NSA/NC Meeting Report: Saturday March 2, 2013
The Saturday meeting of the Northern California Chapter of the National Speakers Association featured two savvy businesswomen who shared ways professional speakers and information entrepreneurs can book more business and own their niche markets. Stephanie Chandler is a Silicon Valley refugee who left a stressful job on the Peninsula for the life of a successful information entrepreneur. Lois Creamer knows the speaking business. She has worked with the superstars of speaking as both a cheerleader and strategist. She is endorsed by none other than Patricia Fripp, CSP, CPAE.
Stephanie Chandler: Living the good life after corporate America
Stephanie was inspired by the film Sleepless in Seattle to move to Sacramento, open a bookstore and write novels. Neither worked out for her. She quickly moved on to Plan B, launching herself as a speaker and non-fiction author on the urging of superstar literary agent Mike Larsen.
She launched BusinessInfoGuide.com, her first website, in 2004. Now, six books and a series of websites later, she is in demand as an author, speaker, Forbes blogger, and expert on content marketing, internet marketing, small business growth strategies, and publishing.
8 keys to owning your niche
The importance of speakers owning a niche has been a core lesson taught in NSA/NC Speakers Academy classes for many years. Stephanie walks the walk when it comes to knowing how to do this in the digital age. Heck, she’s even written a book on the topic.
She shared eight simple strategies to increase website traffic and own a niche:
- Define your target audience. Decide who you want to reach and what challenges you can solve for them.
- Tap into the power of community. Figure out where your audience spends their time and engaged them there.
- Optimize your website. Incorporate keywords and phrases that your audience would use to find you. Update your site frequently, generate incoming links, and continually add new content.
- Implement a blog. This will help build your audience, increase website traffic, generate new clients, create consulting opportunities, and attract media interviews and speaking engagements. It’s also the heart of your social media strategy. Stephanie recommends updating it at least twice a week.
- Develop a content marketing strategy. Create ebooks, white papers, and special reports that you give away. Distribute articles to websites to reach your target audience or write articles for print publications.
- Expand with video and podcasts. Even speakers who hate writing can record their presentations to communicate their message.
- Embrace social media. There are great reasons why executives are signing on with social media. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest each have their own unique advantages. You can automate much of the distribution of the content between these different sites.
- Commit a little time each day. just as you need to spend time weeding and planting seeds to enjoy a luxuriant garden, so you need to set aside time each day to develop content, engage in social media, and cultivate community. Stephanie advises that a little effort goes a long way in expanding your brand.
More details are available in her slides:
Lois Creamer: Business Strategies for Professional Speakers
Lois’s advice starts with the way we say hello. As professional communicators, the worst way to introduce ourselves is by NAME and TOPIC. We need to learn to introduce ourselves in a compelling and interesting way. Much better is an introduction by CONCEPT and OUTCOME. This captures your unique differentiation. She calls this a positioning statement and uses these words whenever she meets someone:
“I work with professional speakers who want to book more business, make more money and avoid costly mistakes.”
This is far more effective than using an elevator speech, which is typically too long and boring. An effective positioning statement should go on your website, one-sheet, email signature, and be part of any voice mail message you leave when calling prospects.
Effective voice mail messages
If Lois can’t reach a decision maker she’ll leave four voice mail messages over a period of a couple of weeks. Each will use the positioning statement and end with a qualifying question to encourage them to take action:
“Mr. Prospect, I’m sorry I missed you. This is Lois Creamer, I’m a consultant, I work with speakers just like you who want to book more business, make more money and avoid costly mistakes. I’m calling to see if I might be a fit to be helpful to you in your business in any way. And I’d love to send you something about what I do. I want to make sure it would be welcome. Could you call me and let me do that.”
If four messages bring no results, she’ll leave a 5th indicating she’s been trying to reach them, but this will be the last call she’ll make and she’d love to hear from them. This is often the message that gets a return call from a busy executive.
Many speakers have a hard time negotiating fees.
Lois advises to speak for full fee where possible, or be willing to waive your fee, but never give a “free speech”. If you are willing to waive your fee or speak for a reduced fee, ask the event organizer what else, if you are willing to do that, they are willing to provide you of value. Her blog lists suggestions on items of value speakers can negotiate.
If you need to raise your fees, do so with a few months advance notice and give clients the chance to book you at the existing fees before then. look on raising fees as promoting your success in the marketplace.
Interview: Lois Creamer on the future of the speaking business
To hear Lois’s thoughts on changes in the speaking business and what she sees coming over the next 5-10 years, click on the podcast icon below …