Did you know there are more than a thousand factors affecting the students’ final decision to make a purchase? Showing trust and appearing credible is obviously one of the most important of them.
The thing is, you cannot just write, “Hi, I am trustworthy! ” in huge letters on your course page, thinking you are done with the matter. It takes time, dedication, and a course of certain actions we are going to discuss below to build trust with students and win their loyalty.
What exactly should you do as a course creator to reach that absolute trust level? Let’s find out.
The following article covers:
10 Practical strategies to earn loyalty and attract new students
You could agree you will not invest your life savings with a financial advisor inspiring no trust. In the same way, your target audience is unlikely to engage with your services if they don’t trust your brand. Here are ten trust-building strategies you should try that will attract new students and drive sales.
#1 Nurture your students in every way possible
Gaining credibility and having the students purchase a course or any other material instantly as they see it cannot just happen overnight. For you to achieve it, you should guide the students all the way through the customer journey. Once you master the little steps you should be taking before the students actually make a purchase, a strong ground for trust will be built.
- The first stage is when you get the students to become aware of your courses and you as an online educator. It might be achieved through an advertisement, regular posts on social media, blogs, or through a friend’s recommendation. Your goal should be to get the attention and curiosity of the students as they stumble upon a useful resource of yours while researching a relevant topic.
- Once the students know you, they start researching more about you. So, the second stage is when they start visiting your website, reading some course reviews, or watching your video snippets. If you want to continue to build trust at this stage, ensure to showcase value and educate potential students. Further in this article, we will discuss how to attract potential students when they first visit your website. So make sure you do not miss that.
- At the next point, the students start comparing your offer to the others available on the market. Since YOU were the one who helped them with useful tips, posts, and content overall, people will start seeing you as a credible source and be sure YOUR course is of the greatest value to them.
#2 Be open to discussions and stay authentic
In our fast-paced world, there are so many reasons students can have trust issues. That is why your first contact with them can affect the further process.
When potential students know that their thoughts and concerns are genuinely heard and appreciated, a sense of trust forges. Think about it – you'd feel more comfortable placing your faith in a business that takes the time to address all your inquiries before you commit to a purchase. Your students feel the same way when it comes to their trust in you.
At the very beginning, as you get the chance to contact them, take a moment to emphasize that you're here to address any questions or worries they may have before they decide to enroll in the course. You can make that happen via email, your website, or even a call.
Not everyone is ready to make a phone number public, but Marie Forleo is. As you enter her website you will see a contact number with the message “Text me!”. The introductory text itself already helps to build instant connection, yet, the number introduced below adds up more to it. Another way to contact her team is the chat option.
Whatever the way you prefer your students to contact you, it would be a nice idea to provide something more than an email address.
It's all about creating an environment where students feel free to reach out to you at any moment.
#3 Show brand consistency across all the channels
Consistency in your brand is maintaining a cohesive visual and messaging identity across all the aspects of your online courses. This involves using the same logo, color palette, fonts, and tone of voice in your course materials, website, emails, and social media.
When you leave the same digital footprint on every channel you contact with the audience, a professional first impression is made, fostering your brand recognition. As more and more people start recognizing the unique way you offer courses, they also commence trusting you as an authority in the industry.
As a future strong brand, you should:
- Create a “personality” for your course brand. Personality is what differentiates you from other creators and how you want the students to perceive you. Is it friendly, authoritative, playful, or professional? Based on these traits, you can later integrate personal stories and share your experience building an emotional connection with the learners.
- Choose an “outfit” for the course materials. Choose a consistent color palette, typography, and logo that align with your course's theme and target audience. For instance, if your course is about fitness, use vibrant colors and energetic fonts to convey a dynamic atmosphere. Apply these visual elements consistently across your course materials, website, and promotional graphics.
- Think about how you present the course content. Ensure all course content, such as slide decks, videos, and downloadable resources, follow a standardized template. Use the same fonts, headers, and formatting throughout. For example, if you use a specific header style for module titles, maintain it consistently across all modules.
- Choose your communication style. Decide on how you will address your audience with the tone of voice. Is it formal or informal, motivational or persuasive? Stick to the same wording in all written communications, like emails, announcements, social media posts, etc.
Kayla Itsines is one of the most influential figures in the fitness industry who offers fitness programs for women. Her website and social media posts show the dynamicy, motion and woman power her brand reflects. The soft pink color and typography she used for the logo are also applicable to her website and app elements. If you follow her on socials you will se how she always keeps her writing tone friendly, funny and motivational at the same time. Through her personal journey and results she makes her audience to instantly relate and motivates them to achieve their body goals.
#4 Share snippets of your working process
Besides helping to build trust with your students, sharing what you do off the camera serves as an engaging content idea.
Through video content, you can speak about:
- the way you plan the course content, the calendars, and task lists
- an idea struck your mind, and you decided to bring that into action
- a tool you discovered recently that helps you in the creation process or may as well help your students
When you share a snippet of you learning a new tool or technique is like shouting, “Hey, we’re in this together!”. The research, the brainstorming - it’s all on display. This way, the students get a front-seat view of your dedication and start viewing you as a credible professional.
Examples of such posts you can find on Amy Porterfield’s IG. You can see her writing down the ideas, explaining concepts during online discussions, sharing ideas she learns from a book, features in podcasts or interviews, giving a speech and so much more. If you are also being featured in something or taking an initiative it is worth letting your students know about it.
#5 Develop a money-back guarantee strategy
Imagine you walk by a restaurant with a notice: “If you don’t enjoy your meal, we will refund your money.” Wouldn’t you just be intrigued to enter without considering whether it is worth it? The same works with your students. They're more likely to hit that enroll button, knowing they won't lose out if things don't go as expected.
YOUR money-back guarantee will show that you are confident in the value of the course and are willing to take any risk from the student’s end. Of course, it does not imply your guarantee should be limitless or without conditions.
Define specific criteria, such as time limits (e.g., within the first 20 days of enrollment) and completion requirements (e.g., students must complete 60% of the course). Make sure to be transparent and as detailed as possible to avoid misunderstandings.
Also, do think about how you will organize the refund. For example, it can involve a simple online form via email request.
All this should not necessarily be applicable to all your content and courses. You might choose one of the courses and develop your policy around it.
If you plan to develop one, take a look at Ramit Sethi’s refund policy. He offers courses, consulting and various programs about finances. In his refund policy Ramit Sethi mentions a specific time period the 100%-money-back guarantee is in effect, clarifying the conditions for monthly and annual users and mentioning the type of products the guarantee can be applied to. The best part is there are actual users who received a refund from his courses.
#6 Collaborate with industry experts
Based on a recent report creators who collaborate with other experts see an almost 3 times increase in revenue as compared to solo creators. Introducing experts recognized in the industry is like adding another special “ingredient” to your online course.
Such experts are usually the people who have already gone through the way of building trust and may help you do so through their presence. This way, students see you're committed to providing top-notch, credible information.
Besides, you create an excellent opportunity for the learners to expand their network, connecting with more professionals in the field.
The collaboration can be limited to one module, course, webinar, podcast or surprise lesson. This way, Marie Forleo, a successful entrepreneur and creator, teamed up with copywriter Laura Belgray to create the "The Copy Cure" course, which teaches the art of compelling writing. It's so popular that those who want to take it have to sign up on a waiting list until it's their turn to join.
#7 Offer freebies
Building trust through freebies can lay the foundation for a long-term relationship. Even if students do not immediately enroll in a paid course, they will continue to follow your content, engage with your community, and eventually become paying customers as they see consistent value over time.
What if they meant to get something for free and never return? Although they do not become paying customers, they may act as ambassadors for your business, sharing what you do with their network.
A strategically created freebie gives potential students a taste of what they can expect from the paid course. In order to reach your goal, ensure your free resource is related to the main topic of the course or adds to it. For example, if the course topic is “A beginner’s guide to social media marketing,” you can offer additional guidance about which social media platform to focus on based on the business goals.
#8 Write a genuine sales page copy
They always say a picture is worth a thousand words. Yet, when it comes to your online course website, the most motivating and dynamic picture cannot help to build trust with future students if not accompanied by an authentic copy.
And by saying “authentic,” we mean your website content and copy should:
- Speak the student’s language. Instead of using fancy words and incomprehensive technical terms, include common words and phrases your students will use when discussing the topic. This way, the writing will better resonate with your students, and they will feel you completely understand their challenges and goals.
- Based on specific results. You can also share your personal stories and your own example, showing you've been in their shoes and genuinely care about their success. For example, “ I know what it's like to feel overwhelmed by [mention the problem your course will solve]. When I started, I faced the same doubts, but with determination and guidance, I achieved [your specific achievement]."
- Include the answer to common concerns. Anticipate and address potential doubts or objections that students might have, reassuring them that your course is the right choice.
"Worried about fitting learning into your busy schedule? The course is structured to allow you to learn at your own pace, making it easy to balance with your commitments."
The more specific, genuine, and professional-looking your website is, the better you will win the students' loyalty and trust.
#9 Show the success stories of past students
One magical thing that will get potential students to show trust towards your offer is the proof from other students. When prospective students hear about individuals who were once in their situation and have now achieved success, it establishes an instant connection.
So, how can you start incorporating success stories into your course strategy? Reach out to your past students and invite them to share their experiences. Craft compelling narratives highlighting their journey, struggles, breakthroughs, and triumphs. Include testimonials, before-and-after comparisons, and multimedia elements to create a rich and engaging storytelling experience.
These testimonials are not about boasting or exaggerating. Remember our second point? Yes, stay authentic.
#10 Ensure a secure checkout process
Providing exceptional customer service and ensuring a smooth post-purchase experience can greatly impact future buying decisions and word-of-mouth recommendations. Your satisfied students may become loyal advocates for your course brand if they have a positive experience. They might leave positive reviews, refer friends and family, and continue to engage with your content and offerings.
To ensure a positive checkout process, you will need the help of a robust online teaching platform. It should help you, especially by offering secure payment gateways and providing secure hosting for your website.
Throughout the checkout process, you should stay transparent, as transparency helps build trust. This also means clearly displaying the prices of the course, any additional fees, or recurring charges.
5 ways to sound more credible
You already know how to win the students’ trust. However, also winning their loyalty is a whole different story. To make sure the learners will come again and again, you should also work on your speech, i.e., make it sound more credible.
#1 Start with a strong introduction
Your course introduction isn't just an opening act – it's your grand entrance onto the stage of your students' learning journey.
Imagine this: You're at a networking event for online course creators, and you strike up a conversation with two different individuals. The first person says, "Hey, I'm Jane, and I teach online courses about fitness." That is good, but it doesn't exactly make Jane stand out in the crowd. Now, picture the second person saying, "Hey, I'm Alex, the virtual fitness coach who transforms couch potatoes into marathon finishers, one online session at a time."
Who do you think made a lasting impression? Be memorable - that's exactly what your course introduction should do. If the students can remember you and distinguish from other course creators, the trust will make its way out automatically. This is how you can do it.
- Discover the problem. Dive straight into the pain points your course addresses. What challenges are your potential students facing? Show them you're here to guide them through the maze.
- Spark curiosity. Open with a jaw-dropping statistic or an intriguing question related to your course subject. Make your students lean in and say, "Tell me more!"
- Share your expertise and be specific. Highlight your journey or unique approach that positions you as the authority in your niche. Students want to learn from someone who's been there.
Are you tired of hitting the snooze button a dozen times and stumbling through your mornings? Imagine waking up excited, knowing you're about to conquer your day like a true productivity pro. I'm Sarah, your morning maestro, and I've spent 5 years decoding the secrets of successful morning routines. By the end of this course, you'll be…
#2 Structure your confident speech
Confidence not only boosts your own credibility but also instills a sense of trust and assurance in your students. So, how can you structure your speech to radiate this confidence?
- Know your material inside out. Confidence stems from knowledge. Master your course content, understand it deeply, and anticipate potential questions your students might have. This preparation will naturally boost your confidence when you're speaking.
- Organize with precision. Structure your content logically. Begin with an overview of what students will learn, followed by distinct sections or modules. Each section should have a clear purpose and takeaway, building upon the previous one.
- Keep it interactive. Use anecdotes, real-life examples, and relatable stories to illustrate key points. This not only captivates your audience but also showcases your passion and expertise.
- Maintain a conversational tone. Imagine you're chatting with a friend over coffee. Use a friendly, conversational tone that resonates with your audience. Avoid overly technical jargon unless you're sure your students are familiar with it.
- Rehearse your content multiple times. Practice in front of a mirror, record yourself, or even present to a friend. The more you practice, the more confident and comfortable you'll become.
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#3 Use professional language
Just like wearing the right attire to a formal event, using the appropriate language in your course content is essential to sound trustworthy. It not only elevates your course's credibility but also establishes you as a serious authority in your field. To make this happen, you should:
- Know your audience. Understand your students' background, knowledge level, and preferences. Use a language to suit their expectations while still maintaining a level of sophistication that reflects your expertise.
- Avoid jargon overload. Industry-specific are indeed necessary. However, overloading your content with jargon can alienate your audience. That is why you should keep the balance by explaining complex concepts in simple terms and gradually introducing specialized vocabulary.
- Be clear and concise. Professional language doesn't mean being verbose. It is clear communication that demonstrates mastery of your subject. So, it would be better if you trimmed unnecessary words and got straight to the point.
#4 Share relevant examples or sources
Think back to a time when your teacher or mentor used relatable examples to illustrate a complex concept. Didn't it make the subject matter clearer and more engaging? So, how can you expertly weave it into your course content?
- Choose real-life scenarios. Select examples that mirror your students' experiences and challenges. For example, if your course is about branding, the concept you explain can be based on an example of a world-famous brand.
- Showcase success stories. Highlight success stories of individuals who have applied your teachings and achieved results. This demonstrates the applicability of your content.
- Cite credible sources. When introducing new information or theories, refer to respected experts, studies, or publications in your field. It will help to add authority and depth to your course.
- Break down complex concepts. Use step-by-step breakdowns or visual aids to simplify the concepts. An infographic, chart, or case study can enhance understanding.
#5 Anticipate the concerns and answer them beforehand
When you answer a question even before the students get the chance to voice it, they feel like you have their best interests and heart.
This is why you need to think like your students. What doubts, questions, or hesitations might arise as they navigate your course content? You can also incorporate FAQs by creating a separate module section.
It all starts with a reliable platform
These are all the strategies you can use to not only build trust with the students, but also keep them loyal. To also keep them coming back for more you will need a reputable online teaching platform, which will help you handle all the process smoothly.
A well-designed platform like Uteach can help you foster a sense of trust among students. It comes with intuitive navigation, secure payment handling, a website-builder to highlight your rich background, opportunities to add reviews to the course and so much more!
Not sure if it's the right fit for you? Try Uteach for free and see what it means to be an independent & trustworthy online course creator.