that your course solves the need your student feels. If hypothetically, your course lasts only half an hour, but it solves an important and very heartfelt problem, then it can have a market even with a high price (the concept of a high price should be outdated by now if you have followed it up to here: there is never a high price, just an inconsistent price).

The reasoning you should do is further upstream.

Make sure you design a course that has an audience of potentially interested parties. Don’t make the mistake of creating an audience of potentially interested parties by lowering the price of your course immeasurably, because this is not a strategy, but a failure of a project, both from an economic and educational point of view.

If to sell your course, you have to lower the price to ridiculous levels, it means that something went wrong during the needs analysis. That’s why the market reading phase is fundamental: try to sell something that is sought after by people.

Here you have four ways to increase the perceived value of your course and better justify the sale price:

  1. Open the doors of your course for short periods. This strategy automatically increases the perceived value of your course because it creates an aura of exclusivity.
  2. Provide various media. Some love watching videos, others love reading, others love listening. Allow all types of students to enjoy your course in the way they want to.
  3. Offer custom counseling. A consultation can be offered, of course, if the price of admission is not too low (see the previous paragraph).
  4. Keep a small group of students. You can follow them thoroughly and make sure they finish your course really happy (they will give you enthusiastic feedback, which you can then use in your promotions).

A Possible Strategy for New Courses (Or for Inexperienced Teachers)

In the case of a new course, or an unknown teacher, it is a good strategy to design a price scale to be adjusted over time.

Let me explain it better.

At first, you won’t have much feedback, you won’t have great testimonials, you won’t have much movement on your sales pages.

What you need is the first group of students who can help you improve the course and sell it better.

In this specific context (the above about the low price is confirmed anyway), it is a good thing if you give discounted access to your course for a limited period, saying —among other things— that the price will go up.

It is the opposite of what we were saying earlier about lowering prices to have a flow of students. In this case, however, it is the opposite: you start low and then gradually increase until you reach the final price.

In this way, you ensure the first students, the first testimonials, and the first earnings. Maybe they may not be high, but it’s a long-term strategy: you lose some money at the beginning and then consolidate your position in the medium- long term.

Do you understand how much you want to earn when you sell a course online?

Know How Much You Want to Earn

In my opinion, this is another very interesting element when you have to sell courses online.

Ask yourself how much you want to earn from your training business. Is it a hobby that brings in some extra money a month? Is it an attempt to create a real online business?

Whatever your goal is, try to quantify it in a precise figure. Then you’ll go back to figure out what price to give your course and how many copies you need to sell to reach that initial figure.

I warn you that math is coming (but this is interesting).

  1. Final earnings=(contacts on list x conversion) x price. 
  2. Course price = final earnings/copies sold.

Let’s give examples.

If you want to earn $5000 from the sales of your course, just sell 100 copies for $50 each. Nothing so impossible. See how interesting math is?!

If you increase the price to $100, you only need to sell 50 copies of your course, that is, 50 students.

If you increase the price to $250, you will only have to sell your course to 20 people.

This article aims to make you think about a couple of considerations about online course prices.

When you need to sell courses online, the best thing is always to take some tests and see what the right price is for your course.

In general, however, if it ends too low it can’t be the right price. Obviously, the problem is not in the price but in the previous analysis.

A good course must allow you to earn some money, otherwise, the game is not worth the candle.

The Best Online Course Platforms Reviewed

There are many online course platforms where you can find thousands of courses on different topics. You can learn or teach on these platforms. If you are interested to learn more about them, here are some posts that I have written:

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