How Motivational Speakers Can Market Big On A Small Budget

How Motivational Speakers Can Market Big On A Small Budget: Kelly Swanson and Motivational speakers new book

The ONE Thing You Can Do To Play Big As a Motivational Speaker

I know you’re used to articles that give you twenty tips to get booked. Good for them. Today I’m just going to give you one. It’s actually not a tip, it’s a shift in perspective. And it’s all based on stealing from the people with the big budgets.

Yes, you heard me right.

We’re going to steal. But not in the illegal unethical way. We’re just going to study what the big budget people do, and learn from them. But first I want to talk a little bit about being relevant in your market.

Motivational Keynote Speakers Must Be Relevant In Their Market

Your goal as a motivational speaker (if you want to have the ultimate impact) is to connect with your audience. This isn’t about you. It’s about them. And that means knowing what challenges they face, what they wish for, and what keeps them from having the life they want. Your success as a speaker will depend on how relevant you are in your market.

If you are out there delivering a message that nobody really cares about, then it will be really hard to get booked. So the goal is to make sure that what they care about and what you speak about match.

How Motivational Speakers Can Market Big On A Small Budget: Clint Eastwood quote about making good movies

Finding A Way To Connect Your Message To Their Desire

Let’s say that you are a speaker who speaks about how to have a happy marriage if you’re over seventy, but you are finding that there aren’t enough people out there willing to pay for that. You may think that there is no place for your message in the speaking industry. While you might be right, you probably don’t realize that you are sitting on content that would relate to other people too – you’re just not seeing it.

Let’s say that your major point in having a happy marriage over seventy, centers around healthy communication. Isn’t this important even if you are under seventy?  Isn’t healthy communication important for everybody in the family, not just the husband and wife? And isn’t communication important in the workplace? On a team? In the board room? In leadership?

Much of our content as motivational speakers is actually relevant in many areas, because the principles are so universal. So don’t limit yourself.

So What Are The Messages That Sell?

It doesn’t matter how good you are on stage if your message doesn’t sell. You need to meet their needs, not yours. So you need to find the message they are looking for, and learn how to market it in a way that gets their attention and makes them want to hire YOU over the hundreds of other speakers speaking about the same thing. And HERE is where we start to steal ideas from the big budgets.

While you may be working on a small budget, you can still use big budget tactics.

And here is where we make a shift in our perspective. Here is where we stop trying to figure out how to  be relevant and attractive to our buyers, and look around to see how others are attractive to their buyers. There are many big budget examples out there, but today I will just mention one for the sake of example – magazine covers.

Be Sure To Know Your Market

Before we take a look at the magazine industry, it’s important that you know your market. Who are you selling to? If you aren’t sure, then you have some work to do. As a motivational speaker, you need to know what kind of people (age, gender, geographic location, income level, etc.) would benefit most from your message.

Who is your best audience?

How Motivational Speakers Can Market Big On A Small Budget: Oprah magazine as an example

Magazines Spend Big Bucks Trying to Attract Buyers – So Let’s Borrow From Them

Magazines are all competing with each other to get your attention, and to get you to buy their magazine. Magazine covers are brilliant at choosing headlines that speak to your specific need or desire. Women’s health magazines know what short little power statements will get your attention – lose weight fast1 minute workoutget rid of that muffin top forever. They know the issues that their market is concerned about.

It doesn’t matter how they know.

We can just trust that they did the work and spent the money to figure it out. So if your market matches that of the women’s health magazines, then you can borrow those power phrases. You can stay on top of what concerns your market, and speak directly to that.  Same goes for money magazines, sports magazines, religious magazines, etc.

Find the magazine that fits your market and you’ve just opened the door to some high dollar information.

Use it.

Shift Your Perspective To Borrow From the Big Budgets

This isn’t just about magazines. It’s about studying what the big budget people do to attract their buyers and hook them. It’s about watching television commercials to study how they reach their audience. It’s about looking at the ads inside the magazine to see how they relate a product to your desire.

How Motivational Speakers Can Market Big On A Small Budget: Fierce women soccer billboard from GNC with Guy Kawasaki quote

It’s about looking at billboards to see how they use their big budgets to get our attention in a second. It’s about watching politicians and how they speak to the peoples’ needs and concerns. Just a tiny shift in perspective can make a big difference in your business!

Happy stealing!


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Motivational Speaker Kelly Swanson is an award-winning storyteller, author, and comedian who teaches you how to harness the power of your story to connect, engage, and get results. In this blog, Kelly focuses on the business of professional speaking. Kelly’s post day is Friday. If you aren't sure how to comment on this story, click here.

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  • OMG I love this. I have been saying this about blogging FOR YEARS. I always tell bloggers to subscribe to magazines in your niche. If you are a photographer, find a magazine (or magazines) in your photography niche; if you are a fitness blogger, find fitness magazines in your niche and look at what topics they cover because those magazines have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on getting to know the people you want to reach out to.

    The problem I find is that many amateurs in anything – like blogging – think these rules don’t apply to them and they know best without ever really looking at why people will come or do come to their blog. They count visits, but they don’t look at exactly what people are visiting and why. It could look like you have a popular post, but upon further digging you would see that the visitors think the title of the post means something else. So they come, but immediately leave–how are these visits even relevant?

    You have to get to know your audience. YOU HAVE TO. and YOU HAVE TO REALLY CARE ABOUT THEM. REALLY CARE. That’s why magazines and companies spend millions of dollars on research because they want to know what their audience cares about. Bloggers can learn so much from this.

    But unfortunately, too many will fall back on, “But this is what I want to write about/do/be” and then wonder why it never really quite gets off the ground. I am sure you’ve seen the same thing with public speakers, who could really be great but get stuck in only speaking about what they want and not what audiences care about.

    Great post.