In this guide, we are going to go over in detail on some of the best business models that you can choose for selling your own online courses, and why.  

The goal of this guide is to give you a concrete sales and marketing strategy (including best practices for pricing) that will set you well on your way to generating a full time revenue teaching online, and enable you to become a full time educational content creator or online course creator.

The information in this guide will give you a clear picture of how to structure your online learning business from the start, and spare you what could be months of experimentation.

Knowing exactly how to sell your online courses from the very early stages of your business could be the difference between success or failure, so that is why this is the very first chapter of the OnlineCourseHost.com Course Creator Academy.

In those first critical months when you make the move to becoming a full time  online course creator, you want to take all the guesswork and experimentation out of the equation, in order to maximize your chances of success.

What you need is a proven blueprint for how to sell online courses. We have implemented that blueprint ourselves as practicing online course creators, and so we will provide it to you from first hand experience, with real examples and actual numbers.

So without further ado, let's get started with our deep dive on online course sales marketing strategy!

Remember,  you can always find at any time a complete overview of the Course Creator Academy content (with the recommended reading order) by clicking on the Academy link on the top menu bar.

Table Of Contents

In this guide we will cover the following topics:

  • Why sell online courses from your own website?
  • How traditional content providers sell their content
  • The best way to sell online courses
  • When to go for a recurring subscription model vs one-time sales?
  • How to price your subscriptions effectively
  • What about one-time sales? How to use them complementary to subscriptions
  • Why have a lifetime plan?
  • Why offer a team plan?
  • What about promotions, how to use them effectively?
  • Putting it all together - a complete online course sales marketing strategy
  • What is the best way to implement this sales strategy?
  • Conclusions and key takeaways

Why sell online courses from your own branded website?

First of all, and before anything else: we cannot stress enough how important it is to sell your online courses in your own private website, under your own brand.

This should be the main focus of your whole online course marketing strategy, as it's THE most surefire way to ensure long-term sustainability for your online learning business.

Advantages of having your own website

Using your own brand in your private website is the only way that you can in practice really control the price of your courses, and it's also the only way to be able to do value-based pricing, for example.

In your own website you will also have a higher customer lifetime value that in any marketplace platform, including the larger ones, due to the ability to generate recurring revenue or do higher-ticket sales.

Of course, this means that you will have to somehow build an audience and bring traffic to your website through content. But nothing should be simpler and more natural to you, as you are already a content creator!

We are going to cover in detail online course pricing in another chapter (by the way we don't always recommend value-based pricing), and we will also cover in detail how private websites and platforms compare in terms of sales. We will cover also strategies for bringing students to your website.

Right now let's keep to the topic at hand, which is how to best sell online courses:

The most sustainable way to sell online courses is to have your own private website that you control, under your own brand, and use it to build a direct and long-term relationship with your students

In the rest of this guide we will answer the questions about exactly how to sell online courses on your website.

And in order to answer that question, we are going to first take a look at how traditional content creators did it in the past and still do it to this day in the offline world.

How traditional content providers sell their content

Most of the pre-internet content were books, sold via traditional retail one-time sales. The problem with one-time sales, is that usually only a handful of content creators can make a full time living teaching a given topic.

Note: we are  talking about educational content only, such as for example technical books or instructional videos. We are not talking about novels, fiction, etc.

Most of the revenue of those one-time sales goes to publishing companies, that sell the content to the customer, and pay a small part of the sales as royalties to the well-known author.

But one-time sales are not the only way that traditional content creators have to sell their content.

We also have another very different (and successful) type of content, which is for example monthly magazines. This content usually covers some never-ending topic like for example computers:

Example of typical commercial content

There are monthly magazines for just about any niche topic that you can imagine. This could be educational content, science, electronics, or even games or hobbies. The next time that you visit your local old-fashioned newspaper stand, take a moment to look at the magazine section.

You might think that in order for a magazine to exist, there needs to be a lot of innovation in that particular subject covered by the magazine. But in fact, there are magazines about subjects like chess, which hardly ever changes:

Example of a niche subscription business

You name it, and there is probably a magazine for it. Some are extremely niche, and go into huge detail on a given topic. For example, here is a magazine about a single computer game (and not games in general):

Another example of a business centered around niche content

Why are magazines so successful?

Magazines are an extremely successful content form, and there are several reasons for that:

  • Magazines work under a recurring subscription model, so they have a constant, predictable revenue that changes slowly over time, as the public interest in their topic evolves
  • Magazines are often operated by small independent companies, that either make a living through content sales only, or use the magazine as advertising for their products and services
  • Magazines have their own personalized brand which is easily recognizable by their readers
  • Magazines have a direct relationship with their customers, as there are no intermediaries in-between. They have the customer bank accounts, their postal addresses and emails. They can announce new content or services via direct communication
  • Magazines have long-term relationships with their readers. People can subscribe and pay for a subscription for years and years, while they maintain their interest on the magazine's subject

Are subscriptions the only way to go?

You are probably thinking at this stage that we believe that recurring subscriptions are the best way of selling online courses. We do believe that subscriptions are a major part of it, but there is much more to it than that and they need to be complemented with one-time sales.

Also, there could be some cases where one-time sales are a better fit for your online business rather than subscriptions. We will get into how to choose between these two models next.

Going back to the magazine subscription example, we are now going to take all of these characteristics of a typical magazine's business model, and we are going to adapt it and apply it to an online course business.

When to go for a recurring subscription model vs one-time sales?

If you are constantly producing new courses, or re-filming new versions of previous courses on the same topic or closely related set of topics, then a subscription-based model makes a lot of sense for both you and your customers.

Your customers can benefit from a reduced monthly or yearly fee and get access to your complete content catalog, while you can work knowing that your revenue will not vary wildly from month to month.

You will have almost the equivalent of a salary, with the added bonus that if audience interest on your courses topic increases over time, your revenue will grow proportionally to the portion of that market that you manage to capture.

Aren't one-time sales just less work when compared to subscriptions?

You might think that maintaining a recurring subscription business means that you will have to constantly produce new content. But this always true in a content based business, your customers will not keep paying you unless you keep adding value to them.

If you are a full time content creator, there is no way around the fact that you will have to continuously produce at least some amount of new content regularly in order to keep the same revenue, independently of the sales model that you use - recurring subscriptions or one-time sales.

The key thing with content subscriptions, is that you don't have to produce a huge amount of content weekly or even every week in order to keep your subscribers for a very long period of time.

Once you have established a large catalog of content, then you can even stop working on online courses full time. You can do it part-time as long as you provide weekly a nice content payload to your  subscribers (20 to 30 min of weekly content is a good target).

Avoid creating too much content

Actually, If you send too much content to your subscribers, that might create a problem where people just say: "OK, there is no way that I will be able to go through all that, I'm looking for something more concise" - and they will unsubscribe due to content fatigue.

To summarize, for a full-time course creator regularly creating new content, a subscription-based model is very attractive due to the following reasons:

  • predictable revenue
  • sell once, charge multiple times
  • higher customer lifetime value
  • limited amount of new content needed (20 to 30 minutes a week is enough)

But it would be a mistake to base yourself only on subscriptions, and here's why.

What about One-Time Sales?

With one-time sales, you get an initial revenue spike when a course is launched, and then the revenue of the course usually slowly goes down over time, as you convince more people out of the limited set of potential buying customers to buy the course over time.

With one-time sales, there are only so many people out there willing to buy a course on your subject. From them, there are only so many people that you will be able to get to your website and convert into customers.

Once you have sold a course to a person on a given topic, you cannot resell the same course to the same person, unless you charge for new versions which many people are used to get for free.

You will have to launch new courses on closely related topics regularly, or your revenue will go down over time.

But maybe you only want to do online courses part-time, and you want to dedicate a limited amount of time to course production for say just a few months, and then move on to something else.

In that case, one-time sales are a good solution for you. But if you plan on becoming a full-time content producer making a full time income and make it sustainable in the long-term, subscriptions are a better fit for that.

Can we do do both subscriptions and one-time sales together?

Yes we can, and actually one-time sales are a great way to complement a recurring subscription model. The truth is that there are a lot of people that are very reluctant to subscribe to anything at all online, as they prefer to avoid unwanted recurring charges on their credit card.

Besides them, there are also a whole category of customers which are not looking to access your complete catalog of content. They may only want to brush up on a particular subtopic that you cover, so they prefer partial access to only one of your courses.

For this type of customers, you can offer the possibility to purchase each course separately, at a fixed price. This will give those customers, which are already ready to spend money on your content, but are still reluctant to subscribe to make at least one first purchase, and gain one first experience with your premium courses.

This will make it easier for you to convince them to subscribe later, and will also give you the opportunity to close a sale where it would otherwise not be possible.

So one-time sales are a part of our online course sales strategy, but how do they fit with subscriptions and how to price each? We will use them in a complementary way, when we present our concrete sales blueprint next.

Why have a Lifetime Plan?

Some customers are just looking to access all your content that you will ever produce, forever. They don't want to pay for recurring subscriptions or have to purchase each course separately, they just want to access everything in one go.

It might seem a bit surprising to you that a customer would want that, but the reality is that there is a very large of spectrum of behaviors for online purchasing,   so that will indeed be the case for a small percentage of your customers.

Also, the prices for your monthly or yearly subscriptions are going to look a lot smaller in comparison to the much larger price of a Lifetime subscription (this is called anchoring the price).

In terms of amount of sales, Lifetime plans are going to sell a lot less frequently, but each sale will carry a lot of weight. They key to Lifetime sales is to choose the price appropriately, when compared to the subscription price.

More on the choice of the right price later on.

Why offer a Team Plan?

Just like offering a Lifetime plan gives you the opportunity of taking on some higher ticket sales, you also want to have an offering typically for companies or larger groups of people in general.

Depending on your niche, a large part of your sales might be to companies instead of consumer sales. If that is not the case, you still want to have a team plan available, just in case that someone wants to request access to a larger number of users.

Again, it's about not wasting the opportunity of doing a larger sale if it presents to you. Even if company sales are typically less frequent, not having a team plan would be a mistake, as at the end of the year all of those missed opportunities are going to add up.

What about Promotions?

Promotional offerings are the last piece of the puzzle. You can do promotional offerings for both one-time sales and recurring subscriptions.

Promotions need to be done strategically in order to be effective, and only at certain times of the year.  The question is, exactly what to promote, and how to price those promotions?

Again, it's all about having a coherent marketing strategy and staying consistent to it.

We are now going to put all the elements of this puzzle together into a complete strategy with concrete recommendations: subscriptions, one-time sales, lifetime plans, team plans and promotions.

Putting it all Together: a Complete Online Course Sales Marketing Strategy

The number one goal of your sales strategy is very simple, and everything else revolves around it:

Your number one goal is to bring as many customers as possible to your branded website, and convince them to sign-up to a recurring subscription

This is the end goal that you have in mind, it's all about getting those subscriptions and that stable recurring revenue.

Notice that its also possible to build a successful business around one-time sales only. It's just that it's a lot harder to make it sustainable long-term due to the reduced customer lifetime value.

Some people (typically the larger influencers with the biggest audiences) can do it, but if you want to know about the best way of selling online courses, meaning the most reproducible way that maximizes your chances of success, subscriptions is the way.

Notice that at OnlineCourseHost.com, although subscriptions are available, they are not mandatory. You can still opt for a one-time sales model if you prefer.

Maybe you want for example to start with only one course and activate subscriptions later on - this is possible too.

What type of subscriptions should you offer?

Some customers just want to try things out for a while, while others are ready to commit longer term and make an upfront investment. It all depends on the personality and the buying behaviors of the customer, so you need to have different offerings that match well with different types of people.

The ideal scenario is for you to offer both a Monthly and a Yearly subscription, plus a Lifetime plan next to the subscription options. Here is a typical example of what that could look like:

Example of a set of pricing plans - Subscriptions plus Lifetime offer

Pricing the Monthly Subscription

The monthly subscription should be set at a relatively low price, in order to reduce as much as possible buyer friction. Remember, there is inherent resistance for a lot of people to the thought of subscribing to anything online (even an email list), and especially to recurring charges.

Nobody wants to invest their  valuable time on the phone having to chase a company or their bank or credit card operator in order to get refunds or get a subscription cancelled. Most people don't want to bother with that so it's important for the price of the monthly subscription to be relatively low, probably below $20 for most content, but this will depend on your industry.

If your content is highly valuable to the eyes of the customer, then they might be willing to pay more, but for most types of content a no-brainer sub $20 price will be ideal for maximizing conversions.

Remember, it's a recurring sale so once the initial purchase gets in then you have to take into consideration the customer lifetime value. On average they will stay subscribed for a number of months.

If you host your courses on OnlineCourseHost.com, your Stripe Dashboard will show you everything that you need to know about customer retention and lifetime value (notice that the values are in euros):

Use your Stripe Dashboard to monitor your online course business

This is just one example of a typical online learning business (a web development online course website), to give you an idea.

How to Price Online Course Subscriptions

So what prices to choose for a monthly subscription? For consumer sales, prices like $9.99, $7, $10, $12, $17 or $19 tend to work great.

Why do these prices work better than others? This has to do with price psychology, which takes into account some pretty cool things like the phonetical size of the price when pronounced in a given language (like English), and many other factors.

If you are curious and want to learn all about it , we highly recommend the awesome Psychological Pricing: An Enormous Guide from Nick Kolenda, but if not, long story short the prices we listed above should work great for you too.

Pricing the Yearly Subscription

So how to price the Yearly subscription, and what subscription should we be pushing the customer towards? It's important to understand that purchasing behavior is not rational, and is driven by strong irrational emotions: fear of missing out, sense of urgency, avoiding pain, etc.

When you have a potential customer and you have already convinced him to purchase you something, you want to maximize that unique opportunity. There is absolutely no telling when you will be able to get that customer into a buying mood for your products again, if ever.

That sales opportunity is unique and you need to make the most out of it, but on the other hand you don't want to swamp your customer with too many options.

Guiding the customer to the Yearly Subscription

Ideally we want to guide the customer to only one option which is not the cheapest one, but give him other options in case he is not in the mood for spending more.

And that is where the Yearly subscription comes in. You should be trying to drive your customers to the Yearly subscription, which should be seen as the best option on the pricing screen.

The Yearly subscription should be priced in a way that makes it look like a great deal when compared to the monthly subscription, but you don't want to give away too great of a discount in the Yearly subscription either.

A too large discount on the Yearly subscription would be seen by the customer as making the Monthly subscription unnecessarily expensive by comparison, and this would then cause buyer indecisiveness, which is something that we want to avoid at all costs.

In our example above, the Yearly subscription is priced at $99, while the monthly subscription is priced at $9.99.  This creates a nice sizeable discount of 17% for the Yearly subscription, which is still not too large and well below 20%.

This makes the Yearly subscription look like a very good deal when compared to the Monthly subscription, without making the Monthly subscription look expensive!

The fact that both prices $9.99 and $99 are just below the psychological thresholds of $10 and $100 makes this price combination even more effective.

An important thing to bear in mind is that although you are trying to convince the customer to subscribe annually, still most customers will end up subscribing monthly because the monthly price looks much smaller when standing right next to the Yearly price.

A typical subscription distribution for an online learning business

Here is a typical distribution for monthly, yearly, and team plans for the same business (the figures are in euros):

Typical revenue for an online course business based around recurring subscriptions

Notice the term MRR on this table, which stands for Monthly Recurring Revenue. This is the main metric to bear in mind for an online subscription business, and you can measure it easily again by using the Stripe dashboard from where this screenshot was taken.

  1. Notice that "other products" means other ancient subscriptions that are no longer active.

2 Notice also that these figures are for recurring revenue only, and do not include one-time sales or Lifetime plan sales

Each business will have its own different distribution of subscription sales, some with more team plans while others with less, but the distribution shown above is fairly typical.  The key thing to bear in mind is that most of your subscription sales will come from the Monthly plan, even though we are trying to convince as many people as possible to take the Yearly plan instead.

Pricing the Lifetime Plan

So what about the Lifetime plan, is it even necessary? The Lifetime plan will give you some occasional high ticket sales, which when they happen feel great as a business owner.

Even though not a lot of people will opt for the Lifetime plan, some will. If by no other reason, simply for saying thank you for the all effort that you put into your content.

The Lifetime plan also fills in a key role in the Pricing screen that you present to the user. It allows you to show a much higher price next to the lower Yearly and Monthly prices, making them look much cheaper and affordable in comparison to the Lifetime plan, and making it easier for the customer to purchase a subscription.

There is one very important thing that you need to be aware of regarding the Lifetime plan: in order for it to work, the price needs to be set to a realistic value.

The importance of pricing the Lifetime plan correctly

In the example above, the Lifetime plan price is set to $399 which is around 4 years of subscription. This looks quite realistic and gives further credibility to the Yearly and Monthly prices.

This actually looks like a price that a customer could potentially pay to get Lifetime access. If we would choose instead for example $8000, then this would not be believable at all.

The customer would quickly realize this and know that nobody would ever pay that, and this would effectively reduce the credibility of the Monthly and Yearly prices and reduce your overall sales conversion chances.

In other words, the customer would call nonsense on all your prices, and not just the exorbitant Lifetime price. In fact, the customer could completely lose trust in your whole website.

If the customer feels like he is being fooled on the Lifetime price, what else is he being fooled on?

Remember, your different prices cannot be chosen separately in isolation. They will be compared to each other by the customer and they need to be chosen in a logical way that reinforces the credibility of the different prices involved.

So what price to choose for a Lifetime plan? 4 to 5 years of a subscription is a good value. It will give you a nice upfront sale, and even though you won't be charging that customer more than that, it's still way above your typical customer lifetime value.

Most likely, you would not be able to keep that customer on the Monthly or Yearly plan for 4 to 5 years in a row, so the Lifetime plan allowed you to make a nice upsell and lock in that upfront revenue.

Pricing One-Time Course Sales

What about one-time single course sales? Besides offering a subscription which gives access to your whole catalog of content, it's also a good idea to sell your courses separately.

So how does that work? Again, it's all about price comparison and remembering our overall strategy. We want to convince the customer to purchase a subscription but for the moment they just want a single course. So what do we do?

We offer the option to sell the course separately via a one-time purchase, while also offering the customer an alternative subscription option right next to the one-time purchase

Because we want the customer to subscribe, the price of the individual course should be considerably higher than the price of one month's subscription. Typically if your subscription is $9.99, you want to price your courses at maybe $49 for example.

This is the price of 5 months of subscription, so it makes it a no brainer for the customer to instead of buying just one single course, to subscribe and for a fraction of the same price get access to all courses.

Still, this needs to be done carefully. You can't just set a course price to $249 and have a monthly subscription of $9.99 with access to everything. This would be seen as suspicious from the point of view of the customer, and make them wonder about everything else going on in the website.

How to price an online course

The price of a single course should be high enough to help convince the customer to do a recurring subscription instead of getting only one course, while at the same time being low enough so that the customers that still prefer to buy only one course would still be able to do so confidently that they are getting somewhere close to their money's worth.

A lot of people don't want to deal with the risk of having subscriptions on their card, and they are willing to pay extra simply for eliminating that risk.

Pricing a course at somewhere between 5 to 8 times the value of a one month subscription is a good choice, as it allows you to still get those one-time sales while at the same time convincing more people to subscribe and help build up that recurring revenue.

Pricing the Team Plan

So what about the Team Plan? Once you activate it, you will wonder if it's really necessary. But once you get that first order of 20 students from  company XYZ requesting Yearly access to your website, you will very quickly change your mind!

Even the first order that you will get for a team of 3 or 4 people will change your perspective on team plans. Unless you market your courses mostly to companies, yes it's true that most of your sales will not happen via the Team Plan.

But still, the Team Plan gives you an opportunity to get some occasional higher sales at no additional cost, so why pass up on that? On OnlineCourseHost.com, if you activate subscriptions you will immediately activate also the corresponding Team Plan.

The price of the Team plan should be identical to the price of an individual subscription, both Monthly and Yearly but the company can specify the amount of licenses that they want to purchase.

It's important that the price of a subscription for a company to be coherent with the price of a subscription for an individual customer. Trying to sell to companies at a higher price would lead the company user to quickly lose trust on your website.

It's also important to allow the company responsible to contact you via email. Sometimes larger companies want to negotiate a discounted price for a larger order, and not just take the price on the website.

Sometimes the amount that they are trying to purchase might be too large to go on the company credit card, so you want to make sure that they can reach you if needed.

How to use Promotions effectively

The last ingredient for a successful online course sales marketing strategy is promotions. What type of promotions to use?  At OnlineCourseHost.com you have available promotional coupons for one-purchases, but also promotions for recurring subscriptions.

You can for example set up a one-time promotions for a given course like this:

$49 instead of $149, 66% Off, only 1000 coupons available until the 30th of September.

But although its possible to try the occasional one-time purchase promotion, we are going to keep consistent with our main sales strategy, and focus on subscriptions instead.

And although you can also do promotions on Monthly subscriptions, these tend not to work as well because the price of the monthly subscription is already relatively low, and there is not much space for a discount to make a large impact in terms of price perception.

If the monthly subscription costs $9.99, then a $4.99 promotion for the first 3 months does not sound like much, it's only a $5 discount in the mind of the customer which tends to think a lot in terms of the price of the first month (that they have to pay upfront) and not in lifetime customer value.

But in fact, this is a huge 50% discount for the first 3 months! you can try monthly subscription discounts on your business if you want to, but we noticed that discounts on Yearly subscriptions tend to work much better.

Here is an example of a high converting Yearly discount:

Yearly Subscription - Pay $67 for the first year (33% Off) and then only $99 per year after the first year.

In this case, this is a much larger amount, allowing you to sell upfront several months of access at a good price tag of $67. Then there is also the potential of a lot of full price renewals on the second and third years of subscription, and beyond.

How often to do Yearly subscription promotions?

To make the yearly subscription promotions more effective, we advise you to use them only 2 or 3 times a year at unique yearly events where the customer is usually in a spending mood.

The best two yearly moments are the New Year holiday, and the Black Friday / Cyber Monday holidays. You can also add a third event like for example your company anniversary earlier in the year, but more than that and the customer will no longer value the promotions as much, as there is no real sense of scarcity.

Another great occasion to send a promotional email is at the launch of a new course. You can offer your customers to buy only the new course as a one-time charge, or alternatively for a similar price, to get access to all courses for a full year via a subscription.

For a lot of people interested in the new course this is a no-brainer and many will take you up on that offer.

Again, it's all about keeping consistency and not forgetting the end goal of our sales strategy: we want to convince as many customers as possible to purchase a subscription and start creating that awesome recurring revenue, which is much more reliable than one-time sales.

What is the best way to implement this Online Course Sales Marketing Strategy?

You can very easily start creating your own branded website to sell your online courses, integrate with Stripe and start taking online payments (and get the Stripe dashboard shown on some of the screenshots).

You can easily implement all of the elements of this sales strategy, including:

  • One-Time single course sales
  • easy to activate Subscriptions
  • Lifetime plan
  • Team Plan
  • One-Time Promotional Coupons
  • Subscription Promotions
  • and more

In order to implement this sales strategy, simply create an account at OnlineCourseHost.com by following the link below, and you will have all these features available for free on our online course hosting platform (no trials involved):

Create Your Course

If you want to learn more about online course creation, sales and marketing, check out what else is available at the Course Creator Academy.

In order to get notified when new content is available at the Course Creator Academy, you can subscribe here to our weekly newsletter:

Conclusions and Key Takeaways

Let's quickly summarize everything that we have learned in this guide. We have talked about the best way of selling online courses and making it a full time career long-term.

There are other ways, of course. You can make only a couple of courses and sell them via one-time sales, and simply use the courses as lead magnets for attracting paying customers for your other higher ticket services. This business model is also well supported by the OnlineCourseHost.com self-hosting platform.

But if you want to know the best way that will give you the highest chances of building a long-term career as an online course creator, here is what we have learned:

The number one ingredient for a successful online learning business is to sell your online courses from your own website, focusing on a mostly subscription-based model, complemented with one-time sales.

Monthly and Yearly Subscriptions

Everything that you do in terms of sales and marketing revolves around that one goal: getting as many people as possible (that are interested in what you teach) to your website, start a relationship with them under the form of weekly emails for example, and eventually convince them to get a premium subscription.

This is the number one goal. Most people that subscribe will end up choosing the Monthly subscription, as its the lower price and it's the choice that poses the lower risk in terms of unwanted recurring charges on their card.

But if priced correctly, you might be able to take that unique moment when the customer is convinced and ready to pay to increase the sale and turn it into a Yearly subscription sale.

This will give you more money upfront, as well as the potential for a multi-year renewal. The main thing to bear in mind is that you should not price the Monthly and Yearly subscriptions separately and in a completely independent way.

Instead, you should choose the prices strategically as all prices will be compared to each other!

Not everyone's buying behavior is identical, and some people just want to get access to everything, forever. For that, it's important to create a Lifetime plan that represents 4 or 5 years worth of a yearly subscription.

Most likely, you would not be able to convince the customer to stay subscribed for that long, so the Lifetime plan makes for a great upsell opportunity. The Lifetime plan also creates a price anchor towards the yearly and monthly subscription prices, making them much smaller in comparison.

One-Time Sales

Besides subscription sales, you also want to split up your content into multiple logical units and sell them separately as individual online courses covering a particular subtopic of the broader subject that you teach.

Each course should have a price equivalent to several months of subscription, at least say 5 to 6 months worth of the monthly subscription, but not much more.

Remember, the goal is to convince the customer to eventually subscribe, and the course one-time sale is just a way to give people that don't want recurring charges an option to get access to some of your content, giving you that initial sale.

Team Plans

Together with individual subscriptions, it's important to also offer a team plan option. This will allow you to have the opportunity to make larger sales to companies for example. Even if these sales might be less likely to happen depending on your industry, we still want to be able to be able to take those opportunities when they present themselves.

Promotions

Last but not least, what about promotions? Again it all comes down to the same principle: you want to get students to your website and convince them to buy a recurring subscription.

The low price of a Monthly subscription is already in itself almost a constantly ongoing promotion, because it gives access to all your content even if it's only for a limited period of time.

So we recommend offering discounts on Yearly subscriptions instead, giving for example a 25% discount on the first year and then the second year will be billed at full price.

These promotions should be spread out strategically spread over the year not to overwhelm the customer.  2 to 3 Yearly subscription promotions per year at yearly events like New Year and Black Friday is a good way to do.

This will give the user some sense of urgency and scarcity as those events only happen once a year.What you don't want to do is to constantly send new promotions all the time.

Remember, the ultimate goal of our online course sales strategy is to convince customers to sign up for a recurring subscription, and use the one-time sales and promotions in a complementary way.

A recurring subscription business is much more sustainable long-term, and this gives you a predictable income that you can monitor efficiently will all the Stripe tools that you will have available.

To check out all our guides on  how to become an online course creator, you can check the creator academy home page.

And if you are looking for a platform to host your online courses, create an account at OnlineCourseHost.com and start creating your courses using our Free Plan.

The next guide that we recommend that you read is: Online Course Self-Hosting vs Marketplaces: Pros and Cons

Any further questions?

If you have any other questions about selling online courses, please post them in the comment section below, or in our Course Creator Academy Facebook Group, either way our team of course creation experts is glad to help you out.


Vasco Cavalheiro

OnlineCourseHost.com Founder & Online Course Creator

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You are welcome to ask me any questions in the comments below: 👇👇👇👇