Do you give presentations or host trainings as part of your business marketing?
Maybe you host or guest speak on webinars or Google hangouts. Or maybe it’s a bigger deal and you are the speaker for an online conference, or even at in-person events. Whatever the venue, speaking is a great way to position yourself and your business as an industry leader and to demonstrate your expertise.
Many years ago when I was working for a non-profit organization, I learned about the concept of using a speakers’ bureau to create awareness. Most of the speaking was in front of civic groups like rotary clubs, kiwanis clubs, and various business groups. There were about three or four of us who would do the speaking. We would look at the dynamics of the group and then determine who would be the best to give the presentation. For example, if it was a local women’s business group, I would speak. If it was a medical group, our board member who was a retired physician would speak. The strategy was an effective way to reach a large amount of local contacts and create much-needed awareness about our services and agency .
When I launched myMarketing Cafe in 2011, I continued this strategy but I shifted gears and began giving trainings instead of presentations. My revised strategy includes both online presentations and in-person events, and so throughout the year, I present in front of various groups that also target my target audience. Once I line up a speaking opportunity, I find a common need for the group members and build a presentation to help meet that need or solve a problem. I have a speaking event coming up this week where I’m showing a group of non-profit administrators tactics for creating engaging online newsletters.
Preparing for presentations like these takes up a huge amount of my time. I have to research the topic, create the presentation, practice, edit, and so on. If it’s an in-person event, I also have to block out travel time, plus the time it will take to present, and time for networking after the event.
As I was preparing for this week’s event, I began to realize that I’m not asking for enough in return. If I’m going to share my expertise, especially when I’m doing it for free, I need to ask for more value in return. When you are planning for your next speaking event, consider the following ideas.
Online Recognition Before The Event
Ask the group organizer to promote you and your business across their social media channels. Better yet, give them the content you want them to share. This might be a short video showcasing your expertise, a brief client story, or a link to a business landing page.
Feature Story in a Newsletter or Business Publication
If the group you are presenting to has a monthly or quarterly newsletter, or a business publication, ask if you can be featured. If you don’t offer the right content for an article, ask if you can be given free advertising space for a month or even the quarter.
Landing Page on their Website
Look for an opportunity to be featured on the company’s website, such as in a landing page that ties your business to their group needs. Another good area is on a resource page, where they may list local community resources.
Promotion in an Email Blast
Every group organizer has a master email list of all group members. Ask if your business can be featured in an upcoming email campaign. Consider developing a promotional offer to use in the campaign that is exclusive for the group members. Alternatively, if you are presenting at an event that requires registration, ask if you can have access to the emails of those attending your presentation. You should be the one to send them a copy of your presentation after the event, as a means of establishing a relationship.
Business Development and Lead Generation
The number one reason we speak at events is to create exposure about our business and showcase our expertise. Our goal is to generate at least one qualified lead. Ask the event organizer to help you with lead generation by introducing you to key prospects. The organizer knows the group members better than anyone. They should be able to review your client profile and connect you to at least one to two ideal prospects.
Complimentary Membership to the Group
If your training or presentation is valuable, which I’m sure it is, ask for the opportunity to become a group member. Membership will give you many more opportunities to network and cultivate relationships.