By Erin Ferree, Branding Coach
San Luis Obispo, CA USA

Are you “marketing at” your precious audience or connecting withthem? In other words, do your  talks feel more like you’re shouting at them with a megaphone, or like you’re starting what could be a two-way conversation?

We all have a craving for connection and conversation – for that rich, recognition-filled two-way exchange of thoughts and information.

Feel into how much you want to talk to with your potential clients.

Now, imagine how much they want to be in a conversation with you. After all, they’re already listening to you. I suspect many of them are yearning to be heard, to have their questions answered and to really talk to you.

Here are two traits you can use to open the conversation in a refreshing way…


Have you ever really stopped to wonder about, listen to and ask your potential clients about what’s going on for them?

This goes beyond a casual, “Hi, how are you?” at the beginning of  a talk in a small room – where you’re not actually expecting an answer.

It’s time to think about who your audience is, ask about what they’re up to, and explore their thoughts and feelings.

Look at them as more than just a potential buyer. Open up a conversation with the full intent of simply learning more about them and getting to know them – not seeing how you could help them, or looking for a need.

What you can do – ask real, specific questions in your newsletter and assure people that you really do want to know the answer. Offer opportunities for your potential clients to speak with you on Q&A calls, during call-in “office hours” or even by appointment for a short, focused session – where you’re asking them questions.


When was the last time you gave your audience a truly free and fantastic gift?

People love presents – when they’re real, useful, desirable gifts. Too many “free gifts” in the marketing world are not really gifts at all, but thinly veiled sales pitches that people have to sign up for.

I realize this has become common practice… and there’s certainly a time and place for that in a marketing strategy… and, at the same time…

Why not give a valuable, amazing free gift that they really want, that they can use immediately and digest fully, and get deep value from? They’ll really notice and be impressed by a gift that fills a real need – that doesn’t simply open them up to a new need or shine the light on some gap or deficiency in their approach.

And, when was the last time that you gave something away that was really free? I mean that there’s no hoops to jump through and no forms to fill out. That you are giving to them with the true energy of gifting. Because you have created this gift especially for them, and you want them to have it – not because you want anything in return.

Try this – create a short and impactful free gift. Tell your audience all about how to do one small, specific task. Give them resources or point them to tools. Package that gift lovingly. And then send it to everyone in the audience and invite them to send it to everyone they know. Include a two-line invitation to learn more at the end. See what happens!


Erin Ferree is a branding coach, design genius and strategic thinker. She loves connecting the dots between passion and profit, mixing strategy and inspiration and shaking things up. She’s branded over 450 small businesses in the last 10 years, to create an open, honest, inviting brand with integrity.