LearnWorlds News 6 MIN READ

Sell Online Courses with Payment Plans

Payment plans, or installments, are plans that allow for a fixed number of payments that a student must pay. Payment plans can increase your school’s revenue by offering higher priced courses in a more approachable way. How?

By breaking down the total payment of a course into manageable chunks of money brings much more subscriptions to your courses. Think of that: You don’t want to lose students because they can’t pay all the amount upfront. Besides, once a subscriber sees the value you provide they will be willing to continue the course and spend the rest of the installments.

Moreover, customers are given an impression of compassion and empathy when business owners offer more than one payment options. This impression makes them more likely to keep on coming back and spreading the good word!

No. Our payment plans are by far the most robust and flexible, ready to serve any pricing option and business model! You can choose between:

The opportunities are endless!

So, in this article, I am going to showcase you some concrete examples on how you can use payment plans so you can immediately increase traffic in your courses. But first, let’s look at some initial tips:

If you are starting, keep the amount of payments low to reduce the level of administrative headache. For example, start with just three payments at first and when you become comfortable with the process gradually increase this number.

You will make significantly more sales if you keep each payment in the double digits. Any price that crosses a double-digit border elicits a strong negative psychological response. For example, going from $99 to $100+ makes a huge difference from a mental standpoint. The number of payments involved does not seem to play as large of a part in the outcome.

Do not set the number of payments beyond a 12 month period. Otherwise, the total number of subscribers may become too much to manage over time.

Find the right balance and do not set installments (especially the first one) too small. Otherwise, you’ll end up dealing with more troublesome buyers.

The number of days to expiry for your course must be greater than the number of days that the payment plan lasts for. For example, if the number of monthly payments is set to 5, the course must not expire in less than 5 months.

It is reasonable enough that the total charges from the payment plan be slightly larger than the one off payment. Besides, you are not requiring all the amount upfront. You are rather giving students the chance to gradually pay of a course you are offering open hands. The total amount depends on the value of your course and the number of installments.

Think of it as a nice discount if they can pay with a single payment, as it will also be the preferable way for you!

Examples of payment plans

Now, if you have never set up payment plans before, here are some realistic examples from which you can draw ideas for your own plans:

Let’s begin with this simple example. You ask $400 for one-time purchase. However, instead of paying $400 your customers can choose to pay five monthly payments of $80.

This is how a course admin sees payment plans
This is how a course admin sees payment plans

So, your audience will have two payment options:

The user chooses the payment option they prefer
The user chooses the payment option they prefer

What they will see in your course page is this:

How payment options look like in your course page in Learnworlds
How payment options look like in your course page in Learnworlds

Often with a payment plan, you charge a little more since you aren’t getting all the money up front. For example, in the initial price above, you can raise each payment to $85 per month.

What would draw the attention of more students, a 4 payments of $225 plan or a 10 Payments of $99 plan? That’s right! The second plan. It has been proved that customers are more likely to opt for ten payments of $99 even though it results in paying 100 extra dollars over the other plan.

And vice versa: If you increase the payment from $99 to $125, the overall percentage of payment plan customers will go down even though the total overall cost will be less! Strange but true.

So, the payment plans you can create for a $900 course could be these:

For expensive courses provide an advanced payment option with an upfront payment. Don’t forget that some of your students will unsubscribe before they complete the course and pay all the installments.

Don’t provide more than two payment plans. Each additional option adds complexity. You may risk of consumers failing to purchase due to the paradox of choice (according to this paradox, the more options we have, the more we become less likely to make a decision!).

Remember, by charging too little you may attract people who won’t be good customers. But by charging too much, you might be missing out on a star student. It’s a delicate balance. Take things slow, gradually work your way up and look for your sweet spot.

In some cases, you might want to set up an upfront payment and have the next installment take place on a specific date. For example, if you are pre-launching a course you can make students pay an amount for the part of your course you are now selling and set a specific date, in the future, when the whole course will be released (and the installments will start running):

Another tactic you should have in mind is to give a relatively low initial payment so that students can easily access your course and see what you have to offer. Then, you can drip feed your course however you like.

Another way to facilitate student payments is to set longer intervals between the required installments. For example, instead of one-month intervals, you can ask students to pay every three or six months.

Still doubting about installments? You can make payments so easy for your audience!

Last things to consider

So, these were ten different scenarios of installments implementation. What else should someone consider so that payment plans work?

If customers feel like you did not provide the value you promised they might not feel as guilty about not providing the remaining payments. Keep working on it to make your content remarkable and be willing to attract committed students.

If your efforts to give customers payment options go awry, and invoices remain unpaid follow a predetermined plan. Will work out a new set of terms with your customer? Will you write it off as bad debt and restrict access to specific material? Only you can decide.

Create a beautiful online school without any technical skills.

Start free trial

You can read more on how to sell online courses from our massive guide.

(Visited 1,419 times, 1 visits today)
Course Designer & Content Creator at LearnWorlds

Anthea is a Course designer and Content Creator for the LearnWorlds team. She holds years of experience in instructional design and teaching. With a Master of Education (M.Ed.) focused in Modern Teaching Methods & ICT (Information & Communications Technology), she supplements her knowledge with practical experience in E-Learning and Educational Technology.