Grow Your Sales Pipeline

Marketing For Business Owners

How do I get more leads? This is a common question posed by many consultants, entrepreneurs and organizations. Depending on your industry, the question may be even harder to answer these days. Creating engagement content that creates a lead magnet (free content given away in exchange for your audience’s contact information) is one of the best ways to grow your email list and demonstrate your expertise. Common examples include:

  • eBooks
  • Cheatsheets
  • Templates

Unfortunately, common “sales funnel hook” approaches will get you subpar results as people become overexposed and tired of the same marketing/sales tactics. So, how can you stand out and attract leads while not resorting to gimmicky approaches? Create a free mini-course for your audience. A mini-course is a shorter online course that takes about 2 hours or less to complete. You might be thinking “whoa, that sounds like a lot of work” and that’s a good thing for two reasons:

  1. This will help you stand out since others in your industry won’t want to put in the effort;
  2. It’s actually not that challenging, but the perceived value will be much higher than other lead magnets.​

Mini-course design steps...

  • Determine the problem your course solves and how it solves the outcomes customers want;
  • By design, a mini-course should deliver one quick win to your audience;
  • Before creating your course, first consider:
    • What questions do you constantly hear from your audience?
    • What are some of the challenges they face on a daily basis?
    • What transformation can you deliver that will earn their trust?

You obviously don’t want to solve every problem in a free course, but this will help you determine the value you want to provide. Once you deliver that value and earn their trust, you can then explain other ways you can help. For example, a Digital Marketing consultant could offer a free course on how to create engaging Instagram Reels then follow up with an offer for more client-focused consulting. A company that offers Personal Finance software could provide a course on how to reduce your monthly expenses, then market their software as a way to take even more control of your finances.

Create an outline for your course

You’re an expert on your audience and the challenges they face, so determining your topic may be relatively easy. Unfortunately, knowing how to structure a course is where many people start to encounter challenges. And, oddly enough, it’s that same expertise that gets in the way. It’s vitally important to think from the audience’s perspective. Consider the following…What are the step-by-step actions they must take to solve this problem or accomplish this goal? Then, chronologically list all steps that need to take place before this can happen. While you identify the steps: define your personal brand voice; define your target audience for the mini-course; and determine the goal of the course and a call to action. You’ll do this for each step, then further expand by creating the content you’ll cover. This includes your script, slides/videos/etc. Creating a script can seem time-consuming, and you may be tempted to wing it, but you’ll most likely save time and ensure you’re clearly explaining each step by writing everything down in advance. 

Decide how you’ll present your content

Don’t assume you have to rush out and buy a bunch of expensive gear! You may be fine just creating slides and recording yourself talking over them. Loom is a great platform to consider since you can record your screen and show yourself on camera at the same time. There’s a free version available that should be all you need for your course.

If you decide to create a talking-head video — where you appear on camera explaining your topic — consider using the camera on your computer or phone before purchasing a more expensive camera. Remember, this is a mini-course, you’re not trying to win an Academy Award. You can edit your videos using free programs such as iMovie.

Depending on the topic and your audience, you combine these two approaches. Just make sure you’re noting how you want to present your content as you fill out the steps. It’s easier to do so now while it’s fresh on your mind than it would be to make an entire extra step of this process later.

Plan supplemental materials 

To make the course more interactive and deliver on the desired transformation, consider providing workbooks, checklists or anything else that will allow people to get a more focused take away from your course. In fact, you may want to follow each section with an action item and list of additional resources. 

Distributing your course

Now it’s time to get your course in front of your target audience. You can start by promoting it via social media. On LinkedIn, mention your course in your background picture to immediately grab the attention of anyone who visits your profile. On other platforms, such as Twitter and Instagram, you can link to it directly from your profile and provide a call to action. Beyond that, be sure to create a post announcing the launch of your course and continue referencing it on social media within the context of your other posts. If you’d like to take a more direct approach, which I highly recommend, you can also message people who fit your target audience and may find value from your course.

Here’s a template to get you started:

Hello Bill,

Totally coming out of the blue here but I noticed you recently commented on a #Instagram post and I’m wondering if you would be interested in my free course “XXXXXXXXX.”

Happy to send it your way, or just connect in general. 


Another option is to partner with organizations that already have access to your audience. You can either offer the course directly to them and ask them to share it, or ask if they’d be interested in you presenting the key takeaways during a webinar. Although you may not be compensated for your participation, the organization will actively share your free course with their audience which may quickly increase the number of enrollments.

Following up

Once people sign up for your course, you’ll want to reach out and encourage them to take additional action. Consider offering a one-on-one consultation or a live webinar where you help attendees implement what they’ve learned from the course. There are several options available but make sure you do something. Adding someone to your email list is just the beginning of a relationship, and you’ll want to continue providing value going forward.

Check out email support services like Mailchimp or Constant Contact. Right now, I would recommend evaluating your online marketing ideas for free by using my link to sign up for a 60 day Free Trial offer from Constant Contact of Email marketing, Social Media Marketing, Website Design, SEO, and Lead Generation, no card required!

For more thoughts on growing your sales leads, you can do a Library Search using the key word “marketing”.

Copyright ©John Trenary 2021

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