It’s time for the fifth part of the series on creating and selling your own ecourses: pricing your ecourse and writing your sales page.
For a lot of creative entrepreneurs, these two things provoke nightmares worse than the ‘show up naked to school’ variety.
Don’t sweat it. That’s why I’m here…to make this stuff easier.
If you need to catch up on the series, do so now so you can join the live Q&A call next week:
Part 1: Intro and Picking Your Topic
Part 2: The Tools and Software
Grab yourself a glass of water with cucumber slices (because cucumber water is just so much more refreshing than regular water) and let’s tackle these topics that cause armpits to drip.
Pricing pricing pricing.
It feels like a bad word—like he who must not be named. So many people I work with hate pricing their work.
I know that if I gave some of my clients a genie in a bottle to grant their business wishes, they’d ask for him to price their products for them.
But, here’s the thing my friend: no one else understands your course more than you so they won’t be able to price it as well as you.
With that being said, too many entrepreneurs get engrossed in finding the “right price.” They waste time, often getting stuck in this phase for way too long.
When we’re talking about digital products, like an ecourse, there really isn’t a perfect price. So get that out of your head.
Instead, take these things into account to figure out what you should charge:
1. How much you want to make.
What’s the ideal amount that you’d like to make during your first launch? Be realistic but nudge past your comfort zone.
Then, decide whether or not you’re going to limit the amount of people who can register. If you’re providing one-on-one feedback or hosting live Q&A calls, you might want to restrict the number of students so your workload isn’t overwhelming, especially for the first run of the course.
If you do have a student limit, divide the amount you want to make by the number of students. That can give you a starting price point to work from. For example, if you want to make $5000 and you’ve got 100 students spots, you’d need to sell your course at $50 to reach that goal amount.
2. The quality.
The higher the quality of the course, the more you can charge.
You can charge a lot more if you hire a film crew to record your course videos than you can if you film them yourself. You can set a higher price if you record your videos with a nice camera and lighting kit than you can if you record the same videos with your iPhone with crap lighting.
Quality absolutely matters and price will alter your students’ expectations. You expect more from $297 course than you do from a $47 course.
3. The exclusivity of the content.
If you’re teaching something unique or rare, you can charge more.
For instance, when Bonnie Christine taught the ins and outs of surface pattern design on CreativeLive, they could’ve priced that course much higher because there weren’t a lot of other courses that go into that much depth on the topic (except for one that’s A LOT more expensive). In fact, people wondered why Bonnie was sharing her trade secrets when so many others refused to do so. (She’s cool like that–that’s why!)
If you have a distinctive style that people want to learn (meaning that they want to learn from YOU), then you can charge more. Let’s say that you’re a jewelry designer and you create truly unique pieces. If you decide to teach your skills, you can charge more because students are coming to you to learn how YOU make jewelry even though there are plenty of other jewelry making courses available.
4. The higher the investment, the higher the commitment.
Think about when you buy something. When you spend more money, you care more. You value it more.
We have two couches in our home, one that cost about $250 that we bought on Amazon and one that cost eight times that from Anthropologie. Guess which one I won’t allow my husband to drink red wine on? Guess which one I’ll keep for years and years?
It’s the same thing when it comes to courses. Let’s say you sign up for two different marketing courses, one being $15 and the other costing $475. Which one are you going to value more? Which one are you going to take more seriously, trying to attend the live calls and actually completing the assignments?
You might not like it, but it’s how it works. We value things more when they cost more.
Also, when you charge more, you weed out bargain shoppers. The students who register really want to learn what you’re teaching. And, that makes a HUGE difference.
This doesn’t mean that you have to price your courses higher, but keep in mind that cost does affect your students’ experiences and expectations.
5. Go with your gut. Sorta.
After you know the content of your course and the quality of that content, often you’ll know what you should price it.
So, simply ask yourself, “What should I price this course?”
What’s the first number that pops into your mind? Now, add a bit to it (because if you’re like most creative entrepreneurs, you underprice yourself). For instance, if your gut number was $37, up it to $45 or $47.
Ninety-five percent of the time, the gut price plus a bit more is the price I use. After I’ve thought about the first four considerations above, my gut number is usually the right one.
Now, that you’ve got a price in mind, let’s talk about writing your sales page.
I know I know…I’m hitting you with the tough stuff today.
But, if you want to actually sell your ecourse, you’ve got to compose a sales page that does all the selling for you.
Before we get into specifics, consider the goal of your sales page.
The goal of your sales page is to get the RIGHT people to buy. The most important word in that sentence is RIGHT.
The goal isn’t to get as many people as possible to buy, regardless of whether or not your course will help them. (Unless you suck at life and business.)
It’s a subtle shift in thinking but I believe it makes all the difference.
By the time someone gets to the bottom of your sales page, she should know whether or not your course is the right course for her. And, she should be inspired and motivated to buy.
In order to accomplish this, you’ve got to connect emotionally with potential customers, let them know what they’ll be learning and gaining from taking your course and give them a reason to buy now.
If you do those three things, you’ll hit your sales goals and make your customers happy.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to writing a sales page that’ll sell:
1. You need to connect to your ideal customer immediately.
The biggest mistake you could make is starting your sales page by introducing yourself or talking about why you wanted to teach this course. Your potential students don’t care about YOU at this point. All they care about it is how this course will help them.
They want to know if they’re in the right place. The first few sentences on your sales page are some of the most important, because if you don’t connect right away, you’ll lose a lot of sales.
Click here and read the intro of this sales page for my course, Six Weeks to a More Passion-Filled and Profitable Business, to get an example of how I do this.
Right away, I’m speaking directly to my ideal customer, letting her know that I get her and I can help.
2. Then, you should explain why you’re teaching this course.
After you’ve connected with your ideal customer and she’s interested in the ecourse, you want to introduce yourself and share why you’re the right person to teach the course. Don’t spend a lot of time on this. Two to three short paragraphs will do the job.
3. Give a brief overview of the logistics.
If your course is less than $50, a brief description of what you cover in the course, a few testimonials, a snippet of the course material, and a buy button (or two) is probably all you’ll need to add after the introduction.
If you’re charging more than $50 for your course, you’re going to need to give your readers more details. That means your sales page will be quite a bit longer, so this is good place to give your readers a brief explanation of your course.
For example, you might tell them that the course includes 12 video tutorials, 3 patterns, and a private Facebook group.
You can see how I did this in the grayish box (containing bullets) near the top of this sales page.
Bullet points are your bestest of friends when creating sales pages. They’re easy for your readers to skim and read through, they break up the page and make big chunks of text less overwhelming, and they give you an easy way to share details. Use them frequently.
4. Build trust with testimonials.
The most effective way to sell without being too salesy is to let other people do the selling for you. Sprinkle testimonials throughout your sales page.
If this is the first time you’re teaching the course, you can do two different things to use testimonials:
a) Give some of your most loyal customers access to the course early in exchange for their feedback—and use their feedback as testimonials.
b) Use testimonials you’ve received for other products/services but clearly state that the testimonial is not for that particular course. I did this early on with one of my courses and with each testimonial I put the caption “Praise for Working with April.” And, if it was a testimonial for another course, I wrote a caption like: “Praise for Blogging for Creatives.” Even though it’s not a testimonial for that specific course, it helps in the same way, by showing potential customers that they can trust you.
5. Give more details.
If you’re charging more than $50, this is where you need to give more details about your course.
I usually do this by breaking down each lesson or week within the ecourse. You can see how I included more details on what would be covered each week on this sales page.
When you’re sharing details about what you’re covering and what the students can expect to learn, my trade secret is to always provoke curiosity. You want your bullet points (or details) to compel your potential customers to feel like they have to take your course to learn those things.
Some examples of bullet points I used to provoke curiosity on my last course’s sales page:
- How to charge premium prices
- The one thing that can dramatically increase your prices
- Website mistakes that can cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars
- How to make your competitors your friends and allies
- How to dominate your competition by getting to know your ideal customer
- How to sell to your ideal customer without being sales-y
When you read those bullet points, you want to know more, right? You want to know the one thing that can dramatically increase your prices and the website mistakes that can cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Those bullet points motivate you to stop procrastinating and buy.
I know this works because this course sold out without a big launch. It sold out after only five emails (only two were focused solely on the course) sent to my email list about the course or mentioning the course.
6. Include bonuses.
From creating and selling 17 ecourses, I’ve found that including bonuses on a sales page converts almost as well as testimonials.
People love to feel like they’re getting more bang for their buck. Don’t you?
What else will help your students succeed? Maybe you could include an ebook you wrote a year ago as a bonus. Maybe adding access to a private Facebook group for the students to encourage each other as a bonus could help them stay motivated throughout the course.
Here’s a tip that I don’t think I’ve ever shared before: if you don’t have anything to add as a bonus, take something from the course and make it a bonus. The course is the same but the perception is much different.
For example, if you were planning on including a live Q&A call at the end of the course, make that call a bonus. You could make a few of your video tutorials “bonus videos.” Anything can be a bonus.
Check out the bonus section of this sales page for an example.
7. Address objections.
Make a list of the top ten reasons your ideal customer might hesitate to register for your course. Then, make sure your sales page addresses these objections.
For instance, someone might hesitate to pay $27 for your knitting course when she can find knitting tutorials online for free. How can you combat that objection? You can: a) include a testimonial where a customer raves about your course, saying that it’s worth triple the price b) compare the price to something else such as “for less than a nice meal out, you can learn how to knit these adorable leg warmers you’ll be able to wear for years” c) show a clip of one of the video tutorials to show how the quality of your videos is well above most free videos online.
If you address each objection, your sales will absolutely increase.
8. Give potential customers more confirmation that it’s right for them.
On most of my sales pages, I include a section where I list who’s right for the course and who’s wrong for the course.
This does two important things: 1) helps weed out the people who shouldn’t sign up for the course 2) gives potential customers who are a great fit for the course additional confirmation that they should register.
You can see an example of this near the bottom of this sales page.
9. Get specific.
A confused customer never buys. (Repeat this out loud.) A confused customer never buys.
I always include a paragraph or two letting customers know exactly what to expect. That way they’re never wondering how they’ll access the course material or what to do next, because that’s one of the main reasons someone will hesitate to purchase.
Here’s an example excerpt from my Six Weeks to a More Passion-Filled and Profitable Business sales page:
“You can pay via credit card or PayPal. You choose!
You ready to join? If so, simply click the button below to check out with a secure shopping cart. Once you’ve made your first payment, you’ll be redirected to register for the course. You’ll choose a username and password and you’ll receive log in information via email. You’ll also get instant access to all of the RoadMap modules to tackle your procrastination and time management issues. Before the course starts, you’ll receive a notification email that the course is beginning. And, throughout the course, you’ll receive emails each Monday when a new set of modules is released (starting on January 26th).”
10. Insert multiple buy buttons.
If you have a lengthy sales page, you’ll want to place multiple buy buttons throughout. Unless you want to reduce sales. Then, just place one buy button at the very bottom. I usually include three to five buy buttons.
And, here are six more tips for writing a sales page that sells:
1. Write with one person in mind.
Have you ever written an ideal customer profile? This is the time to dust it off, read it and imagine that person when you’re writing your sales page.
When you do this, your writing becomes emotionally impactful. It’s funny how when you write as if you’re writing to one person, you end up connecting with a lot more people. Try it and see the magic that happens.
2. Edit. Edit. Edit some more.
Your sales page is not the place to sloppily slap something together. You’re trying to persuade people to give you their money. Edit each word, sentence and paragraph. Pay close attention to the verbs. Delete unnecessary adjectives.
Read each sentence out loud. Does it sound like you, like something you’d say to a friend? If not, it’s probably too stiff or too salesy. Inject your personality and get rid of the robot.
3. Share a sneak peek.
Show a screenshot of the inside of the course website. Share a snippet of one of the course videos. Include a photo of one of your worksheets.
Especially in the beginning, if you don’t give a preview of any of the course content, people will wonder why. They’ll think you’re hiding something.
Your customers are taking a risk when they sign up for your course, and you can reduce that risk for them by showing them a preview of what they’ll be getting. You don’t have to do this, but if your course content is high quality, it’ll increase your sales.
4. Use your customers’ language.
One mistake experts make when writing sales pages is using language that their customers don’t understand. Remember that your customers are trying to learn about your topic and probably don’t know the terms an expert would appreciate. You want to connect with your target market and using their language is one of the best ways to do that.
5. Give them a reason to buy now.
We all procrastinate whenever we can. Think about your own experiences. You know you’ve come across an ecourse and thought, “Oh that looks amazing. I should really take this, but I’ll wait until next month when I have more time.”
You have to give your ideal customer a reason to buy now…not next month or next year. The reason could be that registration will close in a week and you’re not offering the course again for another six months. The reason could be that your course on improving your relationship with your spouse could save your marriage and you need to invest in your marriage today.
You need to motivate your ideal customer to click the buy button instead of leaving the page.
6. Visuals matter.
You’re a creative entrepreneur which means that your customers expect more from you visually. It also means that many of them are drawn to visuals more than text.
Use photos and illustrations to break up the text. With your testimonials, use a photo of the person who provided the testimonial.
You need to use high-quality photos and illustrations. I suggest using your own photos, so that your visuals are branded. If your photo skills aren’t up to par, luckily you can find really good stock photos to use on your sales page. Investing $10-30 on photos for your sales page can make a big difference and often will pay for itself again and again.
Okay, I could ramble on and on when it comes to sales pages, but I think I’ve given you a solid starting point.
If you have more questions about pricing or sales pages, make sure you check out the replay of the live call we held at the end of this series.
Your question may have been asked by one of the other ladies!