Teacher credibility starts with you. Do an internal self-audit of what you’re amazing at before diving into these tips on how to build credibility as an online teacher.
Got trust issues?
So do course buyers.
As a course creator, you face an uphill battle earning credibility with your students. They have to believe that you are 100% credible as an online teacher.
And in fact, credibility is one of the top three things students expect from online courses before buying.
So how do you boost your credibility as an online teacher?
We researched 23 ways you can do this both in your course marketing materials and inside your course.
But before you dive in, let’s get to know yourself a little better.
What Are You Really Good At?
Adding credibility to your online course starts with you.
You can absolutely implement any one of the steps below. But I would recommend doing an internal self-audit first.
It’s kind of like before you’re about to go shopping. You have to do inventory on what you already have in your fridge.
I don’t want you to jump into these credibility tips immediately, get stuck on figuring out how you add value, and give up.
To start your internal self-audit, I would recommend a tip from LaTisha Styles: List 100 ways you are amazing at what you do.
This is tough, I don’t doubt it.
But sitting quietly and listing these things out will help you understand the capabilities you have and what you can offer. It allows you to think deeply and find unexpected ways you are awesome, especially when you get to the 70th or 80th reason you are amazing!
Here are some questions to help get you thinking about the 100 ways you are amazing:
- How long have you been working in your niche?
- Have you done this work voluntarily? Part-time?
- Have you worked with people to create something valuable?
- Have you worked with any big names in your industry?
- Have you provided a transformation for someone (no matter how small)?
- Are you active in your industry’s community?
- Do you help people for free?
- What are things you do SO well, that people come to you for advice?
Listing these out will help your confidence, but also give you a pool to reference when trying to figure out how to establish your credibility as an online teacher below.
23 Ways to Boost Your Credibility as an Online Teacher
Below is a list of ways to add credibility to your online course. Be sure to jot down the ones that work for you, and then make them work!
#1 Increase credibility by connecting with your target audience daily.
Social media allows us to connect with people all over the world daily, and it’s not hard to find your target audience.
Research popular hashtags in your niche and follow accounts associated with them on Instagram and Twitter. Join Facebook groups where your audience hangs out and answer questions your audience is asking.
From there, follow new people using those hashtags, and interact with the people commenting. Not only will you be connecting with your audience, but they will start following you if you’re inspiring genuine conversation.
As your following builds, start using your social platforms as educational platforms, too. Deliver Instagram Stories jam-packed with value. We do this on the Proof Mango Instagram account every weekday.
Do a weekly Facebook Live delivering the same educational content you’re already sharing on blogs or podcasts.
The goal is to increase credibility by showing up and talking to people on social. The people who follow you become fans and subscribers, and will believe in your credibility as an online teacher when it’s time to buy.
#2 Utilize the “About” section on your course sales page.
The “About” section on your course sales page is where you can really shine.
Add any certifications, credentials, or experience you have in relation to what you’re teaching online. Here is an example from an actual online course sales page:
If you have trouble coming up with great About content that establishes your credibility, a course creator in the Thinkific Studio Facebook group suggested asking previous coworkers or colleagues, even current friends, to write a short blurb about what makes you credible.
The magic in this is you get to see what people really think you’re good at. Especially when you can’t think of anything!
You can also hire someone on Fiverr to write a bio about you, just so you can see how to word your experience or credentials.
You don’t have to use exactly what other people write about you, but it gives you some idea of how to express your online teacher credibility in a professional and convincing way.
#3 Add credibility through your own blog, podcast, or online show.
Having a blog, podcast, or online show on Facebook Live/YouTube is a great way to establish credibility and trustworthiness as an online teacher.
Primarily because it shows you are consistent in offering value. Consistency shows you are not lazy. It shows you are showing up every week and that people can count on you.
Secondly, creating weekly content shows that you offer value for free. This tells potential course buyers you are a trustworthy teacher. You’re not hiding anything and you’re not scammy. You’re offering free, valuable information without expecting anything in return.
Lastly, a blog, podcast, or weekly show lets people know you are knowledgeable about what you’re teaching. You’re giving them a free sample of your legitimacy.
However, you have to be consistent with free content and always make sure it’s updated.
It doesn’t help to have an online show that only comes out once a quarter. Being consistent shows your commitment as a course author to what you teach.
Furthering this point is Erik Harbison of GenM.
“Overdeliver on value,” he says. “Create other outlets for more, relevant content – a podcast, a blog, a free video playlist. How can you extend the value that you are offering in your first or evergreen course via another platform or vehicle?”
Think about ways you can overdeliver on value as a form of credibility outside of your course, to get people inside your course.
BONUS TIP: This comes from Paul Thomson, online course specialist and founder of Online Course Creators Hub.
As you're producing content on these platforms, he recommends something called “teaching in detail”.
“In the content that you're producing, don't keep it high-level all the time,” he says. “Find ways to go deep and into the nitty gritty. Teach your audience about things they might not know yet. This will position you as an expert in the space.”
This has proven true time and again for people looking to build credibility online. The more you show up and offer value, the more you are considered expert and trustworthy.
#4 Show up on other people’s blogs, podcasts, or online shows.
Having your own blog or podcast is great, but being interviewed on someone else’s podcast, or writing for someone else’s blog, is also great for your credibility.
If you’re interviewed on a podcast, put the podcast logo on your course sales page so people know you’ve been featured there. Do the same if you’ve been featured elsewhere or if you’ve guest posted anywhere.
And if you're looking for ways to get interviewed on podcasts to boost your street cred, some advice I got from fellow B-Schooler and launch strategist Olivia Angelescu was to check the New & Noteworthy section on iTunes for podcasts.
“You will find newer podcasts (that probably are looking to book more guests for their upcoming episodes) that do a great job at marketing themselves (otherwise they would not make it to the noteworthy section). In this way, you can book quality guest interviews fast, that will work for you long-term.”
She also has a great freebie on her site (that I also downloaded!) which lists 40 websites you can guest blog for if you're on the hunt for some exposure.
#5 Add transformation-specific testimonials.
Testimonials always help with credibility, but be picky about which ones you use. Make sure your testimonial is from someone who has transformed in some way because of your course.
Here's a great example from Amy Porterfield's List-Builder's Lab course:
You’re selling your ability to get your students a transformation, so a testimonial verifying this is a great credibility-booster.
#6 Add credibility with your unique system or framework.
A lot of people teach the same things, but what sets each course apart is the teacher’s unique way of teaching whatever they’re teaching.
For example, a lot of people teach list-building, but each online teacher has their own proven system for doing it. And people love systems.
Below is a great example of a course sales page where the course creator mentions her proven system:
Creating something unique to you is a great way to showcase your credibility. It means you created something that no one else has, and that “something” works.
Jeanine Blackwell mentions this in a blog post she wrote on how to convince online students of the value of their high-level offers.
“One easy way you can establish yourself as an expert is to emphasize that you have a method for getting results,” she says. “You have a system and a step-by-step way of helping your clients get results. What is your system? Your method? Your blueprint? Your secret sauce? Name it. Claim it. Share it.”
When you give something a name, as Jeanine says, it becomes real in the mind of your course buyer. It helps them see how you’re going to help them, and this elevates your credibility in their eyes because it’s a concrete framework they can trust.
Paul Thomson echoes Jeanine's advice here. He says:
“Fill your website with case studies and your social channels with overviews of the current work you're doing. If you document your process, you'll find that it positions you as an authority in your niche.”
#7 Offer free challenges or email courses.
Neil Patel says free email courses create a positive association in the minds of your audience. He also says that because you are consistently providing good information, your credibility is enhanced in the mind of your customer.
Free email courses or online challenges give your potential course buyer the opportunity for a transformation before they buy. If you can do that for your students, you’ve won. They’re going to trust that you can provide value, and they’ll believe that what you’re offering in your paid course is even better than what they got for free.
#8 Build credibility with an email list.
List-building isn’t optional in online business. The people you add to your email list are yours forever, and they are the people you’ll build a relationship with as your business grows.
Your subscribers are the people that will buy from you more than anyone else. And you can build up your credibility with them by emailing them valuable (and actionable!) content regarding your course topic for free.
Unlike on social media, where you have to send out information and hope your followers see it, with email, you secure a spot in their inbox. They’ve allowed you in. An email list allows you to establish credibility with each new email you send. Over time, they will come to trust you and even buy from you without needing further credibility.
#9 Add credibility by creating a short Udemy course on your topic.
Creating a course on Udemy is frowned upon these days by most course creators. Mostly because Udemy steeply discounts the courses created on their platform, and you don’t have access to your students’ email information.
However, you can really establish credibility for your course by teaching a smaller course on Udemy first. You can use the social proof and course reviews you get from the Udemy course on your hosted course sales page.
If you have experience teaching as a Udemy instructor, it shows you’re not a complete newb. Plus, you’ll get exposure to a ton of students. And if they like you enough, they’ll head over to your actual website and see your other course offerings (the ones you can charge as much as you want for!).
#10 Add expert interviews to your online course.
The great thing about interviewing experts for your online course is that you can add their images on your course sales page when you’re talking about what’s included.
When people see influencers in your niche on your sales page, you get instant credibility points.
Not to mention, those experts might just become invested in seeing your course succeed and want to promote it as an affiliate, or share it with their audience.
#11 Make sure your course site is HTTPS compatible.
Have you ever seen that red “Not Secure” text in the URL of a site? The instant feeling buyers get is “not trustworthy”.
When your course site is not compatible with HTTPS, it diminishes your credibility. People don’t feel secure submitting their payment information. Make sure that whatever platform you’re using to host your course sales page allows you to have “https” in the URL.
#12 Make sure your domain matches your course title.
If your course is called Build a Profitable Blog, try to make the domain ‘buildaprofitableblog.com’.
Even ‘courses.buildaprofitableblog.com’ will work.
As long as your domain matches the course title as closely as possible, you’ll seem more credible. Buyers look at everything from the domain to the load time of your course site when deciding to make a purchase.
Speaking of load time…
#13 Make sure your course site loads fast (and is mobile-friendly).
Load time is super important these days. The quicker your page loads, the more credibility you have because the customer knows you’ve taken the time to make sure they have a proper online experience.
This is a subtle way of letting them know how you will treat them if they buy from you, too.
Make sure your course sales page is mobile-friendly, too!
#14 Add credibility with perfect spelling and correct grammar.
If you’re not charging for content, incorrect spelling and grammar doesn’t damage your credibility too much.
But it’s inexcusable in a product that someone has purchased. It also does NOT get you any credibility points on a sales page.
Make sure your course sales page (and course content) are free of typo and format errors. (Request a quote here if you need help proofreading your course content.)
#15 Add pictures of yourself.
People like to buy from real people. Why bury yourself in the “About” section of your sales page?
Try adding in images of yourself here and there when promoting your course. This helps people remember they are buying from a real person.
#16 Back up your claims with expert research or studies.
Chances are, you’re making a lot of claims on your sales page. Like:
This a proven method.
My no-fail system has helped dozens of people just like you.
However, adding a bit of expert-backed research to some of your claims can boost your credibility.
When people buy something, it’s usually not at face-value (except if you’re Apple or Starbucks).
Typically, they want to understand why they need your course and if there is legitimate research showing how the concept you teach can help them.
#17 Show your client roster.
Have you helped clients before?
A good way to showcase your expertise is to add the logos of clients you’ve worked with to your course sales page (if you can).
They don’t even have to be well-known clients. Just showing the logos of companies you’ve worked with helps give you clout.
#18 Get someone authoritative to recommend you.
If someone influential in your niche can vouch for you, add that to your sales page.
Even if it’s just someone who knows your personality, and can vouch for the credible, good person you are – ask them for a recommendation and slap it on your sales page.
Sometimes, even a good word from a trustworthy person is enough to give you some credibility. People trust other people (and their opinions of you) more than they trust you.
#19 Make sure all of your links work.
This goes for links inside and outside of your online course.
Make sure all of your links work, otherwise people will be suspicious of whether you have your you-know-what together. It may not completely deter someone from buying your course, but it gives them a bad experience, which can ding your credibility.
#20 Display data and numbers that prove you are credible.
Do you have any data or numbers to showcase on your sales page, in terms of results you’ve helped people achieve?
Like “$400,245 in revenue and counting”, which could be the dollar amount in revenue you’ve helped your clients achieve.
Or, if you’ve worked with a number of people, display that data to showcase your expertise.
Numbers are a concrete way to show credibility. Try making them work in your favor!
#21 Add live chat to your course sales page.
Having live chat on your course sales page increases your credibility because it shows you have real people on the other side of your sales page ready to help.
A sales page won’t answer every question a potential student has, so a live chat option gives people easy access to you when they have objections.
Sometimes, just knowing someone is there to help can give buyers the feeling they’re not alone in their decision. It’s a great way to give them a glimpse of the type of support they can expect to receive inside your course.
#22 Add credibility with questions and answers.
A popular email to send during an online course launch is a question-and-answer email. This email is used to illustrate what questions students are asking, allowing you to showcase your expertise as you answer them.
Sometimes, it’s also a good idea to invite your audience to a live Q&A session with you about your course. It’s a great opportunity for you to show up at a specific time (big credibility points there) and answer their questions in real time. It gives people the opportunity to engage with you face-to-face, and allows you to build more trust.
“Trust is based on truth and time,” adds Harbison of GenM. “Be accessible. Ask for feedback so you can provide honest and direct answers.”
This is another great way to demonstrate the kind of support they can expect when they enroll in your course.
#23 Add live social proof to your sales pages.
You know those little pop-ups that appear at the bottom corner of a sales page, showing that someone just bought or downloaded something?
This is considered live social proof. If used, it shows potential buyers proof that other people are committing or investing in what you’re offering.
This builds in credibility because it shows potential students that it’s safe to invest (because other people are doing it, too).
I would recommend testing this out on some free downloads on your site first to see if you notice an uptick in conversions. You can use a fee tool called Proof to do this.
Convince Yourself of Your Own Credibility First
I hope you got some great use out of these tips, but I want you to walk away remembering that credibility starts with you.
If you don’t believe you’re credible, some of these tactics might still work, but you won’t see the success you really want.
Believe in yourself and you’re halfway there.
So now that we’re done, I’d love to know: What are some of your biggest struggles around credibility? Let me know in the comments!
Till next time, friends.