Writing an online course sales page that converts
Sales writing is as much an art as it is a science, and in this chapter, we’ll teach you both. Make no mistake: the stakes are high when it comes to word choice. What you say, or don’t say, on your sales page can be the difference between earning a lifelong customer or losing a lead at first pass. By the end of this chapter, you’ll have a proven formula used by legions of professional writers to produce, proof, and polish your sales page writing to perfection.
Whether you’re selling an evergreen course or a launched one, you’ll need a great sales page to show your product off to the world.
This is the page that your emails will link to, and for some prospective students who don’t come through your email list, it’ll be the first place they learn about your course.
Writing a great sales page is a lot like writing great marketing emails: if you’ve done the deep work to understand your audience and the language that they use, then the hardest part is already finished.
There are plenty of copywriting formulas out there, but the one we recommend is the simple and straightforward PAS Formula by legendary copywriter Dan Kennedy.
PAS stands for:
When you understand that people are more likely to act to avoid pain than to get gain, you’ll understand how powerful this formula is. It may be the most reliable sales formula ever invented.
To use the PAS formula, write your sales page in the following order:
Section 1: Problem
What’s the problem that your course solves for your customer?
State it at the very top. That’s your headline.
Remember: don’t worry about “wordsmithing” anything…just use the words that you’ve seen your audience using to describe their challenges!
Section 2: Agitate
What are the pains that having this problem causes for your prospect?
List them here, both as a reminder and a warning of what the cost of not solving the problem could be.
Section 3: Solution
The big reveal!
Share your solution to the reader’s problem, and why they should act on it now.
And there it is!
An effective course sales page doesn’t have to be complicated, but it is worth spending some time one.
It's the last thing that people see when they come from your emails -- or from your affiliate partners' emails -- before deciding whether to buy your course or not.
Simply by using the PAS copywriting formula, you can create sales copy that connects deeply with your audience.
Looking for some more inspiration? Check out our online course sales copywriting swipe file, with examples of real conversion-boosting copy from other creators.
2 sales page “accessories” you should consider
While the PAS formula will help you create a strong sales page, there are a couple other elements that can make a big impact on conversion rates.
Social proof is a psychology concept that’s often used in marketing; in fact, you’ve probably seen it used more than once today!
According to Dr. Robert Cialdini in his famous book Influence, “we view a behavior as more correct in a given situation to the degree that we see others performing it.”
Simply put, if you want to convince someone that something is a good idea, show them that other people think it’s a good idea, too!
You’ll often see this on websites in the form of testimonials, and you can use it to your advantage by including testimonials from past students who have completed your course.
Launching your course for the first time?
You can still use testimonials to get your prospective students to trust you, by getting testimonials from people who can attest to your skills, even if they haven’t taken the course, like this:
Remy taught me to be a great chef. There’s nobody I would trust more to learn from. This course is the next best thing to having him in the kitchen with you.
For more on how to get great testimonials, dig in to our best tips for getting great testimonials and reviews from your students.
Risk-reversal is exactly what it sounds like: it removes the risk from buying your product.
For online courses, the most common way to do this is with a money-back guarantee.
Here’s what copywriting guru Joanna Wiebe has to say about guarantees:
We offer a 60-day money-back guarantee because the #1 question we get when we’re launching a course is whether there’s a guarantee or not. Sixty days means people don’t have to rush through the content or panic when, a month after purchasing, they haven’t even had time to do more than peruse the curriculum. (Our guarantee requires that you show us your completed homework.) That said, I’ve heard that some very successful course creators don’t offer MBGs, so I assume it can work. But for our audience at least, it appears to increase conversions when we give folks 60 days to take the training, start implementing it and see how it works for them.