What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.

Shakespeare’s lines in reference to love that knows no boundaries and does not abide by old rules of clans and feuds are among the most quoted in classical literature. The wisdom of the metaphor is widely recognized yet it is impossible to deny another truth: words, names and titles matter.

Marketers are especially aware of this and seek to employ the great power of semantics and semiotics in order to draw attention and ultimately close the sale. If we call a rose something else it will surely smell as sweet but its name, together with its appearance, scent, symbolism and (ironically) presence in literature make it probably the most popular flower of western civilization.

The title is the first thing your potential customers see

When you are trying to sell a freshly designed online course, the title is probably the most important aspect of it, as it is the first thing your potential customers will make contact with. The quality of the course itself will determine whether the people who enroll in and complete it will buy another one from you or not, but right in the beginning, their attention needs to be captured by that one concise yet comprising headline.

If it is not interesting or relevant enough to be noteworthy, even the best learning material can be easily overlooked. It has to be attention grabbing like a newspaper headline, without being sensationalist though.

There is a lot of competition on the online learning market and you want to get a head start.

The importance of a good title in numbers

Weak titles will lead to your course being completely overlooked. Good titles will get you on average 20% of people to also read the description (since they are very similar to blog posts).

However, great titles might increase interest by even 500%!

This makes it compulsory to take the time and craft a title worthy of your course. The main thing to do is have your target persona in mind and find the right title to appeal to them by being clear on what the added value of enrolling in the course would be.

You have to keep a good balance between being creative and making sure you are also following the online trends and composing a title that you can then easily apply SEO on.

8 Tips on how to make the title of your online course stand out

There is no perfect recipe for creating the perfect title for your online course but there are some things to consider before deciding what the name of your course should be. Here are eight of them:

  1. Keep it concise. Short titles fit well in posts, tweets, URLs when you need to share them online. If it is easy to read, there’s a better chance people will notice it and figure out what it is about. A lot of people use their mobile devices that don’t have the largest screens so take them into consideration.
  2. Make sure it is easy to spell. Obviously, you’ll want people to talk about your course, since starting conversations is a great way to enlarge your customer base. If your title has words that may be difficult to write correctly, internet users will avoid typing it.
  3. Simplicity works best. Even if your course deals with more complex information, the title should only comprise one concept, two at the most. Trying to squeeze more in there will only render it confusing.
  4. It should be easy to remember. People may take a look, scroll away and then some time later think of coming back. Some things that can make the title memorable are using alliteration, having smart acronyms or surprising contradictions in terms.
  5. Titles should be descriptive. It is wise to include words that illustrate the most important concept in the course and show its significance.
  6. The title should be an accurate preview for the course. It needs to give an idea of the overall style as well as provide some hints to the content, without giving too much away. A preview is not a summary.
  7. Graphics need to match the words. The modern-day internet user is highly visual and with so much great content out there, they easily spot any inconsistencies. The cover image has to be in perfect sync with the title.
  8. Originality matters. Before you set the title, do a search to make sure that it isn’t already used, lest interested customers might be thoroughly confused by the double results on a search.

Closing remarks

Back in my days of working as a corporate learning designer and trainer, I created a course that was targeted at sales people who had to close deals with customers who were looking to leave the company. As you can imagine, there was some friction there and the need to negotiate solutions that would be beneficial to all. After quite a lot of deliberation, the title I went with (and am still proud of today) was „The Win-Win Way”. We also called it the „3W course”.

As I have stated before, finding the appropriate title can be a tall order. Yet taking the time to do so has enormous advantages in the long run.

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