You can make playing vs AI more interesting by ratcheting up the AIx multiplier. Survival is also a fun way to get people into the game. When each player has their own lane in a survival there is less potential for one good player to dominate the match and take away their opportunity to play.
One way to get people interested in playing a particular game mode is if they a streamer/caster play that. It doesn't have to be you personally. If we get some noob streamers to cast survival games, that could help to get potential players interested in playing those.
IF they are interested in playing competitively, I would set them up with my "Stone Age" mod, which is in the vault. It limits the players to T1 tech only so they can practice fundamental RTS concepts without the extra complexity of worrying about T2 tech or T2 mexes. They don't get sidetracked upgrading mexes, they can just focus on collecting/spending resources to spam factories/units and basic things like scouting, unit movement, unit composition, ACU positioning. New players who are interested in competitive play would learn a lot more by playing with "Stone Age" than by playing the whole game, because they would get rolled by people who efficiently make T2 mexes and invest in high tech stuff that the new players don't know how to deal with.
It rewards you for getting the fundamentals right and makes it easier to measure how successful you are at the fundamentals because anyone can count who got more reclaim and who made more factories/tanks. That becomes much harder to judge when T2 tech is in the picture.
Also, even if they get rolled by -100s, if they're interested in learning competitive play, it shouldn't take that long before they can beat some of the people on ladder. Even if you're just winning 25% of the ladder matches, that feels a lot better than 0%. If they're interested in competitive play, there should be no shortage of equally-bad opponents.