Approach #1: Sell a large number of courses at a low price
Say you decide to charge $25, which is is the minimum amount ndgenius allows instructors to charge for hobby, health, and culture courses. You would need to sell 80 courses to reach your goal (not factoring in the 25% discount for students who register early--if they all register under the discount, you would need to sell 107 courses). You’ll want to structure the course in a way that you don’t have to give too much personal attention to students—otherwise you’d be spending a good deal of your time helping those 80 to 107 students. In this scenario, let's say you decide to design a self-paced course that students navigate through themselves. It includes 8 pre-recorded lessons, automatically graded quizzes, and assignments students can do on their own to practice. To provide extra value, you include a resource list and a best practices guide that students can download. You also let students know they can ask questions through the course discussion board, and you will respond to questions at least once a week (you only offer this if you will really do it, though--otherwise you're inviting requests for refunds and poor ratings).
Approach #2: Sell a small number of courses at a high price
Now let’s say you set a high price: $2000. You’d only need to sell 1 course at this price to reach your goal (or 2 if the early sign up discount applied). But how would you get anyone to sign up at that price? You’d do it by designing a course that offers $2000 worth of value, and you would focus on attracting students who are very interested in your topic.
Let's say you create a Master Class that offers a highly customized experience for students. You announce you’re limiting the class size to the first 10 people who register so you can give students the individualized attention they will need (which also increases perceived value and a sense of scarcity). You work with each student at the start of the course to set goals for what they want to learn and assign them an accountability partner, and you check in with them throughout the course to make sure they stay on track. You offer a series of 8 pre-recorded sessions that students can watch on their own time over the course of 8 weeks, plus you schedule a weekly live hour-long Q & A where students get to ask you anything about that week's topic. You also use the Q & A's to discover/answer questions students still have about topics you've already covered , and learn what they really want to know about upcoming topics (and you use that info to prepare your next lectures). You give hand-graded assignments with plenty of personalized feedback, and you nurture student discussion online. You make available a number of downloadable resources, like checklists, best practices, resource lists, flow charts, case studies... anything that adds value for students and helps them solve problems they’re having. You also offer each student one hour of 1-on-1 personal coaching at the end of the course, which students can schedule at their convenience.
What happens if you only get one student signed up? You offer the course to them as a 1-on-1 coaching experience. Or you invite a few friends or clients to take the course for free in exchange for an honest evaluation at the end of the course (talk to ndgenius about this first before you offer it to them). Then you take their positive feedback and use it as testimonials to market future courses, and use their constructive criticism to tweak your course so that it will be stronger and attract more people next time.
1. What is your main motivation for creating the course, and how can you price the class to help you achieve your goals? Your goals may include to make a certain amount of money, to help a certain number of people achieve a specific outcome, to gain new clients (think about the quality of client you want to attract), to build your reputation, and to promote your brand. Then think about what impact different pricing strategies will have on those goals. For example, if you want to help as many people as possible, you’ll want to set a lower price, whereas if you want to attract a select group of potential quality clients, you’d set a higher price.
2. Who is your target audience, and what price range would be reasonable for them? For example, if you are trying to reach rural, lower income tribal members, you probably want to keep the price on the lower end. On the other hand, if your audience is tribal government officials who will be using federal contract funds to pay for your course, you can charge a higher amount.
3. How niche is your topic? If you’re offering something unique that people can’t easily get in other places, you have more leeway to charge higher prices.
4. Is there enough of a potential audience who will buy your course at the price you’re charging that it will be worth it to you? For example, a $35 class on sexual harassment may do well if you can get a few tribal governments and enterprises to purchase it for all of their employees, while there may not be enough people interested in tightrope walking for a $35 course to be worth your while. A good way to gauge interest is to see if there are any Facebook groups dedicated to your topic, and how many people are in them, or to consider if it’s a topic that tribal employers want for their employees.
5. It’s really the outcome of the course that students are buying when they purchase a course (what they will be able to do, think, or feel differently after taking your course). What are the outcomes of your course, and how much are they worth? Factor in tangible things, like “students will be able to write their own social media policy” as well as intangible things like “students will increase their confidence.”
6. It can be very effective to set your course price first, and then design the course around it. For example, say you want to design a $200 course. Ask yourself, “what would I need to include to make a course that’s valued at $200?” What outcome(s) and special perks would make it worth that price?
7. Will you be offering a regular class or a Master Class? Will your class be permanently open for enrollment, or will you only run it during scheduled class dates one or more times a year? Would it make sense for you to offer an ongoing regular class, and then run a higher priced Master Class version of it a periodically (more on this below)?
1. Most instructors undervalue their courses. By a lot. Think of the price that first comes to your mind for your course. Got it? Chances are, you should at least double that price.
2. Instructors often wonder why students would buy their course at all since they could research the information on their own. The reason people who buy courses do so is they don’t want to have to do that research. They want an expert they like and trust (you) to distill the information for them, and guide them through everything they need to know. To build people’s trust in you, and entice them to sign up for your course, it’s a good idea to give away 2-3 “freebies,” like checklists or free videos. Choose freebies that will provide real value and give a sneak peak at what students can expect from your course so that they want more of it.
3. Instructors also sometimes worry that there are others out there providing cheaper courses. This is often true. But what people are paying for when they buy your course is your unique take. You’re able to offer things that others can’t, whether it’s your own perspective, experiences, personality, knowledge, or skills. Plus, through ndgenius you're able to offer a social learning experience between students who have similar needs and interests. Think about what it is that you can you offer that others can’t, and include that in the marketing of your course. Your promotional video will be very useful for this—you get a chance to let your personality shine and highlight what makes you and your course special.