Is Toastmasters a Best Kept Secret in Your Community?
In our community, the answer is “Yes”. Are there steps to changing this accidental Stealth (Invisible) Web Marketing Strategy? Let’s start off by doing a test.
Have you noticed how often new visitors to your club have said “I’ve never heard of Toastmasters.”
Someone who doesn’t know anything about the Toastmasters name might search on Google [my city name] communication and leadership training.
Sadly, Toastmasters will probably not show up at all let alone a Toastmasters club in your city.
Did you know you have to rank on page 1 of Google search results? Less than 10% of people will look on page 2 or later—a fun fact from a Google search.
A knowledgeable colleague tells me if you are a member of a small noon hour club and you do a search for
[my city name] Toastmasters clubs, chances are it will not show up on the first page.
Instead Google will find the two largest clubs. If Google finds your club’s website, you may be in the minority.
There are sound reasons for why I am focusing on websites vs. social media at this time. My name is David Bray and as a member of two clubs and currently the VP/PR, Bluewater TM 3835 in Owen Sound, ON. We take advantage of FreeToastHost, Thus, our website is http://bluewater.toastmastersclubs.org.
Incidentally, if you just Google search public speaking, I get one reference to Toastmasters International on page 1 of search results. I get no reference to other Toastmasters clubs.
Tips for Getting Noticed from Google Searches
We first noticed our stealth (i.e. invisible) web presence issue, in 2014, with a Google search...
[my city name] public speaking. Google told us some local French speaking schools held contests. It still says contest for a lot of clubs.
We/Bluewater solved this in summer 2014 when I added a custom web page for “public speaking”. This showed up immediately after paid listings.
However, Google has been busy refining their algorithms. With those changes, sometime last year we fell to page 2 (i.e. invisible), but sadly no one noticed.
Kijiji and yellow pages may show up with outdated information. My suggestion in this case is to make sure that your content is accurate. Test the links to your website (or blog or Facebook) actually work. Keep your content current. If it is now late summer, ensure your last notice is not an outdated “Sorry we will have to cancel our upcoming January meeting due to winter snow storms.”
For a search on Kijiji for [my city name] speaker training, Kijiji tells me I can purchase electronic speakers for my stereo. This suggests though that a well crafted Kijiji post might be useful.
Whether It’s a Google search for [my city name] leader training, personal development or clubs, odds are Toastmasters will not be found.
As noted in 2014, our club solved the stealth issue for “public speaking”. I am now working to solve it again—by getting us back on page 1. Plus, we have some new web pages on our site to start replacing stealth for other queries. I am working on learning “Search Engine Speak”—and to sort out any related apparent contradictions.
Toastmasters’ Stealth (Invisible) Web Presence is Pervasive
Clearly, some clubs have overcome the problem of “Toastmasters is a best kept secret”. In some cases, people can learn about Toastmasters because a club in England, Australia or the USA has the same city name—and a strong web presence.
“Good presentations are all about our audience.” I see a huge number of paid and unpaid listings online for speaking and leadership training. Clearly we have an audience out there looking for what Toastmasters has to offer. All too often that audience can’t find us—unless they already know the name Toastmasters.
Conclusion: we are a Best Kept Secret in far too many communities. I call it accidental Stealth (Invisible) Marketing.
About David Bray
My background is not marketing, nor is it websites. Thus I am trying to get up to speed on lots of content, including something I call “(Google) Search Engine Speak” known as SEO, Search Engine Optimization.
Have you ever asked the question “How do we get and keep our membership numbers above 20?” The general response was blank stares. Thus, I changed the question to “Toastmasters is a Best Kept Secret in Our Community. How do we change that?” the response this time, was “Launch a Facebook Campaign”.
If so, why am I focusing on websites vs. Facebook? In short, I found a 2014 study which noted:
• 94% (that’s right 94%) of folks that buy items, first research them on the web.
• 77% do that research with Google search.
According to my math that is almost ¾ of people using Google search. Thus I ask, “How many folks have never heard of Toastmasters, but are looking for communication and leadership training?” I have no idea. But almost 3 out of 4 of them are looking for answers with Google search. If they live near a local Toastmaster club, we all want them to be able to find our website.
If you have some short cuts or tips for strong Toastmaster web presence, I hope you will share. If you would like to join me on a voyage of how to build and maintain a strong web presence please contact me at Dbray9@gmail.com
For the good of Toastmasters, David Bray