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Issue #7 • July 2017

The Anatomy of a Compelling Course Sales Page (And How to Make One Yourself)

Business Models

So you’ve just finished creating your online course and now it’s time to start promoting. You’ve spent months creating this valuable content and now you need something that will help you quickly and directly describe your online course to your audience.

Now, you already have a lot going on. You’re running your business, whether that's full-time or as a side hustle, you’re making time for your family and friends while still finding time to take care of yourself. So where does that leave time for you to be a sales(wo)man for your new course? It doesn’t leave much time, does it?

How do you sell your online course without spending hours on emailing and pitching? Create an online course sales page that sells it for you.

What is an online course sales page?

Generally speaking, a sales page creates a focused and direct action to pitch one thing. Your online course sales page has one main goal– to persuade your reader to enroll in your online course. It’s where a visitor turns into a buyer.

Every word and image on your sales page needs to point to that goal because this is the stage at the reader’s journey where they’ll decide whether or not they want to take your online course. Your sales page can make or break the success of your online course.

So how do you make it a success?

Three questions to ask before you write your online course sales page

As usual, before you can start putting together your online course sales page, there is a bit of pre-work involved. For your sales page to work as well and efficiently as you want it to, there are a few things you need to be completely solid on before you set out to implement what you’ll learn later in this article.

There are three main questions to ask yourself and be able to answer in full confidence to know your online course sales page will be a success.

1. Who is your online course for?

This question is all about knowing your audience. Who is your target market? You should have a niched-down audience in mind who will be interested in your online course. You’ve got to know their pain points, what they’re struggling with, what they’ve tried before, where they’re hanging out online– all those questions that will help you find them and speak directly to their needs and desires.

2. What is the goal of your online course?

What problem does your online course solve for your students? What will they accomplish once done?

3. What is the benefit of your online course?

Your students are looking for transformation and your online course should help them achieve that result. Think about ways your students’ lives will be different after they take your online course– Will it improve their quality of life? Will they advance in their career? Will it help them find more free time or less stress?

Make sure you have a long list of these benefits. It will help you once you get into the actual writing of your online course sales page.

Once you have the answer to these three questions, you’ll be ready to create an online course sales page that is direct and targeted.

How to write your sales page

Now that you know who you’re writing your online course sales page to and what its goals and benefits are, it’s time to actually start writing. I know this stage can be super intimidating. Writing sales copy is very different than writing your daily blog posts. But with a little direction, I know you can write clear and convincing sales copy that turns readers into customers. Here are a few tips to work on while you’re writing:

Be direct and to the point- The people landing on your online course sales pages aren’t looking to sit down and read a novel. They’re skimming your page to find out who you are, what you’re selling, and how it can level up their life. To do this:

  • Write strong headlines
  • Use bullet points
  • Write in short sentences

Don’t be afraid of selling on this page- This is the place to be a little more pushy than normal. Your reader expects to try to be sold something on a sales page so take advantage of that. This is one of the only places you can be very blunt about being salesy, so sell it like you mean it.

Create urgency- Your readers need to know why they need to purchase your online course now instead of later. You can get them to take action by writing strong call to action buttons and headlines. I’ll get more into this later in the article.

Position your online course as a solution to a problem- When you’re writing your online course sales page, you need to help your readers understand that their life will be better after they take your online course. To do this, write about the benefits more than just the features of your course.

For example, if your online course is about cake decorating don’t just say, “You’ll learn how to pipe icing flowers.” Instead say something about the time-saving icing skills that will help them get more done in the kitchen in less time. Thinking this way helps your potential student think, “Ok, this course will help me be more efficient with my work so I don’t have to work as long.”

Mostly, just write copy that you’d want to read. The people who end up taking your online course will be the ones that identify with you as a person, a teacher, and a creator, so it’s not crazy to think they’ll probably gravitate to the same style of writing that you like. Just be yourself, show your personality, and put on your sales(wo)man hat.

How to design your sales page

Designing a sales page is all about arranging elements in a way that convinces your reader to click the sign-up button and start your course. You need to make it easy for them to learn about the course and understand why they should buy it.

If your course has its own brand colors and fonts that are used within it (perhaps in PDF downloads or in video titles), the sales page should definitely tie in with this brand so that everything looks and feels cohesive. Otherwise, make sure the sales page ties in with your own personal branding. If visitors recognize brand elements on the sales page from your blog or other previous work, you’ll be building on that trust you’ve already developed with them, and trust goes a long way in selling a course.

Here are a few other things to consider when designing your sales page:

  • Break the information up- Don’t bury all your features and benefits within paragraphs of text. Make it easy for people to skim your page by using bullet points, headings with icons, or multiple sections. If someone wants to see how many modules are in your course you want them to be able to find that information as fast as possible.
  • Take the reader on a journey- At the top of your page, consider what your reader needs to know to hook them in, and let that message sink in. You can get more detailed in the middle of the page, but as you lay it out, keep asking yourself, “What’s the most useful thing to tell them next?” For example, don’t bombard them with detailed information on your pricing structure before you’ve told them about all the benefits they’ll get from the course.
  • Make it easy to sign up- It sounds obvious, but the easier you make it for students to sign up, the more likely it is that they’ll enroll. Use attractive call-to-action buttons and make your sign-up form as short as possible and easy to fill out, to limit any friction. You don’t want a confusing payment form to stand in the way of someone signing up! Give your students a good sign-up experience and they’ll be starting your course on a positive note.

What elements to include on your online course sales page

Now that you know the basics of how to write and design your online course sales page, who it’s for, and the main goal, it’s time to start putting all the pieces together. The next step is figuring out what you want on sales page to help you attract the right students and sell your online course.

The most effective online course sales pages typically contain most, if not all, of the elements listed below:

A compelling headline

Your headline is likely the first thing your reader notices and will likely determine if they stay on your page to learn more or immediately click out of it. That means you have to pack a powerful punch in a very small space.

A good headline will grab your reader’s attention, convey the goal of your online course, and hook your reader into wanting more. To do this:

Think about how your readers refer to themselves. Are they girl bosses? Moms who make it work? Creative fiction authors? Millennial marketers? Whatever they are, call it out. Let them know you’re speaking directly to them.

Be very brief and very targeted. If you’re writing to everyone, you’re going to attract no one. For your sales page to work, you need to speak to a very niched-down audience who will be interested in your online course.

Remember to focus on the benefits. Tell your readers how their life will be better after they’ve completed your course instead of just telling them what’s inside.

Write your headline and then rewrite over and over again. Sometimes it takes a whole page of headline ideas until you come up with the right one. So don’t be afraid to take your time.

Podcast Like a Boss
Podcast Like A Boss

 

A descriptive subtitle

The subtitle is the qualifier of the headline. It’s slightly longer than your headline  (usually one or two sentences) and can go into more detail to tell your reader what they’re getting with your online course. Think of it as your value proposition or your promise to your readers.

It needs to be concise, clear, and descriptive all at the same time. I know this sounds hard, but you know you’ve done it well when your subtitle answers these three questions:

  • Who is this online course for?
  • Who can benefit from it?
  • What is the return on my investment?
The Focus Course
The Focus Course

 

High-quality images

Let’s face it–we’re all visual people. A pretty graphic will always help keep a reader on your online course sales page and will convey information faster than words can. They will help break up your copy and can sometimes show your reader results from taking your online course. To take advantage of this, there are a couple key ways to include images on your sales page:

Header- Make sure your header is high-quality and relatable to your course. If you don’t have any original photos to use, a quality stock photograph is always a great option.

6 Figure Network Marketing Blueprint
6 Figure Network Marketing Blueprint

 

Mockups- Online courses can be hard to create an image for. It’s not like a physical product you can take a picture of. Instead, you can create mockups of what the main page or lesson plans look like on a laptop or an iPad.

User Research Mastery
User Research Mastery

 

Charts/graphs/diagrams- These work great for helping your reader see before and after results. You can survey your students for data and use that data to show statistics, success rates, and more.

Video- This is the most powerful type of visual you can use on your online course sales page. People love watching videos. Whether it’s you telling the story that led you to create your online course, a testimonial from a student, or a demo of how your course works, you’re sure to keep a reader’s attention by adding a video to your sales page.

Goodbye 9 to 5
Goodbye 9 to 5

 

Call to action (CTA) buttons

The main objective of your online course sales page is to convert your reader into a student. To make that happen, you need to give them an easy way to opt into your class. This happens with your CTA buttons.

Your CTA buttons need to be prominent (remember, you shouldn't be afraid to push a sale here), bold, and in more places than the very bottom of your page. To do all this, here are a couple tips on CTA buttons:

Stick those CTA buttons at the beginning, middle and end of your sales page. Don’t make someone scroll all the way down your sales page if you’ve already hooked them with your headline and subtitle.

Use colors that pop. Your CTA button needs to stand out from the rest of your sales page, so think back to color theory and find a color that fits in your brand style guide, but adds a little contrast.

The text on the CTA button should be simple and catchy. The CTA button should create an excitement about enrolling while occupying a small space. To help you out, here are some strong CTA words to use in for your online course sales page CTA button:

Strong Call to Action Words

Get organized once and for all
Get organized once and for all

 

Launch your online business
Launch your online business

 

How to Price Your Products & Services to Grow Your Business
How to Price Your Products & Services to Grow Your Business

 

An opening story

To introduce the problem your reader is facing, you need to tell them a story. Stories, when told well, can make almost anything more relatable and convey a point stronger than just saying the point outright.

Your opening story will show your reader that you understand their pain point. You can even tell your own story if that fits with the course. By doing this, you build trust with your reader over a shared experience and they can start to believe that if you changed, so can they.

Remember that it’s all about that transformation– that’s why people will eventually buy your course. They’re looking for a way to create change in their life, so use this opening story to help your reader visualize that. Define the problem, tell them what happens if they don’t fix it, and then lead them into how you can help them find the solution.

Embracing Simple
Embracing Simple

 

Course description

Your course description should be a short statement about the expected results of your online course. Tell your reader what the course is, give them a few bullet point benefits of taking your course, and then list out exactly what’s inside.

Use this section to list out the modules, lesson plans, and any bonus (or extra) course material to give your potential students a full idea of what they can expect from enrolling in your course.

Crash course into the online business world
Crash course into the online business world

 

Testimonials

There’s a reason you look at Yelp before hitting up a new restaurant. You want to know if other people had a good experience before you spend your money there. Having testimonials for your online course is the same thing. Social proof increases your credibility and can help a lot with conversions.

To get testimonials, ask students who have already been through your class to write up a sentence or two about how your course changed their life. These can be written or in video form. And if this course is new, create a beta or pre-sale release and ask for testimonials from the students who participated. Other types of social proof could include:

  • Data about the number of people you've helped
  • Press coverage from publications you're featured in
  • Trust seals
Master Your PR
Master Your PR

 

Instructor bio

Don’t forget to answer those basic questions of who are you and why someone should listen to you. Near the end of your online course sales page, include a short bio about yourself. The point is to assure your reader that you have the experience and knowledge to teach this course. Just a simple three to four sentences talking about your past accomplishments and any accolades will do here.

Unmistakable
Unmistakable

 

FAQ

Before there’s even a chance for them to get skeptical, give your readers answers to some of the most common questions they might have. An FAQ section is usually a list of the five to 10 most common potential questions your students might have. The point of doing this is to help them overcome the most common objections and concerns about taking your online course before they even have them.

ASL Done Right
ASL Done Right

 

Pricing details

I know talking about money is always a little weird, but if you’re making your online courses to help you earn a living, you have to charge for it. And your sales page is an obvious and necessary place to talk about pricing for your online course.

This section of your online course sales page should be very clear and straightforward. List out your price, tell them if you offer different tiers of pricing, and make sure your CTA button is ready to be hit.

The Ultimate Homeschool Organization Course
The Ultimate Homeschool Organization Course

 

Satisfaction guarantee

Adding a money back guarantee at the end of your sales page is very common practice. By doing this, you’re taking all the risk of buying your course off your student’s shoulders and showing your confidence in your product.

You’ll mostly see a 100% money back guarantee within the first 30 days of purchase, but feel free to do whatever feels right to you for your online course and your students.

A P.S.

Remember how I said some people will skim your page and just read the top and the bottom? For those skimmers, it’s smart to include a short P.S. style section at the end of your sales page. You can use this section to summarize or wrap up your online course sales page with a personal note and give them one last reason to enroll.

Embracing Simple
Embracing Simple

 

Build your own online course sales page

Now that you know all the elements of a great sales page, you’re ready to create your own. Start by asking yourself those three questions and work your way out from there. And if you need some help, take a look at this example sales page wireframe showing you how the different elements detailed above might come together to sell your course.

online course sales page wireframe

Remember that a good sales page should be able to sell your online course by itself, so take your time and make it the best you possibly can. And when you’re done, send us a link in the comments so we can see your amazing work!

Dani Stewart

As a daughter of an entrepreneur, the wife of an entrepreneur, and an entrepreneur herself, Dani has lived and learned all sides of creating and growing businesses. She is excited to bring all that life experience as well as a decade of crafting content to the ConvertKit community. She is a part-time baker, dinner-party planner, and lover of good bourbon living the simple life in Nashville with her husband, Sean.

Experience this issue your way

Download this issue of Tradecraft as a PDF to read and reference at your own pace.

  • Brandon Chin

    Great article, Dani! Love the visual breakdown.

    I’ve been tinkering with this daily email course for more than half a year, but it still hasn’t hit with my list.

    https://rawjapan.samcart.com/products/raw-japan

    I’d love to hear feedback from the Convertkit team!

    Thanks ~

  • Nice post and I like the anatomy of a course sales page. Do you recommend any tool (a WP plugin, theme etc.) that’ll help building that page? I’ve been struggling there.

  • The anatomy graphic is a keeper. I like the P.S. idea and need to add that to my Salary Accelerator Course sales page at Pay Raise Prep School for Women. As requested, here’s the sales page link: http://payraiseprepschool.com/enroll/

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