Agonizing over what to name your online course? Your title can make or break the success of your course. In this guide, we'll share how to find the perfect name for your online course in 6 steps.
Stop. I know what you’re thinking.
A course name is only a few words at most. What’s the big deal?
If you think that spending time–even days–crafting the perfect title for your online course is a waste of time, think again, because everything you thought you knew about the humble course title is going to be turned on its head.
When it comes to crafting a good title for your online course, whatever you come up with must be concise, clear, and most important of all: compelling. If not, your course is almost guaranteed to be a flop.
But relax. Wipe that sweat off your forehead. Because we’re here to show you how...
Anatomy of the Perfect Online Course Title
A catchy title for your online course is your door into the reader’s mind… and their pockets.
As Mark Twain said, “A lie can get halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to put its boots on.”
In other words, you may have created the most valuable, informative, high-quality course on the planet, but if you give it a bad title then none of your hard work matters. Perception is everything.
We're going to unveil the anatomy of a great online course title, what goes into creating one, and how you can pique the interest of your target audience with an awesome title for every single online course you create.
The perfect online course title takes into account each of these critical factors:
1. Search Volume
2. Target Demographic
4. Keyword Competition
5. Keyword Trends
6. Headline Psychology
Utilize each of these components, and you're sure to find an irresistible name for your online course.
Ready to learn how? Great! Let's dive in...
Step 1: Identify Common Search Queries
I think we can all agree that search engines nowadays know more than we do even when it comes to our most intimate thoughts.
That’s right. Our thoughts.
Just try it. Type in what you are thinking about right now in Google’s search bar, and the auto-complete feature will suggest some search phrases that will complete your query. Chances are, you will find the right auto-complete suggestion that you were looking for to complete your sentence.
So, how does this tie into creating a title for your online course?
Well, the terms that pop up via auto-complete given above, and suggestions (given below) are great indicators of what’s trending at the moment. But, more importantly, it gives you an insight into the searcher’s mind.
Play around with auto-complete to figure out what people are searching for around your course topic.
Armed with this information, you can move on to the second step, which is matching your course title with the right demographic.
Step 2: Narrow Down Your Target Demographic
Almost everybody uses the internet these days, whether it’s to check on the latest news, gossip websites, the weather, or social media. This makes trying to appeal to everyone an impossible task.
In fact, it's just a really bad idea. Nobody wants to buy a course that's not specifically designed for them.
So rather than trying to appeal to everyone, try to appeal to a very specific group of people who will be interested in your course.
To find out your target demographic, you will need to answer the following questions:
- Who is your target audience? Male? Female?
- What is their age?
- Where do they live?
- What are their interests?
- What is their marital status?
- What is the highest level of education that they have attained?
This is known as demographic segmentation and is a tried and tested way identifying your target demographics, as in, those people who will be most interested in the course you are selling. Demographic segmentation consists of the following groups:
- Social Class
According to Wikipedia, “Market segmentation can be identified as the process of dividing a broad consumer base or market into sub-groups of customers that are based on their shared characteristics.”
Now that you have a fair idea of who your target audience is, it’s time to dig deeper and find your subsegment. For example; for an online course, you might find several sub-segments, such as:
- Fresh graduates
- Young entrepreneurs
- Professionals who are willing to build up their skills and have the money to pay for it
Obviously, you will want to make that last sub-segment your first priority, mainly because those who fall under that specific sub-segment are more likely to be interested in improving their skills and will not mind paying for it as well.
Step 3: Uncover their Psychographics
But, your job doesn’t end there. Next, you will have to create an accurate psychographic profile of your audience as well.
Now, what is a psychographic profile anyway? This is going to be a description of their personality type, interests, attitude, lifestyle, and values.
To craft the most accurate psychographic profile of your target audience, you will have to answer questions that are similar to the following:
- What is my audience’s interests?
- What are they eager to learn?
- What are their favorite activities / pastime?
- How are they going to feel about the course I have to offer?
The main difference between psychographic and demographic profiles is that the latter is limited by nature, while the former can identify what piques the consumer’s interest, what they are interested in, and what tactics you could use to influence them.
Loves spending time outdoors
Concerned about the environment
Marital Status: Single
Education: College degree
Concerned about finances
Now that you have all the information you need, it’s time to summarize your findings.
You will need to consider both the demographic and psychographic factors to come up with an accurate profile of your target audience. Be sure to summarize the description of your target audience in just a few sentences to keep things from getting complicated.
Step 4: Identify Keyword Competition
To do that, you can use one of the many online tools such as Ahrefs to conduct keyword research.
You should start your research by inputting your main keyword (the main topic of your course). The keyword tool will help you find popular related keywords from there.
Most keyword suggestion tools follow a similar layout. The options that you have include:
- Having the same terms
- Search suggestions
- Phrase match
- Also rank for
Having the same terms
This limits variant to include your seed keywords, but they will be arranged in a different order.
Search Suggestions generates a whole list of keywords that you get via Google’s auto-suggest feature.
Phrase Match includes keywords which contain your exact seed keyword along with other keywords ideas.
Also Rank For
This will get you the top-ranking pages for your exact keyword. These suggestions are going to be relevant to the subject of your course.
Play around with these to identify what keywords your competitors are using. You want to come up for those same keywords!
Step 5: Identify Keyword Trends
Another great tool that you can use to identify the best performing keywords for your online course and target demographic is Google Trends.
This amazing tool helps you identify specific search volume patterns.
Google Trends can be used to identify patterns in search volume based on categories, time, region and other factors.
You can discover all of the related keywords by scrolling down to the “related queries” section. This will tell you which keywords will be a good idea to use in your course title for a particular demographic based on location, category, duration, etc.
Step 6: Use Headline Psychology to Craft Your Course Title
Ok, so now you have some excellent keyword ideas for your title. This is great, because now you aren't working with a blank slate– you already know which precise word or words that you need to fit into your course name.
But wait. There’s more. Aside from utilizing specific keywords, you need to write a title that's actually compelling.
There are many different headline psychology techniques that you could use to make your course name more compelling. This topic really deserves it's own guide, which is why we wrote a guide detailing 6 headline persuasion tricks here.
For the sake of this guide, we'll mention one: the “curiosity gap” or “information gap.”
The term was first coined by George Loewenstein, a professor at Carnegie Melon University who used the term to describe the gap that is between what we already know and what we are interested in knowing. As in, once we notice a gap in our knowledge about a particular subject, it automatically produces the feeling of deprivation or FOMO ("fear of missing out"). This drives us to seek out the information we need.
But, the problem with curiosity is that it requires that initial knowledge since, as humans, we are never curious about something that we on absolutely nothing about. However, as soon as we learn even a sliver of information on a particular subject, we are intrigued and want to learn more.
When using curiosity in your online course title, be sure to give away just enough information that will pique the reader’s interest. That said, you don’t want to create too much intrigue... it needs to be absolutely clear what your course is about. Don't try to get too "clever" with your title– this will only cause the reader to wrinkle their nose in confusion, rather than being intrigued to learn more.
(By the way, it really helps to provide a detailed course outline in the description of your course so the reader fully understands what will be covered.)
Most importantly–no matter what psychology technique you use in your title–always focus on the big benefit of your course. When a student completes your course, what is the expected outcome? How will their life be better than it was before taking your course?
7. Bonus Tip: Keep it Simple!
The title of your online course should not contain more than 50 to 60 characters, and there’s a good reason for that.
People have a short attention span and an even shorter memory. So, you do not want your readers to have to remember a lengthy course title.
Besides, Google only allows up to 60 characters to be displayed in the search results, which means you must get the message across within that limit.
The clearer your course title is, the more you will be able to attract the right audience. For instance, if the subject matter of your online course is part of a broader topic, you will not need to target a broad demographic. Instead, be more specific with the contents of the course so that your audience’s expectations are clear from the get-go.
Using the right title for your online course can easily make it stand out from the crowd. While crafting that perfect course title is going to take some time and effort, your hard work will pay off two-fold in the end.
(By the way, if you want to spare yourself from the pain of having to conduct keyword research, identify your target demographic, and write that catchy course title, then why not hire the expertise of a great writing service.)
Want to learn how to make an income with online courses? Sign up for Persuasion Education today to get started.
Dave Brown believes that focused learning is key for continual professional and personal success. He's a strong advocate of online learning. To pay off his student debt, he leads a team of writers and SEO experts at Content Development Pros.