10. Pricing

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What you should charge for your course can be tricky to work out. Here are some questions to think about –

  1. How experienced are you? – if you’re a bestselling author or a successful literary agent you can get away with charging more for your ‘how to get your book published’ than an author of just one book. You can still create the course, as a one-time author, but your reduced experience should be reflected in the price.
  2. Do you have a profile? If you have a name people know and a profile, again you can charge more. For instance, interior designer and TV presenter Sophie Robinson – who has 80,000+ Instagram followers – charges £295 for her online course. She doesn’t give feedback. An interior designer with less followers and who is largely unknown will perhaps go in lower.
  3. Are you a specialist? If you have specialist, niche experience – that not many others have – it doesn’t matter whether or not you have a profile. You can teach people what hardly anyone else can, so this means you can charge more.
  4. Are you accessible or elite? If you want your course to reach the masses, and to be widely affordable, go in lower. If you want to target people with lots of money, and to make your course more exclusive, you may sell less spaces but you can price it higher.
  5. What do you want to charge? Sometimes, going with your intuition can be the best way to price up your course. You’ll have an idea of what others are charging, if you’ve done some research, and this will inform your instinct on the price. And then you can decide what feels right for you.

IMPORTANT: Don’t undervalue your course.

If you sell it for £30 rather than £300, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get more sales. There will be people who think it’s not very good, if it’s only 30 quid. You may sell more if it’s more expensive.

Also, this is about your brand. Where do you sit in the market? Where do you want to sit? Are you cheapy cheapy, always doing the discounts? Are you high quality, never discount and charge decent course fees that reflect the work you’ve put in? Are you offering such incredible value that your course is extremely expensive and that works for you?

You get to choose. And then you just need this to be reflected in how you package your course up and sell it. Your messaging, too. Basically, how you describe your course – and what course participants will get out of it – to reach the right customers.

How I set my price

When I launched my PR course, I wasn’t trained in PR but I did know exactly how to write a pitch and get commissioned by newspapers and magazines. So I was confident that I could teach others how to do this. Listing some of the well-known publications I’d written for gave it gravitas.

So I charged £200. This felt like I was earning enough money for the time I was putting in but that it was relatively affordable. After all, you should be paid more than that for one article in the Guardian so the idea was they could make back the course fees with one successful pitch.

I had a few private messages from people saying I was underselling myself. That I should be charging £800. This seemed like a huge amount to me – and way more than I’d have been able to afford. Also, more than I’d have wanted to pay. It made me realise that I wanted that course to be more accessible.

Now I run the courses as self-paced. And I’ve made the access on-going (it doesn’t expire after a year, as it once did). I log in and update the information as I learn more. So the prices reflect the additional value I offer by keeping the courses up-to-date, as my knowledge on the subject develops.

I put out an Instagram post about pricing a while back and there were some interesting comments about how other people decide how to price up their courses. You might find them useful to read.

Some considerations

  • Depending on how you collect payments, there will most likely be a charge you’ll have to pay. There’s more info on the fee charges in the next topic but you’ll want to take this into account when pricing up your course.
  • If you choose to pay to advertise your courses – using Facebook ads, for instance (more on this in module 4) – this is another cost. You need to look at your weekly or monthly advertising budget and then how many spaces you’ll need to sell to still make a profit.
  • I create all my course materials myself. Where I’ve included tips from other people, I haven’t paid them. It’s been three quick tips, and they’ve agreed to do this in exchange for a link to their website. If your course will rely heavily on other people sharing their knowledge, consider the cost of paying them before you settle on a course price. You could give them a percentage of each sale, or a one-off fee for their involvement.

You can always set a price and then tweak it according to how it sells. If they fly out and you feel the time you’re spending – or spent – on it is perhaps worth more; trying increasing the price. If no one buys a space, maybe it’s over-priced. You could try a sale, and see if that shifts some spaces. Though don’t go for the sale too soon, give it a chance to sell at full price.

Remember that setting a lower price but easily selling lots of spaces might be more lucrative than setting a high price and selling far fewer. But it’s important that you are valuing your experience, knowledge and time – so only make the price lower if that suits you.