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How to Market Your Business with Public Speaking

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How to Market Your Business with Public Speaking

By Rieva Lesonsky, Guest Blogger
Published: May 14, 2013

 

Are you looking for a way to attract new customers, meet potential prospects and partners, and become known as an expert in your industry? Public speaking can do all of the above, and more.

If you feel like public speaking isn’t even an option for you because you’re shy, think again. I’m shy myself, though you wouldn’t know it to see me addressing conferences, crowds and audiences all over the country. Trust me, public speaking gets easier with practice—and it’s worth the effort.

Toastmasters is a great, free organization that can help you get comfortable speaking in front of a group. You can also try simply having a friend record you speaking and play it back so they can give you an honest critique of your speech patterns, body language and delivery. Finally, try breaking into public speaking with a less intimidating situation, like being on a panel discussion (where you’re not the focus of attention).

When you’re starting out in public speaking, it’s best to think small. Fortunately, speaking in front of small groups like the local PTA or business leads club can have huge benefits for your business.

Begin by figuring out what market you want to reach. For example, if you own a landscaping business, you might want to attract residential clients or owners of commercial facilities that need landscaping.  

Next, determine where those customers are likely to be found. In the example above, you could speak to homeowners’ associations or gardening clubs if you’re trying to attract residential customers; for the commercial facilities, you could find landlord organizations and speak to those groups.

Figure out what type of subject matter will both be relevant to your target customers and also serve your business. For instance, the landscaper could speak to residential customers about choosing the right kinds of plants for different seasons, how to keep your home fire-safe with landscaping or how to prevent pests. For the commercial facilities you could talk about trends in landscaping or how to increase curb appeal. You want to talk about things that your business is able to provide for them, so there’s a natural tie-in between what you talk about and what you can do.

Promote the event. Use press releases, email marketing, your website and social media to let the local community know about the event. Depending on the venue, you may want to alert local media as well. (Perhaps you can even offer to write an article on the topic you’re speaking about, garnering even more publicity.)

Gather information about attendees. Have attendees sign up with their names, addresses and emails as part of registering for the event, or just make a sign-up sheet available at the event for people who want to get mailings or email newsletters from you. You could also do the classic “business card in a fishbowl” drawing and collect business cards in return for giving away a prize (like a free landscaping consultation).

Give away information. Handouts, brochures, checklists or other free information about both the topic you’re discussing and your business give people something to hang on to and remember you by. This is also perceived as adding value to your speech.

Follow up. Don’t be pushy, but do follow up after the event with attendees who’ve indicated interest in learning more or receiving communications from your business.

Keep it up. The more often you speak in public, the more confident you’ll grow, until eventually you may find public speaking to be one of your most successful methods of getting new business.

About the Author:

Rieva Lesonsky

Guest Blogger

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and President of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Follow Rieva at Twitter.com/Rieva and visit SmallBizDaily.com to sign up for her free TrendCast reports. She's been covering small business and entrepreneurial issues for more than 30 years, is the author of several books about entrepreneurship and was the editorial director of Entrepreneur magazine for over two decades

Comments:

Excellent post! Adding public speaking to your marketing plan helps you to promote your company's product and services and adds a personal touch to your promotional efforts. If you promote your small business with public speaking, consumers in your target market not only remember your company, but, they also come to see you as an expert in your field.Thank you for sharing this. :)
Nice article.Remember one thing , if your are using public speaking as a promotions tool, ensure to have an audienace as possible by publicizing the event well in advance. Most importantly , go where your target is. I find public speaking as one of the most effective when it comes to deleivering a message to a specific audience.
Foursquare and Yelp checkins are a great idea and can really make gather data about your attendees and retargeting them for future engagements much easier.
We actually use form of public speaking (i.e. free seminars) as a way to not only promote our Company within the local business community but also as a way of creating goodwill with our neighbors, customers and potential customers as well. Because ours is an industry who's customers have a lot of technical know-how, we frequently provide the seminars at universities in our home state of North Carolina.
I definitely agree with using the Speaking medium to promote your brand, products, and services. Great point on finding specific avenues on locating a specific group to speak to. A great way that I found to get started on the fast track to speaking A LOT, in front of potential customers is to join a local networking group. I have even thought of using Foursquare Checkin's for an event as a way to increase social media engagement. Haven't tried it yet, but would like to do so in the future. Thanks again for the write up!

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