Marketing your course begins with a highly compelling, powerful title and description. And that, my friends, takes finesse.
It requires you to step out of your shoes as expert/consultant/coach and into the shoes of your target students. It’s a subtle, but powerful shift in the way you see your course topic and the way you write your copy.
If you want to truly understand this shift in perspective, I encourage you to read “Finding that Sweet Spot: How to Choose the Perfect Course Topic for your Clients.” It all, of course, comes back to choosing the right course topic.
The Sweet Spot piece is full of useful gems about how to be sensitive to what your client/audience/tribe feels they need – and not (necessarily) what you want to give them.
So much easier said than done.
Once you feel you’ve deeply understood your learner’s felt pain and what might be driving them to your course – and you’ve got the perfect course topic – read on.
The Formula for a Strong, Compelling Title
It’s always so nice to have a formula. I wish life were that simple but a good formula is at least a great starting place. The one I’ll share will help to make sure you’ve got the right elements for your title. Here goes:
You basically take what your students will be able to achieve after the course and add that to what your course is about –>
What the student will be able to achieve
What your course is about
Your course title
And there you have it!
Okay, so what does that look like? Check out these examples:
How to Photograph Weddings
Seems pretty clear, straight to the point. But does it motivate you? Does it compel you to open your wallet? Meh, probably not.
Wedding Photography: Make Money with your Photography Skills.
Better! It clearly includes what you would be able to achieve after taking the course plus what the course is about.
But before you think you’re done, play around with the order of your course title. Here’s an example:
Master the List Building Formula and Get Your First 1,000 Email Subscribers This Month
This is pretty good. It’s clear what you’re going to achieve and it communicates what the course is about. But check on this next variation:
Get Your First 1,000 Email Subscribers This Month by Mastering the List Building Formula
This version packs a bigger punch. Just by swapping the title around and putting what you’ll be able to achieve first, it becomes a more compelling title.
Now take a few minutes to play with that formula for the course you’re working on. Try switching the order.
Here’s a couple of questions that will help you assess how strong your course title is:
- Would your course title also be a great name for a book?
- Could your course title be something that people could easily talk about?
If you’ve got a yes for both of these, next test out your title with your tribe and your mentor/coach. What do they think?
Keep tweaking your title until you have a loud and clear,
Now you’re ready to move on to the description.
Write a Course Description That’ll Grab ‘Em!
There are a number of ways you’ll use your course description. In different places you’ll use a brief course description and in others you may have a long form version that could go on for thousands of words and include testimonials and your entire course outline. And do take note if the course system you’re using constrains the length of your description by word count.
[Here I’ll just discuss your briefer course description in this blog post and will cover the long form types later in another post.]
Short Version of Your Description
At this point you should be very clear on the 3 things that you need for your course description, plus have 1 more thing in your back pocket. Here’s what your description might include:
1- PAIN POINTS DRIVING YOUR TARGET STUDENT TO THE COURSE
You should now be super clear about the pain points of your ideal student. These are the things that are driving them to some relief (e.g. incessant ache in my hands from tendonitis or a plateau on my business’s email list).
2- YOUR PROMISE
You should also be clear on what it is that your client will achieve by taking your course and taking action (e.g. a second income from wedding photography or a flat stomach).
3 – WHAT YOUR COURSE WILL COVER
What exactly is included in your course? Be clear on what your course covers and you’ll reduce refund requests and make happier customers. (And if you’ve taken the time to articulate learning objectives, here’s your chance to highlight the biggies.)
4 – THE EXPERTISE OR EXPERIENCE YOU WILL EMPHASIZE
Think about which aspects of your experience and/or expertise is going to be the most on target for this course. Then, work in a clear statement about your authority or experience in your description.
That’s a lot! Your challenge is to pull all 4 of those things into a brief-ish description! Can you do it?
But first, I know you’ll probably want some examples. Here goes:
This is a description from a course on blogging from Kelly at Sticky Blogging:
When you connect with your reader on a deeper level, that reader becomes your fan. This 4-week e-course will teach you all the tricks I’ve learned in nearly 20 years of studying writing and how best to connect with a reader.
Except instead of having to read stacks and stacks of books and thousands of articles, I’ve condensed all the best tips into a course you can do on your own schedule, at your own pace.
Kelly has definitely established her authority, she’s clear on what you’ll achieve (creating fans), and she tells you what you can expect (best tips). What she doesn’t do is connect with our pain. She saves that for her email launch copy. Even without that piece it’s still strong copy.
Next let’s look at a longer description that does hit all 4 points.
Here’s another course on blogging but this one focuses on creating a blog and marketing it. This one is taught by April Bowles-Olin on the Creative Live platform.
There are over 200 million blogs on the Internet, so how do you cut through the noise and stand out in the crowd? A quality blog boasts great content, a powerful voice, and relevant, useful information. The problem is, putting all of those pieces together, understanding how to find the right audience, and marketing your blog is no easy juggling act.
Join the founder of Blacksburg Belle and author of Marketing for Creatives April Bowles-Olin for a comprehensive course dedicated to teaching you how to write, create, and market a successful blog. Drawing on the same methods she’s used to help successful entrepreneurs around the world grow their online presence, April will teach you how to find your own voice and get more comfortable writing like yourself. You’ll learn how to develop a strong editorial strategy, attract the right readers and write engaging headlines that will drive traffic to your site. April will also explore some of the key problems that hold bloggers back — from writer’s block to boredom to insecurity about what you’re writing — and explain how to overcome them. Best of all, April will teach you how to save time and have fun while contributing to the success of your blog.
After just three short days with April, you’ll possess the perfect foundation for better copywriting and creating a powerful, traffic generating blog.
This description does a great job at touching on the pain points (cutting through the noise), establishes April’s authority, conveys what you’ll achieve (save time and have fun), AND is clear on what you can expect (develop editorial strategy, etc.).
It’s a little longer so it gives April more room to play with and include all 4 components of a strong description.
Now you’ve got a formula for your title:
What the student will be able to achieve
What your course is about
Plus, you have 4 components to include in your course description:
- Pain points driving them to the course
- What they will achieve after taking the course
- What your course will cover
- The expertise or experience you will emphasize.
Go for it!
Feel free to send off your title and description if you’d like some quick feedback from me. (I respond to my emails!) But also check in with your tribe and your mentor/coach and peers. Once you get the thumbs up, congratulations!
Good luck to you!
And don’t forget to read “Finding that Sweet Spot: How to Choose the Perfect Course Topic for your Clients” if you want some background on understanding what might drive your tribe to take your ecourse in the first place.