For course creators, the power of a well-crafted sales page headline cannot be overstated. It’s the first, and often the only, opportunity to grab a reader’s attention away from the dozens of messages they can receive every day. In fact, the choice to continue reading is made by the reader within the first few seconds of reading a headline, which is why crafting it is crucial.
On a sales page, juicy headlines don’t just grab your reader, they hook ‘em. And if done right, they sink ‘em–aka, they buy what you’re selling. Crafting these puppies is a key skill of any adept copywriter, especially when it comes to creating effective sales pages. But you don’t have to be a copywriter to master the skill.
Here’s what I tell course creators who attend my monthly Sales Page Workshop about headlines.
The Role of Headlines in Sales Writing
It’s imperative to know why headlines are such a big deal but also equally as important to understand their role on your sales page.
Headlines are more than just the starting point of your online course sales pages; they’re the gateway to your educational content. A compelling headline acts as a window into the value and experience your course offers. It can share the benefits of your course while giving the potential buyer a taste of your voice and personality.
David Ogilvy said, “On average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”
David Ogilvy is considered one of the greatest ad gurus of all time, and that quote ↑ gives 80% of the responsibility of hooking your audience to the headline. It’s a big job.
good sales page headlines do three things
Here are a few guidelines I use when I write headlines for online education sales pages:
01) Invoke curiosity and engagement
Make your audience wonder and want to learn more. Your headline should make the reader wonder, “What happens next?” The headline should attempt to start a narrative that the sales page continues.
Example: You’re not just listening, you’re feeling.
This headline from Audible goes beyond the basic concept of audiobooks. It piques curiosity by suggesting a deeper, more emotional experience with their service.
A course about the art of mastering public speaking could switch up this headline and be Your audience won’t just listen, they’ll feel. It implies that through public speaking, the student will create an immersive experience with their speeches.
02) Highlight the benefits of your course
Clearly articulate the value your course offers. It should be clear how the reader will benefit from it. This should highlight a challenge or problem and solution your course or service offers.
Example: Learn a language for free. Forever.
Duolingo’s headline is straightforward and powerful. It emphasizes the app’s primary offering which is language learning that is free and without time limitation.
With the small tweak of removing the word *free*, this could easily translate into a headline for an evergreen course with lifetime access (one that is available to the student at any time and in perpetuity) focused on teaching a foreign language.
03) Maintain clarity and precision
Headlines should be direct and to the point, reflecting the core message of your sales pages. Think of them like subject lines on an email. You only have so much space to get your point across.
Example: Anyone, anywhere, can start a business.
Shopify nails it with this clear and precise headline. It encapsulates Shopify’s ease and accessibility of setting up an online business.
A novel writing course could adjust this headline to: Anyone, anywhere, can write a book. Or perhaps, Anyone…even you…can write a book.
The Two Most Common Headline Mistakes
In your pursuit of becoming a *headline great,* remember to steer clear of:
Too Vague A headline that lacks specificity can lose its impact. It can leave the reader thinking, “Wait, what?!?” And if they have to spend too much time thinking about what you’re trying to say, you can most likely kiss them goodbye.
Example: Transform your life in seconds.
Sign me up!!! But really…this headline is overly vague and could be misleading in that it sets unrealistic expectations about the speed and magnitude of the change being promised. I’m definitely more of a believer in the “under-promise-and-over-deliver” camp.
Misleading Promises This one’s a doozy. Make sure your headline accurately reflects the content of your course. Do not throw clickbait out to lure prospects in. You’re guaranteed to lose their trust once they realize this isn’t what they expected.
Example: Get rich quick with our simple solution
This headline is vague but also potentially misleading by promising quick wealth, which is rarely achievable unless you win the lottery or hit a winning slot in Vegas. It also preys on the reader’s desire for easy success, which is not good.
The final check
Headlines come last for me, so when I’m wrapping the sales page and reviewing my headlines, I ask a simple question to make sure each one hits the mark: Does this headline hit BCD?
Does it use benefit-driven copy?
Does it invoke curiosity?
Is it direct?
With digital courses–and with any service or product online–headlines can make or break a sales page. By using these strategies and asking yourself the BCD question, you will connect with your audience on a deeper level, welcome more students, and sell more courses.