Tips for Pricing Your Certification Program

Not sure what to charge for your certification program?

Determining the right price for your certification program is a difficult endeavor. On the one hand, you don’t want to price too low because prospective students will associate a low price with low value. On the other hand, you don’t want to price too high that your program is no longer affordable by the majority. How do you find the right price for your certification program?

In this guide, we’ll discuss how to arrive at a price that reflects the value of your program without alienating your prospective students. Let’s get started.

Here’s a list of questions to ask yourself to determine the right price for your certification program.

5 Basic Questions to Determine Pricing

When pricing your certification program, consider the following:

1. Time Investment – How long will it take for a student to complete your program?
A 3-hour program should cost less than a 3-month program.

2. Income Goal – How much will the student stand to gain in terms of income from this program?
How will your certification program impact the student’s earning potential?

3. Your Brand’s Reputation – Does your organization have a solid reputation in the industry or are you a newcomer?
The answer to this question will determine how much you can charge initially for your certification program. Customers are willing to pay more for organizations that carry a positive reputation in the industry.

4. Type of Customer – Are you appealing to an individual customer who’s bettering themselves or are you dealing with a business that invests in its team?
Businesses often have more buying power than individual customers.

5. Proven Benefits – Do you have social proof to back up your claims?
Testimonials and reviews can drive up the perceived value and price of your certification program.

Evaluate Your Own Costs

The next step in determining the price for your certification program is to calculate how much you’ve invested in your certification program.

From hiring teachers to developing associated software to creating a landing page, how much money have you spent in bringing your program to fruition? Tally up the amount, then determine how much you need to make in order to recoup your investment.

Let’s say that you’ve spent $10,000 in total to develop your certification program. At the very least, you want to break even. However, you’d like to turn a profit. With this in mind, how many students do you think will realistically take your program over the next year? 500, 100, 50? Not sure? Check out this next point…

Ask Your Audience

Often it’s best to poll the very people you’re targeting for your certification program. Exactly how much are they willing to pay for your certification program? Survey your audience and ask about a specific amount.

Choose the amount that’s selected by at least a third of your survey participants.

However, keep this mind: Most of the people who answer your survey won’t actually buy your certification program.

Research shows that only about 2% of your email subscribers will actually purchase your certification program. If you have 2,000 people on your email list, around 40 will purchase your certification program. To recoup the $10,000 that you invested in your certification program, you’ll need to charge each customer $250.

Utilize Pricing Psychology

No guide on pricing would be complete without a look at pricing psychology. Let’s take a look at three of the most popular pricing hacks:

People Like the Number 9

There’s a reason why prices end with .99. Although there may be only one penny difference between $0.99 and $1.00, a number ending in 9 always has an edge. When pricing your certification program, consider ending in 9.

People Like Context

Reframe your price. Instead of focusing on the total price, break it into smaller bites. While $250 may sound like a lot to your prospective student, you can market your 3-month course as less than $3 per day. By comparing it to the price of a cup of coffee, you’ll make the premium price easier to digest.

People Like Free

Although the point is to charge for your certification program, you can give away something for free to get your prospective customer on the hook. Whether that’s an introductory training module or a downloadable workbook, a free gift can persuade people to actually buy your certification program.

Offer Multiple Price Points

You’ll attract more customers with multiple pricing tiers. Not everyone wants the full, premium program.

One of the benefits of offering a two- or three-tiered price for your certification program is that the customer will compare your services to each other and not to your competition. It’s an important distinction that cannot be over-emphasized.

This method, known as price anchoring, allows you to position one product against a higher-priced product. For example, place your $250 certification program next to your $500 certification program plus premium add-ons, and all of a sudden, $250 seems a lot more reasonable.

Decide on a Price and A/B Test It

The only way to ultimately decide how much to charge your customer is to choose a price and then study the data. Often, it’s effective to choose two separate prices and conduct an A/B test to determine which price resonates more with your intended audience.

This is the only way to decide how much to charge for your certification course: Click To Tweet

Market the same program but choose different prices, and see which one moves the needle. If you’re able to get buy-in at the higher price, continue to test higher until you determine the maximum that your customers are willing to pay.

Offer Unlimited Access to Your Certification Program Via Membership

Instead of charging separately for your certification program, you can adopt a membership pricing model. In this model, your members will receive unlimited access to your entire certification program in exchange for a flat monthly or annual fee.

The benefit of this model is that your members will only pay once and not twice (once for membership to your organization and again for entrance in your certification program). Paying only once for a program-inclusive membership will lower the barrier for entry into your certification program. More members are likely to enroll in your certification program, which ultimately leads to referring marketing, as we’ve outlined here.

Another benefit you gain is the ability to increase the price for membership accordingly. Because all of your members will have access to your certification program, you can raise the rates of your membership fee accordingly. Doing so will increase your recurring monthly or annual revenue.

Offer a Payment Plan

Plan to charge a premium price for your certification program, but worried that your customers won’t be able to afford it? Consider instituting a payment plan.

A payment plan is also useful if your certification program requires a large investment of time. Why not allow your students to pay as they go? Doing so instantly makes your certification program more accessible to a wider audience without settling for less.

Although payment plans are an excellent option, be careful. To ensure that you’re not defrauded, students on payment plans shouldn’t be given unfettered access to your entire program. Only unlock portions of your program after each payment.

Final Thoughts

While pricing your certification program does require some trial and error, these tips should minimize the most common and egregious errors.

If you haven’t already, sign up for your free trial of Accredible and start creating digital certificates for your certification program in minutes.

Don’t forget to download this list of questions to find the perfect price for your certification program.

Mark is a tech entrepreneur passionate about solving problems through software, and is currently the Marketing Lead at Accredible. If he’s not working he’s probably running or enjoying craft beer.

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