You would love to do marketing authentically rather than succumb to the short-termist pressure, deceptive tactics, or hype.
And yet... you need to quickly fill your next workshop or course or program.
How can you get clients ASAP without resorting to those conventional marketing strategies that don't feel right to you?
The key is to care more (or more skillfully) for your audience than you have before.
Here are 5 actions that increase your quality and quantity of caring for your audience:
1. Resonant Marketing Copy
One of the biggest reasons your audience isn’t signing up for your offer (service, product, or event) is that the description doesn’t resonate with them.
Maybe you wrote the marketing copy from your own intuition... but it might also be that you have been too much in your own world, without enough understanding of your ideal client and market.
Perhaps you may have written it out of some fear or anxiety (“I really hope they sign up!”) and that kind of energy may be turning off your audience.
What is needed is for you to truly empathize with your ideal client, and then make a joyful invitation in your copy.
There are different ways to understand them better. You can look at their social media profiles, for example, and see what they’ve been posting lately. That gives you an indication of their state of mind and heart right now.
The best way, however, is to have a conversation. Talk with them directly. If you can do this over video or in person, that would be best, since you’ll then be able to see their facial expressions and understand them better.
(If you can’t talk w/ them directly, do you know someone who knows them well, who is willing to answer your questions about your ideal client?)
Whomever you talk to, here are some questions to guide your "audience research conversation" or "fan interviews" or "market research call". You may want to form these questions in your own words, so you can speak them naturally and in context of the moment:
Alternatively, you can have this conversation through email, Facebook messaging, or even through a survey if you believe you’ll get enough responses. However, the best information (and empathy) emerges from 1-1 video (or in person) contact.
If you’ve got a deadline (a workshop to fill), then just aim to have 3 of these conversations, and/or quickly send a survey to your email list.
The insights you gain will then allow you to re-write your marketing copy from a deeper understanding and joyful invitation.
Additional reading: 7 marketing copy ideas
2. Content Based on Your Offer
If you have not been posting content consistently, your audience probably doesn't trust you enough to sign up for your offer.
Although it’s a bit late in the process, you can still make a difference in your sign up rate by sharing some content now. However, instead of just helpful or inspiring content, you now need to focus on content that is related to your offer. It will pique the interest of your potential clients and create some context that makes your offer more relevant.
Here are some ideas:
In each of these pieces of content, try to weave in the mention of your upcoming offer.
Also, to keep things interesting and to experiment with what works better for your audience, try different formats of content:
The more you need to fill the event / sign up clients, the more variety of these formats you should try.
3. Distribution & Repetition
It doesn’t matter how much content you post, if only a few people have seen it.
And those who have seen it -- have they seen it enough times?
People generally don’t make a decision about an offer the first time they see it. Usually it takes at least 3-5 times (some advertisers say 7-20 times) before they finally consider the offer and make a decision.
You’ve probably done the same thing. You see an ad, pay no attention to it, and then by the 3rd time you see it, you finally think “What is this thing anyway?” and then you actually take a look.
So don’t be shy about posting your offer several times. Aim for 5-7 times, if you really need to fill the offer. Ideally, post about it in different formats or in different ways to help prevent "ad fatigue".
Besides sending to your email list, and posting to your social media channels, the simplest way to get the word out to lots of people (and to make sure your audience sees your offer enough times) is through Facebook Ads.
If you haven't yet learned it, you might want to take my online course about Facebook Ads.
4. Personal Invitation
A client of mine successfully fills her in-person woman’s group every year.
Another client successfully fills her 3-day retreat.
Both of them do a lot of personal invitations to fill these events. They thoughtfully email, message, and even call their ideal participants/clients. They say why they specifically thought of inviting them.
Don’t pressure anyone, of course. However, care enough for that person to let them know you would enjoy working with that person or having them at your event, and that you believe they'll really benefit, for reason(s) that are specific to them, based on what you know of them.
Also care enough to personally send a friendly/gentle reminder, especially if there is a deadline to decide.
Personal, thoughtful invitations will always stand out, because most marketing is done en masse, without caring for individuals.
5. Influencers / Promotional Partners
If you are able -- or willing! -- to reach out to influencers, you may be able to fill your offer very quickly.
An influencer is someone else who has an audience similar to your ideal clients. They may be a blogger, video creator, Instagram personality, Facebook Page owner, a website owner who has an email newsletter, or just someone who is a great connector of people.
You would reach out to that influencer from an intention of creating a win-win-win: (1) Your offer is something the influencer is personally interested in and would enjoy getting a complimentary ticket to, (2) Their audience is a great fit and would likely be grateful to know about the offer, and (3) You get to serve a new audience that you couldn’t easily reach.
Thoughtfully reach out to influencers when the above criteria match. Your offer must be something you believe would genuinely interest them and their audience.
Just like when you do individual outreach to potential clients, remember to treat your influencer like a VIP and do some research about them before you send them a message.
Of course, not everyone you reach out to will say yes -- it will be a minority -- but if you are willing to do this, you can quickly reach many new potential clients.
When’s the best time to plant a tree?
Ultimately, what you need to do starting now is to build an audience that will allow you to more easily fill your future workshops or client availability.
It’s really tough to expect that, without much of an audience, you can sell anything successfully. It's too much pressure on you, and your small audience.
You need enough people to care about your brand (your authentic presence) to have enough people consider your next offer.
You can’t expect to wait until the last minute like this… it’s like forcing a tree to produce fruit when you just planted the seed a month ago.
There is an organic process of people learning about your business... beginning to trust you... and coming to believe that you can really help them.
There’s also the organic process in their own life of coming to a place that they finally need and want your help.
Authentic marketing is about being of genuine service to your audience, and it’s tough for them to feel that you care, if you’re just selling to them all the time.
Therefore, dedicate yourself to consistent content, to be of real service to your audience. Then, the next time you need to fill an offer, your audience will already trust you. Some of them would then love to reciprocate, by signing up for your offer.
Imagine Your Future Self 1 Year from Now...
...she or he is begging the You of Today to please start building an audience / growing your audience now. In 1 year, it’ll be much easier to fill your offers.
It might not take 1 year, but it certainly does take time to build trust. Start now!
However, if you do need to fill your client spots now, then diligently follow the 5 steps above as quickly as possible.
I wish you love and joy as you go about connecting with your audience. ❦
George Kao is a Marketing Coach for small business owners, especially solopreneurs such as Coaches and Mentors. He focuses on ethical & effective ways to grow one's platform and build true livelihood.
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