You would love to do marketing authentically rather than succumb to short-term pressure, deceptive tactics, or hype.
Yet… you need to quickly fill your next course, program, or get some clients now.
How can you get clients ASAP without resorting to conventional marketing strategies that don’t feel right to you?
The key is to care more for your audience than they usually experience.
Here are 5 strategies to consider:
1. Personal Invitation
A client of mine successfully fills her woman’s group every year.
Another client successfully fills her multi-month course.
Both of them do a lot of personal invitations to fill these offerings. They thoughtfully email, message, and even call some of their ideal participants. They mention why they thought of inviting them specifically.
No need to pressure anyone, of course. However, care enough for that person to let them know you would enjoy having them at your event, and that you believe they’ll really benefit, for reasons you name that are specific to them, based on what you know of them.
And before the deadline, care enough to personally send a friendly, gentle reminder.
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 (service, product, or event).
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. Focus on creating 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.
Also, experiment with what works better for your audience by trying different formats:
The more variety you experiment with, the more you understand what works for your audience.
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. It can take 3–5 times (some advertisers say 7–20 times!) before they make a decision.
You’ve probably seen an ad, pay no attention, and then by the 3rd time you see it, you might wonder “What is this thing 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 5–7 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.
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 Ads.
If you haven’t yet learned it, you might consider my online course about Facebook Ads.
4. Influencers / Promotional Partners
If you are willing to reach out to influencers, you may be able to fill your offer quickly.
An influencer is someone who has an audience similar to your ideal clients.
Reach out to influencers from an intention of creating a win-win:
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. Ideally you will have created a bit of a relationship with them by having engaged with their posts for at least a few weeks.
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.
To dive deeper into this strategy, consider my online course for creating simple and effective 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 conversations with your ideal client.
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. Try to do this over video so you can see their facial expressions and understand them better.
(If you can’t find enough of them to talk to, you probably know someone who knows your ideal client, and is willing to answer your questions with them in mind.)
Whomever you talk to, 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, in context of the moment:
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.
The insights you gain will then allow you to re-write your marketing copy from deeper understanding of them.
Additional reading: 7 marketing copy ideas
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 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 recently.
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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