How to Price an Online Community: Sell Access to A Community Worth Paying For6 minute read
Online communities are a great tool for creators to bring their audience together and foster engagement among members, but they are also a way to monetize your content and build an additional stream of income to power your online business.
Most online communities charge monthly or annual fees for members to access the content, typically $20–$100 per month.
There are many ways to structure an online community and deliver content to your members: you can decide to include a community aspect for students who join your online course, bundle your community with other paid products, or offer a stand-alone community that members have to pay for in order to join.
However you decide to build your online community, pricing is always part of the equation. So how much should you charge for your online community?
In today's article, we will explain how to come up with the ideal price for your online community and how to build a community worth paying for.
How to Justify the Price of Your Online Community
If you want to make money with an online community, you need to build an environment that is worth the cost of admission for the members who join.
So before you consider charging an entrance fee, make sure your community is ready for members to get their money’s worth. Here is what you should do to justify the price of your online community:
#1: Populate Your Community First
Before charging a fee for members to join your community, you need to make sure to gather a sufficient user base for your community launch.
If potential new members head over to your site and see that there’s no activity and no one has joined the community, they won’t be inclined to pay for community access if they are the only ones there!
So it is a good idea to try to gain at least 50 members before you launch your online community and ask people to pay a monthly access fee. How do you get this first batch of people to join a brand new community?
You could create a waiting list and only launch your community when you’ve hit the right number. Reach out to your existing contacts or students, send out an email to your list, promote your community on social media and offer them a great deal to be early members of your community (or even enroll them for free, you can always ask them to pay later when your community grows in size)
#2: Show Off The Benefits of Joining Your Community
A way to justify the price of an online community is to make sure that your messaging is focused on the results your members will gain from joining the community.
What are the values and benefits your members will get from joining?
Make sure that your website copy and promotional messaging is centered around the results your members will get. Most people who join an online community do so in order to:
- Receive exclusive educational content
- Interact directly with other members and like-minded people
- Get one-on-one coaching from industry experts
- Connect and network with professionals from the same niche
- Reach personal or professional goals with the help of the community
If your online community offers the above benefits to its members, it is important that you reiterate these narratives on your sales page, promotional copy and everywhere you talk about your online community.
#3: Create an Engaging Environment
A brand new online community doesn't become an engaging and thriving environment by itself: you need to put in the work and become heavily involved from day one.
Many creators underestimate the time they need to invest in running the community and sparking engagement among the members. Before you can witness constant participation from members, you need to start the conversation and moderate the community.
Check out this article from our blog to learn more about what it takes to build a thriving online community: All You Need to Know About How to Start an Online Community
#4: Deliver Outstanding Content
If you want your members to give you their time and attention, you need to make it worth their while. Your community members expect to receive valuable, exclusive content from you - especially if they invested money to be there.
To make sure you share valuable content every day, it is a good idea to plan your content beforehand: try organizing ideas with a content calendar. This will help you create a structured timeline for your posts and visually understand how your content is organized.
How to Price Your Online Community
Once you have populated your community with a sufficient amount of members, focused your marketing narrative around a result and emphasized the benefits of joining the community, worked on creating an engaging environment and delivered outstanding content, it is time to ask your members to pay!
But how much should your charge for online community access? This depends on how you wish to structure your online community in relation to other paid products that you offer.
Do you want to offer the community as a stand-alone product or bundle it with other paid products in your business?
If you decide to bundle your community with one or more paid products (maybe an online course, a membership site or a coaching program), then you can consider raising the price of your main product offering to include the community. If you need help coming up with the price of your offer, check out this article from our blog: Ultimate Guide to Pricing Your Online Course (With Earnings Calculator)
If you wish to offer the community as a stand-alone product and charge an access fee, then keep reading below to find out how to come up with the best possible price.
#1: Reverse Engineer Your Price
Many creators come up with the ideal price for their products by reverse engineering the amount by calculating their ideal revenue.
Think about the ideal revenue you want to achieve and the amount you’d be comfortable with, then calculate all the expenses and costs associated with building and marketing your online community and subtract them from your number.
The next step is to get an idea of how many members you can get to join the online community. Once you figure out the number of members you are aiming for, divide your revenue (minus costs) by the number of members, and you have your price!
You can then decide if you want your members to pay a monthly or annual subscription fee (the most popular option for online communities) or a flat one-time price.
#2: How Much Are Your Members Willing to Pay?
Another way to come up with the perfect price for your online community is to charge the maximum amount that your ideal customers are willing to pay.
In an ideal world, each one of your customers would pay you a different amount and the maximum they can pay for your service. However, this is practically impossible to do. The next best thing is to conduct market research and determine the average amount your ideal customer is willing to pay for your product offering.
You can get this information in many ways: you could simply test different pricing strategies and see which one yields the best results, or simply ask your audience!
This is why pre-launching your online community is a good idea. Not only do you get to quickly gain new members to populate the community before you launch it and charge for it, but you also get to collect feedback from early adopters and collect your own pool of customers for market research.
#3: What is the Value You are Offering?
Probably the best way to price any service - especially when it comes to online education - is to price it according to the value you are providing to your students or members.
This is also the hardest way because you don't have any concrete parameters or results on which to base your pricing. You can quantify the monetary result your community will bring to the members who join.
If you know that by joining your online community, members will get a chance to learn a new skill, get a new job or acquire new clients, you can get a pretty accurate idea of what your community is worth. For example, if, as a result of joining your online community after six months, a member gains a new client worth $1000, you can say with confidence that by charging $100/ month for community access, your members will get the value they seek and even make their money back.
If you cannot quantify the value you are offering as easily, you can always try to think of the time you are investing in the online community, and the value of the personal coaching the members are getting.
Finding the perfect price for your online community can be challenging. You first need to understand is how you want to structure the community. Do you want to bundle it with other products and offer it to existing customers who purchased an online course or coaching program from you? Or do you wish to sell access to the online community as a stand-alone product?
Most creators who sell online community access by themselves choose to charge a monthly or annual fee generally from $20 to $100/month. Before you come up with a price for your online community, make sure it is ready to launch, and you have enough members enrolled to create an engaging and thriving environment.
Once it is time to decide on the price, think about what is your ideal revenue, how much your ideal members are willing to pay and what is the value and the result you are offering through this online community.
- Creating a Free vs Paid Online Community: Should You Charge for Community Access?
- Why You Should Build an Online Community of Engaged Customers and How to Do it
- What Are The Different Types of Online Communities?
- 7 Steps to Revive Your Online Community and Increase Engagement
If you are looking for a dedicated platform that lets you build an online community and sell online courses, membership sites, coaching products and more, start your free Heights Platform account.
Heights Platform is the all-in-one solution for creators who want to start monetizing their knowledge and grow an online business.Build Your Online Community