I'm a media entrepreneur who specializes in monetizing content. I grew a content-marketing agency that was acquired by The Penny Hoarder in 2015. I spent four years at that fast-growth startup as EVP of Content, building the infrastructure to grow from 3 to 100+ employees. I exited The Penny Hoarder in mid-2019 and am now focusing on media brand The Write Life, which I founded in 2013. This shift has allowed me to better prioritize my family and a healthy lifestyle. My sweet spot is the intersection of content and business. I enjoy supporting others in thinking through systems for content creation, hiring an editorial team, monetizing content, audience growth, and business-lifestyle fit. My background is in journalism. Find me at http://alexisgrant.com. If you submit a call request, please include your URL, type of company, and what you need help with, so I can make sure I'm a fit for your needs.
1. Make sure you're offering the type of content that will attract the people you want to target.
2. Figure out: What do you want these people to do? What's your goal? Sign up for your newsletter list? And if that's the immediate goal, what's the end goal? More revenue? Paying customers?
3. How can you entice customers into signing up -- what can you offer beyond your awesome content? Maybe an ebook freebie? A webinar? These types of incentives will drastically increase your sign-up rate.
4. As someone else here mentioned, pop-ups work. We use Pippity or LeadPages on a few blogs and see conversion between 4-7%.
Echoing Zack, I'd say target specific users if you can -- influential individuals you might write about you, share your content or otherwise support you when you launch.
To catch their attention, though, you have to first figure out *who* they are -- and drilling down like this can be challenging and time-consuming at the beginning. It's worth it to have that bang at launch!
One other tip -- consider guest posting on blogs that cater to your target market, and send readers back to an opt-in. Piggy-backing off other brands' already-established communities is often a quicker and smarter way than trying to grow your own from zero.
I'd make your No. 1 priority growing an email list. It's almost *always* important for growing communities, but for this particular target market that might not be on social as much as the rest of us, it's even more important. Create a valuable freebie to encourage them to opt in, and then you can go to them where you know they're already hanging out: their inbox.
I agree with the other folks here that something's likely wrong with your offer and you need to dig to figure out what that is.
BUT, I also sell online courses, and you should know that conversion rates here, like for everything we all sell, are low. You have to get a high number of people to a landing page to convert enough of them to make it worth your time. Even if you have a relatively high conversion rate, you need a lot of eyeballs to make it work. So just keep that in mind!
We do content marketing, and all our new clients come via inbound marketing. How they find us:
1. Referrals from other clients
2. Reach from my personal brand, alexisgrant.com
3. Google search and land on our website, socialexis.com -- I'm always shocked to hear this because we haven't yet put a lot of effort into the design of the site, and we don't update a blog there (we have prioritized serving clients over redesigning the website). It brings in business even though it's basic!
4. When I (founder of the biz) speak at events
Hope that helps!
Marketing a brick-and-mortar online is quite different from marketing a business where your customers can live anywhere. As a consumer, two things matter to me: search and reviews. I search to find an option, then I check out their reviews to decide whether to use them.
So I'd recommend working on your SEO so your business shows up in Google when locals search, and encouraging your existing customers to leave reviews on Yelp and Google. The first will bring people to you, the second will show them that you're the right choice.
There are lots of all-in-one solutions (Co-Schedule seems to be one I see popping up in my Facebook feed a lot), but we cobble together our own. Google Docs for editing, WordPress editorial calendar for planning, Flow for assigning and completing tasks.
We manage a number of high-volume blogs, and we use the same system across the board to keep it simple for all of us. This post goes into detail on how we do it -- happy to answer any questions: http://business.tutsplus.com/articles/a-proven-step-by-step-process-for-managing-multi-author-blogs--fsw-44944?_ga=1.128639300.974525869.1404268441