Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Marketing Your Message

Marketing.  What does that word bring to mind?

I’ll tell you that as a former teacher, marketing was somewhat a dirty word to me when it was connected to ministry instead of business.  I know that many of you are also confliced about this topic, because it was one of the most requested when we did our survey.

Very soon (I’m not giving any of my volunteers a deadline!), Tracie Miles is going to do a series on the blog about marketing.  If you heard her conference call last night, you got a taste of how great it’s going to be.

I just wanted to tell you 2 things that were said to me that helped me with the idea of marketing my messages.

I first asked Micca Campbell about it, because she was my mentor when I first came on the team.  She said to me (now hear this in her beautiful Tennesee twang), “Well Amy, the way I look at it is that I’ll knock on doors, but I trust God to open just the right ones.”  So wise.  I loved that Tracies sharedlast night about her return on her first mailing to churches.  It was an amazing response that she has never duplicated, so she knew that God was blessing her efforts.  The sequence for marketing in ministry seems to be:  pray for guidance, do the work, watch what God does and learn from it.

The second person who helped me see marketing in a different light was Carrie McGinty who worked with our team for a couple of years.  I was telling her about my struggle with marketing myself, and she asked, “Amy, do you believe that God has given you a message to share?”  After I replied in the affirmative, she said, “How does any body know?”

I know that sounds simple, but it really made the lightbulbs go on.  When I think about marketing myself, it makes me a little queasy, but I can definitely market the messages that I believe God has given me. 

So make sure that you continue to tune in for more information about marketing.



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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Marketing Your Ministry Part 1

Amy here..I have a huge treat for you!  My friend Tracie Miles has written an 8 week series on marketing for speakers.  It’s fabulous!  Tracie is a member of the Proverbs 31 Ministries speaker team who has experienced all the questions about marketing that every speaker has and has test-driven the marketing strategies that she teaches.  She is also the author of Reinventing My Rainbow.

Without further ado…here’s Tracie.

Doesn’t the term “marketing your ministry” sound crass, or too business like?

Isn’t ministry supposed to be about spirituality and walking through the doors that God opens? 

Isn’t marketing typically done to try to make ourselves known, raise our platforms, increase business, or just make more money?

Is trying to market my ministry a prideful or ungodly thing to do? 

The above questions are ones that most new speakers struggle with as they face the challenge of balancing their desire to speak, versus the fear of being prideful and self promoting.  I know this first hand, because I struggled with that balance when I first felt called into speaking about five years ago.

Even though I felt sure of God’s call on my life to be a speaker. I vividly remember wondering how in the world anyone was going to know that I existed. I also remember wondering why in the world anyone would ever consider hiring me as their event speaker!

However, my ambition and desire to do God’s will was stronger than my insecurities, so I took the plunge and embraced the mindset that if God had planted this dream in my heart,  that He would bless my marketing efforts to move forward with it!

So I began to take some baby steps – such as creating my own website through Yahoo, developing a brochure, a business card, and a promotional postcard, and formulating a mailing lists/database which I compiled from addresses on the internet.

We often fear that through intensive marketing, we will be overstepping God’s will, pushing our name, and trying to make our own paths.

Although these are valid and normal concerns for someone whose heart is sold out for Christ, I believe that God encourages us to invest in ourselves, just as He invests in us.  When our investment pays off, He gets all the glory. As long as we keep pride at bay, we can feel confident in pursuing God’s will.

Think about it this way.  It does not glorify God for us to acknowledge the spiritual gifts that He has given us, and even be thankful for them – but then never use them. 

God desires that we use our investments wisely – just like the parable of the five talents in Matthew 25 . Although the word “talents” in the parable is referring to money, you can obviously extend the meaning to other areas as well. If you still have concerns, or even if you don’t, I want to encourage you to take some time to read over that parable in your spare time, and pray about how GOD is calling you to begin investing in YOU.

Now that I have dispelled the myth that you can’t invest in marketing your talents, I want to spend the rest of this marketing series giving you some tips on building your speaking ministry from the ground up.  –Tracie Miles

Make sure to come back next week and invite any of your friends that speak.  Next week Tracie will talk about the Four Ws of marketing.

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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Marketing Your Message Part 2

Tracie Miles is our guest for 8 weeks while she shares some of her rich experience in marketing your message.  This week she talks about beginning to refine and narrow your calling to the specific people and places that God is preparing for your message.

 Welcome back to our marketing series! 

Last week we discussed why God calls us to invest our talents, and invest in ourselves. But, even when our heart’s intent is to do just that, it can still seem extremely overwhelming and mind-numbing to determine where and how to get started.  So today, we are going to begin the focus on laying the foundation of your ministry, before we begin outlining how you want to market your ministry. 

Before we even start thinking about marketing methods, we need to focus on the four emotional W’s of marketing: 

  1. WHY you are doing what you are doing (your spiritual calling)
  2. WHAT is it that God has specifically called you to do
  3. WHEN do you need to do it
  4. WHERE can you begin investing your talents

 If the answer to all of these questions are based on your relationship with Christ, your desire to be obedient to His calling on your life, and your quest to further your ministry to glory His ministry, not your own, then you are on the right track!  Make a commitment not to let the enemy fill your head with worries about pride, and stay focused on the motivator for your efforts through spending time in God’s Word and private worship. 

Wherever you find yourself today, take some time to pray about God’s leading in this area. If you feel led to narrow down your focus and try to find your niche, consider doing these further steps: 

  • Make a list of the main things you feel qualified to talk about, which will normally stem from a result of personal experience and your own walk with Christ.
  • Make a list of the subject areas you would like to talk about, and that you feel most comfortable and knowledgeable about.
  • Consider how these two lists compare to each other; see if there are any commonalities.
  • Think about the stories you may want to tell in your messages, which should primarily be personal stories (if you use another person’s story or something you read about, just be sure to give credit where it’s due). Try to narrow down what type of audiences you think would be most receptive to the story.
  • Consider if this list of stories you want to share, falls into one of the general categories of people mentioned above, or another category that you can think of, and see if seems like your niche.
  • Pray for God to make it clear to you what your primary target audience is, and to confirm in your heart what your next steps should be.  

Truly narrowing down our focus and discovering our niche, all the while trying to understand the why/what/when/where’s of ministry, can seem a little intimidating, and may even cause us to feel confused and unsure of exactly what we are called to do. 

But take heart – this is a process that all new speakers go through, and although your reassurance and confirmation may not happen overnight, in time and through private worship, you will feel God’s nudging in one direction or another. 

If you are listening, God will be speaking.

Thanks, Tracie for those words of encouragement and wisdom!  To get to know Tracie better, make sure to visit her at her blog.

Tomorrow’s tip: Laying The Foundation/Part 2 – The Art of Setting Goals For Your Ministry

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Monday, November 15, 2010

Marketing Your Message Part 3

Before I hand it over to Tracie Miles today, I wanted to celebrate a little with you.  I am very excited to announce that a handful of the Next Step Speaker Services Clients have finished their time with us and are on their way to building their ministry.  I’m so proud of their hard work and commitment.  Please visit our home page to read some of the things that they have to say about the service.

Now…take it away Tracie!

Today we are going to talk about something crucial in regards to building the foundation for your ministry, but something that often gets inadvertently overlooked – GOALS! 

 Goal setting can easily be the determining factor in your success.  In fact, I read once that the simple act of planning can put your ministry in the top five percent of ministry marketers. 

When our hearts are on fire to see God making a pathway for our success, we often forget that we need not only need to pray and seek His guidance, but also that we need to get a little “business-like” in our thought process about setting attainable personal and ministry goals. 

If you are groaning, and thinking that you don’t need to set goals because you already know that your goal is to be a speaker, then let me know give you something to think about!  

Try to view building your ministry as you would if you were building a house. You wouldn’t consider building a house without having a blueprint, right? In the same way, we should not consider building a ministry, without having a detailed plan and some desired goals. 

I want to encourage you that when you begin putting your goals down on paper, that you immediately put them to the test… the SMART test, that is. 

The SMART test is not just being smart, but setting SMART goals. Setting SMART goals simply means setting goals that include specific criteria which are more likely to insure success in your ministry and your marketing efforts.  If each of your goals can stand up to each of these criteria, then you will be on the right path for making them happen. 

The word SMART stands for the following: 

S – Strategic

M – Measurable

A – Attainable

R – Realistic

T – Time Managed 

Consider, for example, that an aspiring speaker had a goal such as this:  “To become nationally known and have an active speaking schedule.”  

Let’s face it, that is a very ambitious goal, and it sounds good, but it is really not a very a realistic goal. This goal is not taking into consideration any of the criteria that may need to be in place for this goal to happen. This goal is probably not realistic, making it unattainable, and there is no time frame for when it might happen. 

Unfortunately, this type of goal, although inspiring, will put us on a quick path to discouragement.  Not to say that one might not get lucky, hit the big time and become an overnight sensation! If that is God’s plan for you, then it will absolutely happen, but for most of us, it’s a bit unrealistic! 

Here are a couple examples of a typical ministry goal, verses a SMART ministry goal. 

Example 1: 

Typical goal: “Contact 3 people to ask if I can speak at their church.”

 SMART goal – “Make a list of potential contacts and addresses, and contact at least three people by mail by November 1st, followed up with a phone call on November 10th, inquiring about the possibility of speaking at their church in the spring of 2011.” 

Example 2:

Typical goal: “Create a professional bio sheet”

 SMART goal: “Have a professional photo made by November 15th, while researching designers for price comparison by the end of the month and have the completed project by January 1” 

See the difference? The first goal in both situations is fine, however, the second goal is empowering, motivating and action-oriented. 

The SMART goals not only state the function you are going to carry out, but it includes parameters and even dates that will help you meet the desired outcome.  Setting expectations for ourselves can greatly boost our success, because it gives us a way to hold ourselves accountable. 

 Take a few days to consider and pray about your personal goals for ministry. Then, try to put those goals into the format of a SMART goal, where you specifically describe not just the goal, but the plan for meeting that goal, in addition to time frames, how you will measure whether or not you are staying on track, while making sure it is realistic and attainable for you at this stage of your ministry.

 Once you have answered the 4 W’s, determined your target audience, thought about your niche, and set some SMART goals for yourself and your ministry, then you are ready to move on to the next step!  

Next Week’s Tip:  Laying the Foundation/Part 3 – The Importance of Building Your Image

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Marketing Your Message Part 4

Thank you Tracie Miles for this series on Marketing Your Message!  If you’ve missed any of the past posts, make sure to catch up!  Take it away, Tracie…

Today we are going to focus on laying more groundwork for marketing your ministry, with respect to building your professional image and getting off on the right foot.

Before you begin thinking about marketing your speaking ministry from a physical standpoint, it is important to remember to prepare from a spiritual standpoint as well.

I would recommend that you do these two things first and foremost, before you venture out on the marketing trail: 

1)      Recruit a team of prayer warriors, if you do not already have one, to pray for you and your ministry, as you pursue God’s call on your life.  Having a team of people behind you, or at least one true Christian friend, who will continually lift you up and support you, is crucial in helping you stay committed and passionate about your calling.

2)      Ask God to help you commit to making private worship, quiet time and prayer a priority in your life.  As you seek God’s guidance, clarity, and wisdom on this exciting journey of speaking, continue to listen for His voice at every stage of your journey and in every decision.

If you are unsure about how to begin a devoted daily walk with Christ, consider purchasing a chronological Bible (available on the Proverbs 31 shop page). It has been a huge blessing in my life, and transformed my walk with Christ this year. It is a commitment you will not regret!

A major part of marketing is preparing YOU, which simply means, getting yourself ready for professional exposure.

I know you are anxiously awaiting the tips for actually kicking off your marketing plan with some concrete ideas, but before we get into that, I want to share some important foundations that need to be laid first.  You never get a second chance to make a first impression, so I want to help you be prepared to make the best first impression possible!

Below you will find the first of six steps to building a strong image for your ministry. Keep in mind, that these things will take time. In fact, I recall a few years ago, getting frustrated with myself and the slow process of trying to get all these foundational things completed, however, I soon realized that it was well worth the wait. Patience truly is a virtue!

Step 1:   Build Your Image

  • In order to make an excellent, positive first impression on others, and especially on church leaders and event coordinators, you need to establish yourself as a professional – not only in experience and what you have to offer, but also by your own personal image.
  • Having a professional image will help put your ministry on the right track from day one, and begin building a memorable and lasting reputation for you and your speaking ministry.
  • Review your personal image. If you are in need of an updated look, consider having a makeover! Get an updated hair style, a fresh new look, and buy a new outfit if needed.  Clothing in photos should be trendy and depict your true self, but also very modest, professional, and not too flashy.  Just make sure you look your very best, and be proud of who you are!
  • Have some professional pictures taken, either by a family member or friend, or from a professional photographer, depending on what falls into your ministry budget.  Insure that whoever takes the pictures is using a high resolution camera. Personal digital cameras take excellent pictures; however, the photos will not have a high enough resolution in order to have quality photos on websites or printed materials.

The primary goal is to have excellent quality, professional pictures that depict who you are and your level of professionalism. Your picture is the first impression that people will have about you, so you want it to be recent, professional and complimentary.

  • Consider creating a branding look for yourself ( life verse, specific colors, personal design, etc., that will be consistent in everything that you present to the public). Your branding is what helps people remember you. Try to create a branding look that really portrays who you are and things that you like. Just a word of caution, though – try not to get too quirky! You want your image to be as professional and clean and memorable as possible, while giving people a little glimpse into the real you.

Thanks, Tracie!  We’ll come back to Tracie’s important steps, but I hope all of you have a Happy Thanksgiving!!  All of you who have joined with us here at Next Step Speaker Services are cherished and we are thankful for YOU!

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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Marketing Your Message Part 5

As I was reading through the information that Tracie Miles has written for the next few weeks, I was again overwhelmed with thankfulness for all she’s sharing with us.  I also was feeling badly that I am editing her amazing material to make it “blog length”, so I came up with a plan.  Let’s have a contest!  I’ll print Tracie’s info in its entirety in a booklet to give away on Dec. 17th as we conclude her series on marketing.  Each time you leave a comment through the 16th, it will enter you in the contest to win this valuable information.  I’ll randomly pick a winner and send you the booklet as our Next Step Speaker Services Christmas Give Away.

Now, here’s Tracie…

Last week I talked about step one, which was focusing on building your personal, professional image and coming up with some branding ideas that depict you and your ministry.

Today, we will focus on the next two steps, which focus on deciding what messages you will share, how to package those messages, and creating bullet point statements that clearly state the benefits of your message for the listeners.

Step 2: Create Your Messages & Message Titles

  • Determine the messages God has specifically called you to share.  Remember that just because you like a certain topic or Bible passage, does not mean that you necessarily are called to speak about that.  Pray about the topics that God would have you speak about, or the messages that He has specifically equipped you through personal experience to share.
  • If you are unsure what messages you should share, but you are confident God has called you into speaking, then there are a couple things you can do.
    • One – PRAY! Ask for God’s leading and guidance about your messages. 
    • Two – BRAINSTORM!   Start making some lists about things you could create messages about, and get your creative mind working. Consider how your own personal stories can grow into an inspiring and life changing message for your audience.

A few questions to kick off your brainstorming session could be: 

  • What areas of life are most important to you?
  • What are your favorite Bible verses and why do they mean something to you?
  • What personal experiences have you had that can relate to certain Bible stories?
  • In what ways have you seen God intervening in your life?
  • What difficult experiences or situations have you encountered where you saw God working supernaturally?
  • How has God performed miracles in your life?
  • What prayers has God answered in your life?
  • What new twists do you have on commonly known passages or verses?
  • What cultural issues do you feel strongly about that relate to faith?
  • What mistakes have you made in your life, but known you forgiven for?
  • How did God work in your life through that forgiveness?
  • What are your favorite movies? What lessons/morals come out of them?
  • How can you share your testimony in twenty minutes or less?
  • How has God transformed your life?

 Once you have narrowed down your main message(s), based on how God has equipped you and prepared you in life to deliver them, begin to develop organized outlines for your messages.

Step 3:  Formulate Your Topic’s Value Statements

  • After your topics are decided upon and your titles have been created, consider writing three to four ‘value statements’ for each topic. 

A value statement is essentially the intangible things that the event attendee will walk away with after hearing your message. When people know how they will benefit from your message, they are more likely to be interested in booking you to speak. Remember to focus your value statements on what the attendees will derive spiritually from your message, and how your message will change their life, as opposed to the points that you will be sharing in your message.  

Suggestion: Visit some P31 speaker blogs to review their topics pages for examples of inspiring topic descriptions and value statements. Reading through the speaker’s topics pages will give you a much better idea about what value statements are, and to begin developing your own value statements.

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Marketing Your Message Part 6

Oh my goodness!  Tracie Miles has some amazing insights for us today, and I can’t wait to share them with you.

Before we start, though, I’d love to reflect on gifts for a moment.  This Christmas season is the time that we celebrate The Most Excellent Gift.  Jesus, our Savior, is the matchless gift.  His birth, life and death are the place in time that God’s justice intersected with His mercy and love.  If you believe in Jesus and have made Him your Lord, I know that you rejoice with me!

As speakers, we have been given the gift of sharing this good news.  Would you consider asking for the gift of excellence in your speaking this Christmas?  Most of us have all of the sweaters we need, so how about putting something on your Christmas wish list that strengthens your speaking—a book like Communicating for a Change or even a handmade gift certificate and a promise for one our Next Step Speaker Services? Let’s give our excellence for The Most Excellent One.

Now, here’s Tracie…

Below are the last three steps that I would encourage you to devote your time, effort and prayer to. As I’ve already mentioned, all of these things are an investment in more ways than one, but each one is a solid step in the right direction.

Talking about money and fees is probably the least favorite subject of all speakers, but unfortunately it really cannot be avoided!   Let’s tackle these money issues, and the topic of marketing materials, so we can move on to the fun stuff next week!

Step 4:  Determine Your Budget

  • Determine your personal budget for marketing.  Decide what you can afford to spend, and set a budget.  Do not consider marketing options that will fall outside of your budget or cause a hardship on you, your marriage, or your family. 
  • Although investing does require some risks, I believe that God calls us to be good stewards of the blessings that He has given us, and that He would not condone us taking huge financial risks, unless we have prayed fervently about it and feel that God has confirmed that move

Step 5:  Determine Your Fees

  • Consider what fees you will charge, if any. Check out other speaker’s websites and strive towards setting up a fee schedule according to the standard market fees for speakers in your category and at your level of expertise and experience. Set a specific fee schedule that you can share in writing or in conversation when asked.
  • If you have no speaking experience yet, you may want to consider speaking for free at local churches, MOPS groups, charity meetings, etc. to gain experience.
  • It is normal to feel a twinge of guilt or hesitation when requesting a fee or honorarium. However, speakers spend an enormous amount of time, energy, sweat and tears in preparing for events, developing strong messages, and trying to live out our faith in our everyday lives.  Everyone deserves to be compensated for their hard work, and speakers are no different. Consider also, that if God has paved the way for you to speak, then that could be His way of helping your family financially as well.

Step 6:  Develop Quality Marketing Materials

  • Create a professional looking bio sheet or brochure or both, and a professional business card.  Visit the speaker page at Proverbs 31.org and check out some of the bios that our speakers have. You can also research other Christian speaker websites to get ideas for your own bio.

Now – take a deeeeeeeeeeeeep breath my friends!  After a week of thinking about laying the foundation of your ministry, it may all seem a little overwhelming. You may even be wondering, “What have I gotten myself into?  I can’t do all this!”

So, I want to encourage you to take things slowly!   Just focus on one thing at a time, and put one foot in front of the other, all the while, following God’s leading and continuing a close walk with Him.

Don’t forget to leave a comment to be registered for a contest to win a printed, complete copy of Tracie’s “Marketing Your Message”.  As an added treat, Tracie is beefing up her curriculum with even more information and some helpful forms.

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Marketing Your Ministry Part 7

This is the last week for Tracie Mile’s “Marketing Your Ministry”.  Thank you so much Tracie for your investment in the growth of God’s Kingdom and in each one of us!

It’s also the last chance to leave a comment to be registered to win the complete curriculum in a printed booklet form.  If you’re in a holiday rush today, “I’m in!” definitely counts as a comment.  :)

In addition to all the un-condensed information, Tracie has graciously added several planning forms that make this book a priceless tool.   I’ll leave the contest open until Thursday, December 16 at 4:00 pm.  After that, I’ll randomly pick a winner, and the book will be in the mail on Friday.  Make sure you’re included for a chance to win this valuable information.

I wish each of you a very merry Christmas!  Our blog posts will resume January 4th.

Here’s Tracie!

Drum roll please……..The time has come to focus on how you can invest in yourself, and begin growing your talents!

Ministry Marketing Ideas

1. Create a website or blog. 

2. If you have a blog, upload audio clips or free MP3 downloads of your best talks.

3.Create a speaker packet to send out to people who request information about you. A speaker packet should include your bio sheet or brochure, a personal letter to the person who requested the information, and a CD of one of your talks.

4.  Develop a branding email footer on your automatic email signature that advertises your ministry and/or website/blog. 

5.  Make sure everyone you know is aware of your ministry! Send letters or emails to all of your friends, family, coworkers, etc., letting them know how excited you are about this new leap of faith.

6.  Send out mass mailers to churches.

7.  Contact local MOPS groups (Mothers of Preschoolers) and ask for an opportunity to speak at one of their monthly meetings (www.mops.org, select ‘Groups’, then ‘Find a group’).

8.Create an email distribution lists (on your own, or purchase one). Send our regular communications, devotions, ministry updates, special news, etc. 

9.  If you have a blog or website, offer free information, freebies, or newsletters on your website.

10.  Ask friends, acquaintances, event coordinators, and event attendees for endorsements/testimonials of your ministry about your speaking, writing, audio recordings, or videos. 

11.Research charitable organizations that may need monthly or quarterly speakers. Make personal phone calls or send them a personal letter with your bio or brochure. Follow up accordingly.

12.  Research speaker’s bureaus that can bring awareness to your ministry (for example, Christian Speakers 4 You, womenspeakers.com, or local/regional bureaus in your area).

13.  Develop a Facebook page, or Group page, and consistently market links to your blog posts, marketing specials, ministry information, etc.   

14.  Develop a Twitter account, post several times a week with updates, links, personal highlights, etc

15.  Have a professional video made, either of an entire speaking message, or of a few clips of a message to send out in your speaker packet or have posted for viewing on your blog

16.  Seek out interviews from local media/tv/newsprint /radio stations- try to coordinate contact with current events going on (Pro-life week, National Prayer Day/Week, national/regional/local/events). If you are an expert in a certain area, try to link your marketing campaign with something going on in the news.

17.  Check into becoming a sponsor for local events. 

18.  Inquire with large event venues about the possibility of including an insert  or some of your marketing materials in the bags that are given to event attendees.  Women of Faith for example, will allow sponsors to pay a certain amount (based on volume of materials you want distributed).

19.  Research opportunities to have your website link or button posted on local high traffic websites, church websites, blogs of friends and family, etc.

20.  If you are a speaker and a writer, contact magazines for article submissions which will draw people to your website or blog.

21.  Offer a coupon for booking you in local dollar savings mailers, coupon books, or a friend’s blog.

22.  Advertise in school, club, or organization publications as allowed.

23.  Get involved in the blogging community, which means visit lots of other blogs and leave comments.

24.  Distribute business cards/flyers/postcards at local libraries, laundromats, nurseries, gyms, grocery stores, salons, coffeehouses, etc. (with owner permission)

25.  If you have a published book, or a self published book, contact bookstores to see if you can offer a thirty to sixty minute teaching on the book, and do a book signing afterwards. 

26.  Offer to host a free conference call on your blog, about a specific subject that you are an expert on or that you feel called to speak about, and then encourage people to visit your blog or website afterwards. 

27.  If you’re city or town has a ‘welcome-wagon’ type service, ask to put your brochures or postcards in the baskets or bags that are given to newcomers in your area.

28.  Contact Denominational association offices to inquire about local or regional events where leaders from many different churches will be present. 

29.  Once you speak at an event, ask the event coordinators for names and contact numbers (if possible) of other leaders they may know in other churches. Contact them to introduce yourself and inquire about any upcoming events.

Well, friends, I pray that this marketing series has been helpful for you, and that if nothing else, it has given you some good ideas, and a little inspiration to focus on investing in yourself and trusting God! 

Let’s end the series by looking at Psalm 40:8, “ I take joy in doing your will, my God, for your instructions are written on my heart.” (NLT)

This verse sums up why we are all in ministry – because we love God with everything we have, we trust that He has called us to a specific purpose of speaking, and our desire is to tuck his instructions away in our hearts so that we can live a life that glorifies in Him, not just in speaking, but in living out His Word in our everyday lives.

Pray about the next steps that God is calling you to make, and remember that old cliché that says “Do your best, pray that it’s blessed, and let God to the rest.”

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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Gathering Endorsements

You are a big risk.

You might not think that you are, but when an event coordinator is considering you as the speaker for their next event, you seem like a big risk.

Some of the questions that float through a coordinator’s head are, “Will she be doctrinally sound?  Will she be professional? Will she interact with our women?  Will she bring all that she’s promised?”  I was a women’s ministry director before I became a speaker, so I speak with authority when I say that choosing a speaker makes a coordinator sweat!

One way that you can put event coordinators at ease is by providing endorsements from past events.  These short statements should be used on bio sheets, websites or any other marketing pieces that you provide.  Here are some things to consider as you gather endorsements:

  • If you need 3-4 endorsements, ask 5-6 people to provide them.  Choose the best from these.
  • After each event, ask the coordinator to write an endorsement for you.  Keep a collection so that you can choose the most inviting when developing new marketing.
  • When asking someone to write an endorsement, tactfully encourage them to use vivid writing.  Ask people who you know are great writers.  One of my favorite endorsements came from my pastor who was also an amazing writer.
  • Keep endorsements short.  Even if the one provided is very long, you can choose key sentences.  People are doing more skimming than reading these days, and they’ll skip an endorsement that looks too long.

Endorsements go a long way in reassuring coordinators of your past performance.  Take a look at the NSSS endorsements (don’t you love that we also have pics of these folks?!) as examples.

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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tell Somebody

Those of us of a certain age…ahem…remember a tv show called “Welcome Back Kotter”.  In Mr. Kotter’s classroom, one of my favorites, the one who always captured my little girl giggle, was Horshack.  Whenever Mr. Kotter posed a question to the class, Horshack would leap out of his seat, waving his hand wildly, and shout, “Ooo, Ooo, me, Mr. Kotter, ME!”

Were you that kind of student in school?  The eager beaver who knew the answer and wanted to answer every question?  Or were you the shy student who rarely raised your hand and most often needed calling on to share the answer?

It seems that no matter what kind of student we were, once God calls us to become speakers we become the shy student.  We’re the girl at the back of the class with lots to say but reluctant to let anyone know.  I was definitely that way.  (Even though NO ONE would describe me as shy!)

I remember being in an airport on the way home from a Compassion trip.  I was sitting beside Carrie McGinty, a woman who was helping Proverbs 31 with marketing, recounting to her how completely excruciating the whole marketing thing was.  She asked me two important questions, “Amy has God given you a message that you believe women need to hear?”

“Of course,” I answered, “or I wouldn’t be doing this.”

“If you don’t tell people, how will anyone know?”

Ding!  The light went on.

First, let me encourage you to market your message rather than yourself.  That takes lots of the pressure off.  Event coordinators will want to know about you, but your personal information should be woven in with the gift that you’re bringing–the message.

Second, (and I know this is the hardest part) I understand the fear of saying this out loud, “I am a speaker”, but there are ways to humbly do it and begin to tell people about your message.  You have to tell somebody.  Tell your women’s ministry leader that you’d love a chance to share or tell your leadership at church. 

One of my first “tell somebodys” was when I wrote a letter to friends and family all over the country explaining about my message and what God was doing in my life.  I asked them to prayerfully consider recommending me to leaders in their church.  I didn’t get tons of response, but God opened a few more doors through that letter.

I urge you today to start softly getting your message out by first telling somebody that you have one.


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