The Productivity Institute

Personal Productivity Solutions to Leverage Your Impact


Ten Super Marketing Ideas for the Professional Speaker

By: Dr. Donald E. Wetmore

During the past thirty years as a full-time Professional Speaker, I have learned a lot about what to and, more importantly, what not to do to market Professional Speaking Services. Below are ten SUPER marketing ideas that have worked for me. They all have two things in common. They are all low cost/no cost and they have all produced great results for me.

  1. Get A Non-Profit Sponsor. Work out an arrangement with a non-profit organization (Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, etc.) to co-sponsor your event as a fundraiser for them. They are responsible for all marketing, filling the room. Expenses are taken off the top and the balance is split 50/50. For example, let’s say you co-sponsor an event, the non-profit signs up 30 people at $200. Total revenues are $6,000 less expenses of $1,000 or a net of $5,000. Your share is $2,500 and the non-profit has had a successful fundraiser.
  2. Introductory Breakfast. Target the audience you want to reach (sales managers, human resources professional, finance managers, etc) and invite them to a free Preview breakfast. Give a short overview of your talk and follow-up with each to secure paid engagements.
  3. Radio Promotion For Barter. Many local radio stations will trade advertising time for your services. They may not sell it anyway and it’s a way to get some value out of lost airtime. In return, you conduct an engagement for their staff.
  4. Trade Shows. Almost all local Chambers of Commerce sponsor mini trade shows. They provide a flow of traffic where you can meet qualified decision makers for your services. This never fails to generate business for us.
  5. Sell Products At Every Engagement. Develop your own materials, manuals, audiotapes, etc. If you have nothing developed, sell someone else’s related materials. As you speak, your audiences will almost always want more information. For example, if you are speaking to a group of 60 people, and 20 purchase your manual at $30, that’s an additional $600 in revenue.
  6. Set Up Direct, Face-To-Face Meetings With Decision Makers. Compared to direct mail and telephone it is very effective because it is harder to say “no” to someone face-to-face then to a piece of mail or over the phone. Have a purpose in mind when asking for the meeting that is valuable to that person. Everyone needs to know, “what’s in it for me?”
  7. Give Free Speeches. Rotary Clubs, Kiwanis Clubs, Chambers of Commerce are always looking for speakers for their meetings. As a condition of your free service, ask that you be provided with a list of attendees to follow-up with your marketing efforts. This was how I started off, when I knew no one and no one knew me. To this day, I still get business as a result of those free speeches.
  8. Use The Fax Machine. Gather fax numbers of decision makers you need to market to. Send them something of value, tips, etc. We send out 2,000 per month (about 100 per day). The payoff has always been about $2 per fax in new business, or $4,000 per month.
  9. Create An “In-House” Mailing List. Add people to it as you make contacts at business events, people contact you, hear your free speeches, or attend your paid engagements. Mail to them 3-4 times per year. These are people who at least have some familiarity with you versus a cold list you can purchase. We derive about $2 in new business per piece mailed.
  10. Create And Maintain A Web Page. I am not a computer geek. Five years ago, I couldn’t turn on a computer. (Small exaggeration-but close to the truth.) Today, 50% of our revenues are coming from the web. It is important to create a usable site and, just as important, to constantly promote it on the web listing it everywhere on search engines, classified ads, directories, etc. It’s all free to promote, but requires the discipline of your time. I spend about an hour per day promoting my site but the payoff is extraordinary.

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Dr. Donald E. Wetmore

Certified Executive Coach, Consultant and Trainer
Author, “Organizing Your Life” and “The Productivity Handbook”
Productivity Institute
Personal Productivity Solutions to Leverage Your Impact
127 Jefferson St.
Stratford, CT 06615
(203) 386-8062
(800) 969-3773
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