How to Price Your Online Course (+Free Pricing Calculator)

How to Price Your Online Course

Are you struggling to figure out how to price your online course? Are you wondering if your price is too high or too low? Are you providing enough content and value to justify what you’re charging?

Pricing online courses isn’t an exact science. There are many factors to consider before deciding on how much to charge, and it’s most certainly one you shouldn’t take lightly.

Throughout this article, we’ll give you some insights and tools that’ll help you better understand how to think about pricing and what makes more sense based on your business and revenue goals.

We’ll share important data pulled from course pricing surveys and research reports, and include a free course pricing calculator to help you take the guesswork out of how to price your online course.

Are you ready to begin? Let’s start.

How Much Do Creators Charge for Their Online Courses?

Pricing is complicated, and there’s no set benchmark of how much creators charge for their online courses.

With that being said, we looked at some key data points to get a better sense of what other course creators are charging for their courses. Here’s what we found out.

Podia, a popular course creation platform, recently conducted a comprehensive deep dive on course creator pricing and shared some of their data.

  • Based on 132,000+ online courses on their platform, the average online course price is $137. 
  • 89% percent of all online course prices surveyed are $350 or less.
  • The median price of a creator’s first online course is $89, while the average price is $157.
Creators’ first online course pricing (Source: Podia)
Creators’ first online course pricing (Source: Podia)

In short, their analysis suggests that most online courses are priced around $100 even for first-time course creators.

But this isn’t everything we’ve learned.

Thinkific, another well-known course builder, doesn’t recommend selling your online course for less than $50, and strongly suggests you price your course at $199 or more depending on your course goals, value proposition, and industry type.

They’ve provided some new insight into what online courses are being priced at in niche markets today.

IndustryAverage Course Price
Business & Marketing$234
Career Development$220
Fashion & Beauty$216
Software & Technology$179
Health & Fitness$175
Personal Development$169
Arts & Entertainment$129
Other$161
Average course price industry-wise (Source: Thinkific)

While all of this research is helpful, it doesn’t quite tell the whole story, and it certainly shouldn’t be something you base your course price solely on.

In fact, many factors can influence your approach to pricing. Let’s go through them.

Factors Influencing Course Pricing

Because there is no sure-fire pricing strategy that works for everyone, it’s essential to spend some time thinking about the critical factors that can impact your pricing decision.

What Kind of Transformation Are You Offering?

At the heart of every learning experience is some kind of transformation, which is what ultimately makes your online course unique—and potentially valuable.

People often pay more for courses that help them make more money, save time, or overcome a personal challenge.

When it comes to course pricing, the value lies in what kind of transformation you’re offering. You can think about it in terms of “low-ticket ”transformations, such as sharing information or learning a hobby, versus “high-ticket” ones, such as cultivating a new behavior or action.

If you’re simply sharing information or teaching a hobby, your course price might be lower compared to a course that promises greater transformation or value.

Creative Watercolour by Angela Fehr is a good example of a low-ticket transformation. The course is entirely self-paced, and its emphasis lies in helping hobbyists learn watercoloring. This is reflected in the low course price of $59.

Angela Fehr’s Creative Watercolour course
Angela Fehr’s Creative Watercolour course

A high-ticket transformation, however, might come in the form of mastery of a new skill, career advancement, or improved quality of life.

A great example of a high-ticket transformation is The Psychology of Color Symbolism by Jill Morton. This course sells for $249, and it is targeted at professionals, teaching them how to use colors more effectively.

The Psychology of Color Symbolism, by Jill Morton
The Psychology of Color Symbolism, by Jill Morton

Neither approach to pricing is right or wrong, but it’s a factor that’ll impact what you can charge for your digital product.

You should always remember that low-ticket transformations can be the stepping stones you need to create a high-ticket item in the future.

Finally, as a rule of thumb, the greater the impact or value found in your course, the higher the price you can charge for it.

What Type of Course Are You Creating?

Another significant factor that might impact your approach to pricing is the actual course you’re creating.

Is it an evergreen or a cohort-based course? Is it entirely self-paced or does it have some interactive components? Is the course just video-based or does it support multiple modalities?

The answers to these questions will significantly influence your course pricing.

For example, if your course has some interactive components (e.g., a community, coaching sessions, live Q&As, etc.), it is more valuable than an entirely self-paced one, and it can generally sell for a premium price.

Similarly, if you use a variety of teaching modalities to deliver your content (e.g., videos, podcasts, workbooks, templates, etc.)  it can appeal to a multitude of learning styles and situations, which in turn affects the pricing.

We can find a good example of these principles in Amy Porterfield’s Digital Course Academy. This flagship program takes a cohort-based approach, offers content in multiple delivery modalities, and includes access to a private community and group coaching.

Amy Porterfield’s Digital Course Academy
Amy Porterfield’s Digital Course Academy

Overall, it is considered to be one of the best programs in the course creation industry, and it sells for $2,000.

How Much Does It Cost to Promote Your Course?

In addition to the sunk costs of creating your course, it’s crucial to account for promotional expenses.

If you’re writing a blog post or crafting an email newsletter, how much extra time is it taking you to complete these tasks? What’s that worth?

If you don’t have a large audience to tap into, how much will it cost you to run an ad campaign through Google, Facebook, or another platform?

With a lower-priced course, you’ll need to convert more sales to cover the cost of your ads compared to a higher-priced course. And if your course’s price is too low, it might not be feasible to run any paid ads.

The graphic below illustrates this scenario.

Low course price make it difficult for you to market your courses

How Much Time Will It Save Your Audience?

The value—and increased pricing—of your course is derived from your ability to save your learners as much time as possible.

If you show your audience how to do something that saves them many hours of trying to learn to problem-solve on their own, how much value does that add? Can those time savings be quantified in your course’s price?

For example, you might create a course that helps someone learn how to create a WordPress website in five hours. On their own, it could take them 50 hours to learn the same thing, so your course could potentially save a student 45 hours.

Saving your student the time it takes to learn how to create something new should command a higher price point, particularly if it’s a process you’ve come up with on your own.

Tips to Choose a Price for Your Online Course

In this next section, we’ll offer some additional ideas and tips to help you further define your pricing strategy for your online course.

Never Price Your Course Too Low

Pricing your course too low might seriously and negatively impact your course’s chances of success.

While pricing your course too low could attract a larger pool of students,  your overall course revenue gets weighed down by the low price.

In this scenario, your revenue will actually go down. The graphic below illustrates this.

Low course price can lower your course revenue

If you have a smaller audience, you’ll be able to offer a more personalized and positive experience for a smaller number of students, and that’s a win-win for everyone.

Plus, pricing your course too low has an adverse effect on its perceived value. If you charge too little for your course, they may even question how good it actually is.

Finally, low pricing attracts low-quality customers who are less engaged and motivated. This leads to lower completion rates, which is something you want to avoid at all costs.

In fact, a 2017 study carried out by Teachable found that the completion rate for courses priced higher than $200 was 61% higher than for those priced at less than $50.

So, the takeaway here is that you should never price your course too low just to attract a larger number of students.

Research Your Competition

One important tip to help you price your course is to research other courses in your target market. You need to figure out:

  • How much do other course creators charge?
  • What kinds of content and/or activities do they include in the course?
  • How your course might be different?

We’re not advocating for you to price your course based on what everyone else is doing. Your course is distinctly yours.

You may be incorporating greater levels of interaction (community, one-on-one coaching, etc.) or your solution may be a more effective approach to solving your customer’s problems than what already exists on the market.

You may even have more traction in your market than a competitor through your influence, expertise, and following. The cumulative effect of all of these factors may allow you to justify a higher course price.

However, having an idea of your competition is still an important part of the process. It will give you a better understanding of how other people in your niche are approaching pricing and how to price your course in a way that’s unique to you.

Consider the Value of Your Offering

When you’re thinking about how to price your course, it’s important that you consider the value of what you’re offering.

You need to think of your course value in terms of several factors.

Course outcome

Think about the kind of results and outcomes your students can expect by taking your course. How will their lives be different? What kinds of problems will they be able to solve? How significant are these results?

For example, if your course helps your students learn a new money-making skill or land a new job, you can charge more for the same.

Course type

What type of course are you offering? Is it an introductory course that just covers the fundamentals of a topic, or is it a flagship program that covers it comprehensively?

Here are some suggested pricing guidelines based on course type that you might want to consider.

Course TypePricing
Lead MagnetsFree
Mini Courses$10 to $50
Introductory Courses$25 to $100
Flagship Courses$200 to $2,000+
Advanced Training$1,000 to $5,000+
Training and Coaching$2,000 to $10K+
Suggested pricing for different course types

NOTE: These pricing suggestions are only meant to serve as a guide or reference as you begin to figure out what might work best for you.

Course content and quality

Is your content well-researched? Are the videos and audio high-quality? Do you offer content in multiple modalities?

The more useful and polished your content is, the higher you can charge for it.

However, never stuff your course with a bunch of extra items, because making it longer does not always equate to a higher price or increased value.

Level of support

Consider how present you’ll be throughout the course. How often will you be available? Will you be answering student questions directly? Will your course include a community? Will you be offering one-on-one coaching?

The more support you’re offering, the pricier your course can be.

The perception of premium

People seek out and pay for premium experiences. Everywhere you go, you’ll see people spend money on lavish vacations, luxury vehicles, and high-end products.

Your online course is no different. If you can package it in a way that makes it look like a premium experience, you can charge more for it.

You can use several strategies to communicate the excellence and high value of your course. These include great production quality, website design and branding, having small cohorts or learning groups, and including product add-ons, networking features, and more.  

Still, it’s important to back this premium perception with good content, support, and transformation.

Test Different Price Points

Telling you to just price your course at 199$ and move on with your next task would be easy, but the truth is that your pricing strategy will be a trial-and-error process, and even more so if your course isn’t polished yet.

In fact, you might even want to start with a lower price to gauge the market and evaluate demand as you continue to add new content to the course. 

Over time, as your audience grows and your understanding of your niche advances, it could make sense to incrementally increase the price over time.

If you continue to see consistent enrollment at higher price points, there is likely some elasticity in what you can charge for your course. When you begin to see a plateau in overall revenue, it’s possible you’ve reached the upper limit of what you can charge for it.

This chart from Thinkific illustrates the concept of testing price points
This chart from Thinkific illustrates the concept of testing price points

When a Lower Price Is Okay

So much of what we’ve discussed in this article has focused on how to increase the pricing of your online course. But, is it ever okay to offer it at a discount or even for free?

When using your course as a lead magnet or to validate your course with your target audience, then yes, it absolutely is. This version of your course may be heavily modified or incomplete and that’s totally okay.

Bear in mind that your course, as its pricing, is dynamic and can always change depending on what you need it to be.

Online Course Pricing Calculator

Over the course of this article, we’ve shared with you some things that you should think about when pricing your course.

Now, it’s time to take these tips and ideas and put them into practice using our online course pricing calculator.

You can experiment with inputs based on your revenue goals, audience size, and conversion rate to see what price point works best for you.

How to Increase Your Course Pricing and Justify It

If you feel like it’s time to increase your course price, there are two areas you can look at to make changes: personalization and payment.

The first approach is all about personalizing the connection between you, your students, and their connection with each other. The second one, instead, is about tackling the financial and psychological barriers that your students might encounter when deciding whether to make a purchase.

Create a Community

Creating a community is a great way to increase the value of your course and give your students the opportunity to interact, network, and share ideas with each other. These connections alone can add a lot of extra value.

Within an online community platform, you’ll be able to create discussions, organize content, and moderate your audience to keep things on track.

Host Live Q&A and Webinars

Content is important, but most of the time customers want and will pay substantially more for ongoing access to you as the instructor.

By scheduling ongoing Q&A sessions and webinars so your students can see you,  you will deepen your relationship with them and answer their most pressing questions. Numerous creators charge hundreds of dollars to their course price for this kind of specialized real-time access, and it works.

For example, Building a Second Brain, an online course by Forte Labs, offers interactive live sessions, a private community, live workshops, a resource vault, and much more. As a result, the course can command a premium pricing.

Building a Second Brain course
Building a Second Brain course

Offer One-On-One Coaching

Similar to a live Q&A session, one-on-one coaching takes things one step further. Including private coaching as part of your online course can deepen your value proposition by hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.

You’ll need to manage your time effectively and ensure you have a clear design of your coaching program to maximize its effectiveness. If done successfully, though, it can supercharge your business and provide you with a new feature option.

Multimodal Learning

Earlier in the article, we discussed how creating different content and products can appeal to different learning styles and situations. It’s important to mention it again here.

You can justify a higher price when you show your prospective customers that you’ve created content that is portable and accessible to how they want to consume it.

For example, it could be a series of audio-only episodes or a hands-on workbook they can use wherever they go. There’s plenty of value in giving your students that kind of flexibility.

Offer Payment Plans

It’s not always easy to pay for an online course or program with a high price tag. Rather than paying in one lump sum, a payment plan breaks a customer’s payment into several smaller ones that they can complete over the course of several months.

Because so much about pricing comes down to perception, imagine the sticker shock of seeing a single $500 payment compared to four $125 dollar payments divided over the course of four months.

The monthly fee may be more manageable for customers on a budget and it’s also common practice to charge a higher price on plans paid out over time.

Digital Course Academy offers a three-month payment plan
Digital Course Academy offers a three-month payment plan

Payment plans are always offered in addition to a one-time price. Some customers will want to pay the full cost of the course upfront, while others may prefer a payment plan.

Create Multiple Product Tiers

A tier-based approach to pricing offers multiple price points for your prospective students. You could base your tiers on access to specific types of content or connection to you and other coaching/community features you might offer.

For example, you could offer a basic tier that only includes the core course materials and a VIP tier that includes access to the course’s community and live Q&A sessions.

Conclusion

Over the course of this article, we’ve discussed several important strategies and tips on how to price your online course to help you build out your online course business.

The most useful tip you should remember is to always focus on the transformation or problem that you’re attempting to solve for your audience.

The greater the impact or solution you’re able to provide, the more your course will stand out and the higher the price your customers might be willing to pay.

We also encourage you to try out our pricing calculator and bookmark this article in case you need to use it in the future.

How much do you plan to charge for your online course? Do you have a pricing strategy that works for you? Let us know in the comments section below!

Frequently Asked Questions