We're currently in the midst of finding speakers for Underdog Ad Con (go see who's speaking so far) – and I thought it'd be helpful to share how we do it.

Whether you're organizing a conference, starting a business, or making the moolahs – at some point, you got to start reaching out to people outside your network.

Underdog Ad Con is our 2nd conference at Daily CMO, but prior to this, we've invited plenty of thought leaders to join conferences, masterclasses, and demo days. Because of that, we've learned a thing or two about reaching people and convincing them to speak.

Inviting speakers is the same as asking for a sale.

Some people will ignore and reject you. And we don't get a yes every time.

But building a lasting company is a marathon, not a sprint. So what really counts is the relationship we're building, not whether they say yes or no on our first ask.

Since Underdog Con is all about sharing actual marketing strategies – I decided to show you our step-by-step way to getting in touch with people we don't know.

This post is developing and will be updated from time to time. Subscribe to Daily CMO for free to get all updates. 

1 - Make it about them.

I met Donald, the founder of Howuku at an event. Howuku is a web analytics suite with heatmaps, video tracking, form analytics, and more. Put simply it's everything you need to find out what your visitors are doing on your site – and they're awesome.

When I asked him to join the conference, notice how I made it about him, and not myself.  

The first email I sent to him.

Simple stuff right? But you'll be shocked to find out how many people focus on themselves first.

BIG mistake.

We even go so far as to demonstrate how joining us at the conference will benefit him. Again, it's about serving other people. Never about yourself.

I even calculated the potential leads and gave him an idea of the revenue he'll be receiving.

2 - Use the rule of 5

I can't remember where I read about this rule, but ever since I started using it – things have been working.

The rule is simple.

To get progress, commit to doing 5 things every day. Just 5.

  • Reach out to 5 potential speakers.
  • Email 5 past customers.
  • Drop a text to 5 friends.
  • Update 5 things on your website.

Because it's manageable to just do 5 things. That's why it's easy.

For us, we just use Google Sheets to track and keep ourselves accountable

Nothing fancy about our Google Sheets to track activity.

Consistency wins over intensity in marketing.

Your daily action will compound into big results. That's why the rule of 5 works. Whenever in doubt or overwhelmed with work, just remember the rule of 5 and start doing 5 things.

3 - Follow up like a maniac.

Most people send one email, don't get a reply – and give up.

Following up is what separates the winners from the losers.

Founders and high-position people are extremely busy. They probably have to jump into 10+ Zoom meetings and receive 100+ emails every day.

They are going to ignore you. No surprise here.  

That's normal. Don't take it personally.

When I invited Yi Xian, the founder of Over – a company that sells Malaysia's favorite oversized bottle, it took over 2 weeks to get him to finally say yes to speaking.

No hard feelings. Founders like Yi Xian are extremely busy people. 

It's not nagging. It's reminding.

As long as you space out by sending an elegant email, text or call follow-up every 2-3 days, you will be fine. What is the worst that could happen? Nobody will die from receiving 7 follow-up emails.

4 - Be the purple cow.

It's all about getting attention and showing that you truly care. The problem with most marketers sending cold emails is that they all sound the same.

"Hello friend, I'm from XYZ company. We are expert in SEO. And I'm here to offer you my SEO content service." - Every company doing outreaching.

One idea we had, was to create personalized photos/gifs and send them to the speakers we want to invite.

A Malaysian-grown business we admired a lot was Joey Mattress. We wanted the founder, Joey to speak at Underdog Con. So one of our team members, Emily took a picture of herself with Joey's product and we sent that to her.

I'd say it made her day!

It got to Joey. Unfortunately, she chose not to speak this time around.

But that's OK.

We're not trying to marry on the first contact. But you bet we'll reach out to her again when we run the next conference.

Which lessons did you like so far?

Let's take a pit stop right here.

As mentioned, we'll continue expanding this post as we secure more speakers for Underdog Ad Con and is able to show you more case studies.

Which takeaway did you like most so far? Leave us a comment on the site. Or tell us what you'd want to see us try next.

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