One of the most common questions we get from first-time course creators is: how should I price my course?
Our recommendation for first-time course creators is to price your first cohort at $500.
When pricing your course, you should consider: 1) students' ability to pay, 2) alternatives, 3) students' return on investment, and 4) how much you want to earn
Why price your first cohort at $500?
Price depends on your students’ willingness to pay, the return on investment of learning the skill, how much the alternatives cost, and the minimum you want to earn.
The average course price on Maven is $500, so we recommend this price for first-time instructors. Remember that you can increase your price in future cohorts as you improve the quality. For a professional audience, the $500 price point doesn’t raise eyebrows when students ask their boss to get reimbursed.
Some instructors prefer to set a higher price and offer strategic discounts. For example: an early bird discount could reward early adopters and create a sense of urgency. If you want to give it a try, here’s how you can create discount codes.
You might be wondering: does length affect price?
The answer: only a little. The average price of a 1-week course is $450 and 6-weeks is $650. The longer course is more expensive, but it's not 6x more expensive. Let's dive into the 4 levers that most affect price.
Pricing is complex and can evolve as your course business grows. Here are four questions to help you think through course pricing at any stage:
What is your student’s ability to pay?
What are the alternatives to your course and how is your course better?
What’s the return on investment for your student?
What is your baseline for how much you want to earn per hour?
1. Ability to pay
To understand your student’s price sensitivity, identify who the end-payer for your course is. For hobbyist or creator courses, students pay out of pocket, so their price sensitivity will be much higher. However, professional courses (topics like management, software engineering, marketing, sales) may qualify for company reimbursement and tend to be priced higher as a result.
To understand the value that your course provides, consider how else students might be able to get the same knowledge or outcomes. What are the learning alternatives to your course, and how does your course represent a premium over those alternatives?
A common misconception is that students won't pay for an expensive course when there are so many free resources online. For example: libraries have always existed. Anyone can go to the library and learn a skill for free. But most people still don’t. Why is that?
Students don’t buy courses for information, they buy courses for transformation. Part of the value of a cohort-based course is the accountability and community. The live aspect of a cohort-based course promises an extra push that asynchronous materials don't. Plus students love learning alongside motivated peers. That's why cohort-based courses are able to charge a premium over self-paced learning alternatives.
3. Student return on investment
For professional courses, you can measure student outcomes by considering how your course will impact their earning potential. For example: could they get a raise by improving their skills or changing careers.
For non-professional courses, you could measure outcomes through the value your course delivers–what is it worth to someone to have a community of like-minded peers, or a new skill that they've been aspiring to?
4. Your return on investment
Many instructors consider student demand but overlook their own time & earning requirements. What’s the minimum amount that you want to make per hour of effort? You should set a price that is sustainable and motivating for you to run multiple cohorts.
Remember that your first cohort will require the most up-front work. But over time, you'll invest fewer hours in operations & content development, so your hourly earnings will improve.
Dive into this pricing framework with Mickey Slevin, Head of Instructor Partnerships:
✍️ Action: Pricing Framework
Complete this pricing framework to identify a price range for your course. When you're ready, jump into your settings to connect Stripe and set your price.
1. What is your students’ ability to pay?
2. What are the alternatives to your course and how are you better/different?
3. What is your students’ return on investment?
4. What’s the minimum you want to make per hour of effort?
5. Write a price range for your course.