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7 Ways of Pricing Online Courses – Examples & Strategies

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Key Takeaways

  • Combine different pricing models to create the best possible pricing structure for your online course business.
  • High-ticket pricing models involve courses with a four-figure price range, emphasizing comprehensive coverage and high profit margins.
  • Low-ticket pricing models offer quick, easy-to-implement courses, typically priced from $7 to $97, often found on online course marketplaces.
  • The customer ascension pricing model focuses on customer loyalty and provides courses at different price points, allowing customers to ascend from low to high-ticket offerings.
  • Value-based pricing emphasizes pricing your course based on the perceived value it offers to customers, considering satisfaction and outcomes.
  • The psychological pricing model uses psychological cues to influence how customers perceive the price, such as using specific numbers or formatting.
  • Competition-based pricing involves setting course prices based on competitors’ pricing, suitable for established markets with existing competitors.
  • Reasoning-based pricing justifies course prices using factors like time spent, experience, costs, and income goals, although it may not always be the recommended pricing strategy.

High-ticket Pricing Model

A high-ticket pricing model is a model with a price tag in the four-figure range. Typically, high-ticket course pricing starts at around $997 and goes higher from there. They are designed to comprehensively cover every aspect of a particular system, topic, or subject, providing a complete A-to-Z learning experience.

A high-ticket course offers multiple benefits to business owners, including the potential for rapid profit scaling, minimal costs beyond payment processing, and a substantial profit margin compared to lower-priced courses while providing business flexibility, freeing up time, and delivering a comprehensive system that equips clients and customers for success at a lower cost than personalized teaching.

Key things to note with the high-ticket pricing model:

  • Higher-priced courses are perceived as more valuable.
  • The bigger the transformation your course offers, the higher the price you can set for your course.
  • The more customers pay, the more invested they become in the course and achieving their desired results.
  • It’s not the amount of content you include in your course. It’s about the results the customer gets with your course.
  • You need to sell higher-ticket items on your website or through an e-commerce platform. E-commerce marketplaces don’t work well with high-ticket courses.

Low-ticket Pricing Model

The low-ticket pricing model is meant for online courses that provide quick and easy-to-implement actions for customers to get results. Low-ticket pricing range is anything from $7 to $97. Some courses can be considered low-ticket even with a price tag of $247, but this is more visible in the customer ascension pricing model.

The low-ticket pricing model is most visible on online course marketplaces like Udemy, Artstation, and Domestika, where you can buy and sell courses for a very low price. The low-ticket pricing model is also visible in niches and market segments that don’t fall under the three core markets (wealth, health, relationships) umbrella.

Key things to note with the low-ticket pricing model:

  • A low price does not mean low value.
  • Low-ticket courses can be a stepping stone to higher-ticket courses in your sales funnel.
  • Low-ticket courses can be a way to build a customer list and an email list.
  • The low-ticket pricing model is best for courses that are not in the main three core markets (wealth, health, relationships). That would be culture, arts, and any topic that comes after the psychological, safety, and social needs are covered.
  • Achieving your financial goals with low-priced online courses can be tricky as you need a lot of sales volume to get a substantial amount of money.
  • It’s always easier to increase prices than to lower prices. Lowering the price can make your course appear overvalued for the ones who already bought your course.
  • Lower prices attract lower-quality customers.
  • It takes just as much effort to sell a low-priced course as it does to sell a high-priced one.
  • Paid advertising and scaling with ads might not be possible from the perspective of gaining profit.

Customer Ascension Pricing Model

The customer ascension pricing model is built on the premise that those who frequently make purchases from your business are more inclined to buy any products or services you offer over time.

This concept aligns with RFM analysis in retail, which focuses on three key factors: recency, frequency, and monetization. Essentially, customers who have recently engaged with your business are more likely to make additional purchases.

Moreover, customers who engage with your business regularly are more inclined to become repeat buyers. Lastly, those who consistently spend money with your business tend to make even more purchases.

In the customer ascension pricing model, you create courses or other products to be sold at different pricing points, creating an ascension model where the customer will ascend from the low-ticket course to the high-ticket course or courses.

Key things to note with the customer ascension pricing model:

  • Offer different courses at different price points so that the customer can ascend from your lower-tiered offers to higher-tiered offers, increasing the customer’s lifetime value.
  • Low-ticket courses are at the bottom, high-ticket courses are at the top, and masterminds and 1-on-1 sessions are usually the highest level of your offering.
  • Ascension is all about giving your customer a transformation/learning/education path from point A to point B while selling higher and higher ticket items for the customer to achieve his/her desired result.
  • Each ascension step will give customers different results, and each step gives a higher value and results than the previous step.

Example of what a customer ascension pricing model and a value ladder can look like:

  • Low-ticket course: Basics/Foundation/Base level: $67
  • Medium-ticket course: Advanced/High/Enhanced level: $597
  • High-ticket course: Professional/Mastery/Complete level: $1997
  • Notice the decrease in the numbers: 67>59>19 (positive psychological effect on customers)

Value-based Pricing model

The value-based pricing model refers to pricing your course based on the value you provide with your online course. Value is about perception, and perceived value is how customers perceive the value in your course.

Higher-priced courses are usually seen as more valuable than lower-priced courses. However, what might seem like a low price for some might be a high price for others.

Pricing your course based on the value you provide is the most effective way to price an online course. The key is to understand the value you are providing and the outcome (including monetary, health, and relationship benefits) the customer gets.

Key things to note about the value-based pricing model:

  • How highly does your customer value the knowledge, information, education, and insights you share in your online course?
  • Value is about perception.
  • The most common form of value to customers is the overall satisfaction they experience from going through your online course and what they learn from it.
  • There’s no immediate or inherent value inside the online course.
  • Customers should feel that they get great value for what they paid for.
  • Value isn’t about the amount of lessons or content added to an online course. Value is about the results achieved by the customer.

Psychological Pricing Model

The psychological pricing model is about using psychological cues to help customers perceive the price of your online course in the best way possible. There are a lot of studies about pricing psychology and how people perceive price when they see it.

How the price of your online course is perceived can be affected by psychological cues, such as not using commas, showing prices in small fonts, using certain visuals, or framing the price in a certain way.

Ways you can affect the perceived price of your online course:

  • Use number 7 instead of 9, for example, $297 vs. $299.
  • Remove commas from the price. $1997 vs. $1,997.
  • Reduce the left number. $199 vs. $200.
  • Don’t use round numbers. $200 vs. $199 (however, round numbers can work well with emotional purchases. Source)
  • Don’t bundle cheap and expensive items together. If, for example, you are selling a course for $497, don’t add bonuses that are worth $7 or $47. Customers tend to focus on the average rather than the sum of your offering.

Competition-based Pricing Model

Competition-based pricing model is a pricing model that involves setting your online course price based on competitors’ pricing. To use this pricing model, you need to do thorough market research on your competitors and use their pricing as a reference point for determining the prices of your online course.

The competition-based pricing model is best suited for already established markets. If you can’t find courses in the area you are teaching, the competition-based pricing model might not be the best to use.

Key things to note about the competition-based pricing model:

  • You are valuing your course based on what others price their course, not on the value your course provides.
  • Your course offer has to match or exceed in course content and in value of what is being offered by your competitors to justify the price you are asking.
  • By lowering your course price compared to your competitor’s, you are introducing a race-to-the-bottom pricing behavior.

Reasoning-based Pricing Model

The reasoning-based pricing model focuses on pricing your course on all the reasons you come up with to justify the price of your course. Justifying the price of your course based on reasons is not a recommended way to price a course, but it is an option to consider as part of your pricing strategy.

Reasons you can have for determining the price of your course:

  • Justification: Your 1 hour of training session costs, for example, $50. The online course has 10 hours of training advice, so the price of your course is $497.
  • Goal-oriented: Your income goal per month is, for example, $2,000. You set the price of your course to $497, which means you need to sell 4 courses each month to achieve roughly $2,000/month.
  • Time and resources spent: You price the course based on the amount of time and resources you spend on creating the course.
  • Experience: You price your course based on your years of experience on the subject. 10 years of experience, and each year is worth, for example, $200, making your course worth $1997.
  • Costs: You price the course based on your fixed (rent, for example) and variable (ad budget, for example) business costs. For example, if your variable and fixed monthly costs are $200, you would need to price your online course at $297, assuming that you would make only one sale per month to break even.
  • Alternatives: Consider the cost of your customer’s non-course alternatives and how that can determine the price of your course.

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Okuha

Digital Artist

I’m a digital artist who is passionate about anime and manga art. My true artist journey pretty much started with CTRL+Z. When I experienced that and the limitless color choices and the number of tools I could use with art software, I was sold. Drawing digital anime art is the thing that makes me happy among eating cheeseburgers in between veggie meals.

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