As an entrepreneur or small business owner, especially if you’re just starting out, it can be hard to be heard in the online noise of social media updates, blog posts, and Facebook ads that are constantly competing for your audience’s attention.
However, there is a marketing strategy that is underutilized by most entrepreneurs and can make a significant impact on your business: public speaking.
I know that for many people just the thought of giving talks and presentations is scary and intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be.
Before you dismiss the idea entirely, consider three reasons why you should add public speaking to your marketing mix:
1. Public speaking positions you as an expert in your field.
When you are standing and presenting in front of a group of people, you are naturally seen as an authority on the topic.
I hear from people that they feel like they are not an expert, that they haven’t been working in their field as long as others, or that they don’t have as many credentials or clients.
You don’t have to be the world’s foremost expert in your industry; in many cases, it’s better not to be because you are then more approachable and relatable.
Keep in mind that you are an expert in three things that no one else can claim: yourself, your business, and what you’ve done for your customers.
You don’t need a PhD or a client roster of thousands to share what you’ve learned and experienced.
In your presentation, talk about why you started your business, what problem or need you’re solving for your customers, and what transformations your customers have had by using your product or service.
By doing so, you’re showing the audience that you have the confidence and experience to help them too, which leads us to the second reason.
2. Public speaking showcases your brand.
Quick pop quiz: Which do you think would be the most effective way to introduce yourself to a potential customer?
a. Posting on social media and hoping your potential customer sees it and interacts.
b. Targeting a Facebook ad based on your target market’s demographics and interests and hoping your potential customer sees it and clicks on it.
c. Speaking to your potential customer directly.
I think most of us agree that answer “c” is the most effective. Now, I’m not saying not to use social media, content marketing, and ads; they all have their place and should be part of your overall marketing mix (I use them too!).
However, having the opportunity to speak directly to your target audience, without filters and distractions, is an opportunity not to be missed.
Be sure that your presentation educates and inspires – no sales pitches or infomercial gimmicks allowed.
When you present on a topic, as you weave in relevant and interesting stories about your experiences and the transformations your clients have experienced, you are naturally showcasing your brand – who you are, why you do what you do, why the audience should care, and how it helps them.
This brings us to reason #3.
3. Public speaking invites follow-ups and referrals (which leads to more sales).
You’re viewed as the go-to expert on the topic you’ve talked about related to your business.
You’ve shared stories and customer experiences in a non-salesy way that educates and motivates.
The people in the audience – your target market – are now primed to reach out to you to learn more about how you can help them and their network.
Think of this as the opposite of cold calling or cold emailing or cold social media-ing.
If you’re a web designer and you’ve given a valuable presentation on the top five things every website should have, who do you think people in the audience are going to consider when they need a new website or someone asks for a recommendation? You or a random tweet? My bet is on you.
If you’re a health coach and you’ve spoken about how you’ve helped your clients transform their lives by changing their lifestyle, who do you think people in the audience are going to contact when they’re ready to be healthier? You or a random Facebook ad? My bet is on you.
I know public speaking can be nerve-wracking and anxiety-producing, but if you’re starting or growing your business, it can be one of the most important elements of your marketing strategy.
Like many things in life, the more you do it, the easier it gets.
Start by presenting in front of a small group of people you know (a few colleagues or a local business group) and work your way up to larger events and venues.
You can become the confident, public voice of your business.
Interested in learning more about how to find, create, and deliver your signature talk to help grow your business? Sign up at http://www.speakingyourbrand.com to be the first to know when my new program, Speaking Your Brand, launches this fall and to get a discount on the online program.
If you’re in the Orlando area, I’m holding a workshop on October 7, 2015, with weVenture as part of their “Stacking Your Deck” series so you can learn how to present, pitch, and persuade on stage. Details and registration at http://weventure.org/events/2015/10/stacking-your-deck-pitch-series/ .