I was recently approached by a prospective new client who said something along the lines of:
“Mark, I’m running a course for dentists in three months time… Can you help with your marketing to fill it for me?”
Now equally, this could have been any one of the many dental services on offer, or even something completely different.
I asked what they had in mind for the marketing? They responded with ‘a series of e-mails, Facebook messages, Twitter tweets and the like.’
Okay, so essentially they want to sell their course using online marketing.
Who do we send those e-mails to?
Who is going to see those social media messages on Facebook or Twitter?
Aha, now we get to the nitty-gritty of the problem. We either have to use an existing e-mail database or buy one, and we have to pay for messages on Facebook or Twitter as we don’t have a particularly good Facebook following.
And if we suddenly start bombarding people that have never heard of us before with marketing messages trying to sell a new course, what does that do to the amount of trust they have in us?
Marketing in this style is what gives social media and e-mail a bad name. People say they’re bombarded with messages they hate and perceive as spam… And to be honest, that’s exactly what many messages are!
An alternative way of marketing – Switching from hate to love
Switching the style of marketing we use can have an enormous impact, but it’s not a quick fix and you can’t suddenly think “Hey, I want to sell a course how can we fill it?”
The secret starts months possibly years earlier than the course/service you want to ‘sell’.
Marketing isn’t something you do… It’s something you are!
Here is a simple step-by-step list of how you can go about selling a course/service with no spam and without upsetting people:
- Identify the problem your target audience is trying to solve. DO NOT MISS THIS OUT! What is their problem? Is it that they want more confidence? Are they looking for more time? Are they looking for more money? Are they looking for a new partner? People go about solving these problems in a huge variety of ways, from looking for a new dance class to having teeth whitening… All to solve the same problem! Once you have identified the problem that people are trying to solve you can move on.
- Create a social media channel focused around solving this problem.
- Create a free guide focused around solving this problem and put it on your website in exchange for an e-mail address.
- Begin handing out useful, free and relevant advice helping these people solve this unique problem. Put that advice on your social media channel and write blog posts about it.
- Do this consistently and continuously all of the time. It should be your raison d’être. Hand out useful, free and relevant advice which helps that person go some way to solving their problem.
Doing this increases trust and reduces risk which means that when you have a specific service to sell, such as a course, you have an engaged audience which trusts you (after all, you’ve been giving them free information for ages now) and sees you as a low risk option (after all, you been giving them free advice and asked for nothing back).
With this engaged audience, whose problems you understand and have demonstrated you are an expert in it’s a logical and simple step to suggest that they take action to solve their problem with you.
And that’s how you use e-mail and social media to sell your course or service. It takes time to build and grow, but once it does it becomes an unstoppable machine which works 24/7, the best time to start is always now…