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How to create a marketing plan

Welcome to the first section. It’s time to get stuck in and design your ascent to e-learning greatness and exponential growth!

Learning Objectives: 

By the end of this section, you will be clear on what the fundamentals are of any marketing campaign. You will get to this point by learning: 

  • What we mean by “positioning”
  • What it means to position yourself first in a category, why this matters, and how to do it.
  • How the naming of your products helps with positioning
  • How to make your course unique – so you stand out from competitors
  • How to create your course’s theme
  • How to apply different positioning strategies – comparison, differentiation, and compartmentation
  • What a customer avatar is, why you need one, and how to create one
  • How to create an irresistible offer your customers can’t refuse

You will also learn:

  • How to create write persuasive copy that sells
  • How to write create a sales page – with examples
  • A few tips for overcoming writer’s block

Please remember, if you get stuck, make sure you let us know what’s bothering you. Our email address is ADDRESS, and we want to help you get over any blocks and hurdles, and create success with you. Whatever query, big or small, we’re here to help.

Let’s get started.

Your Business: Think

Remember when we talked about keeping your business healthy? Well, you need to take a lot of steps to ensure this, and having a plan is one of them.

Before we get our teeth into how you create a marketing plan, let’s start with a quick exercise.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What do you want to get out of this course?
  • What’s the best, most ideal outcome you can imagine for your business?
  • How will your life change once you’re making the amount of money you want to from selling your courses?

Now, close your eyes and imagine what that outcome would be like. Get a feel for what it will be like once you’re in that position.  

Now that you’re fired up and ready to go, let’s get back to the practical.

A Plan for Your Plan

Your marketing plan allows you to summarize:

  • your business goals,
  • its current marketing position,
  • the big tasks you need to complete, and
  • the indicators you will use to gauge your progress.

In a way, your marketing plan allows you to cover all appropriate bases. It’s a to-do list, performance measurer, niche identifier and market positioner, all in one! It would be ridiculous not to begin your business journey without a plan, and that’s why it’s the first thing our course covers in detail.

We’ll run through the different elements of a successful plan (avatar creation, positioning, offer brainstorming), as well as some top tips to make sure your idea stands out from the rest (becoming the first, persuasive language, motivational language).

You can think of this section as a plan for your plan! We’ll make sure to keep things simple and easy to digest, so don’t worry about getting lost in a sea of jargon or complex concepts.

It is also imperative that you make your course unique. Whilst being unique doesn’t guarantee success, it does give you a good chance of standing out from the competition.

Let’s take a look at what you can do to ensure your course is as unique as they come.

Be the First

Eben Pagan, one of the pioneers of online education said in one of his online marketing courses “It’s better to be first than to be better”. At SolutionLabs, we totally agree. This saying does match our experience.

As an infopreneur, marketer, entrepreneur, you need to position yourself as the first in the market. Positioning is about how you place yourself first in a category..

It’s super difficult to compete in highly saturated categories, and usually, the first player to establish themselves in a given category leads the category in perpetuity. Mostly, this is because the first player has already managed to become the first thing that comes to mind when prospects think about the category.

Naming is an important part of positioning. The way you name your products allows you to frame yourself in your niche category. Using the word “student” in the name of the software that I wanted to remarket to students is an easy way to send a signal to your chosen market that “This product is exactly for you”.

So, don’t be generic when naming your product, it should send a direct message to your market niche that you are exactly what they need. The better you understand that niche market, the stronger your signals will be. [1] [KM2] 

Take for example the car manufacturers. In 10 seconds, see how many car manufacturers come to your mind. If you’re human and you function like us you’ll be able to name the first 6-7 pretty easily, but past that, it becomes a little complicated.

Before you get started marketing, or if you’ve already started marketing but you can’t get any traction, then the solution for you is: position yourself as first in a category.

The best way to do this is to name your own category. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, you can just name a subcategory of something that already exists, one that no one has put themselves into yet. Everything can be infinitely sub-categorized. A sub-category that you can describe, that you can be the first in, and where there can be a large and accessible enough market to serve, is a category you should consider as your niche.

Oftentimes the strategy that’s most effective is just to reframe an already successful category. You might just choose to speak to an underserved market in a way that no one has before.

An example might be selling software to students that was previously only marketed to professionals. You capitalize on your understanding of student language and lifestyles to serve their needs and speak to them in a way the someone was not previously doing. Suddenly, you are the leader in the category.

Another perfect example of this, and one that we find particularly useful, is simple language localization. Sell the same product in a different language market. You’d be surprised how much value can be created simply by translating a product into a language where there is demand but no competition. Doing so would immediately position you as the authority in that language.

In fact, that is exactly what we’ve done with our clients in Solution Labs. Simply by helping them localize their products in different languages, they managed to spend a fraction of the price on acquiring customers, and drastically increase their conversion rate simply because they positioned themselves uniquely

Other times, it’s a question of focusing on offering something new to an old market. The biggest player may serve the market as a whole but it may be inferior in one aspect of its business operations. If you have the solution or the ability to optimize that specific element, then you might have positioned yourself as a specialist serving the same broad audience. Conversely, you might have identified a business-to-business opportunity, to sell your specialization to that big player.   

How to Create a Unique Course

The purpose of a course is to solve a need of some sort. Look at Maslow’s ‘Hierarchy of Needs’ in the image below. This gives you an idea of all the types of needs a human can have. The simpler needs are at the bottom, while more visceral and complex needs are at the top.

Every product imaginable tends to at least one of these needs. Try and think of some new, and see which need bracket it falls into.

A nice meal at a restaurant? That tends to your need for food and friendship/family, depending on who you go with. Running shoes? This tends to your need for health, self-esteem, and potentially – spontaneity.

Even really niche products solve a need of some sort. Camping gear can help bring you closer to nature, tending to your need for self-actualization.

While its quite difficult to think of a course by simply staring at the image provided, it does give you an idea of the different desires a customer can have. They want to feel safe. They want their esteem boosted. They want to feel love while being actualized in some way. When you design your course, you should be able to outline the needs it helps solve.

So how do we find the right need? With so many courses out there, surely all bases have been covered. Is there such thing as a unique and successful course anymore, especially with the number of new ones created every day?

We do agree that it’s not always easy to come up with something both unique and profitable. It isn’t impossible though. To yield the inspiration to come up with your course, you need to look within yourself. Ask yourself the killer question: ‘What frustrates you?’

They say the best inventions are borne from frustration, and it doesn’t ring truer than today. To find this unique course, you need to observe the market gaps by looking at the inconsistencies within your own life.

What could be better? What could be improved? By looking at the real world for inspiration, you are bound to find a winner.

I can name a few examples off the top of my head:

  • A course that teaches people about productivity, and tips on how to get the most of your day.
  • A course on matched betting – What it is, how it works and how you can make passive income from it.

If you already have a course in mind, now it’s time to market it properly. How do you go about doing that?  

Create your Name and Basic Theme

Your course name should be catchy, quick, slick, and have your audience in mind. It should explicitly explain what the course aims to teach, and who it’s being taught to. Any ambiguity will lose more consumers than it attracts.

You should also come up with your course’s promotional theme. This will be inspired directly from your customer avatar, as it will give you an idea of the type of branding they will be interested in.

For example, a 70-year-old man may enjoy a course landing page with eloquent and professional branding, while a 10-year-old girl might enjoy a colorful and quirky theme.

There are no set guidelines for this, so don’t be afraid to break the mold!

Note: Your theme should be reflected in all your business campaigns. This includes your website, advertisements, and sales pages. Consistency is key. 

             Positioning Strategies

To better understand the product positioning, it’s helpful to know the different strategies available. There are three distinct methods at your disposal. Let’s have a look at them.

             Comparative

The purpose of info-product positioning is to catch the consumer’s eye, and comparative campaigns will help you do this. By comparing your course with similar competition, consumers can make a more informed decision on which choice is best for them (which will, of course, be your product!)  

The basis of comparison is entirely up to you – just make sure it helps to explain why yours is better. Here are some things you can include in a comparative campaign:

  • Price – Is yours cheaper, or better value for money?
  • What can your course teach that similar items can’t?
  • Satisfaction – Does the general public like yours more?
  • Esteem – Has your course enjoyed more revenue/profits?

Imagine you’re walking through a store and you see a row of different cooking pans. They all look pretty much the same, so how can you tell the difference? You notice one pan has a sticker on listing its unique selling points: It is non-stick, it is long-lasting, it’s very cheap and it’s also made from sustainable materials. What you’ve just seen is an example of comparative positioning.

Let’s do a quick walkthrough for creating a comparative campaign, with examples to guide you along the way.

  1.   Outline every important thing about your course. Breaking it into a helpful checklist will help spread out the information into digestible chunks.
  2.   List your bonus content. This contains all the stuff you would rarely see in similar courses within your niche.
  3.   Do the same for your competitor brands, filling in the same product details as you did for your own.
  1.   Compare and contrast your course with your competitors. Who’s is cheaper? Who has the best content? Who has the best course USP? Once you’ve outlined the differences that explain why your course is better, write them in a separate document.

For example, with respect to our course above:

Comparative Benefits

Ø  Cheapest

Ø  Longest Runtime

Ø  Most Strategies

Ø  Most Interesting Content

Ø  Free E-book with Purchase

Ø  Extensive Coverage of Less Well-Known Methods 

Now it’s a case of putting these comparisons into a visual format for the customers to digest. Below are some examples of comparative campaigns. Let’s take note of how they are effective in boosting a brand’s perceived quality. 

What have they compared? This advertisement has focused on Dove’s light and gentle cleansing ability.

Why is it successful? The use of barbed wire around the unnamed competitor drives home its harsh and unforgiving cleansing nature. The choice not to name any competitors also gives the opportunity for the consumer to fill in the gap.

In other words, the customer tends to assume that all other competitors are harsher than Dove, and as such, Dove is the most caring of the lot.

What have they compared? Burger King has chosen to focus on the size of its ‘Whopper’ Burger in comparison to the ‘Big Mac’ from McDonald’s.

Why is it successful? The main USP of the Big Mac is its size. McDonald’s prides itself in supplying consumers with such a large burger to quench their appetite. Burger King notes that their burger is bigger, and makes this the focus of this comparative campaign.

While these examples don’t directly relate to online courses, they give you an idea of how you can implement comparisons to drive online traffic to your sales pages.

Mini Exercise:

Can you think of one way you could create a comparative campaign for your course business? Take note of your idea. 

Differentiation

No matter what course idea you come up with, you’ll have to face some sort of competition. To the untrained customer’s eye, all courses will appear the same. They all do the same job (and tend to the same need), so how do they know which one to pick?

In a similar vein to comparative positioning, differentiation involves explaining why your course is better. More precisely, what are its Unique Selling Points (USPs)?

Take Dominos Pizza, for example. Apart from differences in cooking quality, what is their USP? At one point, their slogan was “You get fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less or it’s free.” A tagline like this one guaranteed efficiency and quality in one, and no other pizza company was doing the same, Dominos’ popularity rocketed. It’s as simple as that.

To think of your own USP, you really need to think outside the box.

As we did with the comparative section, let’s do a quick walkthrough to help you create a successful differentiation campaign.

  1.   Using your checklist from before, write down your course’s USPs. You might have already covered these in the ‘bonuses’ section. If you’re struggling to write down your USPs, think about what you do well, what the customers want, and what no other competition does.
  1.   Pick the most important USP of the lot. This should be the selling point that offers the most value to the customers. This is entirely subjective, so there really is no right or wrong answer- just make sure you have good reasoning behind your choice.
  1. Now we have our main USP, it’s time to market it correctly. Your campaign should be very similar to the comparative strategies mentioned before. Let’s take a look at some real-life examples with everyday products to help drive this idea home. 

USP: World’s strongest coffee

Why is this a good USP? The purpose of coffee is to energize and awaken. It’s a great idea to take this need to the extreme and supply a coffee that is extremely strong whilst also tasting great too. They also employ a money-back guarantee if you don’t agree it’s the strongest coffee you’ve ever tasted, highlighting the confidence within their own product.

USP: 100% dandruff protection

Why is this a good USP? Dandruff removal is a sub-niche of the shampoo category, with many products not living up to expectations. Head & Shoulders have promised a 100% dandruff protection efficacy, with clinical proof to back their claims. If a consumer wanted to buy shampoo with the purpose of fighting dandruff, this ad campaign would instantly convince them to purchase this product.

Mini Exercise:

Can you think of one way you could create a differentiation campaign for your course business? Take note of your idea.

              Compartmentation

You may even want to create more than one product for your customers (or appeal to specific customer types). The course remains the same, with a few extra bonuses depending on the interests and needs of the audience.

Take a course that teaches professional marketing, for example. A good way to rake in more profits is to split the course into a basic, premium and advanced bundle. That way, the company can sell different course content depending on the level of coverage the customer requires. So, for example, the basic course covers the beginner material, with the content get more and more advanced as the bundle price increases.

This opens your business up to a wider customer base and allows you to solve multiple needs at once (while still keeping within the same niche). Make sure each of your bonuses has its own USP, as you might encounter separate competition for each.

Let’s finish this section off with one final walkthrough, followed by a couple of examples of compartmentation done right.

  1.  Write down the needs that your course solves. If you want to make things a bit clearer, you could just use the ‘course details’ checklist that you created in the previous two strategies.
  2.  Look at each piece of information that describes your course. Now brainstorm similar needs that relate to this information. For example, if your course covers money-making strategies for teens, you might want to make a similar section that caters to adults.
  3.  Think about the different situations your customers might use your course. Are they appropriate for each situation?
  1.  Try and break up your course into essential and bonus content.
  2.  Create a similar course for a new audience type. 

Let’s have a look at an example of product compartmentation, detailing the problem it solves:

In this example, H&M have not created a new product range, but rather segmented their audience. They understand their target customers vary in household income, and the lowest income examples (students) may need some extra persuasion to buy their products.

They have thought of a scenario dependent on their audience (students buying their clothes) and realized it may be inappropriate (they may not be able to afford certain product lines). To solve this, they incorporated a moderate discount so students can indulge in more luxurious clothing.

Mini Exercise:

Can you think of one way you could use compartmentation for your business? Take note of your idea.

              Worksheet – Positioning

Exercise: Positioning in the mind of your customers

In what category can you position yourself as the first? 

*Naming this will position you as the first in that category.

Exercise: Your new audience

What new audience or subset are you serving? 

*Naming this gives you your target market. 

Exercise: A new way to serve your audience

How can you be serving that subset uniquely?

* Naming this gives you your product/offering.

Did you complete the worksheet and exercises?

If so, congratulations! If not – congratulations! Either way, you’re making great progress. You’ve taken the first steps toward success, even by taking the time to understand this information.  

(If you’re low on motivation at the moment, why not just complete one exercise or half of one? How about writing down a couple of ideas? It will only take a minute, but you’ll feel great for it).   

You’ve now completed x% of the course.

Are you ready for more tips on creating your marketing plan, so you can become the best in your niche – the go-to e-learning provider who makes tons more profit than your competitors because you know the secrets of providing your customers with value? Then let’s continue.

Creating Your Customer Avatar 

Ready for the next piece of the marketing puzzle that will make you out-perform your competitors? Let’s go.

Most marketers, infopreneurs, entrepreneurs the mistake of thinking about their customers as a group of people. They communicate to them as a group. This is an expensive mistake.

It’s natural to think this way, considering your customers will come from all walks of life; have different interests and come from different parts of the world. However, this thinking is flawed.

It’s been scientifically proven that marketing campaigns perform better when the company had one person in mind, as opposed to a cluster of different people.

So, we need to start speaking to our customers and potential customers as if they were one person, in their language. To do so, we firstly need to create a customer avatar.

The goal of creating a customer avatar is to have a fictive person that’s interesting,  specific, and unique to speak to. You can then give it a name and see it as a real person. It could be a male or a female.

The customer avatar should basically be a combination of all your customers into one.  But, visualize them as one individual, with real-life problems, values, and aspirations. When you write any form of marketing content, you will be writing to them. They will guide the way you create your campaigns, and the themes you incorporate into your branding. Every major product decision will have them in mind. You are catering for them, and them alone.

That is why avatar creation is so important for positioning. After all, positioning is defined as the way you establish your course’s image within the consumer’s mind. To produce that image in the first place, you need an idea of who you’re appealing to. That is your customer avatar.

When you create your customer avatar, everything relevant to your business that your customers have in common should be listed. As you build your customer avatar over time, you want to find the “particular commonalities” that make all of your customers similar.

After having created your customer avatar, you will be able to communicate to all of your prospects in your marketing with messages that feel like they have been written uniquely for them. If your customer avatar is not specific enough, it won’t give them that feeling of “this was made for me!”. This won’t turn them off, but it won’t turn them on either.

Customers, at the “ground level”, each have their own voice. The car sales guy doesn’t speak like the geeky engineering student. As you create your customer avatar, reflect on the way that your customers speak. They use specific words and phrases that have value to them. If you pinpoint these and communicate to them in their own voice using their specific words and phrases, your marketing will be very effective.

A personal insight that really allowed me to get results quickly for my clients has been to engage in a “mental dialog” with customers when creating marketing pieces using the customer avatar. Once you do this, you’ll mentally connect with your customers at a  human level and talk to them as if you would talk to a friend.

In order to best persuade a large number of people to buy your product or service, you must develop a communication style that “speaks to” each prospective customer in a  motivating way. To do so, it is best to start by creating a mental picture of a person who is a combination of the “highly individual” characteristics that make up a good prospective customer. We call that a customer avatar.

Customer Avatar Walkthrough

Giving you a summary of designing a customer avatar sometimes isn’t enough. To truly solidify your understanding, a step-by-step walkthrough will help.

  1. Get a rough idea for your perfect customer. Who will be most interested in your course? This can be done by answering the following questions. 
  2. What are your customer’s ages and gender?
  3. What are your avatar’s interests and hobbies? What do they do in their free time?
  4. What do they read? Where do they get their information?
  5. What is their primary occupation?
  6. What are their goals and aspirations?
  7. What problems do they have in their life? How does your product solve them?
  8. What do they look like? 

Here’s how your avatar detail document should look: 

  1. Do a quick sketch of your avatar. This will be your reference point. Every time you are writing content for your course’s website, creating a sales page or designing the text for an ad campaign, refer to the sketch as a source of inspiration. This will make sure your language is consistent with your customer’s interests. It will ensure you are talking to them.

Hint: An excellent way of getting a better idea of your customer avatar is by observing who is responding and interacting with your target ads. E.g. if you find that more men than women are purchasing your course/clicking your Facebook ads, you might want to switch your avatar from female to male.  

Worksheet – Customer avatar

Exercise: Define your ideal customer 

What are the “defining characteristics” of your prospective customer? Focus on the characteristics that are common to the group.

Exercise: How your client talk about their situation

What are some common themes, stories, words, phrases that your customer uses to describe his situation and his ideal outcome?

Exercise: Want your clients want and what they fear

What are his fears, pains and frustrations? What are his wants and aspirations? 

With a defined customer avatar, you’re miles ahead of the majority. Many people make vague guesses about their audience and hope for the best. 

You’re not doing that – you’ve narrowed it down to a specific individual. So, well done for taking this crucial step. 

You’ve now completed x% of the course.                                  

Are you ready to make your offer irresistible, like a dip in the sea on a sweltering summer’s day? That’s coming up next.

             Making Your Offer Irresistible

This is the foremost important element of any marketing and business as every successful online entrepreneur (such as yourself) starts with an irresistible offer. Why?

Hark back to our content on positioning strategies. Remember when we talked about course differentiation? Well, this is a clear example of this.

By producing an offer that your customer cannot say no to, your campaign is much better than your competitors’. In a way, your offer can be thought of as an USP for your course.

Your offer might just be the deciding factor between a lost sale and a secured customer. Your course by itself might not be enough, especially with competitors offering the same solution. An offer gives you that extra edge, allowing you to hoover up all the customers who are sitting on the fence about purchasing your goods.

To generate consistent revenue, we need to start offering something that motivates visitors to exchange money for the goods. Successful entrepreneurs always offer more, in exchange for what they are asking for, turning their offers ‘irresistible’ by adding value through extra bonuses, discounts, and money-back guarantees.

But remember,  when doing this, we must also create more value for ourselves than we consume.

Crafting an offer is a skill that can take quite some time to be learned. However, once you master it, it will give you a great advantage over the majority of your competition.

How to Give an Offer Value

Value – it’s an abstract term. With a few examples, it becomes more concrete:

Ø  Offering a free affiliate marketing e-book with an online course.

Ø  Offering a 50% discount if they purchase the product within the next hour (this is especially good as it creates a sense of urgency).

Ø  Offering a money-back guarantee if they are not satisfied with the product.

Ø  Offering select discounts on bonus content in your range.

Ø  Offering a free product of their choice if they buy three different products.

Ø  Offering a free trial if they buy one section of the course. E.g. Buying part one gives the consumer a free trial of parts two and three.

To come up with your own bespoke offer, you’ll need to find inspiration from within. The best way to do this is by asking yourself what you would want to buy.

For example, I am selling an online course that teaches people the ins and outs of day-to-day productivity. To come up with an irresistible offer, I ask myself what I’d want to buy if I was interested in the course. Here’s what I came up with:

Ø  A free e-book with the purchase.

Ø  Offering a mini-trial before the purchase.

Ø  A heavy discount on a similar course I have made on money-saving methods if they purchase the productivity course.

Ø  Enter all customers into a lottery where the winner gets $4,000 in cash.

Ø  Enter customers into a raffle where one customer gets the course for free.

Now I have an idea of the things I can incorporate into my offer. I don’t have to use all of them, but it’s best to use a lot rather than a little. After all, the more incentives we incorporate into our offer, the higher the chance we are going to appeal to a browsing consumer. For example, one customer might not be interested in a free e-book but might like the idea of a mini-trial.

Think of your offer as a net. The more you include in your offer, the bigger the net becomes and the more customers you are going to ‘catch’. It’s very much a case of balancing quantity and quality.

              Worksheet – Irresistible Offer

Exercise: Your solution you offer your customers

In one sentence, what is it that you will offer to your customer?

What problem, pain, frustration will it solve for them?

Exercise: Why your customers want your offering

What want, need, aspiration will it fulfill for them?

Exercise: Make the offer irresistible

What bonuses, extras, guarantees, or discounts will you add to your offer to make it irresistible?

Exercise: Be your customer

Take a minute to close your eyes and put yourself in the shoes of your ideal client and ask yourself “would I purchase this for the price given?”. If the answer is no, continue brainstorming and adding value to your offer. 

You’ve now completed x% of the course. 

Get ready for some more magic – persuasive copy that sells, coming up next.

Writing Persuasive Copy That Sells

Persuasive copy motivates your prospective customer to take the action that they think they need to take to somehow improve their current situation.

Motivation comes when you show them that the features of your product are exactly in line with their needs and to do that they must come as close as possible to experiencing what it is like or would be like to use your product.  Tell them a story of exactly their situation and put in a happy ending. The solution is discovered (your product). If they connect enough with the bad situation in the story, they’ll connect with the solution in the story too.

Sales Pages 

Sales pages tend to follow a similar structure. This is because different formats have been tried and tested, and the same old formula always comes up trumps. Before we annotate a real-life example of a sales page, let’s look at its different parts.

Headline: This is the main tagline that will grab your customer’s attention. It should be the first thing they look at, so make sure to employ large fonts and standout colors.

Sub-headline: This is an optional part that adds any important information missing in the headline. For example, if your headline is something like ‘The Bumper Passive Income Course’, the sub-headline can explain what makes the product special, such as ‘Learn exactly how to make money while you sleep’.

Conversion Story: This part details a real customer who used your course and enjoyed it. Make sure to keep the focus on how the course was valuable and how it solved their problem/frustration. The customer should be able to relate to the conversion story, and ultimately understand that they will benefit in the same way.

Features/Advantages/Disadvantages/Bonuses/Offers: This is where you detail all the auxiliary information about your course. What makes it different from the competition? What are its USPs? How much does it cost? Is it a good value for money? What can the customer expect? (And what they shouldn’t expect) – make sure to keep things realistic.

It is also critical you draw attention to your irresistible offer. The course’s features advantages and features may not be enough, so you need to make sure your customer is aware of what they can expect if they go ahead with the purchase.

If you are doing a flash sale, you may want to incorporate a popup on your main page. This grabs the consumer’s attention and makes them instantly aware of an offer they can’t refuse. 

How to Overcome Writer’s Block

Unless you outsource your copywriting, you might run into writer’s block from time to time. Here are a few tips to help you overcome it and get the cogs turning again:

  • Don’t expect your first draft to be perfect. Don’t even expect it to be good. Just start writing, even if it’s rubbish. Write absolutely anything – just start. After all, who’s judging it? At this stage, yourself – there’s nothing to be afraid of.
  • Get clear on your purpose before you start – this makes it easier to write coherently.
  • Start talking out loud to your customer avatar as if they were a real person.
  • Take breaks when you need to
  • Give your ideas the space to incubate and consolidate – sleep on it, go for a walk, and take some time away from the computer. When you come back, your ideas may seem to come together in a coherent way without your intervention.

Sales Page Walkthrough

Now let’s take a look at what a sales page looks like. We’ve numbered each important part so you can navigate its structure easily.

1: Main Headline. This is placed at the top of the sales page so it’s the first thing to grab the customer’s attention. It’s broad in nature and discusses what makes the course/info-product special (‘A new way to look at the money). The color of the tagline blends in with the background picture, which can make it quite difficult to read. If we were to change anything about this sales page, that would be it.

2: Features and Advantages. No subheading is present on this sales page. Instead, the business delves straight into the product details. Notice how each feature is separated within its own block of text and accompanying graphics. This ensures the content is digestible for the reader. Also notice the exciting language to keep the reader engaged: ‘Discover, develop, take action’ are some examples.

3: Call to Action: The small ‘buy’ button below the features is known as a call to action. Much like the name suggests, this widget persuades the consumer to take action, either by providing their details or by directly purchasing the info-product. Calls to action are common in sales funnels and for building email lists.

4: Extra features. This gets into the nitty-gritty about what your business is all about. It runs through the company philosophy, the problems it helps solve and the different info-products you can invest into. You might want to place this above the other features/advantages in your own sales page – it’s entirely up to you.

5: Conversion story. This outlines the main problem (financial troubles in young couples), and how the info-product has solved this problem. Conversion stories can be in text form, but it tend to perform better as a video/image, as seen in the example. The more stories you incorporate, the more persuasive the campaign becomes. You might want to include positive quotes your customers had to say about your course.

There are things that this example does not include, but is still very important. For example,  bonuses and offers are not displayed on the main page. These are critical for conversions, so make sure they feature within the main viewport or in a separate popup.

Headlines That Grab Attention

Successful marketing uses headlines that grab attention. Why? Because headlines are the “ad” for the rest of the page. People skim the headlines to decide whether something is worth paying attention to or not. To put it another way, you have a brief opportunity to make someone decide whether to give any more of their precious time to what you have to say.

Headlines are used in many places:

  • Advertisements
  • Email Subject Lines
  • Opt-in Boxes
  • Home Pages
  • Sales Pages
  • YouTube Videos

Their goal is to grab attention and motivate engagement. Without attention-grabbing headlines, potential clients would rarely be motivated to invite us to their jobs, to open emails, read sales pages or any other marketing material of ours. In short, prospects would most probably go back to watching videos about cute dogs.

So, when building an online marketing plan for ourselves and our clients, it is essential to put particular focus on headline writing. Paying particular attention to individual words and their meaning is a high leverage activity. To do this successfully, we try to use highly emotive words and phrases that offer a promise, such as a result, a benefit, or a  relief.

Grab a pen and paper and try the following exercise. Don’t worry that you’re doing it  ‘wrong’, just put as many headlines down as you like, try different wordings – read and edit them until you have something that you are happy with…get creative. 

             Worksheet – Headlines that grab attention 

Exercise: Your headline’s promise

Is your headline promising a result, a benefit, or a result? If not, edit it.

Exercise: Your headline’s language

Are your headlines written using the same vocabulary as your customer? If not,  edit it 

You’re almost there – keep going! It’s not long until you complete this section on creating a marketing plan.

How did you get on with the exercises?

Stuck on ideas?

Just write one headline. One tiny headline. Even if you think it’s terrible.

Did you do it?

Well done!

You’ve now completed x% of the course. 

Here’s a challenge for you:

For the next 7 days, write down one headline after every meal you eat! Make it quick. Make it easy. And don’t think much about it.  

Copy That Motivates

 

Successful online marketing systems that have grabbed attention now need to motivate their visitors to exchange their money for their product, or service.

A copy can be seen as the persuading content of marketing; it is about the words that we use to communicate in our marketing. We want to write words that carry the message,  the meaning, and the ideas relating to the goods or services. Specifically, motivating copy discusses features, advantages, and benefits of the product or service being sold.

To demonstrate the offer, a copy is often written in a familiar language using short words,  short sentences, and multiple examples.

It attempts to remove all the possible objections from buying that potential customers may have.

By failing to write motivating copy, entrepreneurs often end up with funnels that are underperforming and leave a lot of money on the table.

Worksheet – Copy that Motivates

Exercise: Your product features

With bullet points, write the advantages, benefits, and features of your product or offer.

Exercise: Value demonstration

Write 2 examples that you could use to demonstrate the value of your product using metaphors.

 

Writing A Conversion Story That Changes Someone

As much as we often think that we’re logical and rational, it’s not completely true.  Clients need a way to connect to you and your offer. Your story provides it. Think back to the ‘About Me’ section of this book, how I told you about my background and how I  had reached my goal of running a successful business online. For the purposes of this manual, these are the areas I wanted to ‘sell’ in order to establish my credentials to other aspiring entrepreneurs. So, when we look closely at it, it involved these key  elements:

  • Started in the same situation as the Customer. 
  • Tried & failed. 
  • Breakthrough: Discovered the secret to success. 
  • Created a system or product
  • Others used it to succeed. 
  • Now you can succeed.

When marketing yourself, the more the background involves elements that your customer has experienced or can relate to the better, but it should always end with a  positive outcome because that is what the prospective client is looking for with their own project. Everyone has their own history, but if you don’t like yours, create a new one for yourself.

Conversion Story Examples

As well as bonuses and offers, conversion stories are an integral part of your sales page. They give real-life accounts of what people think of your course and help to realize the value associated with your product. They are a template for your potential customers. They should be able to relate to the stories and see themselves in the shoes of those relaying them. It is the perfect way for consumers to see what your course can do for them. After all, it’s all about personal value.

So what does a good conversion story look like? Let’s take a look at some examples.

HubSpot sells software that improves marketing campaigns and sales conversions. So if there’s anyone you can trust for an effective testimonial page, its them. While they don’t sell online courses, the takeaways are exactly the same.

Take a look at the snapshot provided for two separate conversion stories. What do you notice that works? 

What we like:

Ø  Images accompany each testimonial, allowing you to put a face behind each account. This makes the message more personal, and potentially relatable.

Ø  Details of each customer are given in brief. By pairing their face with their name and occupation, you get a rough idea of the consumer type this product appeals to.

Ø  The first testimonial is quick to note the thing that potential customers wants to see: Results. By detailing the increase in sales, the customer can understand the same will happen to them if they invest their money in HubSpot software.

Ø  The first testimonial also contrasts life before HubSpot and life after HubSpot. By noting the positive impact HubSpot has on marketing campaigns, the consumer gets an instant understanding of the product’s potential value.

Ø  The second testimonial focuses more on the features the products provides. This is great as it fills in all the gaps the first testimonial didn’t cover.

Ø  The second testimonial also focuses on HubSpot’s USPs, namely their stellar customer support and the range of tools available.

Ø  Each testimonial draws attention to different product advantages, ensuring all bases are covered.

Above is the testimonial page for Bizzabo, an online software that helps you organize events to their full potential. Their conversion stories are a lot more short and punchy, but still get the message across.

What we like:

Ø  The design layout for the page is quirky and innovative. The tagline ‘You are the center of the universe’ boosts the client’s esteem and increases the chance of a sale.

Ø  The use of names and pictures helps to make the testimonials relatable and personable, as was seen with HubSpot.

Ø  The use of Twitter as the source of the testimonials shows they are natural and written without any prior prompt.

Ø  Evan’s testimonial starts with a thank you. This is an instant indicator that the product has worked for him and provided him with value.

Ø  Evan’s testimonial notes how all his ticketing is run through Bizzabo, another indicator of the product’s high quality and trustworthiness.

Ø  David’s testimonial highlights the advantages of Bizzabo, detailing the helpful customer support, easy navigation, and great results.

Ø  Alecia’s testimonial covers a new feature and its high perceived value. Note how the topic of each testimonial covers something vastly different. Evan focuses on trust, David focuses on literal advantages and Alecia focuses on helpful features.

Ø  Information is not given on the Session feature, spurring the customer on to do their own research. This keeps them on the website, exposing them to more persuasive material. Sometimes, a little bit of ambiguity is best.

Startup Institute is a company that helps to accelerate a businessman’s career prospects. Their testimonial is simplistic but detailed. Rather than including quick snippets, they’ve really focused on the ‘story’ side of a conversion story. Their testimonials are extensive and help to give you a good idea of everything the customer thinks about the product.

What we like:

Ø  As we just mentioned, the conversion stories are much more detailed than usual. This works more like an actual story, allowing you to fully see the impact the product has had on a consumer’s life.

Ø  The testimonial includes a picture, name, and occupation to make the customer more relatable and personable.

Ø  The testimonial begins by discussing Startup’s positive impact. By showing a real life account of someone making strides in the business world (as a result of a specific product), potential consumers can get an idea of how the product might apply to their own scenario. Remember, the testimonial should be a template that the customer can relate their own situation to.

Ø  The testimonial touches upon the customer achieving their dream. This highly emotive language helps to drive home the impact Startup can have on someone.

Ø  The testimonial is very well structured and covers a lot of content. It begins with an example of progress, before leading into an inflection on how quickly that progress came. The rest of the story highlights the product’s value, which helps to persuade potential consumers to secure a sale.

All said and done, there is a foolproof recipe for producing an excellent testimonial page. Here’s what we recommend you do:

Ø  Make sure the testimonials are of a medium length. Too short, and not enough content can be used. Too long, and the reader will lose interest.

Ø  Make sure all bases are covered. Have one conversion story focus on the course’s features, and another on its USPs etc. You should think of the testimonials as another way of showcasing everything special about your course.

Ø  Pick and choose the testimonials with the most emotive language.

Ø  Attach extra information to every customer’s testimonial. This includes their name, occupation, and a picture of their face.

Worksheet – Conversion Story

Exercise: You’ve been in your customer’s shoes 

How did you start in the same situation as your customer?

Exercise: You failed just like your customer

How did you try & fail?

Exercise: Your breakthrough

How did you discover the secret to success? Created a system or product.

 

Exercise: Design for understanding

It’s now time to put this all together and design your very own sales page. Use everything you’ve learned in this chapter and put it together into an 8.5” x 11” piece of paper. You may want to digitize that page after.

The hierarchy should be the following: headline, sub-headline, your conversion story,  features, advantages, benefits, your offer, your guarantee, and bonuses. After reading your sales page, a client should be pushed to make a decision: to buy or not to buy.[KM3] 

                                                                                     Summary 

You’ve learned all about: 

  • Positioning – what it is, the different types you can use in your campaigns (comparison, differentiation and compartmentation), and other positioning tips.
  • How to make your course unique so you stand out from competitors – we looked at Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs and how this can help you identify which customer needs your courses will serve.
  • How to create your course’s theme
  • What a customer avatar is, why you need one and how to create one – hopefully you’ve created one now and it’s by your desk, ready for you to talk to when you write copy!
  • How to create an irresistible offer your customers can’t refuse – extra bonuses, discounts and money-back guarantees are part of it.
  • How to create a persuasive, motivating copy that sells – we covered headlines, CTAs, conversion stories, and all other essential copy you’ll encounter as part of your marketing plan. You know a few tips for overcoming writer’s block
  • You know exactly how to write create a sales page

 

Congratulations! You’ve completed 1 of 5 chapters.

Treat yourself – you deserve to celebrate getting this far.

Can you taste success yet? Remember what you imagined at the very start of this chapter. Bring it to mind again and enjoy that vision once again – that vision of your future.  

I like that this is brought up. It’s very important. I think it should maybe be put above to frame the thinking during the examples.

 [KM2]Moved from below.

 [KM3]Moved from the section on headlines.

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