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Marketing Speaker Services with Traditional One-Sheets


By Ed Rigsbee, CSP


Is direct marketing dead? Absolutely not! In the age of electronic communication overdose, direct marketing helps you to stand out.


First, I believe it is important to state that no single strategy will deliver any professional speaker an increase in bookings for your services. I believe that the successful selling of speaker services requires a three-part approach; direct mail, media exposure, and outbound calling. For this article, I’ll only be addressing speaker one-sheets via direct mail. While there are numerous other direct mailing campaign possibilities, I believe the traditional speaker one-sheet is highly preferable.


I have discovered that there are three elements that make a speaker one-sheet direct mailing campaign successful; clarity of message, the list, and frequency of mailing.

1. Clarity of Message

At quick glance, is a person that is not acquainted with you, able to clearly understand why they should hire you to speak at their next meeting? I have seen so many speaker one-sheets that are pretty yet still lack the ability to communicate value or initiate the action of a telephone call. Going a step further; many speaker one-sheets that I have reviewed only list features and lack benefits.


The challenge is this. You, as the speaker, are too close to the subject. You are convinced that others will understand how the features of your offering will create benefit for their lives. Guess what? They will not! You must make the translation for them. And, when you hire a (non-speaker specific) marketing company to write your copy, generally they do not have a clue as to how you, or any other speaker, create value. Speaker benefit copywriting is a very specific skill.


Let’s talk pretty; I do believe at the minimum, your one-sheet needs to be four-color on the front. Black and white on the reverse is okay, but today the difference in price is so minimal that you’d be better off to product a two-sided four color one-sheet. Any yes, after you have worked hard to develop compelling copy, have a designer make your one-sheet look visually appealing. Is the look of your one-sheet appropriate for your pricing strategy?

2. The Direct Marketing List

This is a hard one. Do the people that receive your direct mailing information actually hire speakers? Buying lists is not always the best way to go. Building your list over time is preferred because the list is targeted like a laser. As an example, I have spent 20 years to "build" my association list. Even as clean as I keep my list, I still receive a half-dozen returned envelopes from every thousand mailed. How good do you think a 2-5 year old purchased list is going to be? Is mine better than one that someone would purchase? I surely believe so.


The question of going it alone verses collective direct mailing campaigns brings to issue positioning verses cost. The down side of a collective marketing campaign is the possibility that you will just be one in the herd; this can be overcome by the quality of your one-sheet. The upside is recommendation by association and reduced cost, creating an increased bang-for-your-buck dynamic. Another benefit will generally be a more targeted mailing list.

3. Frequency of Mailing

Frequency is important because it is impossible to know when every potential client is starting their speaker search. Calendars for meeting development continually change. So, your one-sheets have to arrive around the time the decision makers kick off their search. I have played around with the frequency for years and believe that every other month best. Will some one-sheets be trashed? Absolutely, this will happen to some. However, who cares? The key is getting your marketing piece in the hands of decision makers when they are making their decisions. The day after another speaker has been hired is simply, too late.

Marketing is a journey rather than a destination. As such, mailing out a speaker one-sheet once, and doing nothing else to follow up, is akin to throwing your money down a rat hole. Consistency of message and consistency of contact is paramount to your success.

Surely you understand that even with the stellar advice from above, there are no guarantees for speaker bookings. What I have found from experience is that the speakers that can clearly communicate their value on a single sheet of paper are the ones that get the bookings. And, to take it a step further, the ones that can sell themselves when the prospective client comes knocking, are the ones that frequently get the bookings.

An ancillary, yet crucial issue is that of marketing material longevity. How long will your one-sheets or other materials be kept in those "future meeting" files? This is a factor in determining the value of getting the materials into the hands of those that can book us; your ROI. I've had planners call and book me from materials I had sent to them 5 years previous—yes, it is true. Marketing is an investment for both short-term and also long-term benefit. Marketing helps you to fill your sales funnel with prospects, but I repeat, it is only one of a recommended three-prong attack that every professional speaker should employ.


Copyright 2011 Ed Rigsbee


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Ed Rigsbee has been fumbling, bumbling, and stumbling his way through the organizational mazes of for-profits and non-profits for over four decades. For the last two decades, Ed has been an observer, researcher, and teacher; helping organizations of all sizes to build successful internal and external collaborative relationships. Ed travels internationally to deliver keynote presentations and workshops on profitable alliance relationships. In addition to serving as the president of Rigsbee Research Consulting Group, Ed also serves as the executive director of a public charity (501 c 3). Ed has authored three books and over 1,500 articles helping organizations to take full advantage of their potential. Contact Ed, get additional (no charge) resources, sign up for his complimentary weekly Effective Executive eLetter, or to view Ed’s videos, please visit www.SucceedInSpeaking.com 





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