You have created an online course and are ready to share it with the world – but can you convince people to buy?
Your course is complete, your website is up, and now there’s only one thing left to do—reel in customers for your amazing course. But that’s easier said than done… how do you share your value proposition and develop a sales page that motivates people to invest into your course?
If you have accurately identified your target market, writing effective sales copy will be much easier for you. The key is to stay on target and connect with prospective students. This simple guide is meant to show you how to write effective sales copy for your course.
Enter the “Bob Stone Gem”.
Bob Stone was a famous direct marketing guru who wrote extensively on how to write sales letters that people would respond to. His methods are still effective for more modern types of advertising, including on the internet.
His formula is very easy to follow, so if you don’t currently have a plan then use this format to structure your sales copy!
1. Start with your strongest benefit.
In marketing copy, features “tell” but benefits “sell”.
Stripped down to its essentials, this means that you have to show your prospective buyers how your course will benefit them. This reminds you to focus on what the cause, program, product or service does to improve lives. Features must be present in your copy, but benefits close the deal.
By the time you’ve written your course, you have a pretty good idea of who it may benefit. For example, a course on CPR certification would benefit first responders, teachers and those who work in a caregiver capacity, among others.
In this example, Teacher Tina, an elementary school teacher and volunteer firefighter wants to find a course that breaks down CPR coursework into short sessions that she can squeeze into her busy life.
You could lead with: “Learn CPR in three weeks—study 15 minutes a day.”
2. Expand on the most important benefit.
The main benefit should stand out and emphasize the positive impact on the target persona’s life. You are planting a seed and building a unique selling proposition for your course.
“Learning CPR gives you the power to save lives and to enter fields that require this important certification.”
3. Explain clearly what the prospective student will gain
Now that you have their attention, water the seed you’ve planted. Here is where you add in features of the class that paint a picture that sticks with the reader. Remember, you are trying to convince them of the value of the course—but don’t overdo it.
“When you take our life-saving CPR course, you gain tips and tricks from professionals in the field, easy to digest sessions and a list of area resources that offer hands-on experience to supplement your coursework.”
4. Back up your claims with proof.
Your target audience will respond to this concrete testimonial that teases the value of the content and eludes to the authority of the person or people who’ve helped put the class together. But modern consumers are skeptical, so it’s time to show some proof.
Flash relevant facts, statistics, awards, testimonials that add validity to your statements.
“CPR saves millions of lives around the world each year. Joan Smith is a certified CPR instructor, teacher and active volunteer fireperson who has used her skills to help dozens of victims stay alive.”
Include testimonials once you begin getting positive feedback.
“Hear what other students have to say …”
5. Tell them what they have to lose.
Bob Stone knew that people avoid pain and loss whenever possible. That’s why a little negativity isn’t a bad thing in effective sales copy.
“You don’t have to take the course. You can go on with your life very effectively, until one day you face an emergency situation that you aren’t prepared for.”
6. Sum up the most important benefits.
Circle back to the benefits of taking your course. You have created a sense of urgency but you want the reader to get on the hook and purchase your course now. Recap the benefits and remind them it’s time to make a decision and buy your course.
Keep it personal and emotional—this is your last chance to hook your target audience.
“Your dreams of becoming a police officer, fireperson, teacher, coach or other caring professional are noble and beautiful. But you’ve got to make an investment in yourself and stop putting your goals on the back burner. This course puts the power of life and death in your hands, and gives you the confidence to move into a more meaningful career.”
7. End with a call to action.
If you don’t ask for something in life, it rarely just falls into your lap. Ask the reader to take action at the end of your sales pitch. Include specific instructions on the next step.
“Sign up to learn CPR today. You can sign up online at savinglivesnow.com or call us at 1-800-Learn CPR.”
Use this as a roadmap, but you still have to bring the “x factor”.
Naturally your sales copy will be specific to your course, but this outline gives you an idea of how to go about reaching the people who can benefit from your expertise – and how to communicate that benefit in a clear, easy-to-understand way.
In the end, you are the one that knows your audience the most. That is the “x factor”. Anyone can follow a formula but simply doing that won’t come across sincere. You will miss the mark. Make sure that at every step of the way you are keeping your target audience in mind, speaking directly to them based on what you know about them and your industry.