One of the first things people think of when building out an online course to sell is the type of pricing model they will use.
The “holy grail” for pricing appears to be the monthly subscription, but this model is extremely difficult to pull-off especially when you are just starting out with creating and selling courses.
In fact, it’s one reason why some people find it easier to get started with simple one-time pricing. You may consider doing the same if you are just beginning your journey into online courses as the “barriers” are a lot lower in terms of securing the sale.
But of course there are many options for pricing. One such option that I feel is the most often overlooked is the micro-subscription.
What is a Micro-Subscription?
When you think about a recurring payment the installments are usually monthly and never end until you cancel. For online courses this can be a hard sell to prospective customers as no one really likes the idea of paying for something “forever”.
Some course providers choose to do the yearly renewal method. This avoids the month-to-month required payment but may still cause heartburn for those interested in purchasing.
Enter the micro-subscription.
The micro-subscription course requires payment from anywhere between two and six months.
For example, your customer gets access to your training program for three monthly payments and afterwards they are done – no more bills (but also, no more access).
There are some advantages to this approach for you as a seller:
- It forces you to create a program that delivers upon a stated objective in 90 days.
- Your training program can have a higher price than if you were to just charge one price
- You have plenty of opportunity for cross-selling and up-selling
For example, you could offer a slight discount if the customer pays for the three month program in-full.
Or, offer extension pricing at the end of the three months. If your course did its job then people will be more likely to pay for this.
The benefit to your customer is obvious: they don’t have the burden of paying for something month over month without completely being sure if the course is right for them.
Also, when you do a limited time subscription it makes your course appear more like a comprehensive program or system. People are attracted to systems.
What Happens After It Ends?
Let’s say someone joins your three month micro-subscription program. They complete the content and they are done. Well, first off you would remove them from the course (this can be done automatically when using tools like LearnDash).
Or as I had mentioned, you could offer them extensions if they want to keep access. This offer is even more effective if you focus on building a community around your course content. They may be done with the course material but long to keep the interaction with their peers.
Of course, there may be some people who are fine with losing access – and you know what – that’s good for you too!
You got three months payment from their micro-membership. They lose access to the content and you don’t have to spend the resources supporting them. Over time they may decide that they do what your support so you could perhaps arrange a “re-joiner” fee with a slightly more favorable price.
As you can see there is a lot of room to get creative with the micro-subscription model. The pricing model itself would differentiate your offering compared to your competition – especially if they are using traditional subscription methods.