Define your audience before you create your message

I was recently at the National Speakers Association annual conference.

This year, as I’ve done every year since 2011, I had booth to promote my speaker marketing and coaching services. I’m not cheap and most folks at the event either don’t have budget for me or they already have staff to do the work. So my ideal clients are somewhere in between those two points. My clients speak enough to know they need to up their marketing game, but aren’t prepared to hire a full time person to do it.

This means I tend to spend a lot of my time chatting with folks who are not my ideal clients. But that doesn’t mean I’m not helping people. New speakers tend to be attracted to my booth and the promise of an all in one marketing solution for their business. And while there are a lot of businesses that would be happy to take their last nickel, I’m not that guy.

So I hold court, dispensing business and career advice to consultants, professional speakers and trainers who have expertise and valuable content to share – but haven’t thought out how to monetize that know-how.

The biggest issue I found this year was an abundance of speakers who crafted a message and planned a business before ever figuring out who would actually pay for it.

If you create a program and then start looking for an audience to match it, you are choosing a very difficult path.

Define your audience before you create your message if you want to succeed as a speaker. Click To Tweet

Instead, consider your experience and where that gives you credibility. If you have experience in IT sales, then you will have much more luck with IT resellers, than if you create a general sales program and pitch it to realtors.

As I’ve said before “Everyone” is not an ideal client profile. And that is still one of the best bits of advice I’ve ever given out.

Before you create any program, clearly define the intended audience. This will allow you to avoid generic presentations and allow you to differentiate yourself in the speaking or consulting markets.

An example of this from the conference was someone with an expertise in fitness training with a specialty in seniors. When I asked who would pay of that, the answer was any individuals AND companies that want employees to be fitter. The conversation then shifted to how gyms do such a terrible job of accommodating older individuals.

So I suggested that a more specific and profitable program might include speaking to gyms and fitness facilities on how to market effectively to this group – with an emphasis on the amount of money they are leaving on the table by ignoring a huge segment of the population.

Once that audience was defined there was suddenly clarity of message and a business model.

So before you focus on the expertise you bring to the table think about the marketplace and where your expertise is likely to resonate. It will make it a lot easier to make a business case for your services going forward.

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