The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Creating Paid Courses on Moodle… and Selling them!

The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Creating Paid Courses on Moodle… and Selling them!
April 19, 2018 Rucha Gotarkar

You’ve seen the signs— students are drawn to your free courses, you have a great community following, people love your content (or you know they will)— and now, the Moodleprenuer in you has awoken. It’s time to make some money! 😉

It’s always exciting, and a bit nerve-racking, to put your content out there, in public eye—for sale.  It’s not a matter of simply adding a price to your Moodle courses. You have to consider on a pricing plan, handle payments, support your customers’ queries and even do some marketing to bring traction to your now paid courses.

Wondering how exactly? Let’s find out.

RemUI

 

Selling Moodle Courses – Things You Ought to Know

As ironic as it may sound, “free content” sells. That is to say, people are drawn to free content at an exponentially faster rate than paid content. Hence the sign-ups you get for your free courses might not be proportional to your paid courses.

But that does not mean “paid content” (or courses in this case) does not sell. If it’s content that has value, it’s exclusive, it comprehensively covers the subject, then people will pay for a good course.

An important question is— how much would they be willing to pay?

Which brings us to the first point you need to consider before you create paid courses— pricing.

 

#1 Pricing Courses

Pricing your Moodle courses can be pretty tricky.

You’ll want to survey the e-learning market, study your competition, study various pricing models—do you want to go with paid memberships or per-course pricing, do you want to create pricing tiers—to help you come up with a suitable price point.

 

The lower the better? No!

Now, you might be tempted to keep the price low, especially if you’re starting out. But according to thinkific, that’s not what you should do. And, they make sense. They say, by keeping your prices too low, you devalue your offering, attract low-quality buyers and make it difficult for yourself to market the courses.

How to go about it then?

Consider setting a worthy price for your course—after all, you’ve got bills to pay, a site to maintain, put in an effort to create great content, sacrificing time with your family… Stop! Right there! Don’t think about all of that when you price your courses. That’s not what you’re asking your student to pay for.

You’re asking your students to pay for the value your course brings to them, for your expertise on the subject. That’s what you need to think about.

 

Some Actionable Pricing Tips

Instead of assuming the price consumers might be willing to pay, do a bit of research.

  • The length and duration are not a criteria to price your courses, the value is. Remember, students are going to pay for “what” the get to learn and “how” they get to learn it, not for the amount of content you’ve created.
  • If your course is super-awesome-guaranteed-to-give-consumers-the-desired-result, price it accordingly – competition does not matter. Pricing as much as your competition or less would be good if you offered the exact same content as them. Remember, it’s the value your course brings to the consumer that decides the price.
  • Offer downloadable material, webinars, one-on-one sessions, certificates to increase the value of your offering and keep students engaged.
  • Consider offering pricing plans to target a wider set of audience or offering instalment payment options for higher priced courses.
  • It’s important to keep testing the price point by actually changing the price of your course and checking the number of purchases, to finalize on a suitable price.

 

Unlike free courses that offer the least path of resistance to sign-ups, students see paid as an investment. So even though you might have fixed on the best value-for-money price tag, students will want to inquire about the course before they sign up; they’ll want your support and active involvement.

Which brings us to the next point you need to consider— support.

 

#2 Supporting Queries

When it comes to selling paid courses in Moodle (or any other LMS for that matter) you have to be ready to support buyers.

Not just before making a purchase but even buying a course. People might know how to use the system, they might find Moodle UI tricky, they might even have suggestions. As for you, you’ve got to be prepared.

As far as Moodle is concerned, guide them as much as possible. You could consider using a user tour, setting up a detailed “Help” document or even creating a dedicated FAQ section. This document can also include pre-sale questions.

remui user tour

Here’s a tip!

Support forums work great! That’s because you have help from fellow users to answer questions other users ask. Don’t rely on them answers though, but at times they can help. You could consider awarding them badges to keep them motivated and to encourage them to answer questions.

When it comes to your course content, you could create a course-specific support section. This could be a forum for a closed group (students who’ve enrolled in the course). A course specific support section can keep the content relevant to a course a user has taken. It’s also a great place to market recommended or related courses.

 

Do remember, questions might be sent your way via phone, chat, email or on social media, so keep an eye out across all portals. If you don’t want to be answering support calls in the middle of the night, it helps to explicitly mention support timings or keep support strictly via email.

Now, coming to the most important part— handling payments.

 

#3 Handling Payments and Refunds

You can’t create a paid course in Moodle without the option of handling payments. Unless you take all payments off-site. Once you’ve decided on the pricing, the obvious step is to set up an option on your website to handle course purchases.

But before getting down to the technical side of things, there are a few things you’d need to take into account.

  1. Create a detailed purchase documentation
    • You want to make sure that the terms of the purchase are clearly explained to the buyer and they agree to the terms before making a purchase. It’s like the OS or app update documentation you see with the “I accept” button. Your documentation needs to be as overwhelming.
    • You need to state your purchase cancellation or refund policy, your copyright policy, and your support policy. It’s a document you can ask customers to refer to in case there are any issues with the payments.
  2. Make sure your site can accept payments
    • If you plan on handling credit card payments— which you will be doing—your Moodle website needs to be PCI compliant. If you’ve got that covered, that’s great!
    • You’d also want the site to have an SSL certificate—that’s the trust signal or a green lock you see when Google opens your site. It tells your users your site is secure and purchases will be protected, making them trust you. SSL certificates are used as a criterion to rank your website higher up search results too. So if you’ve not thought of getting one, now is a good time as any.

 

Once you’ve got that out of the way, you can move on to picking the right payment gateway.

There are two popular options you can consider here:

  1. Using a payment gateway extension for Moodle
  2. Using WooCommerce

Both options have their pros and cons. Let’s take a detailed look at each.

 

Using a Payment Gateway to purchase Moodle courses

PayPal, Authorize.net, and Stripe are popular payments gateways and ones that many are familiar with. You yourself might have made a few purchases via one of these payment gateways.

payment gateways

To set up either of these options on Moodle, you’d have to install the respective plugin and then start selling paid courses. It’s as simple as that.

Pros:

  • quick setup
  • low maintenance

Cons:

  • limited options
  • payment restrictions in some country

Go for these payment gateways if you have a handful of courses and require basic course purchase handling.

RemUI

Using WooCommerce as the e-commerce platform for Moodle

WooCommerce is a full-fledged e-commerce platform. That is to say, it goes beyond simply being a means of handling payments. It offers comprehensive e-commerce features and provides you granular control over selling your courses.

With WooCommerce, not only do you get the functionality of the platform itself, you also unlock the possibility to use its various add-ons from the plugin ecosystem.

Pros:

  • pricing options (sale prices, student-specific pricing, bundle pricing, discount codes)
  • marketing options (email marketing integration, social media marketing integration)
  • the possibility of selling shippable course material (books, DVDs)
  • purchase/order reporting and analysis
  • availability of lead-generation extensions
  • payment options (different payment gateway extensions available)

Cons:

  • maintenance (WooCommerce needs a WordPress website)

 

Even though WooCommerce is an extension to WordPress, it’s a matter of using the Edwiser Bridge plugin to set it up as a selling platform for your Moodle courses. Go for WooCommerce if you want a complete e-commerce solution and want to go full-out with marketing your courses; it gives you that extra edge over standalone payment gateways.

With your payment platform sorted, you should be in the good to sell your courses.

But to make students aware of your awesome new courses, you’ll have to take care of one more aspect— marketing.

 

#4 Marketing Courses

You’ve created your course on Moodle, decided on the price, set up payment options, and are now waiting for it to be sold. Be ready, it’s going to be a long wait!

If your e-learning site isn’t popular, you’re just getting started, or if you’re not a known brand, sitting around and waiting for students isn’t going to work. You’ll need to put on your marketing hat and be ready to publicize your courses.

You have to start by clearly communicating your value proposition. If you don’t know what that means, think in terms of what the course means to your students. Think of the benefit of the course. For example, a course on carpentry is not just about learning how to work carpentry tools, it about giving students the freedom to create their own furniture—that’s the value your course brings to them.

You’ve got to make it clear who the course is for, and the value it brings; you have to make the course seem worthy of the price. Once you’ve done that, you have to spread your word far and wide.

 

If you’re on a budget

Make full use of social media platforms, especially the ones your target students frequent. For example, if you’re looking to attract a school or college-going crowd—creating a group or page on Facebook will work. If your target audience consists of professionals or businessmen, LinkedIn might be your preferred choice of platform. Quora works great for both.

Maintaining a blog and writing on relevant topics can help you get traffic organically, through search engines like Google.

The key is to keep posting content to attract the right kind of audience.

You could also reach out to influencers in your domain (bloggers, universities, schools) or affiliates and ask them to talk about or share your content. When it comes to offline marketing, you can print out flyers or make posters to market your course.

Getting listed on course directories, offering sample lessons or free courses, or giving out discounts, early-bird offers can increase the chances of student sign-ups.

 

If you can spend that extra dime

Go for paid marketing—that’s paid ads on Facebook or Google. Advertisements on relevant websites can help.

 

TL;DR

Creating and selling courses on Moodle might seem like the logical next step. But, apart from merely making your courses paid, you have to think about:

  • working out your pricing strategy,
  • selecting a payment platform,
  • putting in effort to support student queries,
  • and investing time in marketing your courses.

 

Remember: It’s your course content that will sell and keep students coming. If your course can offer something of real value to students, they’ll be more likely to take up more courses and recommend others to your learning website as well.

Make learning interesting, fun. Take time to clearly structure and articulate the content- create kickass content!

… And start selling! 🙂

Comment (1)

  1. Anoop 3 months ago

    Hey Rucha,

    Thanks for this in-depth guide on creating and selling paid courses on Moodle. 🙂

    Very helpful!

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