Heights Platform How to Increase Your Online Course Earnings by Offering Multiple Payment Plans

How to Increase Your Online Course Earnings by Offering Multiple Payment Plans

3 minute read

Offering multiple payment options to your students can help you to increase your overall earnings for your online courses.

Today we offer 3 primary paid enrollment plans that can be used to more flexibly sell your online courses (one-time payments, installment payments, and monthly/yearly subscription payments). We’ll discuss how while you might have initially planned to only use one of these for selling your online course, that by offering multiple payment plans you can potentially increase course revenue.

When Heights Platform launched we gave mentors only one option for how they collect payments. They could charge a one-time fee which would grant students lifetime access to their entire program. We did this because, unlike the kind of online courses one would find on a marketplace site like Udemy or Skillshare, courses in Heights are more than a simple collection of videos or content. Heights Platform truly provides a complete program for your students which helps them reach the result they are after through its combination of courses with points and badges, community features like discussion areas and projects, and direct mentor-student group coaching or one on one guidance. While online course creators understand how the Heights Platform model benefits them and their students, they want to be able to offer alternative payment plans that best fit the revenue model of their specific online courses. For this reason we now offer installment and subscription plans, as well as the option to combine them as we’ll provide examples for below.

Examples of Combining Payment Plans

For instance, let’s say your online course is sold at a one-time fee of $999, but for those who prefer to pay in installments you offer the option of 3 monthly payments of $400. Doing this has two potential benefits. First, you will have students that want to pay in installments because it is harder for them to spend the full $999 up front. Even though this option costs more when it is all said and done, some students will still prefer the monthly payments and may subconsciously justify their choice by comparing the lower monthly payments to the large one-time payment. You’ll get more sales and higher earnings from each sale as a result.

Heights Platform Online Course Payment Plan Settings
Payment plan settings inside Heights Platform

It is worth noting that while you could offer an installment plan that ads up to the same exact price as your one-time plan, we’d recommend testing it a bit higher as well. By having an installment plan remember you are delaying earnings by allowing payment over time. The added risk and inconvenience in cashflow to your business makes charging slightly more for installments logical. There is a second benefit though…

The next benefit is that for your students who were already considering the $999 one-time payment option, this option now looks cheaper to them, because they also see the more expensive option of the installment plans. This framing helps students who pay in full upfront feel like they are getting the best deal.

Subscription payment plans can be combined with one-time payment plans as well. This particular example starts to get more complicated, but is another great example of how offering multiple payment plans can help you increase earnings. Let’s say that you are running a program that is always growing and as such, you’ve decided that a monthly subscription is best for your online course business. For your particular program, you might have found that the average student sticks around for 22 months before canceling their subscription. If you started offering a one-time payment plan for lifetime access that was the equivalent of 24 months worth of monthly payments, you are offering potential customers a great deal, while at the same time increasing your average earning per student. On top of that, the total payment is received upfront which can help with cashflow while you expand your online course business.

Heights Platform Online Course Checkout Page
Example student checkout page on Heights Platform

However you decide to offer payment plans for your online course, it is important that you explain your offering clearly. Consumers purchase offers they understand. Don’t force your prospective customers to think too hard about how your pricing works. Clearly explain what is included on your checkout page, and if there is a benefit or difference in a pricing plan, spell it out with clarity so potential customers aren’t left with any questions preventing them from making a purchase.

Pricing Plans Can Always be Adjusted

If you haven’t launched an online course before and this seems a bit overwhelming to you, there is no need to worry about having multiple payment plans right away. You might even start by offering your course for free to a few of your existing customers to get feedback as you complete it. You can always adjust pricing and add additional payment plans later on.

Alternatively, if you are more experienced selling online, soon we’ll be offering the ability to add upsells directly in your Heights Platform checkout process. So in addition to optimizing the payment plans you offer for online course enrollment, you could have a course upsell offer after enrollment is complete to generate additional revenue. Some customers that are true fans of your business want to buy more from you. Offering a supplementary course as an upsell provides the opportunity for those who were willing to spend more for a little bit extra to do so.

To learn more about pricing your online course in general, take a look at our article how to price your online course.

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