Guest post today by Cidnee Stephen of  Strategies for Success.

I love to write – creatively as well as for business. So last year I decided to take a course at a nearby college to learn how to hone this skill. I learned a very valuable lesson that REALLY should be the GOLDEN RULE for your marketing.

It’s always better to SHOW your audience than TELL them.

Speaking is a great way to do this, especially for those of you in service based businesses. Here are just a few of the key advantages of integrating this into your marketing:

• You have the opportunity to educate your target market in your area of expertise
• By demonstrating your expertise, you increase trust and credibility with attendees
• The content you create can be used in multiple other ways – articles, audio CD, teleseminar, webinar, report or book.
• You get to hone your public speaking skills and may find that you can even get paid to speak!
• Most importantly, you have the opportunity to attract more prospects to you and your business

Okay, so you know that speaking is for you. You do after all possess some public speaking ability. Maybe you have even done some talks already. If this is the case and you are finding that you STILL are not getting the leads you think you should, it could be because one or more of the following areas are not aligned.

You are not presenting your subject in an appealing way or with a catchy title – Create at least 3 various topics to present. This allows the organizer to choose the one that is most appropriate for them. Research various topics that other speakers in your area of expertise use to give you inspiration in catchy titles and content.
You are not attracting the RIGHT type of speaking engagements – Look for speaking engagements that have your qualified prospects in the audience. Don’t be afraid to ask about the audience or expected numbers. There is nothing worse than doing hours of preparation only to find a handful of people in the room when you are expecting 50!
You are giving too little or too much away in your talk – you should be looking to explain why your topic is important to the attendee and what the key areas are they need to address. You are giving away too much if you start explaining HOW they address each area.
You have no mechanisms in place to capture leads AFTER your talk – This is probably one of the biggest mistakes many speakers make. If you walk away after a talk HOPING that people will contact you, you are losing valuable control in your marketing system. Think of ways that you can contact them. Perhaps you can offer to send them the PowerPoint slides for your presentation or a special Trial of your product or services. By having a lead capture system in place you will be able to measure your results and implement a strong follow up campaign to move prospects closer to a sale.

How do you know you have been successful? That depends on your goals. I am looking to speak at least 20 times per year to an average audience of 50+ solopreneurs and business owners (so let me know if you are aware of such opportunities). At each event, I am looking to capture information on over 80% of them, and to close a minimum of $5000 in sales through each one (not on the day, but through my follow up campaign).

What are your goals?

Cidnee Stephen is the owner of Strategies for Success – a marketing company that focuses on the needs of budget minded small businesses and professional services.  She has helped hundreds of small businesses get out of their peak and valley ruts to finally achieve that next vital level of success.  Cidnee is also a sought after speaker, writer and blogger on marketing topics that affect small businesses and B2B service based operations.

If you would like to build a system to reach those goals quicker, check out Cindee’s Speak for Leads & Expertise Program.