As a speaker, coach or consultant, your website should work like a sales representative. Out there hustling to get your next gig. If you haven’t had at least a handful of leads come in through your website, leads that you’ve converted into paying gigs, it may be time to ask the tough questions and see if your site is actually doing its job.
Consider the following reasons why your website might be letting you down:
1. You have the wrong testimonials.
Jane Atkinson tackles this in her excellent book The Wealthy Speaker. Here’s what she had to say:
What you want for testimonials is for them to answer the question: ‘What changed as a result of John Smith’s presentation?’ That’s what you need to ask your client to write about.
I couldn’t agree more. Most testimonials read like a stripped down greeting card. “So and so is a great speaker who delivered a thoroughly enjoyable presentation.” That’s nice, but it’s hardly persuasive.
Think in terms of the results that were achieved since you were booked. Did sales go up? Has morale visibly boosted? Get specific and plant the seed of ROI in your future client’s head.
You might want to seriously consider walking clients through writing the kind of testimonials that you need, maybe even providing them with a template when you request a testimonial.
You ARE requesting testimonials and not just waiting for the client to do it on their own, right?
2. You don’t have a GOOD video.
This is another point hammered home in The Wealthy Speaker. You need at least one GOOD video on your website. Notice the emphasis on good. What’s the big deal with video? Put yourself in the shoes of a meeting or event planner seeking out the best speaker for hire. They are going to look at a lot of speakers and they’re going to want to process the gist of these speakers quickly. Video is the best way for them to do so.
Amidst all of the reasons you should willingly open your wallet wide, make one of them your website (I promise I’m not just being self-serving here) and make the other one your video. Find someone who specializes in speaker videos. It’s a different animal than commercials or short films. Once you’ve got a killer video, put it in a place of prominence, front and center, on your website.
Seriously, it should smack people in the face and make them want to hire you!
3. You haven’t made it easy for people to hire you / work with you.
Larry Winget has really nailed this part of his website. The second link in his menu says ‘Hire Larry’. In case you miss that, there’s another prominent link just a bit further down on his home page. Once you click on that section, there are links to download his introduction, photos, and other press materials. There’s a hard-to-miss button in the sidebar that walks you through the next steps. Gee, I’m starting to think that this Larry guy is open to being hired for public speaking gigs!
People want to be guided through this kind of process. You’ve shown them where the answer lies, now hold their hand as you cross the bridge together. Might I suggest a big button that says “Hire [insert your name here],” or something similar? Make sure you include a resource section where your new client can download everything they need, including a speaker introduction/bio and a press kit.
Sharing these kinds of resources on your site shows that you are a professional who has thought of everything (or close to it). People find this so reassuring that, when all else is equal, these resources could actually be the tie-breaker.
4. Your photography is weak.
This one is pretty obvious, right? You know you need professionally shot, up-to-date photos that reflect your personality? You know that getting your buddy to snap some iPhone pics isn’t how the pros do it? It’s such a no brainer! Hell, I feel silly for even bringing it up.
5. It’s just flat out bad!
This one is tough. It’s subjective and when things are outside of your area of expertise, it’s hard to know what you don’t know. Design is, of course, aesthetic; it appeals to emotions and sets up a look that says credible and professional. Design also exists to facilitate functionality, allowing for booking speakers and consultants, connecting via social media, and reading and sharing blog posts.
I’m not going to share my philosophy about what design is and isn’t. My suggestion is that you never go too long without putting your site through the wringer. If it’s been more than eighteen months since your site got a serious tune-up, bring in a pro, get your site audited to see what’s missing. Bone up on WordPress and choose a nice looking theme.
Just do something! Make it a priority to have a continually improving site and keep your foot on the gas.
I would love to know what you thought about this article. What did I leave out? What changes have you made to your site that have yielded positive results?
I hate the idea of speakers settling for fewer gigs for less money. If there’s anything I can do to help make your site better, even if it’s just providing my two cents on what you’ve got, then hit me up!