How to Market a Speaking Tour: Behind the Scenes of the R.O.W. Roadshow

ROW Show

How to Market a Speaking Tour: Behind the Scenes of the R.O.W. Roadshow

Hey, let’s put on a show!

My colleague Felipa and I felt like we were in a Judy Garland-Mickey Rooney movie. “Let’s put on a show!” said Tom, the CEO here at LevelTen, and we all jumped in to clear out the barn and save the orphanage.

Tom’s a very clever guy. He’s been building websites for over 20 years, he regularly speaks about how to make your website really work for you, and he’s even written a book about it. When he said he wanted to take his message across the country, we were absolutely on board.

What’s the ROW Roadshow?

ROW stands for Results Oriented Websites, and it’s the driving force behind what we do at LevelTen. When we decided to start offering marketing services to our clients last year (in addition to the custom Drupal websites we’ve become expert at churning out), we needed a new philosophy to reflect our new expertise.

We decided on Results Oriented Websites because that is the one constant goal across our organization: whether you’re a developer writing code, a marketer creating a content strategy, or even our phenomenal intern Lauren (who most recently made a really great beginner’s guide to UX strategy), the goal is to create websites and digital experiences that drive real results for our clients. After all, there’s no point in cheering about thousands of new website visitors if none of them actually turn into new sales.

It’s simple: we want to help people genuinely move the needle in the new digital landscape. We think that integrating your marketing efforts with an impressive, responsive website is the best way to do that. So Tom’s going to take his message of Results Oriented Websites out to the masses.

OK, so what are we actually doing here?

The first thing we needed to do was nail down the scope of the project. Tom’s initial idea was to take an RV across the country, giving his presentation (as well as doing demos and evaluating audience members’ websites) in about 20 cities. That’s a great starting point, but which cities? On which days? Where would he speak, and who would he speak to?

Felipa and I, as inbound marketing specialists, are great at making online connections with our audience through extraordinarily well-written blog posts like this one. We weren’t entirely sure where to start when we needed to help make connections between people in real life. That’s OK – read on to see what we learned.

Lions, Tigers, and Buyer Personas, Oh My.

We decided to start with what we know, which means that Step One is audience research. I know, I know; this is nobody’s favorite part of the process. (Actually, hold on a sec – if audience research and buyer personas is your favorite part of the process, we might have an opening for you.) But it’s as true for public speaking as it is for blogging: you can’t communicate effectively until you know who you’re talking to and what they need.

We started with a survey to gauge interest, asking people the topics, format, and time of day they were most interested in. And then we sent that survey just about everywhere we could think of. Felipa emailed it to our entire email list (sorry, everyone!) and created an AddThis popup on our website’s home page.

results oriented web pop by addthis

While we didn’t get as many responses as we would have liked, the survey feedback definitely gave us enough information to start planning the Roadshow, so that counts as a success. (And hey, the survey’s still open, if you’d like to help out!)

Scheduling. More scheduling. Then even more scheduling.

Next came the most administratively complex part: the scheduling. Tom gave us a list of the cities he wanted to visit and the approximate dates he would be there. Obviously, any speaking engagement is going to be more effective if you can join with a group of people who already meet to talk about something related, so we dove into more research to find groups we could piggy-back off. DrupalCamps, Meetup groups, LinkedIn groups, HubSpot HUGs, the list goes on.

Not gonna lie – this was the hardest, most time-intensive part of the process. There are just too many moving pieces! But with enough elbow grease, we created a comprehensive schedule that coordinated with as many local groups as possible.

Branding the Campaign.

We decided to do this “ROW Roadshow” speaking tour in the style of a political campaign. Because Tom is going to be driving around the country in an RV, we thought it would be really fun and eye-catching to dress up the RV like a campaign bus, bringing our message to the people.

results oriented web campaign bus

Add in a mini-site [coming soon] to help support the campaign in, and we’re off!

Wait and see how it goes!

Now that the bulk of the work has been done, Felipa and I can sit back and relax with a smile and a cool beverage get back to everything else we’re supposed to be working on. But we’re very excited to see the results of the campaign and how many people we can help with their website issues!

wait and see judy garland and mickey rooney


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