September 18th, 2017 Business

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:

  1. It forces you to create a program that delivers upon a stated objective in 90 days.
  2. Your training program can have a higher price than if you were to just charge one price
  3. 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.

Justin Ferriman photo

About Justin Ferriman

Justin Ferriman started LearnDash, the WordPress LMS trusted by Fortune 500 companies, major universities, training organizations, and entrepreneurs worldwide for creating (and selling) their online courses. Justin's Homepage | Twitter


3 responses

Leave a Comment

How do you implement a micro-subscription model in learndash? I could not find any addon for this.. And by default, you have one payment mode o subscription mode but you can’t set a number of payments to make a micro-subscription.

Avatar Mauricio

Hello Justin! Great info, but it would be best if you could provide some specific examples. We use woocommerce and would love to accomplish this.

We would also like to sell a finite access time for a recurring payment, but giving the student some limited extra time for accessing the contents after the last payment is done.

For example, the student buys a 6 months duration course and pays for it for three monthly installments, then after month six, student loses course access. Also she should lose access to the course if any of the three installments isn’t paid for in time.

Thanks again, Justin. We’ve been loving Learndash since we bought it at version 1, more than 6 years ago on 2013 with a lifetime license ❤

Avatar Equipo Cultiva Tus Ideas

How do you do this? I don’t see a clear path in the settings?

Avatar Benjamin Johnstone

Comments are closed.

Your course could already be online!

We offer a 15 day money-back guarantee and have a world class community to help you get your course online today!

See LearnDash in action. Online Demo

Join Our Next Webinar!

LearnDash webinars are designed to teach you how to build, grow, and scale your course-building business. Join our team in one of our next live webinars.