If you have a business, then you probably have the never-ending need to attract clients. To get those clients, you have to do a variety of marketing activities. Some you will love doing, some you may feel less comfortable doing. But if you want to stay in business you just need to spend a lot of time marketing anyway! That is why I looked for something that was tons of fun, something I could do easily, that would be a smart marketing choice and put me in front of a lot of people in a very short time.
There is something you can do that sets you apart from others in your market, and that is public speaking. This is by far the one thing that has been the most successful way for me to grow my business. It allows you to showcase who you are and what you know. If you have passion and energy, are a positive person, (and don’t mind putting on something nice to wear), then speaking may be your next best tool.
Speaking is a fantastic way to generate interest in you and your products or services. It doesn’t cost anything, and it takes very little in the way of supplies or materials.
Here are some steps to get you started:
1. Come up with a topic.
What is it that you can talk to someone about for 20 or 40 minutes in your business?
2. Get visual.
Optionally, put together a very short, branded PowerPoint presentation with just a few slides – title, objectives, a couple of points, a slide with your contact information. Please do not read from your slides! They are only there for support. If you can just put a graphic instead of words, so much the better. Also, note that you don’t even need to use a PowerPoint!
3. Find a few places to speak.
Consider all of the weekly and monthly meetings in your area. Examples include Chambers of Commerce, Kiwanis, Rotary, Elks, non-profit associations, industry organizations, associations, colleges, professional organizations, neighborhood associations, Sunday School classes, churches, parent groups … and the list goes on and on.
4. Create an outline.
Make a simple one-page handout with the title of your presentation, a few key points – may be in a fill-in-the-blank format and your contact information. I like to print mine on colored paper.
5. Let everyone know.
Put a speaker page on your website, complete with a listing of popular topics, plus your bio and a picture for download.
One last thing – this is a perfect way to get the attendees in the room onto your email list. I offer a follow-up tip sheet via email to everyone who signs up. Usually, most of the people want the additional ideas, so I get most of them onto my list.
The neat thing about speaking is that you raise your visibility in your own community and people start to associate you with the topic(s) you speak about. Soon your reputation as a speaker will start circulating. Your next speaking engagements are referrals from those who have heard you speak before.
Keep in mind that there are people who speak for a living, who don’t speak for free. This is a great revenue source for professional speakers. If that interests you, check out the National Speakers Association website and consider their Speakers Academy.
For me, public speaking is usually a freebie marketing opportunity that gets me in front of a lot of potential clients. Consider speaking for free – in fact, most local groups won’t pay you, and they don’t want you to sell from the stage. But they will serve you a nice free lunch; you’ll have a great networking opportunity, get to showcase your expertise and continue putting your name out in your community.
And isn’t that what marketing is all about?