With the abundance of commercialized ads in print, TV, radio and now online and social media, consumers are exhausted by traditional marketing. They’d rather engage with authentic content that is less about the sales pitch and more about informing or entertaining. This is called content marketing. One aspect of content marketing that has had a great effect on my business is by hosting a presentation or workshop to reach your target audience and offer valuable information they need.
I have presented dozens of workshops over the years, usually invited by local organizations to present Internet Marketing Strategies for small business owners. Although its taken me years to overcome my public speaking anxieties with great effort to get to the point where I no longer shake with fear, but actually enjoy public speaking. I am so inspired and motivated when I have an engaged group of entrepreneurs who value the importance of their internet presence, and who learn so much from my presentation about how to reach their target audience and enhance their brand. And another benefit of public speaking is new leads, new clients and lots of referrals!
Although public speaking can be daunting for some, not to mention the hours of preparation you will spend to develop an informative information, and the time and money to market the event, here are reasons you should consider presenting your own:
- Reach out to your target audience. You want to host a workshop or presentation where you know your target audience will be. For example, if you’re in the residential services business (construction, HVAC or real estate), go where homeowners gather like homeowners associations or home improvement stores. If your target is small business owners, small business development centers, local Chambers of Commerce, as well as other networking organizations would be a great place to start.
- Present quality content that provides value to your audience. Research what your customers are interested in and what topics they need more input on. Go through your customers’ most frequently asked questions as to where to start. Use your own expertise, experience and services to not only teach and offer quality content but to showcase your skillset. Ensure the presentation offers valuable, informative content that is genuine, authentic and well researched. Offer infographics, statistics, quotes and case studies to back up your recommendations and advice.
- Be entertaining and make the information come alive. Use visuals, such as a presentation software such as Powerpoint, Preszi,Slidedog, Haiku Deck, to bring the point home. Your audience on average only retains 25% of what they hear, so offering bullet points on a slideshow with engaging graphics help increase retention rates. Ask questions and encourage audience participation throughout as a mutual conversation is much more engaging than a lone speaker presenting information to an audience who is expected to just listen.
- Be confident and take a deep breath. Relax, be yourself, offer personal experience when applicable, and use light touches of humor to make your audience feel comfortable. If you are stressed or anxious, that will come across causing your audience to mirror those feelings as well, thus your content will become secondary to your anxiety. Don’t let your nerves become a distraction to the purpose of your speech. So find ways to reduce your public speaking anxiety.
- Have a good structured outline of content but speak from the heart. Don’t read to your audience, they can read your content on your website or blog. They are hear to engage with you, listen and learn. Make sure you spend time working on the structure of your outline so its organized, offers comparisons and has a central theme that is carried throughout. “Research shows that people retain structured information up to 40% more reliably and accurately than information that is presented in a more freeform manner.” – Stanford Graduate School of Business.
- Encourage leads but don’t commercialize your presentation. You are not there to advertise your products or services, but there are discreet ways to encourage new leads. In your introduction, tell them about your business, your experience and skillset, and use personal experiences with your clients as case studies if applicable throughout the presentation. After the presentation, offer your contact information with your cell and office numbers, blog & website URLs, email, and social media handles. Pass out your business cards to all attendees and encourage them to reach out for questions or feedback.
- Follow up after the presentation. Get a copy of the sign-up sheet or pass out your own so you can reach out after for their feedback or if they have further questions. Add their name and email to your newsletter subscription list, invite them as friends on social media, or reach out to meet for coffee to further discuss any questions they may have.
Although presentations take time and effort, they can be an effective marketing tool to promote your brand, showcase your expertise and engage your audience in person. And the residual benefits of referrals, new leads and invitations for future presentations, should encourage any business owner to give it a try.
If you’d like to schedule Nicole Mueller of Startup Production to present “Building an Effective Web Presence” which discuss Internet Marketing Strategies that Promote your Brand, email me.