Re-Thinking Event Based Pricing for eLearning

One of the most common mistakes I see in pricing eLearning is exclusively applying the old one-time registration model. When we realize eLearning is not bound by the same constraints as in-person events, new opportunities multiply our revenue potential.

Embrace Continuous Learning

One of the core strengths of eLearning is its amazing flexibility: it’s not bound by place, date, or time of day. You have unlimited options for offering synchronous, asynchronous, micro, modular, and threaded learning accessed anywhere in the world on demand. That flexibility allows us to craft learning pathways over time to support full-cycle learning. Our training can be on-hand when needed as learners access ascending levels of training to continue building their mastery. The secret to sustainability is pairing in-person with online learning – capturing the strengths of both to achieve so much more than a single event can promise: transformational learning. Continuous learning is not only a better way to learn, it’s a better way to earn than one-off events.

Understand Your Market

Before setting pricing, it’s critical to understand your market. Conduct a market analysis to understand your competitor’s products and pricing, target market, market needs, and price range that market will bear for the value you’re offering. Quantify your market share and set realistic goals for expected revenue. Support your goals with marketing deployed over intervals of time vs. a once-and-done message drop.

Try These On

Consider these models to price your eLearning right.

  1. Packages: Consider a program bundle that makes sense for your target audience. For example, package a certification program seat fee with an online learning kick off course, webinar discussions, and study aids. Or, redesign a two-day in-person certificate program as a multiple course online program paired with exercises, assessments, and web coaching. Extend the learning, your time with learners, your value and pricing.

What opportunities do you have to package content at a larger price point vs. offering separate once-and-done events?

  1. Licensing: The corporate training industry (this excludes associations) represents over 160 Billion in North America alone. Corporations spend about 60% of their training budget on internally developed programs. The balance is primarily spent on academic tuition reimbursement and licensing content from other organizations. Licensing content translates into lucrative sales AND an opportunity to partner with corporations on measuring outcomes. They want to know the education is effective and you can now market the value of your program affecting real change. Win-win.

What content could be packaged for licensing to other organizations to deliver?

  1. Subscriptions: If your organization represents a highly regulated industry like medicine or law, you’re likely building courses to address a content outline your learners are responsible for to maintain certification or licensure. Consider housing this type of content in an all-you-can-eat at your leisure buffet with access that opens and closes based upon subscription. Pair the content with modular assessments so learners know which parts of the buffet they should focus upon as they prepare to recertify. You create one buffet and set it loose for learners to mine all year long.

What opportunities do you have with your content to create a longer-term relationship with your learners with a subscription model?

  1. Stacked: Stacked learning guides your target audience through ascending levels of content, always offering them the next step. Consider offering a different fee structure for shorter entry-level courses vs. intermediate and advanced course content. Consider pricing that scales with the level of complexity in a digital badge program culminating in a larger credential. Creating stacked learning defines a pathway toward mastery for your learners, guiding them from level to level while rewarding them for achievements along the way. The monetary value increases as the complexity of content and its resulting transformation increases.

What content do you already have that could be re-imagined with the stacked model?

  1. Add-on Purchase to Live Events: If you’re just introducing eLearning to your audience, add-ons are a great way to entice your learners to give it a try. Consider bundling a discounted eLearning course with conference registration. Or offer an add-on eLearning purchase to a leadership program so participants can access additional industry expert mentoring. Develop a learning pathway using in-person and online events that you can recommend to audience members already participating in a program with you – because you know based upon their interests they will be interested in this too. An add-on purchase is one way to extend learning beyond a one-time event and get new people trying your online options.

How can your in-person and online learning partner to deepen mastery?

  1. Freemium: The inspiration behind Freemium is to allow your target audiences to experience the value you offer and be so impressed by it they are willing to pay a premium to upgrade to the next offering. This is a model leveraged by infopreneurs like crazy: Brenden Burchard, Michael Hyatt, Troy Dean, Jeff Walker and so many others. Each offers really valuable eLearning with downloadables that whet the taste buds for the full multi module learning experience one is enticed to buy at a premium. There’s no reason why associations can’t do that too. We just haven’t thought about our content that way. But once we realize that the value is not that stuff is available, but that our courses solve real problems and offer real transformations – THAT is the value worth buying. I’ve tried it. I’m hooked. I want the rest.

What valuable teaser content could you offer for free as part of a sales funnel to a premium content purchase?

By shedding the event-based registration blinders and embracing continuous learning, you’ve got innovative revenue generating options for pricing at your disposal. Mix and match to make sure your market continues to learn with you all year long.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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