When it comes to how to sell courses online there are a million and one resources out there. From bold claims like ‘make $1million selling online courses’ to ‘this the ONLY way to sell your course online’, it’s hard to make sense of it all.
Knowing this, we’ve done all the hard work for you.
Combining our specialist elearning marketing knowledge and adept sales skills, we’ve sifted through hundreds of live sales course pages and how-tos in our time. We’ve seen trends shift over time. We know what have been sales gimmicks and the sales strategies that are here to stay.
If there’s a couple of things we’ve learnt it’s this:
- There is NO one size fits all in terms of content and copy
- There ARE effective tried and tested online course sales pages
And we’re going to share these with you.
Included in The Ultimate Guide to Online Course Sales Pages
- 30 pages of sales, marketing and copywriting principles every independent course creator should know
- Activities designed to reinforce these theories and get you writing targets sales copy for your online course
- Lots of handy tips to help you improve your written communications
- Access to our very own online course sales page design
- Advice from our very own Digital Marketing Specialist
Here’s what you’ll learn
By reading through this ebook and completing it’s activities you will:
- Know the core sales and marketing principles essential to helping you sell more online courses
- Understand the fundamental building blocks and structure of an effective online course sales page
- Have written engaging sales copy for your course targeting specific parts of a customers decision-making process
What is a course landing page?
A course sales page is a landing page that has all of the information about your course all in one place. The main objective of the page is to sell your course, either directly or by acquiring inbound enquiries. A sales page for your online course should do all the hard work for you; increasing your course’s visibility in search engines, answering FAQs and reducing the demand on you to convert prospects into sales.
All our clients who have adopted a course sales page have reported that their sales figures doubled in the first month once they used our template and populated it with appropriate copy as directed by this guide.
Choosing the right sales page
As we’ve touched on, there is no one size fits all when it comes to creating a sales page for your online course. Although the content and copy may vary between different online course sales pages, one thing remains the same… the layout.
The sales journey that you’ll guide your customer through will undoubtedly remain the same. But the challenges your customers are facing, the way you position your solution (ie, your course) and your unique value proposition will all be different.
By following the structure below and incorporating our sales copywriting tips you will;
- Drive more traffic to your website
- Get more enquiries
- Sell more online courses!
Understanding your audience
Before you begin to write copy for your online course sales page you’ll want to think about how you’ll position your course by asking yourself these three questions:
- Who is your target audience?
- What will they learn?
- What are the benefits?
Understanding these three components will help you to build your unique value proposition; the selling points of your course. With these in mind, you’ll want to structure your copy around answering these things, but ultimately, everything you write should be focused on one thing: SELLING MORE ONLINE COURSES.
Another careful consideration should be to your students’ skill level. If you’re offering something that anyone can do then make it clear. If there are prerequisites introduce these early on in your Overview.
We created a pre-course assessment for a client that was delivering training to students with varying abilities to ensure they completed courses that were right for their skill level.
Objections are the things that are stopping people from becoming customers. They are typically common concerns or reservations that block someone from fully committing. In any sales process, there will always be objections, but as you talk to more customers you will unveil more of the problems that you should be addressing in your sales pitch; in this case, your sales pitch is your online course sales page.
In advance of writing any copy, you might also want to think about potential objections so you can weave it into your online course sales page as you go. If you can anticipate and address these objections early on, you’ll be more likely to achieve a sale.
Likely objections can be:
- Is this relevant to me right now?
- Can I afford this course?
- Can I access the course with ease?
Provided your course is the right fit for someone, by including responses to potential objections throughout your sales copy, you’ll increase your chances of a sale without needing to get involved.
Ok, stay with us here. We’re not talking about Kentucky Fried Chicken. In the copywriting world, KFC stands for Know Feel Commit. To write compelling sales copy, as well as understand your target audiences, their woes and how your solution is the answer, you need to ensure that your words inspire action.
- What do you want your audience to KNOW?
- What do you want your audience to FEEL?
- What do you want your audience to COMMIT to?
Think about these things and review your content asking yourself if you’ve hit the mark with these three things throughout. As you edit and optimise you’ll see your content grow and elevate to the next level.
The online course sales page structure
The list below might look like a lot, but the aim is to get all the essential information that your customer will need to make an informed decision about buying your online course. Focusing on concise copywriting that really resonates with your target audience is key; you want the page to convert, ie sell more online course, while also taking the pressure off of you.
With a well-structured layout that includes the sales copy suggestions we’ve made in our sales page template, you can reduce the amount of time you spend dealing with customers. This can be good for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it’ll mean you can avoid addressing FAQs in a call or email, giving you time to invest in other things. Secondly, you’ll be able to move towards generating a passive income for yourself by selling courses with little intervention.
There are some instances where you may require someone to get in touch with you first should they want to purchase a course, and you can still allow for this. But by getting your lead to qualify themselves first (by answering objections and FAQs in the sales copy) you’ll have a higher quality lead that’s more likely to convert to a sale in a short space of time.
It’s a win-win scenario.
Direct enquiries can be good, but they can also be a waste of your time, especially if you’re answering the same basic questions time and time again. If you find yourself in this position, consider adding to the FAQs or addressing these concerns elsewhere in the sales copy.
Landing page structure
Your webpage’s basic structure:
- Three key points
- Overview (the problem)
- Offering (the solution)
- Learning outcomes
- About the instructor
- Social proof
- Trial or soft close
- Hard close
Below, we’ll go into detail about the purpose of each section and the type of content you should be filling it with to produce an effective online course sales page. We understand that not everyone is a wordsmith, but by understanding a potential customer’s decision-making process replicated in the proposed structure and by learning more about the sales copy we can teach you how to sell more online courses.
An online course landing page template
We’ve created a template below as an example of what a course sales page should look like so you get an idea of the formatting and presentation.
Using this sale page template and the guide below you’ll understand the full how and why behind each section so you can create a sales page of your own that will surely increase conversions!
Oh, and, we’ve even made sure to include some helpful tips in the text too!
Want us to design an online course sales page for you? We can do that! Whether you need design or sales copy services, please get in contact with us.
Some course titles will only include the topic of the course, for example, Masterclass: Sell courses online, while others might choose to include the author; The Online Course Selling Masterclass by Plume.
But a catchy course title is one that is both descriptive and fairly short – you should aim for below 10 words. It should include your course’s theme, the level it’s aimed towards and any other additional keywords that you might wish to rank for.
‘Sell more courses: Beginners guide to sales and marketing for course creators’…
is far better than…
‘Sales and Marketing for course creators’ or ‘ The beginner’s guide to sales and marketing for course content creators, entrepreneurs and teachers by Kelly Anne Newcomb, BA (hons).’
Three key points
What makes your course stand out? Is it the number of lessons? How many hours of video content do you have? Does the course include interactive elements? Is the course certified in some way?
Don’t waste this space, there will be plenty of opportunity for you to write all about the content of your course, client satisfaction and your own qualifications/ expertise.
Overview (the problem)
Your overview should present the problem that your learners are trying to solve with your course. Think about the difficulties that your customer is facing. Why would they be seeking a course like yours in the first place? What issues does their business have? What skills do they need or want to improve? Does your course include something that your competitors don’t?
You could create a scenario or narrative by putting yourself in your customers’ shoes. In some cases, this will really help if you’re serving a particular niche but can be more challenging if your course is a little broader.
Your customer may want to:
- Sell more elearning marketing packages
- Learn more about selling online courses
- Move into a new career
- Get a promotion
- Win bigger client accounts
- Earn more
- Diversify or find their niche
Really take the time to list these different kinds of people and problems – by doing this early on you can focus your content and provide valuable sales copy that translates into more sales of your online course.
You may also want to consider how your course solves an issue that your competitors don’t. Is there a topic you cover that they don’t? Do you have an approach that’s unique to your business? You can use this information to differentiate your course and establish your unique value proposition. However, if you feel like you offer something unique that might not really impact the sale overall then you could consider omitting it from the sales copy.
Remember, this is your sales pitch but it must be customer orientated at all times – that’s the key ingredient to making your online course stand out.
You may have heard the saying, list the benefits, not the features…and it’s true, features don’t elicit an emotional response from your customers compared to showing them the difference your course will make to their life.
But before you jump into how your course is the solution to all of their issues, list out your core benefits in bullet points. Directly address the problems you’ve identified in your overview. It’s essential that you have an insight into your audience’s challenges so that you can address them in this section, linking them directly into the course content.
- Increase sales of your online course by incorporating proven sales strategies
- Generate more traffic to your sales page through copywriting for SEO
- Decrease lead times by including content that’s essential for your customer’s decision-making process
Notice that these examples start with a tangible benefit. Leading with the value shifts your customer’s thinking towards the positive outcomes of your course and their own potential RoI.
Follow each point by linking in a bit more about the topic, introducing how this can be achieved without giving too much away.
Bonus points for including stats which show there’s data behind your claims. Having this evidence will help you sell more online courses and outrank your competitors who might be offering something similar to you.
If you’ve created a scenario or narrative in the overview address it here.
Begin to bring in those benefits and the content your course will cover. What skills will your students learn? How will it solve those business issues? What value are you bringing?
Try to move away from saying that people will learn everything to do with a subject area. For example, instead of saying, ‘you will learn SEO’, say, ‘with this course, you’ll learn the technical and onsite SEO fundamentals that will set your online course apart from others, making it more discoverable in the SERPs’. Keep it focused on the main challenges your customers are facing and play on that fear of missing out.
Expand on more than just the skills: Weave in how this might help the individual move into a new career, get a pay rise or sell more of a particular service as this has greater value than a bullet-pointed list of subjects. It’s also essential to consider the common objections your course might face and to handle these within the natural flow of your content within your course sales page.
Learning outcomes (also known as learning objectives) differ to Benefits as these will be the skills that someone will learn by completing your course. Avoid the temptation to be brief and always look for a way to link the learning outcomes to a challenge your customer is facing.
To achieve your goal of selling more online courses, we suggest you take this a step further, by linking it back to that core problem/solution.
There are two ways of presenting your learning objectives, firstly, through a summary of learning or by using a summary of assessments. We suggest you draw on both approaches to write your learning outcomes.
Summary of learning
One way to approach this is to summarise the abilities of your learners after they’ve finished the course – thinking about what they’ve learned and what they’ll understand from the course after finishing it.
In this course you will learn:
- Social Media Marketing; increase social engagement by understanding the nuances of popular social media platforms.
- Copywriting; drive targeted traffic to your website with well researched and written copy.
- Google Ads; create a thorough campaign focussed focused on maximising RoI and conversions.
See how these learning outcomes are more descriptive than presenting a simple list of skills? It’s a good opportunity to talk about what you’re covering and why, in a way that’s easily digestible on your online course sales page.
Summary of Assessments
Another way of presenting this is by focusing on writing outcomes based on the assessments that your students will complete.
When you finish the course you will have:
- Activated social accounts across Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook and begun to post on them daily.
- Created a 1000 word blog for a website that incorporates all the copywriting tips covered in this course.
- Have a Google Ads account with a set of highly targeted ads ready and waiting to go live.
Obviously, this second approach is highly dependent on the course content you currently have in place.
Now is the time to lay out anything else your course offers. For those who land on your page looking for key information, these extras will help legitimise your course.
The types of people who land on your page and scan it for key info are typically very top level; just looking at weighing up different options. This information may not seem all that important given everything you’ve covered up until this point, but they are key in separating your online course from the rest.
Things you can include here could be:
- Certifications and accreditations
- Offline content/ downloadable lessons
- One-on-one tuition
- Individual feedback on assessments
- Mobile access
- Awarding bodies
- Information packs/ resources
- Interactive content
- Any official marks or seals of approval
- Live or online support
- Access to exclusive support/ member groups
It’s all about selling the value that your course offers. Everything from the length of the course to official accreditations can be the winning differentiating factor, particularly in the case of online courses which have lots of competition. Where many courses may cover similar content, the legitimacy of your course and the expertise you offer could make or break a sale.
If you’ve got lots to say here, you may want to leave some of these things out and add them into the FAQs section. Choose the things you think demonstrate the most value and credibility, and if you think that some things need more of an explanation or simply aren’t so important then move them down into that section of your online course sales page.
About the instructor
Here’s your opportunity to show off – think of it as a cross between a mini CV and an elevator pitch. Similarly to the Extras, who you are and your level of expertise in the field could be the thing that seals the deal.
Always write your bio in third person to avoid sounding big-headed and write as concisely as possible. A good place to start is by giving yourself some kind of title. Perhaps you consider yourself to be ‘the online course selling guru’; this may go against everything you know but psychologically this has a lot of power. In referring to yourself as an expert you’re showing that you believe in yourself and that you’re willing to put your reputation on the line. It’s that confidence that will spark a sense of trust and credibility in your customers.
Another key factor to address is your ability to achieve the results you say you will in your course. Did you create a magic course sales page template that increased your sales by 50%? Or maybe you’ve travelled the world teaching entrepreneurs how to sell their online courses face-to-face and now you want to share it with everyone else? Whatever you put here, you need to prove you are the person who will provide a solution that will solve your customers’ problems.
Aside from your expertise, you may want to include a little bit about your motivation for offering your course or expertise. This helps to create a connection with your learners as people respond to altruism. Giving your knowledge to others is wholly unselfish, so tap into your feelings around this.
Another way to demonstrate your credibility through your bio, is to list out your work history, speaking engagements/appearances, awards and achievements then choose those most relevant to the course you’re offering.
If you’ve worked with any major brands or spoken at any industry conferences then include these too. Remember you can always summarise by saying things like, ‘Over the past 5 years Kaine has spoken at over 20 industry-leading elearning events’.
If you feel bored reading it, then it’s time to go back and revise. You want to engage your readers, so if you’ve caught yourself waffling it’s time to draft that paragraph again and chop it down so your point is clear and punchy.
Without social proof you will have a tougher time convincing someone to part with their money.
Social proof demonstrates that your course is actually effective in helping people achieve their goals. Does your course bring the value you said it would? This section should prove it.
The positive language used to describe your course can help with search engine optimisation (SEO) as people search for things like, ‘best sales page copywriting course’ and ‘effective online course sales page’. SEO is an extremely effective way of ensuring you stand out from competitors and sell more online courses. With SEO you’ll increase your visibility and stand out in the search results as search engines favour your sales page.
When paired with search engine marketing like paid ads and content, you can become an industry leader in your sector. Depending on the level of competition in your sector, ads can be an inexpensive way of driving traffic to your website. But this should be done in conjunction with SEO to keep costs down. Awareness and implementation of just the basic SEO fundamentals make up just 20% of all SEO tactics, but accounts for 80% of the impact. So if your budget is limited, stick to applying the core principles of SEO.
Reviews are a powerful and compelling part of the customer sales journey – hearing reviews from other customers can influence a purchase, so much so that a negative review can be enough to stop someone from moving forward with a purchase. This demonstrates just how important it is to be receptive to feedback and deliver high-quality content.
When it comes to choosing ones to include on your online course sales page, potential customers are likely to be swayed by testimonials that link back to the learning outcomes you’ve stated.
‘The course helped me learn the basics of online course marketing and increased my sales by 20%’ is far better than one that simply says ‘the online course sales training was really informative and I enjoyed it a lot’.
By now you might be scratching your head about how to begin collecting testimonials. A good place to start can be sending out an automated email following completion of your course. This email should include a:
- Thank you
- Feedback form using star ratings
- An open response asking for a review
You can use Google Forms to easily create surveys for collecting this data (just be mindful of GDPR). Scoring aspects of the course using a star rating or Likert scale is the quickest way to get feedback, though leaving open responses to allow for more detailed feedback should also be included – though not necessary.
By making the questionnaire quick and easy to fill out you’ll be more likely to get feedback on your online course. Including open responses will give you the opportunity to get precise feedback on elements of your course and are a great way to get suggestions for improving your course that you might have otherwise not thought of.
Another method of getting testimonials is to use those posted online through Facebook or using Google My Business. More on leveraging digital marketing for your online course can be found here.
It’s good practice to follow up with those who complete your course to see the tangible impact your course had on your learners. If you can confidently say, ‘some graduates have seen their sales grow by 100%’ or ‘80% of graduates saw an RoI in just one month’, you’ll truly show the value of your online course beyond the learning outcomes. These stats really demonstrate the value that your students’ investment in your course has bought, so try to collect this data where possible.
Trial or Soft close
Here you want to include a trial or soft close – at this point, most people will have all the info they need to buy the course from you and complete their purchase. Your job is to make this easier for them by adding a simple Call to Action and a button to nudge them onto the next phase.
Some simple CTA examples:
- Buy now
- Register your interest
- Contact us now
You can also offer a trial close in conjunction with a number of these other course sales page techniques.
You may not have come across this term before, but you’ll have probably seen it in practice. Price anchoring is where you break down the total cost of what you’re offering as if you were charging full price, and then comparing it to the cost of your course. We see this method used a lot when the online course being sold might seem ‘expensive’.
This can be presented in two ways;
Get our online course sales and marketing lessons worth over £1500 for just £1000.
6 lessons on sales copywriting = £500
6 lessons of online course marketing strategy = £500
Access to 5 specialist guides = £250
2 fully assessed exams with tailored feedback = £150
15 mins of one-on-one time with a course leader = £100
Total course value = £1500
You pay = £1000
How to use price anchoring?
Use price anchoring with caution. There are some cases where you don’t really want, or need, to put a price on everything. Sales strategies vary between course and industry, so learn how to sell more online courses by testing different approaches.
Remember, perceived value and monetary value are two different things. For some courses, you can’t put a price on what you offer because what you offer is bespoke or unique. Other times, you need to consider the value of your expertise. If you’re applying your 15 years of industry knowledge to a course that has 6 hours of video lessons, you could argue that that should be priced higher than someone who only has 2 years of experience selling a course, even if they have 8 hours of video lessons.
Everything is relative. Know your worth – you don’t always need to justify your price or price yourself competitively alongside other courses. Remember that a higher cost can also be seen as a sign of higher quality, so make sure you demonstrate this in your sales copy.
Offers are a great incentive for customers. When there’s a potential saving, the perceived value increases. Offers don’t have to be discounts, in fact, we suggest you create value in other ways – typically at very little cost:
- Additional reading materials and guides
- Exclusive access to a private members group
- Taster course
- Trial period
- 15-minute one-on-one session
- Access to a webinar
- Time-sensitive offer or discount that expires if they do not act now
When you offer something for nothing it reduces the risk involved as people aren’t committing to a full purchase. There’s also the age-old adage: possession is nine-tenths of the law. In essence, ownership is easier to maintain once someone already has it in their possession.
Want to understand the sales strategies needed for you to sell more online courses? We suggest testing the trial close without offering a discount as this can often lead to permanent depreciation of your course. Ideally, you want people to pay the price you value it at with discounts being limited to repeat customers, referrals, or during times of the year when sales of your online course slump.
An inspirational ending injects positivity and affirmation into your sales page. Cosmetic brands tend to use a lot of sayings which encourage their customers to buy because they deserve to treat themselves. They almost give them permission to make a purchase. You may want to emulate this.
Your copy could include:
- Stand out from your competitors
- Unlock your potential
- Transform your business
- Achieve something great
- Don’t hold yourself back
- Make today the day you make a change
It might sound cheesy, but much like the unique value propositions throughout the sales copy, using emotive language elicits a similar response in your customers. A lot of your online course sales page so far has really revolved around tangible evidence of the value your course can bring; the part that appeals to someone’s rational decision making. But using emotive language seals the deal with someone’s heart. And once you have someone’s whole head and heart convinced, you’re sure to secure a sale.
The whole point of an online course sales page is to answer those burning questions. While we’ve really focused on course content, value and credibility, sometimes there are other answers that can’t be drafted into the initial content. Here’s where an FAQs section is useful. You can do this on-page using an accordion to keep the section neat and easy to navigate.
Things you may want to consider answering may be:
- Whether the course can be viewed offline
- How long access to the course is
- The type of course content that’s included
- The format of extra materials like downloadables
- The logistics of assessments or exams
- How certificates are received
- How much support someone can expect
- Enrolment, including course start and end dates
You may have answered some of these FAQ suggestions here in previous sections so go back and scrutinise your copy. If you’ve got something better to say than talking about the logistics of enrolment dates or the additional materials supplied as part of your course then leave it out of the main body of your sales page and include it in the FAQs section.
This is your final chance to close. Keep the CTA simple. Bring in that inspirational language if you want to.
Ideally, you should lay it out like this:
- Final CTA; Buy now and get instant access to our Ultimate guide to online course sales pages
- Button; BUY NOW
- Inspirational Close or Risk Reversal
You really should keep it that simple. Anything else you feel like you’ve missed should be included elsewhere. If you can’t find a home for it, ask yourself, is it really necessary on the sales page?
Another compelling sales strategy is the risk reversal. This can be included in your trial close or can be used as the ace up your sleeve. It’s really up to you how much you want to flaunt it or not.
Most of us have seen this in practice in other retail settings such as flexible return policies that offer some kind of ‘love me or return me’ spiel that lets the buyer know that they’ve got nothing to lose if they’re not satisfied.
A lack of risk, or seeing a company so confident in their product that they’ll offer a policy of this kind makes it easier to part with cash. With a customer-centric policy like this, customers instantly have more trust in the brand. Unless what you’re offering truly is awful then you shouldn’t encounter many customers wanting their money back.
What we’ve tried to give you is the best online course sales template that we could. We love working with e-learning clients and are always keen to see them sell more online courses by optimising page layout and sales copy.
We really did spend hours trawling through sales pages and guides to give you the layout and copy that will convert best. Beyond our research, we’ve applied our experience from live projects as well as drawing on our extensive sales, marketing and copywriting training to give you pointers that will help you craft meaningful sales copy.
If you follow the guide and the sections throughout – no matter what online course you offer – your new sales page will attract more traffic and convert leads into sales in a shorter space of time.
Your next steps
We’ve no doubt that you have lots of food for thought. Now it’s time for you to think about your course and it’s value; in terms of your expertise and to your customers. However, we understand that online course sales page copywriting and web page design isn’t everyone’s forte.
We will help you sell more online courses – if you don’t know where to start, begin by sending us an outline of your project and your needs and we’ll arrange a time to chat it through in more detail.