Archives for March 2017

8 Keys to Growing a Great Facebook Community

Building an engaged Facebook community can help build your brand and extend your reach. The community itself is a critical marketing channel. Group members help each other get the most out of your products, driving its value up with little additional investment on your end. On top of that, members are loyal to your product, deeply engaged, and likely to promote your products outside of the group walls.

Where is Your Community?

There are a lot of tools out there for creating a community, from simple message boards and forums, to Slack, to custom-built paywall websites. But what about Facebook?

Facebook is powerful. Your community is already there, waiting to be engaged. They check in regularly, and they’re comfortable scrolling through posts and jumping into discussion threads. There are other tools that work well for community building, but Facebook has the lowest barrier to entry for your users.

To Paywall or Not To Paywall

These communities come in two flavors: paid and unpaid. In an unpaid Facebook community, group membership is open to anyone interested in the product, and group members stick around for as long as they’d like. Paid Facebook communities are closed groups, requiring monthly or annual dues to join.

Unpaid communities can be great for building your brand and extending your reach on social media. Members don’t feel particularly invested in the group content and goals, and might not interact regularly. However, the more you can drive value in the group content, the more engaged your members will be, and the more likely they’ll stay in the group and stay connected to your brand.

A paid Facebook community is an especially excellent way to build a consistent recurring revenue stream. Monthly dues can be relied on in a way that one-time product launches can’t, and they provide the stability that you can use to take other business risks. Churn is even more critical here because each lost member is a blow to your revenue.

Self-Publishing School Mastermind Community
Self-Publishing School has a Facebook community of over 1,000 paying monthly members.

But how do you keep users engaged? We talked to Sean Sumner at Self-Publishing School about the techniques they’ve used to grow a community of over 1,000 paying monthly members.

Your Keys to Building a Great Facebook Community

1. Prevent Overwhelm

“The number one reason people leave these programs is overwhelming, too much content, too many contacts, not knowing what’s right for them,” Sean explains. They’re overwhelmed, and unsure where they fit in. Sooner or later, they give up on trying to find what’s relevant and just leave the group.

This is a theme that you’ll see keep coming up in the keys below, and it needs to be baked into your strategy from the beginning. Think about the purpose of your community and the journey that each community member is on. You might even diagram this. If you’re starting a community for new entrepreneurs, for example, you’ll have some people who’ve just come up with their first business idea, and others who have had their business up and running for a year and trying to figure out how to do their taxes. Those two members are going to be interested in different content.

Find ways to tag or organize content so that each user knows which posts are relevant to them. Make sure your round-ups or highlight posts delineate wherein the journey each featured post fits.

This should apply both inside and outside of the Facebook community. Keep your customers oriented within your product. Many training courses use level numbers or course numbers to do this, or you might use descriptive titles or named goals. It all depends on your business and your customers. Use that same terminology in your community and encourage posters to do the same. That’ll keep everyone on the same page and prevent fatigue, letting community members skim past irrelevant posts.

2. Drive Value

What does your community do for its members? If you don’t know the answer immediately, your community members don’t either. If they’re not getting value, they’ll leave.

“A community is a two-way conversation. A living, breathing thing. Extremely interactive. Social,” explains David Garland in The Rise to the Top blog. Active engagement is key. Does your community support a product, so that community members can ask each other clarifying questions? Does it support a course, offering a space for additional discussion and interaction? Is it a product itself, with experts giving advice to novices?

A great community can feel like friends, or even like a family, where members get to know each other and support each other. But ultimately, members need to feel that they’re getting a benefit. That benefit might just be moral support, but the strongest communities offer more to keep their members coming back.

When you’ve figured out what value your community offers, encourage engagement that drives that value. This might be as simple as throwing some good social media juju at a poster who provides a great answer to a question, by giving it a like, posting a thumbs-up, or calling them out in a weekly update to the community.

3. Be Consistent

A consistent weekly schedule prevents overwhelm and keeps your group organized. Some community members will post at all hours of the day and night – which, by the way, is exactly what you want them to do! But others will worry that if they’re not constantly checked in, they might miss something. They get fatigued trying to constantly monitor the message boards. On top of that, spending too much time on the Facebook community boards makes it harder to work towards the goals that they had in mind when they joined in the first place.

Have your moderators track the best posts throughout the week. Then post a weekly digest of the top posts, and keep it on a regular schedule – say, Monday at 10 a.m. Group members will learn that they’ll still get the most valuable content even if they aren’t checked in 24/7.

Think of other content that would be useful in a weekly schedule. Live Q& A sessions. User highlights. Posts welcoming new users. A weekly leaderboard of top users. Self-Publishing School rolls several of these into their Weekly Bulletin. They use the weekly bulletin to shoutout their top group members, announce book launches, and provide important group updates or plug other top content. Members know to look out for it and know that they don’t have to worry about missing anything important. Your weekly schedule will put your best content front and center, showing off the value of the group and preventing fatigue.

Image of a weekly bulletin post from Facebook group
A well-organized weekly bulletin keeps users engaged without feeling fatigued.

4. Enforce the Rules…

Post a list of clear, simple, important rules somewhere easily accessible in your group. It might be in a pinned post, or in the group description. Then enforce them.

At first, it’s tempting to let freewheeling, off-topic discussions creep into your boards. You think, ‘People are here, in my group, being social and making friends! Great!’ But ultimately, it will drive users away. They’re in your group because they’re interested in the group topic, and they’ll only stay if they see valuable, relevant content. If they feel that their time is being wasted by off-topic (or worse, off-color) posts, they won’t be interested in staying in your group – much less paying for a subscription community – for long.

Make the rules clear and easy to follow, and remove posts that break them. When you remove a post, always be sure to send a friendly private message to the poster explaining why it was removed. Include a screenshot of the post and a link back to the rules. More often than not, people don’t intend to break the rules and will be glad that there’s someone there keeping posts on-topic and appropriate.

5. … But Understand Why They’re Broken

If there’s a rule that’s constantly getting broken, there may be a good reason for it.

Self-Publishing School found that their Facebook community members were frequently adding posts announcing their book launches. In one sense, this was an annoyance. Nobody joins the community to ready a constant stream of book launch announcements. But on the other hand, it meant that their members were meeting their goals – actually launching books! Plus, the community was a valuable audience for their announcements. The ability to share their book launches was one reason people joined the community in the first place.

Image of post asking users to submit book launch information
Community leadership encourages members to promote their launches through the right channels.

They hit on a solution that works for everyone. Book launch announcements aren’t allowed as regular posts and are removed promptly when they show up. Instead, group members can submit their book launch info to the moderator, who rounds them up in a regular weekly feature post. This makes the book launch announcements visible, important highlights in the group message board, a win for the authors. And it keeps the feed from getting clogged with announcements, a win for the moderators and the business.

6. Map Out Your Entry Points

This is a critical key for paid Facebook communities. If you’re running a paid membership system, it’s probably tied to your product. For example, the Self-Publishing School’s Facebook community originally supported users who enrolled in one of their paid courses. But they found that the community itself was valuable, even to people who might be too experienced and knowledgeable to be interested in one of their intro courses. They expanded their business model to allow more entry points into the community. They now offer a trial membership at just $1 for the first month, and they also offer a free month as a benefit of purchasing a small $7 guide.

Image of $1 30-day trial offer
The entry points to your community should be well-planned, to capture and retain new members.

The risk of offering these free trials is that someone will join their paid Facebook community, download all the information they want in the first month, then leave. We’ll call them the Free Trial Guy. Free Trial Guy just got access to their best content practically for free. Self-Publishing School has to work hard to ensure that the community itself – not just the exclusive content, but the community of people who answer questions and support each other – is so valuable that Free Trial Guy stays on past their free month and becomes Paying Member Guy.

They’ve created entry points with very low barriers – remember, the trial membership is just $1 – then retained those members through thoughtful engagement. Their community is supportive, helpful, and provides useful, specific advice – which you just can’t get by downloading a month’s worth of content.

7. Roll Out the Red Carpet

Each new member of your community should feel welcomed and valued. This is especially critical for paid communities. You should be going out of your way (or at least seeming like you’ve gone out of your way) to provide a personal touch from the start. Welcome each new person with a private message from your group leader or moderator. Then welcome them publicly in a weekly post, and encourage them to introduce themselves.

Image of post welcoming new members to the community
Self-Publishing School welcomes its new community members each week.

Build a warm welcome into the culture of your community. Encourage members to say hello when they see an introduction. Then the new member will pay it forward when new introductions are posted next week.

8. Empower Your Leaders

One of the best ways to ensure valuable engagement and content is to empower your best users to provide it. They’re already there, deeply engaged in the community, and with a little effort, you can multiply their effect.

Leverage experienced, knowledgeable members of your community. Give them a small gift or reward – like, say, discounted membership to your community – and an honorary title. Send them back into the group as Ambassadors, or Community Leaders, or Trusted Experts. They’ll feel empowered to answer more questions and jump into more discussions, and they’ll spread their expert knowledge and good vibes throughout the group. It’s a small cost to you and provides an enormous benefit to the quality of content in the group.

Wrapping Up

Communities keep your customers engaged beyond the initial purchase of your product and keep them coming back for more. Bringing new customers into your engaged community can turn a one-time purchaser into a brand promoter. It’s one of the many tools you should have in your toolbox to grow your business.

Live events are one of the best places to promote your community and move your business forward – whether you’re hosting live events or speaking at them. Want to know how to 10X (or more) the value of your next stage? Check out the Speak to Scale Formula Worksheet.

How The Best Speakers Use Storytelling As A Business Growth Tool

The single most powerful tool to grow your business is storytelling. Ironically, in this world where technology offers us unlimited information, people are starved for true, authentic stories.

Your story is unique, and no matter who you are, you’ve got something in your story that can help people. Inside you, there is a story that is relatable, shows who you are, and speaks to universal emotions.

The greatest speakers always open with stories like this; they are vulnerable with who they are. They share. We call it “leading with the heart”.

Crafting your story into a signature talk

A signature talk is a presentation or speech that you can use at events, webinars, podcasts, and many other situations to present your mission and expertise. A signature talk has 4 main components.

  • The heart – A personal and relatable story that gives a “why” behind what you do.
  • The head – The main body of your presentation where you give actionable advice to solve the problem you’re discussing.
  • The hands – A call to action encouraging your listeners to go out and face this problem.
  • The heart – An emotional close that ties your talk together and resolves the experience you create.

The most crucial part of a signature talk is “leading with the heart”. If you can master the foundations of storytelling and build a great signature talk, you’ll create a powerful tool for your business.

[bctt tweet=”Master the #storytelling in your signature talk, and you’ll create a powerful tool for your business.” username=”advancereach”]

A good 30-minute story in front of the right audience can build more trust than weeks of online content, email marketing, social media, or any other high-tech tool on the market today. A story makes you memorable and will cause people to associate you with the problem you solve. Even if a person who hears your story will never become a customer, they may mention you to friends and colleagues that could use your help.

The power of a story goes far beyond the stage; a good story can transform your team culture. If your team members understand and resonate with the story behind your brand, they’ll be more meaningfully engaged with their work. This boosts the performance on your team and makes it harder for your star players to get snatched up by a better offer.

Let’s explore some strategies for creating a great story that can drive your business and energize your brand. Once we lay out a framework for how you can create a good story, we’ll examine some tactics you can use to have a big impact when speaking.

Isn’t Storytelling Only For Inspirational Speakers?

Storytelling seems like an obvious fit for motivational and inspirational speakers, but what about other businesses? Is storytelling useful for more “serious” business models like accounting, life insurance, or software development?


No matter what niche you are in or who your audience is, stories can transform businesses. The desire and appreciation for a good story are hardwired into every human. Even if you have a business that is “boring”, your life, your business, and your team are all filled with powerful stories that you can use.

[bctt tweet=”No matter what niche you are in or who your audience is, stories can transform businesses. #Storytelling” username=”advancereach”]

How To Find Your Story

Often in crafting a story, the most difficult step is the first one. Figuring out what your story is. People write themselves off and don’t think their story would be interesting. Everyone has the raw materials for a great story; it’s just a matter of discovering them.

Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to dig up your story and give you a little inspiration.

Why do you do what you do?

You probably have some good reasons why you are in the business and industry that you’re in. There’s a reason why you started out on this challenging journey to solve a problem for people. Maybe it’s a passion for the product you are creating, maybe you feel deep empathy for the customers you work with, or maybe the problem you solve now is one you experienced yourself in the past.

Looking in on these basic reasons for why you do what you do can often reveal a story and some of your differentiators.

What are some of the core values of your business? Is there a story behind why those are important to you and now a core element of your business?

Where did you come from?

Your audience wants to know the history of your business and your own personal history if you are the face of your brand.

Were there any key points in your business where you needed to make a tough decision? Did it change how you operate fundamentally?

Are there any stories from your past clients that you can share that give a glimpse into your own history?

How have you failed?

Though sometimes difficult to share, failures are often excellent places to look for a story. They have some of the key elements of “The Hero’s Journey” built into them. People can relate to your more easily through stories of failure. They associate the pain they currently feel with your story and start to anxiously await learning how you succeed.

The Formula For A Great Story -The Hero’s journey

[bctt tweet=“The highest-paid person of the 21st century will be the storyteller.” – Rolf Jensen ” username=”advancereach”]

Something that holds many people back from storytelling is they simply don’t know how to tell a good story. It turns out most of our favorite stories follow a pattern. You can see this pattern play out in movies, books, and talks everywhere. The pattern is called “The Hero’s Journey.” This term was coined by Joseph Campbell after studying hundreds of ancient myths and stories.

Here’s a great video that illustrates “The Hero’s Journey” and compares it to some of the most popular stories of our time.

Here’s a breakdown of the different points of The Hero’s Journey. Remember that your story may not fit perfectly into this archetype. You may need to change the order of a few of these points or remove some that aren’t relevant to you.

  • Status Quo – Everything’s normal. The beginning of your story.
  • Call to adventure – There’s a desire or an invitation for something more, something better. This could also be a problem that is bothering you, and it forces you out of your comfort zone. This desire or problem should resonate with your audience and what they desire as well.
  • Assistance – You receive some help or guidance to help set you on your path. This could be a mentor giving you guidance on what to do next. Mentioning others that seemed to have solved the problem you have or are at a place you aspire to get to.
  • Departure – You’re off on your new adventure. You get some early wins and you think life is always going to be this easy.
  • Trials – This is where your struggle begins. You hit some unexpected setbacks. You start to share some of the pain you’re experiencing.
  • Approach – Things are getting harder, you’re losing momentum, experiencing doubts. You are experiencing the fears and pain that your audience wants to avoid.
  • Crisis – Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse… It did. You hit rock bottom. You experience painful emotions, and you start thinking about the long term consequences and ramifications of not solving this problem. You’re about to give up…
  • Treasure – You find the thing that can turn it all around. Maybe it’s an idea, and maybe it’s a tool, a new way of looking at things, a new person you meet, or a process. This should relate closely to the solution you provide in your business.
  • Result – You decide to take action, and you use this newfound treasure to solve the big problem you’re experiencing. You start to see new results coming. These are the results that your audience craves.
  • Return and resolution – You’re getting new results with your new treasure, things are looking hopeful again. Best of all, the solution to the problem was something anyone could do or use. The results you get are within anyone’s reach.

Visualizing the Hero’s Journey

Another way to visualize the hero’s journey is through a graph. I prefer graphs to the circle shown in the video because many business owners and entrepreneurs work with graphs all the time and appreciate a good way to visualize information.

Here’s what Cinderella looks like a graph. I have added some notes to show how it aligns with The Hero’s Journey framework.

A graph is just one of many visual storytelling strategies. Using visuals can dramatically enhance the emotional impact and memorability of the story you share.


“Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.

― Brené Brown, Daring Greatly

A key to “leading with the heart” in your story is a vulnerability. Vulnerability is something many entrepreneurs avoid because they fear that exposing their flaws or weaknesses will diminish their credibility. But vulnerability and authenticity are foundational to a great talk. They are the tools you’ll need to build a connection with your audience.

Vulnerability is not easy, and it often takes a lot of practice and self-reflection be able to share your story fully.

Usually, the “crisis” point in your “hero’s journey” is where vulnerability is essential. The crisis point is one of the essential parts of a good story. It’s when people are sitting on the edge of their seats, wondering what will happen next. They share the pain you felt and empathize with you. Holding back, your vulnerability can deflate the power of your story.

Take Them Into the Room

A common mistake people make is they tell their stories from a third-person perspective. As if they were the Ghost of Christmas Past taking their audience to see their story from a distance. Observing from afar, but not directly engaging with the story. The problem with this approach is it reduces the emotional impact and relatability of your story.

Pat Quinn, master storyteller and host of the Amazing Presenter’s conference recommends that you “take them into the room with you”. What he means by that is to tell your story from the first person, take us into your own mind at that moment. Re-live the story and share that experience. Describe small visceral details to bring context to your story that brings out the emotions you were feeling without directly saying it.

Bad example: “I remember feeling heartbroken when I discovered we had to move out of our house. We could not afford it anymore. I saw the sad looks on my children’s faces, and knew I had hit a low point in my life.”

Good example: “I remember carrying out my children’s toys to the front of our house for a yard sale. I nearly cried when I asked them to choose which toys they wanted to keep. Confusion on their faces as I explained how we could not afford to live in our house anymore.”

Open Strong On Stage

Your first few seconds on the stage are crucial for the success of your talk.

If you mosey onto the stage and open with slow, unenthusiastic speech, your audience will check out, and it will be difficult to get them back.

Take the stage with energy; make it obvious how excited you are to be talking and sharing. Complement the audience, remind them how smart they are for being at this event. Give a hat tip to the people behind the event and show gratitude for inviting you to speak.

An easy trick to capture the audience’s attention right at the beginning is to open with a “few quick tips”. Tell them to grab their pens and get ready for some notes then fire off a few valuable ideas.

Another tactic engages the audience through questions. “Have you ever had problem X?” or “Does anyone want more Y in their lives?” Raise your hand up to invite the audience to do the same if they agree. If you can tap into an emotion or a desire for your audience right away and get them saying “yes” early, you’ll capture their attention and keep them focused during your talk.

Let’s look at a live example of how Grace Smith, owner of Grace Space, makes a strong opening by polling the audience about their stress and asks if they want a fast and easy solution to the stress they feel. She then gives them an interactive activity by asking them to examine their current stress and continues to keep them engaged.

Grace’s opening captured people’s attention immediately, got them feeling strong emotions, and made them excited to learn her solution. All in less than 60 seconds.

Bake Social Proof Into Your Business Storytelling

Many speakers will list off past achievements, clients, or successes like they are reading off their resumé. This approach often comes off as boring and braggadocious. But including social proof in your talk is critical for building trust and authority with your audience.

Bad example: “I charge $30,000 for my service and only work with high-quality businesses, and I’m often booked out months in advance.”

A good approach is to weave these facts into a story and train your audience to expect certain behavior from you.

Good example: “A few days ago, I got a call from a big potential client. I let them know I could not start work with them for another few months and the work would cost $30,000. They said, “We were thinking more like $20,000,” and they asked if I had a cancellation policy.

Now, I was willing to give them a bit of a discount if they paid it all upfront, but told them I didn’t have a cancellation policy, I only worked with people who were serious about this.

They respected this boundary and ended up taking my offer to pay up front.”

“Landing the Plane” – How to Close Your Story

Pete Vargas Business Storytelling

A strong close is as important as a strong open in your story, but there are a few risks that come at the end of your presentation. The biggest is timing; if you go over time, have to cut off your talk or rush through it, you’ll damage the trust you have built up with your audience. You’ll lose that opportunity to leave a powerful impression that incites action in your audience.

Here are a few tips for a strong close:

Know exactly how long the close of your story will take – Keep a close eye on the time you have left and drop everything to transition into your story.

Build flex time into your presentation – A good option for flex time is opening the floor to Q & A before you close. You can answer as many questions as you have time for then transition into your closing story.

False finish slides – Create a few closing slides throughout your presentation. So you can have a few places you can end your presentation. This keeps you from looking disorganized and skipping forward to your closing slide if you’re short on time.

Take care of “housekeeping” before you close – Most speakers mention they have books for sale, a booth in the back, or how they can be contacted as an afterthought of their presentations. As soon as you close, people will begin talking with their neighbors, rushing to the bathroom, or heading for the coffee bar. Mention all of these things before your close while you have their attention.

Let’s look at an example of this in action. Here’s a clip of Pat Quinn wrapping up one of his talks. Watch how he finishes with the main content of his talk then does a quick plug for his event and then opens up for a few questions to fill out a little bit of extra time in his talk. He wants to end with a story to make maximum impact. He knows how long his closing story is going to take and uses questions to make sure his story ends his talk ends exactly when it’s supposed to.

Start With One Story

It’s possible to build a thriving business around just one good signature talk. I recommend starting out by focusing on just one story, even if you have more than one that you think would be a good tool for your business. A great signature talk can be repurposed and reworked for many different formats and different audiences.

A good signature talk is not an easy thing to create, and it takes a great deal of time and effort to practice, refine, and test. By focusing on just one story, you can be sure that your story is optimized for impact.

A good story takes work to hone and refine into something great. By choosing just one, you’ll be able to bring out the best in it and start seeing results faster.

Need more inspiration for your storytelling? Check out 26 Tips For Storytelling

[bctt tweet=”A good story takes work to hone and refine into a great talk. #storytelling” username=”advancereach”]

Have Short and Long Versions of Your Story

As your speaking career develops, you’re going to have lots of different opportunities to speak, but they won’t all be the same. Maybe you’ll have an hour to speak on a podcast or a keynote speech. Sometimes you’ll have just 5 minutes to make a lasting impression. You’ll also have lots of opportunities to tell a bite-size version of your story in a minute or less in a passing conversation.

A master storyteller has their story prepared and practiced for all of these situations, so it comes off naturally and clearly.

A story is only one part of great talk, and you’ll want to keep it in good proportion with your content and the educational part of your talk. We recommend that your opening story take about 20% of the total time you have to speak. Though the shorter amount of time you have, the more time you should give to your story. In most cases, it’s difficult to convey a lot of good information in a 10-minute talk, but you can still create a good experience and a lasting impression with your story.


Crafting a good story to tell around your business and your content marketing can have as much impact at making a new hire if done well. Remember that your business storytelling is more than a marketing tool. It can also impact how your team feels about the work they do and how it fulfills their own purpose.

Telling your story truly takes courage because the best stories require you to be vulnerable and share some of your failures. But through that courageous act, you’ll help countless others solve the same problems and challenges you’ve faced.

Let your story bring wealth to your business and those you’ve set out to help, and let us help you with your story. Follow the steps in our Signature Talk Outline to develop your Signature Talk in a more compelling and impacting way. Download now to get started!

Unstoppable outreach strategies that cut through the noise

Entrepreneurs today are obsessed with leveraging the latest digital tool to grow their businesses. Sites like Product Hunt launch new applications daily. Everyone with the promise to “double your revenue in a month” or reveal the latest “hack” to get more customers. This is especially true when it comes to outreach strategies. With all the automated tools, virtual assistants, and social media robots out there competing to get noticed in your outreach is more intense than ever.

Most business owners are easily distracted by the next “new” app they need to streamline operations. In addition, they miss out on a powerful offline approach that delivers incredible results and is timeless in its effects.

There’s never been a bigger variety of tools and information available to help you grow. Most digital forms of interaction are “easy”. It takes no time at all to send an email, compose a tweet, or send a text. But easy isn’t always better. Many offline tactics, like sending a handwritten card, shooting a personalized video, buying a good gift, or having a good conversation, are harder to do and riskier. A few good offline tactics can set you apart from 99% of others that opt for whatever’s easiest.

[bctt tweet=”Unstoppable outreach strategies that cut through the noise” username=”@advancereach”]

The Best of Both Worlds – The Unstoppable Stage Campaign

Online and offline tactics don’t have to be mutually exclusive. In fact, when used together, they can be incredibly powerful. Each of their strengths compliments the other.

The Unstoppable Stage Campaign is a perfect example of this synergy in action. We use this campaign to get ourselves and our clients on stages. We use a mixture of high-tech tools like Infusionsoft and ClickFunnels to help automate and manage the hundreds of campaigns. Every major step in the campaign has an offline or personal touch to it to help foster a true human connection with the people we reach out to.

Though the Unstoppable Stage Campaign is designed for event planners, you can apply these same tactics to any area of outreach for your business.

I will share a few of the signature elements of The Unstoppable Stage Campaign and highlight some key takeaways that you can use to book more stages, nurture relationships with influencers in your space and create raving fans.

[bctt tweet=”When online and offline outreach tactics used together, they are incredibly powerful.” username=”@advancereach”]

The Speaker Box

The most crowded communication channel is the email inbox. The more recognized you and your brand become, the more noise will appear in your inbox. This is especially the case with meeting planners, who get bombarded by people who want to get on their stages.

The speaker box is one of the signature elements and the first point of contact in the Unstoppable Stage Campaign. We send it to meeting planners who we want to build a relationship with. It includes a few different materials to introduce who we are and what we’re about.

The least crowded channel these days is a person’s mailbox. Most people don’t expect to find anything more than their bills or the latest “money mailer.”

That’s why the speaker box is so powerful. With a well-designed box and the materials inside it, we can make a much bigger impression than any email.

A speaker box can cost over $30 per box that you send. If you’re sending these boxes out at scale and without any guarantee that you’ll get on stage, the cost can add up to some scary numbers. Remember that you’re investing in more than just a stage. You’re investing in relationships, not just with the meeting planner, but with the many people, you’ll potentially meet at the events you attend and speak at.

The Win-Win Script

At every interaction with our meeting planners (and everyone we work with), we focus on how we can help them achieve their goals for the event and feel like a winner. The more heroic we can make them feel, the more likely they’ll be willing to let us on their stage.

We follow “The Win-Win script” for our first call. This was developed over thousands of conversations with event planners across the world. We distilled what we learned from all those conversations into a few simple talking points. Using this script has increased our callback rate by 50%.

Some ways we make the event planner feel like a winner are:

  • Exhibiting and sponsoring – Event planners are always looking for more sponsors and exhibitors to their events. If you lead the conversation with how you can help them, they’ll be willing to help you.
  • Offering a gift to the attendees – A book is a great gift if it’s relevant to the audience. A digital book that gets distributed to the attendees of your session or the whole conference makes them look like heroes. Make sure you frame it as a “gift” for the attendees, not as a marketing tactic on your part.

Though these 2 examples are great for meeting planners, you can apply this same strategy to many other interactions and areas of your business. With a good understanding of the needs of the people you are reaching out to, you can find opportunities to make them feel like a winner.

Follow Up With A Small Gift and A Personal Note

At several points in our contract campaign, we send a small gift and a personal note to the meeting planner. The notes are personalized to the planner and have a handwritten font. These cards come right after our first call or shortly after the event they were planning, as a follow-up.

A nice card breaks up the chain of email communications and phone calls. It also gives them something nice to keep on their desk as a reminder of you.

While nothing beats a handwritten and thoughtful card, the service Send Out Cards is the next best thing. Send Out Cards has many different options to personalize and customize cards you send out. They even offer lots of small gifts that you can bundle in with a card and make a bigger impression.

Stand Out In The Inbox With BombBomb Video Emails

BombBomb is probably my favorite “high-tech” tool out there. The reason I love it so much is because it creates a very personal experience. BombBomb can email or text a video message that is personalized with your branding and your message.

When you use BombBomb, an animated GIF image with the first few frames from your video email will appear in the email with a prompt to click the email to view it.

We use a video email as an immediate follow up once we send our speaker box. The video gives a brief introduction of who we are and shares how excited we are to partner with them. Here’s an example of Pete’s first email reaching out to Houston Kraft to collaborate.

Imagine how many emails the average meeting planning is getting from people who want to speak on their stages. Do you expect them to go through all that text and decide whose demo video to watch or not? They’d be spending their whole day watching demo videos!

Opening an email to see a video of someone energized, excited, and speaking directly to them goes much farther than basic text in an email. It gives people an opportunity to see who they are and get a small taste of what you might be like on their stage. This turns your first contact into your first audition.

[bctt tweet=”Email with a video of you energized and excited makes a bigger impression than basic text.” username=”@advancereach”]

If you want to learn more about how to get the most from BombBomb, check out The Ultimate Guide To Video Email.

Universal Lessons From The Unstoppable Stage Campaign

We recommend a lot of different technology to support the Unstoppable Stage Campaign. At the heart of each piece of the Unstoppable Stage Campaign is a low-tech strategy that can be used beyond booking stages. We’ve only had the Unstoppable Stage Campaign in the last few years, but we’ve been using these concepts in every area of our business for many years.

Here are some of the key takeaways you can use to make all of your outreach unstoppable.

Focus On Adding Value To Them First

The strategy behind the “win-win script” stretches far beyond booking stages. Always be focused on how you can add more value to the lives of the people you interact with. Many people are so focused on whatever short-term win they’re pursuing that they rarely consider how they can add value first. This makes for awkward interactions and usually closes the door to opportunity.

Remember that even if people have something you want, there’s a possibility for much more down the road if you work on developing a long term relationship. You do that by finding ways to add value and create opportunities for people you work with.

In her TED talk, Kare Anderson encourages the audience to become opportunity makers.

“When you connect with people around a shared interest and action, you’re accustomed to serendipitous things happening into the future“

Here’s the full video, it’s relatively short for a TED talk and has incredible insights for adding value in relationships.

The biggest mistake people make is asking for things too often and too early. This is what 99% of people do. They’re always looking for a way to help themselves, which ends up corroding relationships. They don’t see a friendship or even a person, and they see dollar signs and a quick win.

Asking for things upfront ends up killing the opportunity for a relationship before it starts.

Know What’s Happening In Their World

To find opportunities to add value to someone’s life, you need to understand what’s happening in it. If you understand their goals, events on their calendar, current problems, their hobbies or lifestyle outside of their work, you can come up unique and personalized ideas to add value and make a strong impression.

For event planners, you have a few key facts right away. You know when their event is happening, and you know how stressful planning and managing an event can be (believe me, I hosted 3 last year). You can be pretty confident that in the days after their event, they feel ready to relax. So send them a gift to help them do that and congratulate them on their hard work and success.

I like to send gifts right after their event ends, anything from a snack up to a massage coupon, depending on the person. This goes a long way to build a relationship with the person and create opportunities down the road.

The Art Of Gift Giving

Giving gifts is one of the most underused and least understood tools in the “offline” tactics category. Most people avoid it because they fear their gift will come off as “tacky” or as a bribe. It’s understandable why most people have this fear because 99% of the gift-giving I see done falls into those categories. But it doesn’t have to.

A good gift is a symbol of gratitude and friendship. It’s possible to capture the attention and leave a lasting impression on key relationships in your business.

Gifts are valuable not just for the relationships you create outside of your business, but they can strengthen the bonds between you and your team. A good gift can help your team feel appreciated and is often as effective as a raise for retaining employees.

Here are a few things that make a good gift:

  • Give unconditionally – A good gift comes from true generosity with no strings attached. This can make the difference between a gift and a bribe.
  • Personalize for them not yourself – A common mistake people make when giving a gift is putting their own logo on a gift they’re giving. Would you put your own name on a wedding gift for your friend? No. Add their logo, their names, and make it something they’ll be proud to share and talk about. You also need to make sure that it is something they would love, you don’t want to send steaks to a vegetarian.
  • Give spontaneously – As soon as something is anticipated, your expectations start to form, and it diminishes the perceived value of the gift. Use the element of surprise for both what and when you give to make it a more delightful experience for the receiver.

If you want to learn more about the art and power of gift-giving, check out Giftology by John Ruhlin.

Invest In Relationships

Outside of the Unstoppable Stage Campaign, there are a few engagement strategies that you can invest in that can provide a higher rate of return, creating stronger relationships and greater impact for your business.

One of the first tactics I used when starting to Advance Your Reach was investing in high-level events and Masterminds. I still do this today.

Often the fastest way to build a relationship with an influencer is to become a customer. This shows you have respect for them and what they are doing. You’re helping them upfront and showing them you’re serious about getting results. This means paying people to coach you, purchasing tickets to events and conferences to meet new people, and investing in masterminds.

It might sound crazy to invest in a $2,000 conference ticket or an $8,000 mastermind, especially when you are just getting started with your business, but I don’t see any better way to spend your dollar if it gets you in front of the right people.

I knew in the early stages of Advance Your Reach that I still had a lot to learn and would need a lot of help making my own event and the business behind it work. So I had to make a bet on myself and on my mentors, and start investing in them. I needed to surround myself with people who had mastered the skills I was developing.


Even if your business is run online and you have many digital products, there’s a lot to be said about the power of offline strategies to grow your business. Despite the rapid increases in technology and dozens of new high-tech tools launching each day, if you focus just on online strategy, you’re leaving money on the table.

[bctt tweet=”Even if your business is run online, there’s a lot of power in offline outreach.” username=”@advancereach”]

Try to find ways to add a human touch to the outreach you are already doing. You can have the best of both worlds if you combine time-tested offline strategies with the right online tools as we do with our Unstoppable Stage Campaign.

If you want to book a stage in the next 24 hours or want more inspiration for some offline outreach tactics to set you apart, check out the Unstoppable Stage Campaign.