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Copy Done Properly

How to Write Your Course Description the Wrong Way

by | January 25th, 2022

Struggling to write your course description? This is one of the most important sections of your copy, but also often the hardest to write.

In this post, you’ll learn:

  • 3 rookie mistakes you might be making in your description
  • Why writing your course description like this will tank conversions
  • How to write a compelling description that actually sells

We’ll start with the rookie mistakes. All of which largely boil down to the same thing.

The root mistake is thinking that the inherent characteristics of your delivery method are selling points. But they’re really not.

Let’s look at some examples.

Open book with an orange background

3 Rookie Mistakes to Avoid When Writing Your Course Description

To make this as clear as possible, let’s imagine you’re selling a book rather than an online course. I’ve found this analogy helps my clients see what’s going wrong in their current approach.

Mistake #1 – Treating the volume of content as a selling point

First let’s use the book analogy:

Hey! You wanna buy this book? It’s got 16 chapters. And 526 pages!

Seems like a weird thing to focus on?

Well, take a second to think about how that’s any different to focusing your course description on the amount of content it includes.

  • 6 modules
  • 42 videos
  • 13 hours of content
  • 5 bonuses

It’s not a sin to mention these stats. In fact, I often include them on sales pages I write. But usually as decorative elements to break up long copy. The mistake here is treating these stats as selling points.

In reality, needing a LOT of content to deliver the promised transformation for your customers… is actually a red flag, right?

Because your customers are paying for a roadmap to a particular destination. Promising them a long journey to that destination is not the selling point you think it is.

It takes mastery of a topic to get people from A to B in the fewest steps possible. So don’t mistake volume of content as something to boast about.

Would you buy a book based on the number of pages it has?
Or is the most important thing what’s in the book?

Mistake #2 – Treating the production quality as a selling point

Sticking with the book analogy:

You sure you don’t want this book? The quality of the paper is amazing.

Again, hopefully you can see how strange it would be to market a book like that. In fact, have you ever seen a best-seller on Amazon where the paper quality is mentioned prominently in the product description?

Then ask yourself if it’s any different to talking about the production quality of your videos as a core selling point of your course.

The truth is that nobody buys a course based on the video quality alone.

Quality of the information included?
Major selling point – of course.

Production quality of the videos / PDFs?
Nice touch – but not relevant in your core sales message.

Would you buy a book based on how nice the paper feels?
Or is the most important thing what’s in the book?

Mistake #3 – Treating the product’s portability as a selling point

I’ll level with you… I do find this one fun when I see it. (And I see it a lot more than I should considering it’s 2022!)

First, here’s this mistake translated into our book analogy:

You’ll love this book. You can take it anywhere. It fits right in your bag and you can read it wherever and whenever you want.

Can you imagine? Rather than describing the content of the book or what they’ll get from it… focusing the product description on the fact that books can be carried around?

It’s 2022, folks! It’s not a big selling point that your course can be viewed on mobile devices or carried around in a pocket. This is the default.

Unless you’re very specifically competing with an in-person version of your product (i.e. it’s a specific USP that your course is offered online), you don’t need to pitch portability.

Would you buy a book based on the fact you can carry it around?
Or is the most important thing what’s in the book?

Why Do These Mistakes Tank Conversions?

Simple.

When course creators focus on these points, they often do so instead of including the selling points that actually matter.

The things listed above won’t tank conversions on their own. But if they’re taking up real estate on your sales page, in place of a compelling value proposition

You won’t get the conversion rate you deserve.

Woman writing a course description on a laptop

How to Write a Compelling Course Description That Actually Sells

Here’s a framework for thinking about your course description.

  • Your reader is in Location A but they don’t like it because of Problem X
  • They want to be in Location B so that they can attain Outcome Y
  • They’re worried the journey will include Obstacles M, N and O
  • You have a vehicle specifically designed to take people on this journey

And here’s how that might be templated on the page:

Not a single mention of the number of modules, quality of the videos, or its portability. Because what matters is the content of your course.

The outcome.
The transformation.
The journey.

Not the format. 🙂

Time to Work With an Expert?

I write research-driven copy that says exactly what your reader needs to hear to take action. No more guesswork, endless tweaking, or leaving money on the table as ‘almost-buyers’ bounce away from your page unconvinced. Let's talk about your next project.