Ad Agency Principals Should “Speak” for New Business.
Having the opportunity to speak in front of a highly targeted, interested group of prospects is a very effective form of lead generation. Even if you are speaking for free, the opportunity oftentimes outweighs a fee when it comes to the potential for new business and establishing you and your agency as thought leaders.
Here are some 10 personal tips to generate speaking opportunities:
1. I would suggest that you use a blog to get started.
Your blog can become a great tool to open doors to speak. It provides a the platform to hone your subject matter, draw interest and appeal from your best agency prospects.
People want to work with people that they know, trust and like. Your blog can become the face of your agency, the gateway for new business. It can also be a springboard for speaking opportunities.
2. Create a Speaking Page
Michael Gass speaks on topics related to leadership, business development, and social media. He has been speaking publicly for more than 25 years and has keynoted more than 100 events.
A few suggestions on what to include on your blog’s Speakers Page
- Clearly define your expertise and your niche
- Provide a description of topics and presentations you can speak on
- Create your “speakers bio”
- Speaking engagements. List events where you will be speaking, no matter how small (I would also suggest adding your speaking engagements to your blog’s side bar)
- Provide testimonials. I’ve discovered that LinkedIn is an excellent way to generate testimonials
- Be sure and provide your contact information
- Educate and you won’t have to sell
3. Shoot Video
Video is easily shot, embedded and/or linked through your blog. An agency principal that didn’t have any video footage of prior speaking engagements and decided to create it in-house. Even brought in a change of wardrobe and shot video for 3 different presentations.
4. Record Audio
You can also record video through a number of different programs to upload or link to your blog. Someone recently introduced me to a program that easily records interviews called wetoku. You can also use a service as simple as FreeConferenceCall.com.
Click here to listen to my experience using social media from an ad agency new business perspective, BlogTalkRadio interview
5. About Page
I would suggest creating an About Page for your blog that would provide a fuller profile of your experience beyond your speakers bio.
6. Research Sponsorship Opportunities
An ad agency that specializes in marketing for academic medical centers learned that it was better to spend money for a conference sponsorship, attended by a large number of their prospects, than to send a group of its staff members as attendees. For almost the same amount of money, the conference sponsorship package included:
- 1 keynote and 2 breakout session speaking opportunities
- 2 conference admissions
- All attendee’s contact information
- Promotion of the agency in conference materials
- Booth space
- Ability to freely hand out agency promotional materials
The agency discovered this was much cheaper and more more productive for their new business objectives. The agency provided its best “thought leader” for the conference that built instant credibility with attendees.
In addition to these tips …
7. Make the Most of Your Presentation Time
Success breeds success
It goes without saying, you need to make a good presentation. Here are a few presentation tips to think about:
- Focus on your audience. Don’t sell. Help them, entertain them, inform them and inspire them.
- Prepare and rehearse your presentation.
- Make eye contact and be engaging. Use listening notes. Facilitate questions. Make your session interactive with your audience.
- Get a look at the presentation room as soon after you arrive as possible. It always helps to be aware of your surroundings and adjust your presentation accordingly. Set-up your equipment as early as possible before your presentation time.
- Have a back-up plan if you have technical issues. I always upload a copy of my presentation to an online source, have downloaded it also to a thumb-drive, make sure I have all my adapters, pluggins, etc. If at all possible spend time in other conference sessions. Be part of the conference community.
- Provide enlightening personal stories and illustrations.
- If you use PowerPoint or Keynote, don’t read the slides! Instead use them illustrate your points. Nice photos/graphics.
- Bring plenty of business cards. Provide your contact info at the end of any slide or video presentations.
8. Use Social Tools
In addition to your blog, use social media tools such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to help promote the event at which you are speaking. This will be a huge help to the event organizers, will make them even more appreciative for your participation and will be a benefit to you by the positive referrals. Often event organizers will also provide you with a discount for your readers.
Also use social media, prior to the event, to meet and engage with those who will be attending.
9. Don’t Forget to Follow-up
Taking the time to follow-up with attendees is an important part of process of gaining additional speaking and new business opportunities. Providing a personal email to those you collected business cards from and providing a link to your presentation in SlideShare would be helpful tactic to use as a follow-up. A personal handwritten note would also be a nice follow-up.
10. Enroll in a Speakers Bureau
Jaci Russo, The Russo Group, recently shared that enrolling in a speakers bureau has generated a good number of additional speaking opportunities for her, in addition to her blog, writings, interviews and referrals.
Additional articles that may be of interest:
- Agency Leadership: Can you be a great leader and not be a great presenter?
- Ad Agency Principals on Point for Agency New Business
- Edward Boches: 5 questions every CMO should ask a prospective ad agency
- Ad Agency New Business is Like Herding Cats
- 7 Steps to Make Your Ad Agency’s Online Seminars Effective for New Business