Anyone planning to optimize course sales must know it’s a competitive business. Therefore, any optimization that can be made to both obtain more enrolments – as well as to sell more courses to current students – will help go a long way in helping the instructor.
There are several persuasion principles that you can use to optimize conversions for your course’s landing page, and they should be part of any toolkit of techniques on how to sell Udemy courses.
How to optimize your Course Sales:
We are going to cover a few of these techniques. You can find all of these (and around 50 more) in Vasco Patrício’s Ultimate Persuasion Psychology course.
Personalization, or in short, showing a real, unique, person is a very powerful persuasion principle. It’s the reason why charities requesting donations obtain better results when they include a photo of a starving child. It’s the reason why political posters convert better when the candidate’s photo is in the poster.
As an Udemy instructor, showing your face will increase results with students. If possible, the course cover should include a photo of you. Although it should be clean and professional, it doesn’t necessarily need to. As long as the personal element is there, people will fluctuate towards the course more.
This is also taken into account during the course itself. Use talking head video sections instead of just slides to make people trust you more – and possibly purchase more courses.
2. Personal Touch
A personal touch, in short, is when you go out of your way to do something for someone that you didn’t need to. While in the real world that can manifest as getting the bill for a business dinner, holding the door for someone, or getting them a coffee when you go get one for yourself, you may think it’s not possible to use in an automated manner with thousands of students.
It can be done, for example, after students purchase your course, by giving them some bonus content that they don’t need to pay for, and exclusive promotions on new courses before they reach the public. Make your students feel like you are going out of your way to give them something.
A good practice is to, for example, post bonus content every month and send an announcement to your students. They will love the surprise. And it doesn’t need to be a lot – it can be a new small, bonus module with 2-3 videos. These can really boost reviews and engagement.
3. Displayed Authority
Displayed authority is the name given to showing authority through third-parties, whether people or objects. It’s the reason that social proof works so well, and that speakers are introduced by others on stage instead of introducing themselves. When your authority is displayed by someone else instead of yourself, people trust it more, as they believe the source of the information is unbiased. When it’s you doing it, it seems less trustworthy.
There are countless ways to use displayed authority. Credentials and symbols work (for example, associations with top companies or universities, or literally using in the course photo symbols such as the “trusted” logo or the padlock indicating security are proven methods). Besides this, mentioning statistics such as total student numbers, years of experience, and above all else, testimonials are all third-party indicators of your authority without you needing to demonstrate it yourself.
Empathy is a very powerful persuasion tool. Most students will have their shield up and be skeptical. Avoiding the doubts and negative thoughts they may have bypassed the issue. The best way to get them to drop their guard is to precisely address their point of view, including the negative thoughts they may be having. This is empathy.
Mentioning something like, “I know you must be a selective student, and you’re not sure whether this particular course can help or not”, or, “I know you’re thinking that many courses don’t deliver the proper quality”, whether on the landing page for prospective students or in a message to current students selling new courses work.
The goal is to put yourself in the other person’s shoes, and to say, “I understand you”. Demonstrating this alone helps close million-dollar deals – and it’s also proven as a valuable weapon to optimize course sales on Udemy.
5. Predicting Objections
Everyone will have objections, and there are two attitudes you can take. To do nothing about them and ignore them, which may lose you sales, or to tackle them head-on and reply to them.
Addressing objections is as simple as including a short section where you include answers to the most frequent objections.
“If you’re wondering whether I have enough experience as an instructor, then let me tell you XYZ”;
“If you’re wondering whether the course has enough content, then let me tell you XYZ”;
This will immediately eliminate these objections in serious buyers and remove roadblocks for purchasing.
6. Context Manipulation
Context is possibly the most powerful persuasion superweapon there is. If you change the way something is framed, you literally change its value. A product that has a medium-tier price can be considered the most premium low-cost product, or the most accessible premium product. And this can happen for people, products, services, anything.
In specific, you can use a form of context manipulation called perceived contrast. In short, something seems better if compared to something especially bad. It’s the reason why, when we’re hungry, anything tastes delicious.
You can use the same with your course. Take the biggest strengths it has compared to others (Longer runtime? More techniques? More instructor experience?) and contrast it to the lack of that in other courses. The effect will seem much bigger. It’s one thing to say “The course has X”. It’s another thing to say “Most course lack X, and this course is precisely the one that has it the most”
7. Adversary Transparency
This may seem like a counterintuitive technique, but it’s immensely powerful. Adversary transparency is simply the practice of being honest about things, even when they go against you. For example, if you say, “This course addresses this specific problem, but to be honest, it doesn’t address related problems XYZ”. You may think this makes you less an authority, but in reality, it has the opposite effect.
In a world where we’re all jaded of people with egos and that doesn’t admit any mistake, somebody admitting minor flaws or issues is actually refreshing and makes the person more authentic in our minds.
A great technique to do this with your course is to claim that you are an expert at a specific problem, and then say that you don’t take care of other things that are obviously different. For example, “This course will teach you how to code, but it does not cover how to get a job or present projects to employers”. This way you get the authenticity boost of admitting a small flaw without actually having a flaw. And it makes you more authentic and raises your authority – which is another valuable weapon that you can use to optimize course sales on Udemy.
This is a very simple principle, and not even a persuasion one – a valuable one in general. Anything that is diluted presents less value to a person, so the way to go is to concentrate. For example, studies have been made where a person sells a premium product and asks what price the person was willing to pay. Then, the same offer was made, but with bonuses added, which were of lower quality. People were willing to pay LESS for the premium product with the bonuses.
In short, people “average” the value of the package’s contents. So, if you have multiple value propositions, multiple bonuses, multiple packages, don’t mention them before the person pays. Have one clear value proposition and make one clear call to action. You can talk about all the additional things… after the student becomes a client.
Anybody who has read the book The Effortless Experience knows that out of the total effort we make with something, 2/3rds are mental effort. Or, in short, if you think something is a lot of effort, it will be, and vice-versa.
Streamlining is the practice of using words that evoke low effort to make people think your solution really is low-effort. And because, of that, they buy. If you’ve ever visited a web platform that says “Signup is quick and easy”, this is streamlining at play.
You can use it yourself in two main ways. One is to use words that actually evoke low effort, such as “simple”, “quick”, “easy”, “instant”, or any other with the same meaning. The second method is to structure. Remember Steve Jobs saying “I have three key things to present today?”. The same concept applies. Mention your course has 4 key modules, or that there are 3 key principles.
By using these different persuasion techniques, you can optimize Course sales for your current courses, but also increase persuasion with current students for new courses you may want to sell. At the end of the day, anyone planning to sell Udemy courses (or already doing it) can benefit from these optimizations.
In order to know more about these persuasion techniques (as well as many others, for a total of 62), please visit Vasco Patrício’s Ultimate Persuasion Psychology course.