Eight Steps to Unlock Your Online Course Sales With Copywriting

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Karthik Vijayakumar
Published on: July 31, 2023

Copywriting is the art of using words to sell your courses and memberships. If you’re a course creator, learning copywriting basics can help you create better courses, write better opt-in and sales pages, and increase your online course sales. And the best way to learn copywriting is to start improving what you have. In this post, you’ll learn eight steps to increase your course sales significantly.

If you think copywriting is about writing…you’re wrong.

Copywriting is a portmanteau. Port…what? Excuse me for using that word. Portmanteau is used to describe words that are formed by combining two or more words. Copy is the words you use to sell, and writing is the process of putting those words on a page. But people use the word copywriting to refer to the writing…and not the copy.

The words you use to sell are special.

In fact, the words you use to sell aren’t about the words at all. It’s all about emotions. And emotions are personal. While some may resonate with one, others may not. That’s why it’s important to know who you’re selling to so you use the right words and trigger the right emotions. And once you know the emotional hot buttons, you write.

You don’t have to be a Shakespeare…

There’s a popular belief that you must be good in English to write good copy. That’s like saying you must be good at riding a unicycle on a rope before riding a bicycle. No, you don’t have to work at a circus before you start to ride on roads. All you need to know are some rules and how to use the steering wheel, gear, and brake.

online course sales

Eight Steps to Crafting Copy That Increases Your Course Sales

So get ready. In the next few minutes, you’ll learn how to write a perfect sales letter, email, or course description for your online course. In the next paragraph, I’ll show you how to find your buyers’ emotional hot buttons. And then, you’ll learn how to use them in your copy systematically.

Oh yes, you’ll also learn the secret of persuasion. Sounds like a promise worth your time? Read on.

Step 1: Identify the Pain Points and Desires of Your AudienceFerrari Ad

Everything starts with emotions. Not yours but that of your audience, or a term I prefer to use, buyers. It turns out that we are emotional beings. Survival is an emotional experience, and everything else leads to a purchase. As I’ve heard someone put it, “We buy with our emotions and back them up with logic.”

Our emotions are often expressed as desires. While the desire is to go out for a candlelight dinner, the driving emotion is love. You might desire a red Ferrari, but power or pride is the driving emotion. So how do you find the desires of your target buyers?

You need to take a course on mind-reading. But if you got 30 minutes, I’ve got something better–watch this.

Step 2: Turn Headlines to Head Turners (or Eye-Poppers)

You must shout their name if you need to get someone’s attention in a crowded place. But if you need them to do something for you, then you need to give them a reason. That’s what your headlines should do. It needs to call out your target buyers and give them a reason to stop whatever they’re doing and read.

But great headlines do something different. They use this “secret” ingredient.

They infuse emotion. And there’s one more thing. Here’s the thing with emotion and desire. We, humans, have mastered the art of the elite art of procrastination. So even when we see the emotional hot buttons, we tend to give ourselves excuses. “Let me get to it as soon as I finish this…” And that’s a sales killer.

That’s why great headlines also include urgency or scarcity (or both). Here’s an example of a headline that uses scarcity and urgency with the use of “FIRST 253 people…”

Dan Kennedy Ad with Scarcity

If you’re interested in headline ideas for your online course, I recently published 60 headline formulas for online courses. In that post, I give you headline formulas centered around six different elements–course name, problem, promise, skepticism, audience, and timeline.

Step 3: Transform Features and Benefits Into Tiny Supermagnets

I recently invented a portable playground for kittens and cats. It’s the best gift you can get for your cats.

  • The portable playground has attachments for four toys.
  • It has an interconnected maze made of hardwood and plastic.
  • The playground has velcros and plastic hooks.
  • It has a cushioned bed too.

Did any of that make sense to you? Well, if you have cats, maybe. But if you don’t, that probably sounded weird. And even if you do have kittens or cats, the above lines perhaps don’t mean anything to you. That’s because they are just the features. How do they benefit you? What can it do for you? Here’s a simple way to rewrite the above with benefits…

  • The portable playground has attachments for four toys: You no longer need to spend time playing with your needy kitten. The toys in the maze are positioned in a way that keeps your kitten entertained until it falls asleep.
  • It has an interconnected maze made of hardwood and plastic: You don’t have to worry about cleaning the portable playground or if your kittens accidentally throw up while playing. You can wash it, and it’s good as new.
  • The playground has velcros and safe plastic hooks: Your kitten is safe inside this playground.
  • It has a cushioned bed, too: Kittens and cats love safe and closed places to sleep. The playground offers your pet three safe spaces to sleep. This is your kitty’s new favorite playground and napping spot.

To increase your online course sales, turn your features into benefits.

Step 4: Fascinate Your Buyers

When writing copy, the fruits of your labor are in the emotions your copy triggers in your buyers. Do they feel something after reading your copy? If it does, you have moved your buyers. Moved?

Every time someone reads your copy, they are in a state of inertia or sometimes walking in the opposite direction. The job of your copy is to either move them from the state of inertia or get them to change the direction of motion slightly. How do you do that?

You fascinate your buyers.

When writing copy, fascinations are captivating phrases that trigger curiosity and desire in your audience. Combining a fascination with headlines or bullets can create compelling and enticing copy that engages and moves your audience.

Let’s turn one of the bullets from the previous step into a fascination…

Without FascinationsWith Fascinations
  • The portable playground has attachments for four toys: You no longer need to spend time playing with your needy kitten. The toys in the maze are positioned in a way that keeps your kitten entertained until it falls asleep.
  • Unlock Endless Joy: Watch Your Needy Kitten Explore a Maze of Toys, Staying Entertained Until Sweet Slumber Takes Over!

And here’s another one for an online course…

Without FascinationsWith Fascinations
  • This podcasting course has five modules. Each module is carefully designed to take you one step to publishing your first episode. Our modules are so perfect that you have the result to see and feel when you’re done.
  • Podcasting Perfection Unlocked: Unravel Five Expertly Crafted Modules, Propelling You Towards Your Debut Episode, Where You’ll See and Feel the Thrilling Results!

These fascinations are not the best, but I hope you understand how it works. Using fascinations in the right places will help you sell more of your courses or memberships.

Step 5: Create Irresistible Offers

Copy doesn’t sell your courses. It’s your offer. When you want to treat yourself to yummy ice cream, it’s not just the ice cream that counts. It’s what you get with the ice cream. Do you get your ice cream on a waffle cup or a cone? Do you get your favorite toppings? Is that ice cream vegan? Is there a buy-one-get-one offer?

Offers are why people buy. But it’s your copy that gets people to your offer. And if your offers are irresistible, your customers are going to buy. Turning your offer into an irresistible one is simple: align everything you promise to your target buyer’s desires, and offer them the least resistance path to buy. Use a combination of price, payments, and guarantees to do this.

Step 6: Winning Simple Sales Letter Superstructure

Be it a sales letter or an email, you need a structure. Picture this. Every time you present your offer with a copy, you are building a bridge. And the goal of that bridge is simple: connect the buyer’s biggest problem to your offer. But here’s the problem: your buyers won’t walk on this bridge just because you built it. You need to help them do that.

Your copy is the bridge to freedom.

If your copy is not structured correctly, you risk losing your buyer. And sometimes, you lose them to your competitors. So how do you avoid this? You use this proven superstructure. This superstructure has been used for hundreds of years, and it works. It’s often referred to by an acronym–PAS. It stands for Problem, Agitate, and Solve.

  1. In simple terms, every time you write a sales letter or email (or just about anything to sell), you begin with the problem. And when you start with your buyers’ biggest burning problem, it gets their attention.
  2. The second step is to aggravate that problem. People are usually juggling with more than one problem. And oftentimes, they tend to put their other problems on the back burner. By aggravating the problem, you effectively bring that specific problem back into your buyers’ active thinking.
  3. Finally, you give them your solution. As I’ve heard someone say, when buyers see you articulating their problems better than they can, they also tend to think you have the solution too.

Step 7: Make Your Course Description Pop

“Do you want some chocolate ice cream? Or do you want this other gourmet ice cream I got? It’s a chocolate mousse made with rare Brazilian cocoa and fresh almond milk. It’s packaged inside this airtight case that captures the smell of rich chocolate…”

Which one salivated you more? As you already know, emotions get people to open their wallets. And you can trigger the right emotions by using the right set of words, images, and words that trigger images.

Step 8: Tempt Them With Your Buttons

People are tired of the words “Buy Now” on your button. Think fresh. Why do you really want them to click? Is it because you want them to buy, or is it because you want them to get the result they desire?

Use your buyers’ desires in your buttons, and you will start to see the results change. How about “Yes! I Want to Start a Podcast!” instead of “Buy Now”?

Whether it’s your buttons or bullets, your only job with copywriting is to help your clients buy your courses.

It’s time to level up your online course sales.

Grab a pen, write down two things you can implement from this post, and use them in your sales letters or emails. Leave a comment below and let me know what the results are. Feel stuck? Let me know where.

Also, check out my detailed post on creating a six-figure online course in five easy steps I published yesterday.

To your prosperity,


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About the author 

Karthik Vijayakumar

Hey, it's me, Karthik. I'm a ghostwriter and copywriter helping B2B founders and businesses. As a copywriter, I help founders validate and nail your messaging. As a ghostwriter, I write strategic blog posts to help you build authority or grow your inbound marketing. Click the tiny button below and connect with me on LinkedIn.

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