Are you a course creator who needs to come up with a catchy name for your latest training program?
If so, make sure to review the tips in this guide. You'll be on your way to a viral course or training name in no time.
Why is the Course Name Important?
The name you choose for your training program or online course is very important. Here are a few reasons why:
- It's a big part of your brand identity. It'll help prospective clients relate to what they're getting into. It's also what they'll call your course when they refer it to someone else.
- Your training program name will help you differentiate your training from other training in the same market. If you're in the self-help market then there are literally hundreds if not thousands of courses you could choose from. The only way to differentiate each one from the other is through their name.
- Your training program name helps you set expectations. A good name will help you convey what the course is about. The name should help people understand what they'll learn when they take the course. It may also help your prospects understand the level they’ll learn the topic; like introductory, mastery, etc …
- The name will serve to identify your course on many assets. You'll include your course name on your sales page, your checkout page, your receipts, images that represent it, your course catalog, and any ads you create.
As you can see, your course name accomplishes a lot! You don't want to have to change all this later on. It’ll take up a lot of your time and all the branding you may have done up to that point will be wasted. So it’s worth spending the time upfront to come up with a good name before you have to change later on.
What Exactly is a Course Name?
A course name is the same as the course title. It’s what you’ll use to identify your course from the competition. You'll also use it to identify your course from other products or even services you may offer.
Here’s a quick go at what a course name isn’t:
- It's not a headline on your sales page.
- It is not an article title.
- Lastly, it's not a book title.
Naming your course like a headline or an article title is not the right way to go about it. You want a course name that's brandable. Long headlines, articles, and sometimes even book titles are not always brandable. You need something that sticks out and is memorable.
An example is the article title. ‘7 Steps for Taking Selfies that You Can Use as Headshots for Modeling Jobs‘.
It's too long. No one will remember the name of that course! Customers can't easily refer it to anyone.
This definitely makes a better article title than a name for a training program.
You want something more memorable, more like what you would come up with for a domain name.
Another example is the popular book title, ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People'.
Even this is not a proper course name. It's a great book title, one of the most popular books out there. A better course name though would be something like Success Habits Mastery or 7 Success Habits Mastery.
Great book titles (although perfect for the book medium) don't always translate into a winning course name. Course names have a different flow to them.
As mentioned, the best course names identify what's covered in the course. They are descriptive and understandable. Your course name should help identify your students. It needs to be descriptive enough for them to recognize that they need it.
The best training program names are 2 to 5 words maximum. With that little space, you need to work hard to distill the essence of the course down.
Training Program Name Examples
Let’s get into some examples so you can get a better idea. Here’s just a few:
- Brendon Burchard offers Experts Academy and HPX Coaching. They’re both short, catchy names.
- EoFire.com offers training for entrepreneurs. They’ve got a popular course called Podcasters Paradise.
- Michael Hyatt has a course called Your Best Year Ever. It’s a great course on goal planning for your year. He offers it near the end of each year as you can kind of guess from the name.
- David Wallimann offers Guitar Infusion, Simply Sweeping, Melodic Formula, and many other great examples.
Business name in course name.
Another option is that your course name can include the name of your business. In the CPA review industry, you'll see a lot of businesses do this. There’s Yaeger CPA review, Becker CPA review, and even Roger CPA review.
It’s not very exciting, but it works great in markets where there’s a lot of competition. So that’s another way to differentiate your course name from your competitors.
Clickminded is another example as they brand every course with the Clickminded business name. Like Clickminded SEO and Clickminded Content Marketing Training. This works well too because it helps with branding.
Series of courses.
If you’re going to have a series of courses then consider how you can name them all in a way that makes sense. A way where your target audience will know they go together.
That might mean including your company name like in the Clickminded example or it might mean coming up with similar names that sound like they belong together.
You’ll also want to think about branding elements if you’re creating a series of courses. The course images, colors, and design should all fit together so potential customers know they are part of the same brand.
Principles of Course Names
Here are a few course name strategies to think about as you come up with your next training program name:
Make sure to speak to your audience.
As you can see, most of the course examples include the topic the learner will learn about right in the name. Like a keyword such as ‘podcasts', ‘SEO', or CPA exam.
You can use lingo that your audience will recognize even it may not be clear to others. For example, if you’re creating an SEO course, you could include the word backlink and maybe come up with a name like the 7 Day Backlink System. Not everyone knows what a backlink is, but those involved in SEO will.
The words need to sound good together.
People remember how your name sounds, not how it looks. So make sure you speak the words out loud. You can also have someone else speak them to you. Just make sure you like what you hear!
Your course name must be memorable.
A name must be easy to read. Easy to say. Easy to spell. What about Sales Machine? Those two words sound really great together resulting in a very memorable course name.
Your training program name should promise results.
The overall goal of your course is to increase your client’s status. Usually, a course offers a transformation. Maybe it’s to lose weight or to get better at math. Maybe it’s to build some backlinks quickly.
If possible, convey that transformation in the training program name. Even if you're offering a course on something pretty bland and straightforward like statistics, which is a popular online course topic, then you can add Mastery at the end of the name to come up with something like Applied Statistics Mastery.
You must distill your course name down.
Your course name must be short. Short will help make your name meet all the other criteria on this list. The longest title name in any of the examples is 4 words.
Using between 2 and 5 words is a good range for a course name. Three words are probably the magic number, but you don't have to conform to just 3 words if you can do it in less or you need more words to convey your training.
Make sure it's accurate.
You’ve got to accurately convey what your training is about in the course name. Otherwise, your clients will wind up confused. If you’ve got a course called 7 Day Backlink System then your clients will expect to learn how to get a ton of backlinks to their site in 7 days. So if it’s really going to take 2 months you've got to update the course name. For Applied Statistics Mastery, you can’t just offer up some basics in Applied Statistics. They expect to master this topic with a course name like that.
Look at the acronym your name makes.
Take the first letter of each word in your course name. If it makes for a nice acronym then that's a great bonus. Like Applied Statistics Mastery (ASM). That looks pretty good. Now if you had called it Applied Statistics System (ASS), that’s not going to work out at all! So consider the acronym before you settle on the name.
Using Power Words
You can use power words in your course name if you want to hype it up a little and make it sound more special. Power words also convey immediately that you are selling a training product.
Here's a shortlist of power words:
- academy, boot camp, system, formula, model, accelerator, school, tutor, group, foundation, training, clinic, seminar, circle, masterclass, elite, blueprint, mastery, map, method, jump, start, quick-start, introduction, advanced, challenge, hacks, machine, engine.
Consider using one of these power words as the last word in the course name (it often is). You can select it based on the acronym it helps create as well as how it sounds.
Numbers in your course name also work really well. For example, French in 30 Days.
You can adjust the name to fit the right number of days, weeks, or months along with your topic.
Course names like these work well because it shows prospective clients how long it will take them to get the transformation. Numbers work great in many industries like language, fitness, weight loss, and even marketing.
Corporate Training Names
If you’re in the corporate eLearning industry then you need to create a catchy training program name too. Corporate training names often are a little more straightforward, with a little less sparkle.
Here are a few power words in the corporate space:
- accelerate, engage, impact, development
If you're helping employees learn how to use particular software, then you can use the name of the software program. For instance, Excel Impact or a name along those lines would work well for a Microsoft Excel course.
Another idea is to use the name of the company in the course name. If you’re creating corporate training for Amazon, then you could name a course Amazon HR Accelerator. It's boring but helps people understand what the course is about. Plus they likely have no choice but to take it and will not be fooled into thinking it’s anything but human resources even if you try to disguise it!
Another good option for corporate training names involves including words that fit with organizational themes, the vision, or the company mission.
Making sure the course name acronym is nice is also important in the corporate world. A good example is a course titled; Leadership & Development Initiative (LSI).
Steps to Name Your Online Training
Here are the steps to coming up with a fantastic course name:
1. Brainstorm the main keyword(s).
A thesaurus might come in handy for this. Look through your course and your sales page for ideas. Look at competitor course names. See if any have been trademarked. I’m in the US so I would use the USPTO.gov site to do a quick trademark search. I’d steer clear of anything resembling a trademark.
If your course helps people use Zapier then include that word in the name. If you're helping people master Automation in general then use that word in the name. Get as detailed as possible, but stay accurate.
Come up with an additional word (or words) to go with it. Look back at the power words or use your thesaurus once again to generate even more. Maybe you like the word Blueprint. If it sounds good with your descriptive word choices and if none of your competitors are using it then definitely go for it.
2. Chop out any extraneous words or re-word them.
You'll lose out on the impact if your course name sounds awkward or uses too many words.
For instance, French in 30 Days could be re-worded a lot of different ways. You could call the course 30 Days to French, or even French 30. The 30 Day French Blueprint is another option. Or maybe you should really include the word Conversational in there to make it more accurate and wind up with 30 Days to Conversational French.
Just play around with the words. If it sounds great with extraneous words in there and you’re still under 5 words then you can leave it. If it sounds better without certain words then take them out. Just make sure to consider all the options.
What you don't want is something really long like ‘Top 5 Myths about Buying a New Car Exposed‘. You would change this to New Car Buying Exposed or New Car Buying Bootcamp or something along those lines.
3. Look at the acronym.
Make sure the acronym is appropriate and the letters sound good together. The acronym can include numbers if you’ve got a number in your course name.
4. Get some feedback.
Keep this simple and just ask a few friends or family. They really don't need to be familiar with your market.
This works really well if you've already narrowed down your choices. If you ask them to just come up with your name for you then you’ll get all kinds of random (and probably not very good) suggestions.
Tips for Coming Up with Names
If you’re having trouble naming your latest training program, here are a few more tips:
Launch a contest.
If you already have assets like an email list or a large following on a social media platform then you can ask your subscribers/followers to help you come up with a name. You can definitely leave it open-ended and see what you get. Or you can take the time to come up with a few top choices and let your followers narrow it down.
If you just need help narrowing it down then you can use a poll. There are very simple poll options like ProProfs.com. A simple poll allows people to vote on their favorite option. Have them add in their email address along with the vote and give every voter a chance to win the prize (which could be a free enrollment in the course once you've created it).
If you're going to run an open-ended contest you can set up a contact form on your site with the contest rules or even just use social media and see what you get. Give the prize to the person who came up with the name you selected.
If you don't have subscribers then you're going to need to pay to run a survey. It's all about volume, you can't really do this with just 2 people, you may need at least 100.
So use a site that specializes in this like SquadHelp.com. They specialize in domain branding, but it could work for a course name too. Survey Monkey also allows you to run surveys on just about anything so you can get some feedback and ideas there.
Use an AI business name generator.
There are a few of these tools online. Namelix is one. Business Name Generator is another. Just search for them online. Most are free and you'll simply type in a seed keyword or select your industry. You may also be shown a list of names and you can select the ones that you like. Then the tool will give you some options if you're short on ideas.
Look at competitors.
Looking at competitor training program names will help generate ideas. That's because you will start to see how they distilled their course names down.
It will also help because, in the end, you want a name that helps you stand out from the competition. So you've got to know what they've named their courses.
Checklist to Use Before Making Your Final Decision
Here's a quick checklist to run through before you make the final decision on your course name:
- Is a benefit, transformation, learning goal, or objective in the name? Make it descriptive. Distilling that down into one word or two is a big task, but you can usually accomplish this if you spend a little time on it.
- Are there any extra words you can take out? You want to distill the course name down to as few words as possible. Course names must be succinct.
- Is it accurate and specific to the level of your learners? For example, if your course is for beginners try to indicate that in the name. If it's advanced then make sure to convey that. You don't want to put many words in the course name, but making sure your course name is accurate is often worth the extra word or two. It'll save you on support later on too.
- Double-check that the course name is easy to read and spell. You want to make sure you're not coming across in a bad light with bad spelling or using words that just don't go together.
- Is it different from your competitor's training program names? Make sure you're not just ripping off someone else's course name who's in your exact market.
- Do the words sound good together? Double-check that the words flow and that you are not stumbling over them.
- Does it make a nice acronym? Take the first letter of each word and see what they all spell out. Ideally, you want an acronym that's appropriate and easy to say.
You’ve just learned a lot about naming your next training program! The main takeaway is to go for something short and memorable.
Remember, you’re not writing an article title or a headline, and sometimes book titles really don’t even translate into the best course names. So use the strategies outlined for you here to come up with a great course name.
Start building your brand by carefully considering your training program name. Get your course or next training program launched and ready to sell!