How to improve your ROI on public speaking
7th, Jul 2020
Public speaking has always been a very effective way for professionals to market themselves. These days instead of doing a seminar in a room full of people, it’s a webinar or meeting on Zoom or similar platform. But the rules haven’t really changed. If you want to maximize your public speaking and improve your return on investment, the first step is to develop a strategic plan.
1. Who do you want to reach? Identify your ideal client or referral source including their demographics (age, profession, income, location, etc.). That’s who you want to target with your public speaking. Then research where and how to get in front of them. In other words, don’t pursue every speaking opportunity that comes along; be selective so you focus your efforts on the people that matter most to you.
2. What topic(s) should you discuss? There are 2 parts to choosing a topic(s). The first is to determine your audience’s interest. Again, do research about their concerns and pain points so your presentation focuses on those issues. The second part is deciding what you want to be known for (i.e., your niche or specialty). Typically, this is the area that would be best for your business. You should analyze what types of matter and clients are most profitable to your business currently or have the most potential for the future. Your topic should hit the sweet spot between what people want to hear about and the expertise you want to promote.
3. How will you market your program? If you want people to show up and listen, you need to market your program using a variety of methods including social media, email, publicity and possibly advertising. Also leverage employees to help promote the program through their networks. In addition, try to partner with others who can use their own channels to promote the program. You may want to bring in co-speakers and sponsors or pitch your idea to an organization/association that will market the webinar. For ideas on how to market your event, see Top Strategies For Marketing Your Speaking Event. Also keep in mind that even if people don’t attend your program, your marketing is still going to increase your visibility and can bring in business.
4. How will you follow up afterwards? It is rare to get business from one speaking event. You need additional touchpoints with those contacts in order to build a relationship that will eventually turn into business. Ideally, you should try to get the names and contact information of the attendees so you can follow up using phone, email, and social media. If you cannot get their information because someone else is in charge of registrations and will not provide it, you still want to engage in post-event marketing. Use social media and email to offer attendees and non-attendees helpful material from the program (a recording, outline, summary of key points, etc.). You can also provide related content over the course of months as a way to continue to nurture these leads. If you partnered with others, look to leverage the relationship in your post-event marketing.
5. What are your goals and how will you measure progress? Consider what you want to accomplish through public speaking. Yes, you ultimately want more business, but break that down into smaller concrete goals. For example, maybe you want to increase referral business. Obviously, every aspect of your plan needs to be geared towards this goal as discussed above. So, you want to target a specifically defined group of referral sources (ex. accountants) with a relevant topic and appropriately market the program to them before and after the program. To gauge your success, you can track various metrics such as growth in the number of referral sources (the number of individuals who could refer you business), calls from referral sources (new or existing ones), calls from prospects who were referred to you, referred clients who actually signed with you, and/or revenue generated for the firm from referrals.
However, note that establishing a direct ROI in marketing is difficult because the path to new business isn’t a straight one. A prospect may have gotten your name from a referral source who regularly hears you speak, but also gets your emails, follows you on social media, and sees you at networking events. Regardless of whether the source first met you at a speaking event, your public speaking is helping your credibility and visibility with referral sources and is contributing to your ROI. Marketing has a cumulative impact, helping you stay top of mind with referral sources in a positive way, so you get the referral opportunity.
6. What resources do you have or need? Public speaking can be time-consuming. What resources can you devote to booking, preparing for, and marketing those engagements? Do you have enough resources internally? What work can you outsource? Remember you need time/money/expertise to effectively implement your plan. Put in writing who will be responsible for each task and establish deadlines to keep everyone accountable.
Figuring out these issues in advance will help ensure the success of individual speaking engagements and your marketing as a whole. Ultimately, your speaking engagements should support and complement your other marketing and vice versa so it is most effective and generates the best return on investment.
If you need assistance with obtaining or leveraging your speaking engagements, contact us for a consultation.