To be successful as a teacher, you need to make a good impression on your students right off the bat. This is not something you can circumvent in the online course space. In fact, it becomes more important than ever since your students will be forming an impression before taking your course.
If you want to captivate the attention of potential students, you’ll need to create a compelling course description that sells.
In this article, we’ll explain how to write a course description that sells and share some tips and examples along the way.
What is a course description, and why is it important?
A course description is simply all the necessary or relevant details regarding your course. The method of presenting that necessary information needs to take a number of things into account that will determine what course description would yield the best results. For most online course creators, this means which course description translates to the most number of sales or registrations.
A university course on optics would have a very different writing style, tone, and format of course description as compared to a more general introduction to a photography course. That is, of course, saying nothing about the actual content of the course itself, which would also be very different.
The importance of writing a good course description in one word is conversion.
A well-written and on-point course description can be the difference between a student enrolling in your course or clicking away from your offering.
This is true for any e-commerce offering. Statistics show that product descriptions are one of the most desired types of information at 76%, which is more than reviews at 71%. On the flip side, one of the most common reasons for returns by online shoppers has been products not matching their descriptions.
The same holds true for online courses. You need to create a captivating and effective course description for your online course to make sales.
Tips for writing a great Course Description
To start off, your course description needs to be interesting, accurate, and informative. We’ve categorized the tips into three main categories that will help you get started with writing a great course description that sells.
Objectives and Goals
Your course description should incorporate clear definitions of the objectives and goals of your course.
Sum up the entirety of your course in a sentence or two – that’s your course tagline. It shouldn’t contain your goals, achievements, or aspirations as a course creator or teacher but rather, It should get straight to what the point of the course is.
Make sure it is simple to read and understand, preferably in the active tense. It should provide an overview with clarity and be catchy and attention-grabbing.
Your course goal needs to communicate what a student can expect to achieve by finishing the course. These can be the skills that will be acquired by completing the course as well as any certifications that can be obtained by taking your course.
If your course makes them eligible for a more advanced course later, that can also be worth a mention.
The learning objectives will usually be presented from the perspective of the person taking the course. It should describe all the information that the student will get to learn and the skills they will master to progress through and complete the course.
This is necessary not only from a marketing point of view but also to help set the expectations right from the get-go.
Curriculum and Format
Now that the student knows what the objective of your course is and what they can expect to learn from completing it, the next step is to present them with the main menu, so to speak. That’s going to be the main content of your course and the format in which it will be presented to the students.
You should list any features you have in your course format in the description. The format is more than just text! Images, videos, slides, interactive elements, and anything that is professionally produced for the specific purpose of your course should be mentioned in the course description.
Got simulations, a feature from industry professionals, or an interactive quiz? Be sure to mention it in your course description. Instead of simply stating that your course offers multiple formats, it is important to list all of the formats included. You can also slightly elaborate on the particular features of the formats and why they’re a part of your online course.
Course workload can be tricky to gauge sometimes. Two different students with different circumstances and different knowledge levels and skill sets won’t necessarily be on the same page with regard to perceived workload and the amount of time required to finish a task.
Approximations and estimates are useful here based on the average time it’ll take to complete your course. If you have flexible deadlines and learning hours that can be scheduled based on the student’s requirements, then it can be worth mentioning as it makes the course workload more manageable and puts prospective students in a better position to make a decision based on their circumstances.
Assessment Methods and Criteria
A course must also provide feedback on how well the student is progressing through it. The assessment of this progress can be made in a number of ways, such as tests, quizzes, assignments, or projects.
Courses that have certification or some licensing attached to it will have more formal assessments. But even in a general course, some form of assessment is necessary to evaluate progress. Make sure to list down the assessment methods and evaluation criteria in your course description. Also, be sure to mention what actions students can take to improve their grade or evaluation i.e., repeat a module, re-take a test, etc….
For a well-rounded course, it is important to provide learning resources to your students that help them expand their topic knowledge and application context or learn additional material complementary to the course. These additional materials can be PDFs, slides, videos, or other downloadable files that will be accessible to the students who purchase the online course.
A consideration in this part is that ideally, all these materials should be provided by the course creator and easily accessible to the students of the course. It might be off-putting if students are required to find additional resources at their own expense or time cost to complete your course.
Next, it’s time to package it all neatly into a finished product. You need to complete your online course description by providing a final package to prospective students that contain all the information they need to get started.
Provide course enrollment instructions
Make it easy to find out how to register for your course. Whether it is a membership, subscription, or one-time payment, be sure to state the cost and the mode of payment (online, credit/debit cards, payment processors, e-checks, etc….). This will depend highly on which online course platform for creators you are using or if you’re self-hosting your courses.
It’s also very important to clearly specify which details will be required of a student who wishes to enroll in the online course. Formal courses that offer academic credits, licensing, or some official certificate require more information from the student.
Add instructor bio
An instructor biography serves two important purposes: your professional introduction and what makes you qualified to create a course and teach people a particular topic or skill set.
When writing your instructor bio, it is important to keep a few things in mind. First of all, it shouldn’t be too long – keep it concise, around 50 words or so. Second, establish your qualifications but don’t go overboard with it. If you have additional qualifications or achievements that are not relevant to the course, it is not necessary to list them.
Finally, if you can, add a human touch to it by including your interests or inspiration for being in the field you are in or for teaching it.
At the minimum, you should take into consideration what keywords people and prospective students are using to search for the online course you’re selling.
It’s well worth the time to conduct some research on the popular search queries regarding your topic and implement the findings in an organic way in your course description. This can help boost the discoverability of your course by appearing in more search results or appearing higher when those terms are searched.
A good course description is essential if you want your course to perform to its best potential.
To write a course description that sells, it needs to have clear objectives and goals that give the students an overview of what they’ll learn. It also needs to list the curriculum and format of the course as well as what assessment methods will be used to evaluate progress. You then need to package it into a neat final presentation that provides information about how to enroll in the course and information on the course creator.
Finally, do some keyword research and organically implement it in your course description, and now you are all set to create a solid first impression for potential students!
Do you have any questions on how to write a course description that sells? Let us know in the comments section below!