Monica Badiu, Email Copywriter & Copy Coach

As a course creator, you know that making a sale requires more than just making the promise of a great course. It also requires understanding, managing and meeting some of your customers’ expectations.

In this blog post, I’ll explore the expectation theory and its relevance to selling online courses. You’ll learn about common expectations that customers have when purchasing courses and how unaddressed expectations can impact purchase decisions and post-purchase behavior. Finally, you’ll get three action steps to optimize your copy and funnels to properly manage customer expectations.

What is the Expectation Theory?

The expectation theory posits that a customer’s satisfaction or dissatisfaction is a result of how their expectations of a product or service compare with its performance.

These predetermined standards are a customer’s predictive expectations, and when they are met or exceeded, satisfaction results.

In contrast, when they are not met, dissatisfaction results. As a course creator selling online courses, it’s important to understand the expectations of your customers and ensure they are properly managed.

Common Expectations for Course Buyers

When it comes to buying a course, customers have several expectations. These include expectations around

  • the course content

  • the format of the course

  • the level of support provided

  • the pricing of the course

  • the desired outcomes

  • and the timeline for achieving these outcomes.

For example, customers may expect that the course will help them achieve specific outcomes, such as becoming fluent in a language, mastering a skill, or increasing their knowledge in a specific area.

They may also expect that the course will provide them with a clear roadmap or step-by-step process to achieve these outcomes.

Additionally, customers may have expectations around the timeline for achieving these outcomes, such as how long it will take to complete the course or how quickly they can apply the framework taught in the course to see results.

Impact of Unaddressed Expectations

When expectations are not met, it can have a significant impact on purchase decisions and post-purchase behavior.

Customers may become dissatisfied with the course and share negative reviews or feedback, which can lead to decreased sales and brand reputation damage.

Additionally, customers who feel that their expectations were not met may be less likely to purchase additional courses in the future.

Action Steps to Optimize Copywriting and Funnels

To manage customer expectations and optimize course sales, course creators can take several action steps. These include:

  • Conducting customer research to understand common expectations and pain points.

  • Clearly outlining course content, format, support, pricing, desired outcomes, and timeline information in marketing materials.

  • Providing clear and realistic timelines for achieving desired outcomes, and outlining any prerequisite knowledge or skills needed to achieve them.

  • Providing excellent customer support throughout the purchase and course experience, and asking for feedback to continually improve the course.

Understanding and meeting customer expectations is key to selling online courses

The expectation theory provides a framework for course creators to understand the impact of unaddressed expectations on purchase decisions and post-purchase behavior.

By identifying common expectations, course creators can optimize copywriting and funnels to manage expectations and provide excellent customer support to meet customer needs.

By addressing expectations around the desired outcomes and timeline for achieving them, course creators can provide customers with a clear roadmap to success and increase the chances of converting potential customers into satisfied customers.

About the Author

Monica Badiu is an email copywriter and copy coach. She specializes in sales copywriting for online course creators who want to send emails that speak to their ideal customer and generate conversions without using fearmongering or pressure. She’s made clients over $3 million in 2023.

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