Your Speaker’s Website – a Gig Sucking Money Spinner or a Digital Dead End?
So, you’re a public speaker. You love to strut your stuff and share your magic.
And you’ve got a website (or at least planning to build one) and want your site to book new speaking gigs.
Now hear this:
Perhaps you’re leaving money on the table because your site doesn’t grab people.
I’ve met plenty of speakers and here is one thing I know: last year was not a good year for most of them. COVID instantly demolished their businesses, at least for a time. Now that much of the developed world is moving into recovery mode, more speaking spots are becoming available But we’re not there yet. The speaking pie is smaller yet there is a seemingly endless stream of speakers who are looking for speaking gigs.
Therefore, it becomes imperative to optimize your online game including digital assets such as your website. Look at your website as your booking hub; not an afterthought, not a piece of digital fluff, but a lead and ‘speaking gig’ booking machine.
What Type of Speaking Business Are You Building?
Lots of speakers out there. Some are happy to work for little or nothing in return for exposure and leads for their high ticket offer.
Maybe that’s you, or perhaps speaking fees are a key part of your business model.
Sometimes a breakout entrepreneur, author or celebrity instantly becomes a speaker because there is a clamor from people to hear their story.
But usually, it’s more about someone with a skill who decided to do some public speaking. Some of them are coaches who use speaking gigs as the front end of their marketing funnels. Book lots of speaking gigs on the front end and – all things being equal – lots of juicy coaching assignments flow out the back end. Heck, some of these folks are happy NOT to get paid for giving a talk; if they get leads and sales on the back end, they’re happy,
Moving to the next level we have mini-celebs who command $10K-$15K for each talk they give. At the top end, some speakers snaffle $100k or more from one talk. I’m thinking of people like Obama and Tony Robbins. And here’s the point – they all have competitors.
So you need to stand out. Competition is everywhere and potential clients have plenty of options. Before I continue, let me ask a couple of questions: Why you? What’s the story of you and your brand?
I assume you can answer those questions therefore the priority must be to articulate a compelling message for your website and other digital assets. Don’t assume that your target market will book you because of what you’ve done before. You must educate and remind them of your special sauce – the X-Factor. But more than this; you must be proficient in fashioning a message that speaks to your market’s priorities and hot buttons. It’s not just about you is it?
Let me share some basic things you should have in place to have a great speaker funnel to bring in clients. Take a look:
1. Tell the Story Of You
You’ve got to do more than we see on a typical speaker’s website. These ho-hum sites are filled with feel-good self-congratulatory blather interspersed with a few testimonials and a booking form. As I said, the market is highly competitive – potential clients have an array of options, so why the heck should they pick you?
Your website doesn’t need to have a lot of information – just enough to tell the story of you and how you add value to audiences. In practical terms, it might be a 4-page format – home page, about page, plus a social proof and contact page. Alternatively, a standalone Sales Page can work. It depends on your business and how much information people need to make a decision.
Good design is part of it and from a content point of view, you should include text, videos, and pics.
2. Seduction Starts Here
If you see yourself as someone who is in the transformation business, you must tell people how you will do that. Not in glorious technicolor detail but give them enough information to whet their appetite. You want them to be salivating with red hot desire. Get it right and watch the booking flow in your direction. This assumes that people are visiting your site (more on that soon).
When it comes to copywriting it starts with the headline. It needs to be a grabber, a real head-turner. A good headline should offer the promise of a better tomorrow whilst at the same time addressing at least one of the pain points that your ideal clients face. Feature the main headline on your home page, then illuminate further on your About page.
The About page is perhaps the most important page on a website. Yet so often they’re perfunctory affairs, full of platitudes, generalizations, and cliches. Oh dear. But it doesn’t have to be like that. Indeed, with vision and technique, your About page could be a game-changer. Borrowing from the world of movies and storytelling, people want to know the backstory which in many instances is more interesting and persuasive than the main plotline. So what’s your back story? I’d like to know about it.
(I wrote an About page blog post – read it here: About Page Revamp.)
Other than your story, the other story that needs to be told is the customer story. Because you’re a speaker, you have two audiences – the customer who pays you and the audience that listens to you. Find a way to navigate the competing interests and show how your program will ensure that everyone is happy after you’re done. The customer hero story can be featured on the home page or the About page.
3. You Want Me to Hire You? Please Illuminate Me
Keep in mind that the person who visits your website may not be the decision-maker. It’s likely to be an underling who has been assigned the task of finding a speaker for the company’s next conference or event.
I can’t tell you how many speakers (even the biggest names you can think of) don’t display anything more than topics or titles, or maybe some bulleted talking points on their website.
Don’t do dat.
You’ll lose people, faster than I can say Jumpin’Jack Flash. Poof – they’re gone, never to be seen again. It makes it very hard for the minion to go back to a committee and say, “Here is my shortlist of people who should be speaking at our next Conference.”
So, let’s get this right from the outset. No more bland, no more cliches, and def no more lack of persuasive information. Another point. If you beef up your content, you’ll be giving your client the raw material they can use to promote you to their peeps. Make it easy, make it sizzle, make it work.
Like I said, start with a great headline. This is not training on headlines but I will share an easy format you can adapt for your business.
The golden rule on headlines is this: specifics outsell generalities. One of the best ways to do it is to include a number in your headline. Here is an example: 9 Steps to Boost Your Productivity Without Working Harder (you may work less).
Once you’ve sorted out your headline, you can add the Description. So, flesh out the promise made in the headline, but of course, do it in a way that stimulates curiosity and builds desire.
Another thing you can include is a You Will Learn section which is followed by six to ten bullet points. Each point should build a case; by hiring you, your talk will help them achieve transformation, even if in a small way.
4. In These Covid Times Emphasize Both Virtual and In-Person Events
I’m not saying that in-person events don’t play a role. They do, and as time passes more and more of these events will be on offer once again. But it’s going to take time before full confidence is restored – maybe years. Whilst virtual events cannot replace the intimacy and potency of in-person events (including the significant networking benefits), there are some people who have fully embraced the online way of doing things, and may never return to offline events.
Even if you don’t feel comfortable with virtual events the fact is that hoards of people love them so it makes sense to take advantage of the opportunity and tap into new audiences that may love what you do.
5. Tell Them the Ways (that they can work with you)
You’re probably not just about giving a keynote talk (in-person or virtual), you have another agenda – your other services. So plant the seeds early by featuring your other services on your website. Here are some examples:
- Lunchtime Talks.
- All-day or half-day event at a tradeshow, or office.
- Breakout sessions at a tradeshow, event, or office.
- C-Suite hour.
- 30-minute coaching sessions with the C-suite.
- Video series training customized for a company’s unique requirements.
- One-to-One sessions with selected executives
- Meet and Greets
- Book signings
So let them know how they can hire you. Even if you only do keynotes you can present a range of options with different price points, thereby broadening your appeal to more audiences.
If you regard each situation as different and can’t give exact prices, at least give people a guide, like “Keynote talks start at $10K” or “Half-day programs start at $2500.”
6. Include Visual Proof – Your Pics and Videos
You’re a speaker so make sure you include pics and videos of you speaking. I suggest you hire someone from Upwork or Fiver to create a professional reel featuring snippets of you talking at various conferences etc.
If you’re starting out and short on funds do a direct-to-cam recording and sell you and your service. And if you’ve done a couple of talks already, extract snippets and feature them.
It’s important to do this – assuming you present well. It will give you an edge over those who might be very knowledgeable but are dead boring when it comes to imparting information and getting audiences excited.
7. Your Social Proof
Include testimonials from the people who hired you and of course, attendees. Better than this, write a couple of stories revolving around the job including how they found you, your first conversations with them, etc. In other words, give people some insights into your process – how you work with them before, during, and after each event.
You can also include logos of the companies or events where you’ve spoken before.
8. Got a Book?
If you have a book, include an image of the cover, a short description and even a quick excerpt, and an ordering link. The more books you get into the hands of potential clients, the better
9. Your Downloadable Info Sheet
Look at it as a selling document. Inclusions should be:
- A quality headshot.
- Your bio
- Your speaking topics
- A description of each topic
- Learner outcomes – focus on transformation, no matter how small.
- Hiring details (see point 5)
- If you have a book, show the title brief description, and link.
- Include your fees or “Starting at $4000 for the day” or “Starting at $2000 for a half-day.”
- Include a link to your video reel.
- Tell them what to do. If someone wants to hire you: Book a call, talk to your manager, send an email. Make it a clear and easy next step.
10. Grab Their Email For Automated Follow Up
Don’t underestimate the power of email marketing. It still works, providing you do it well. If you’re not capturing people’s email addresses, you must DO IT NOW. Don’t delay – it’s money for jam. I’ve lost count of the number of sales generated for my business simply because I followed up each lead with an email series.
But when you tell people to opt into your list give a good reason why they should do it. Tell them you’ll send them hot tips on their fav topic. Invoke the power of WIIFM – What’s In It For Me. Talk about their issues, not yours. Do it right, and you’ll be well on the way to booking more speaking gigs.
Chill a Bit
The underlying aim should be to let the content do more of the heavy lifting for you. It can be tiring putting yourself out there all the time, so let each content piece act as valuable members of your silent sales team – working for you 24/7, so you can chill a bit more.
A WORD ON TRAFFIC
Notwithstanding my last comment, all of this assumes that you have eyeballs on your website content. They call it traffic, I just call it site visitors – people who are looking to hire a speaker.
If you already have a presence you will likely be getting some visitors to your website. But if things have been a bit quiet lately, you should look at different ways to drive more eyeballs to your site. Options include:
- SEO. Search engine optimization is the term given to those tasks that are employed to help your content get ranked on search engines like Google. Various techniques are used including content optimization.
- Social Media. Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn can work well if you have the time and skills to build an engaged audience on at least one of these platforms. And no, it’s not just about posting content.
- Advertising. You can run ads on the social media platform, Google, YouTube, or elsewhere. You will need a budget with enough funds allocated to weather the early ‘no results’ storm until you have a winning campaign.
Reading through this post you’re probably in accord with many of my suggestions. Now, comes the hard part. Who will do the grunt work? You or us? Sure you can do it all yourself, but in my experience, many times great ideas are implemented very badly. This is a specialized area, and although the ideas are simple enough, getting the messaging right is a challenge, to put it mildly.
We increasingly live in a specialized world. Just as you are great at what you do, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be great at creating hot content that produces a quantifiable result. We can help you with:
- Content. We write it for you, or we teach you how to do it yourself. For websites, social media, and email.
- Websites. New sites or revamp your existing site.
- Funnels. Finesse your funnel strategy or create a new one from scratch.
- More Eyeballs. Drive more visitors to your website
- More Leads. Generate leads for your speaking business.
DM me if you want help. Your current setup may be standing between you and lots of speaking gigs and the sale of other services.