You would love to do marketing authentically rather than succumb to short-term pressure, deceptive tactics, or hype.
And… you need to fill your next course, program, or get some clients soon.
So how do we get clients without resorting to conventional strategies that don’t feel right?
Here are 5 ways to consider:
1. Personal Invitation
Several clients of mine successfully fill their group programs every year.
They do it partly with personal invitations. They thoughtfully email or message some of the people they know who seem to be ideal participants. They mention why they thought of inviting them specifically.
Of course, you don’t need to pressure anyone. However, care enough for each person to let them know why you would enjoy having them at your event/group, and why you believe they’ll benefit. Based on what you know about them, give one or two reasons that are specific to them.
Before the deadline, care enough to personally send a friendly, gentle reminder again.
Personal, thoughtful invitations will always stand out, because most marketing is done en masse, without caring for individuals.
2. Create Content Related to Your Offer
If you haven’t been posting content consistently, your audience might not 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. Create 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 to them.
Ideas for offer-related content:
3. Distribution & Repetition
It doesn’t matter how much content you post, if few people see it.
And those who see it — have they seen it enough times?
People generally don’t buy something the first time they see it. I would recommend that you announce it 2-3 times (some advertisers say 7–20 times!) before expecting that they will make a decision.
You’ve probably seen an ad, paid no attention, and then by the 3rd time you see it, you wonder “What is this anyway?” and then you actually take a look.
So don’t be shy about posting your offer several times over a few days or weeks. Aim for 3 times, if you still need to fill the offer. Ideally, post about it in different formats or in different ways to help prevent “ad fatigue”, i.e. to avoid annoying your audience.
And here’s the key – to do this 3x rhythm throughout the year, not just once, but at least once a quarter.
Come back to the deeper purpose of your advertising: it’s not to make money, but to fulfill the mission of your business by serving people with a good product. Your repeated announcements about your offering is for the purpose of making sure that the people who need your product will see it.
Besides emailing your subscribers and posting to social media, the simplest way to reach lots of the right people is via Facebook/Instagram Ads.
(FYI I teach an online course about Facebook Ads that also includes instructions for Instagram Ads.)
4. Promotional Partners
You most certainly have colleagues that have a network or audience that would benefit from your offer.
Look at your list of Facebook friends, and your LinkedIn contacts. Who among them has an audience, even if small?
Reach out to create a win-win:
Just like when you do individual outreach to potential clients, remember to bring genuine care to your outreach – do some research about them before you send a message.
Of course, not everyone you reach out to will say yes — it may only be a few of them — but if you are willing to do this, you can quickly reach many new potential clients.
(To study this strategy more deeply, consider my online course for creating simple entrepreneurial collaborations.)
5. Improve Your Offer
One of the biggest reasons your audience isn’t signing up for your offer is that the title or description doesn’t resonate with what they want at this time.
Maybe you wrote the marketing from your own intuition… and perhaps you’ve been very much in your own head. You haven’t had enough market research conversations.
Perhaps you wrote it with some fear (“I really hope they sign up!”) and that kind of energy may be turning off your audience.
What is needed is for you to 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 and see what they’ve been posting lately. That gives you an indication of their state of mind and heart.
The best way, however, is to have a conversation. Talk with them directly.
(If you can’t find enough people to talk to, ask your friends – see if they know people similar to your ideal client. Your friends can then answer your questions with them in mind.)
Here are some questions to guide your audience/market research conversation. Try to form these questions in your own words, so you can speak it naturally:
You can have such conversations through email, private messaging, or through a survey. However, the best information (and empathy) emerges from 1–1 video (or in-person) conversations.
If you’ve got a deadline (a workshop to fill), then just aim to have 3 of these conversations, or quickly send a survey to your email list or social media audience.
The insights you gain will then allow you to re-write your marketing copy from deeper understanding of them.
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 courses or client roster.
It’s tough to expect that, without much of an audience, you can sell anything successfully. It’s too much pressure on you, and on your small audience.
You need enough people to care about your brand (your authentic presence) to have enough people consider your offers.
It’s not reasonable to expect great results with last minute promotions like this… it’s like forcing a tree to produce fruit when you just planted the seed.
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 show up consistently to be of real service to your audience, to educate and inspire them through your content. Then, the next time you need to fill an offer, your audience will already trust you.
I wish you gratitude 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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