Use Your Words: When Your Ministry is Stuck in a Rut

'Stuck Car' photo (c) 2005, Michael Pereckas - license:

I received a wall post on our Facebook group a while back from a speaker who said:

Last year I had many speaking engagements, but this year I only have one. And I have no more down the pipeline. What should I do?

Excellent question, and today on Use Your Words, my BlogTalkRadio show, I addressed just that. You can listen in here, but here are the highlights:

1. Make Sure Word of Mouth is in Place

Speakers tend to get hired because of word of mouth. Someone hears you speak, and then they recommend you. That’s why you MUST collect email addresses everytime you speak. Give away a door prize that they can win if they sign up for your newsletter. Then send that newsletter out about every 4-6 weeks so you stay in people’s minds.

Set up a Facebook Page (or let people subscribe to your Facebook account) so that they keep you in mind and can find you if they need to.

Make it easy for people to recommend you. If you haven’t been saving email addresses, likely you still have some. Go back and get the addresses from those you spoke to last year, and send them a newsletter, mentioning what you’re doing, and ask them to pass it on to other women’s ministry leaders.

2. Let Your Friends Know

Friends can be the best at generating word of mouth, but often they forget because they don’t think of you as a speaker. Send an email blast to all your friends asking them to recommend you as a speaker to anyone they know in women’s ministry. Every few days, post on Facebook what you’re doing with speaking–writing a new talk, preparing a new retreat, going over pictures from a previous speaking engagement. Remind them you’re a speaker. And then every week or so, post an actual request for engagements. “Anyone know of a church looking for a women’s speaker for a spring outreach? I’m booking up now for the spring! Contact me (or pass my name on)”

3. Ask Friends About Who They Know

Take a few minutes and brainstorm every person you know who attends a different church than you. Then start contacting them and asking the name of the women’s ministry coordinator. Now you’re ready with an introduction to that church. Following the steps on how to Cold Call to get speaking engagements, email and mention your friend’s name.

4. Jazz Up your Website

If you’re going through a downtime, take some time to jazz up your online presence. Make sure your website is top notch. Hire a designer if you need to. Prepare a short video with clips of you speaking. Post your testimonials. And prepare your Facebook page.

5. Research Workshop Opportunities

Workshops can be a wonderful way to generate word of mouth, because most take place at conferences with women from different churches attending. See which conferences are coming your way this spring or next fall, and then contact the organizer to do a workshop. Speaking to a group of 50, with 30 churches represented, is more beneficial marketing-wise than speaking to a group of 200 all from one church.

6. Get Listed in Your Denomination

Finally, make sure your denomination knows about you. While it’s fine to speak from any denomination, often the only one who will explicitly advertise you is your own. So find out if your denomination has a state or national women’s ministry coordinator, and a website. If they do, send in a DVD or a CD of your talk, and ask to be listed as a potential speaker.

Sometimes we all go through downtimes, and it’s easy to get depressed. But it’s pretty normal in the speaking world. So take these downtimes as an opportunity to make sure all your marketing and word of mouth generating tools are in place, and then start reaching out. You just may find your schedule books up quickly!

You can listen to the whole Use Your Words show here.

If you want more information on how to generate more bookings, my practical audio download, “How to Get Better Bookings”, is an invaluable aid. Find out more here.

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