Podcast 128: The Business Behind Getting Paid to Speak at Events with Grant Baldwin
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After a few weeks off, it's finally time for another podcast episode!
In today's episode, I share an interview I did with Grant Baldwin from TheSpeakerLab.com.
Grant is something that I have known for a few years now. In fact, he is one of the few online entrepreneurs that has actually had lunch with my where I live, in Richland, WA! There's usually no reason for people to stop by the Tri-cities (unless you live here), so my in-person meetups with other entrepreneurs is usually pretty sparse.
Grant is someone that knows the speaking game inside and out. He has been a professional speaker for years and now teachers others how to book their own speaking gigs.
So, during the interview we discuss these 2 aspects of his business: how to actually get booked as a speaker (and get paid for it) and second, how he has build the training side of his business and how that is going.
As a quick summary, Grant Baldwin shares that he makes over six figures speaking at events. However, his business as a whole will be close to crossing the seven figure mark when you add in his training courses.
I was fascinated with how Grant has building the training side of his business through Facebook ads and webinars. So, if you have a training product (or are thinking about creating one), there is a great discussion about how you can grow that part of your business.
During the course of the episode, Grant shares a few resources:
- TheSpeakerLab.com – where you can learn more about Grant or join his training programs.
- FreeSpeakerWorkshop.com – Grant's free webinar training that teaches you “How To Start Booking (And Getting Paid For) Speaking Engagements Without Having An Existing Platform Or Being Sales-y”
Overall, I hope you enjoy the interview with Grant! He shares some excellent tips for how to break into the speaking business if you are interested in that. He also shares some great insights for how he's grown a significant [easyazon_link identifier=”B01C8WSXIS” locale=”US” tag=”nichepursuits-20″ popups=”y”]education business[/easyazon_link] (teaching others how to become speakers).
Read the Full Transcript Below[expand title=”Click Here to Expand the Full Podcast Transcript”]
Grant is someone that I met a few years ago actually in person. We went to lunch together a couple of times here in the Tri-Cities as he was traveling through town for speaking engagements. Grant has been a full time speaker speaking at 60 to 70 events a year for a number of years and has really perfected the art of speaking.
In the podcast, we dive into how he got started speaking and more importantly how others can get paid to speak. However, I’m also fascinated by the success he’s had with his speaking course called Booked and Paid to Speak. This online course has allowed him to speak much less and increase his overall income significantly. Grant shares all the details about how he’s made that course so successful through webinars and Facebook ads. With that, let’s jump into the interview.
Hey Grant, it’s good to chat with you again. It’s been a few years actually. We met in person. We actually went out to lunch here in the Tri-Cities a couple of different times. It’s been three or four years ago. Back then, it was before you had even started thespeakerlab.com. What were you doing back then and then we’re going to dive into what’s changed a little bit.
Grant:Yeah. Long story short, I used to be a pastor for a little while. I was doing some speaking in that setting, in that context and then got into just speaking outside of that world and then speaking at a lot of different high schools, colleges, different conferences, and events.
For several years, I was doing that full time. I was speaking at 60, 70 events a year all over primarily the U.S. and loved it. It was a lot of fun. The challenge of speaking is it doesn’t scale very well meaning that you’re one person in one and one time talking to one audience. While you’re there, you can’t really talk to anybody else. The nature of it is you have to get on a plane to go collect the check. There are parts that I like but part of I didn’t like. I didn’t like being away from the family.
I remember a buddy saying, it’s a high paying, manual labor job. We get paid really well for speaking and doing what we do but again, there is manual labor involved with it. Then a couple of years ago, I wanted to start making that transition and shift. I think we connected right before that time because I had a couple of gigs up in your area. I don’t know if you get many people, tourists passing through up in the Tri-Cities area.
Spencer:Not usually, not too often.
Grant:Eastern Washington, I remember being up there a couple of times for gigs.
Spencer:As I recall, that was a transition period for you because you’re definitely speaking but we also have chatted about some other ideas that you obviously didn’t pursue. You were very involved in travel. I think you had talked about maybe doing some travel website or travel hacking. You probably are still very much collecting points in that sort of thing.
Grant:Still geek out on that stuff.
Spencer:Yeah, yeah. I think it was very much a transition time, three, four years ago for you. What happened? What made you decide to start The Speaker Lab?
Grant:Yeah. Like I said, I was at a point where I was doing as many gigs as I wanted to do. My busiest year, I did about 70 gigs. It was charging on the upper end of what I felt comfortable with in that particular market. At that point, the options are basically, “All right, you can just do this for the next 10, 20, 30 years or whatever and that’s your career.” Which should be great, there are plenty of speakers that do that. For me, I felt I was looking for a new challenge, I was looking for a new mountain to climb, just pivoting to a different market where I could charge a little bit more, didn’t seem to scratch the edge, and wasn’t super exciting.
At that point, I was having a lot of people that were asking me about speaking, they were intrigued with speaking. The people are asking in different context. Some people would say, “You’re a speaker, how did you get into that? That’s interesting.” Maybe, they wanted to do it and just weren’t really sure what to do or for them they just thought it was interesting. It was just fascinating, unique type of career. They just wanted to know more about it.
That time basically is our first step towards the online space is we started a podcast called How Did You Get Into That? Where we basically interviewed people who were doing unique, interesting, fascinating types of career, just hearing how did they get started. I remember, we interviewed you on that show.
We were just interviewing unique types of careers and positions but people continued to ask me a lot about speaking. At that time, I had a small little training thing a couple years back for speakers and helping them get started. Basically, I was like, “Alright, let’s pull that out, dust that off, and update it in an online course type of setting. See if we can promote and sell that.” That’s actually what we did. At this point, about two and a half years ago or so we created a course that’s become Booked and Paid to Speak. That’s been our main bread and butter since then.
We started just figuring out, all right how do you do webinars for this? How do you drive traffic to it? How do you sell it? How do you deliver the course? All those just nuances and variables there. Basically, we started doing that and then that really took off. As the number of course sales that we had were increasing and the online side of business was increasing, I was personally decreasing the number of speaking gigs that I was doing.
At this point, at the time of this recording, I’ll do 5 to 10 gigs this year, which is a huge, huge difference from doing 70 just a couple of years ago. What’s been fun though, what’s been really interesting is even though this year I will do 5 to 10 gigs versus 70 a couple of years ago, our revenue has basically more than doubled. It really just allows a much more scalable opportunity to do something online versus having to get on a plane.
I really still enjoy speaking, the one hour. I did a gig just couple of nights ago at the time of this recording. It was a blast. The 45 minutes, hour you’re on stage, it’s amazing. You also spend a lot of time in airports, airplane, hotels, sitting backstage, and just waiting. If I could just teleport, show up, speak, and go home, that’ll be awesome. Until that shows up, then we’ll keep doing the online stuff.
Spencer:That’s right, yeah. I want to actually dive into the two areas of your business. One is how do you book paid speaking gigs and then the other is how have you made The Speaker Lab so successful? We’ll dissect both of those. For those listeners that maybe are interested in becoming a speaker and booking those gigs, what is your top tip for booking a paid speaking gig?
Grant:One of the cool things, just to zoom out for a second, about speaking is that there’s no right or wrong way to do it. Meaning that I was doing 70 events a year and I was speaking full time. I know plenty of people who do more events than that. I know plenty of people who do far less.
Spencer, you’re an example of maybe someone who would say, “You know what, I got a good thing going. I have no desire to do 70 events a year but I’d love to do 5 events or 10 events. It’s just fun, it builds credibility, it’s a way to network and connect with other people, it’s a way to potentially in certain type of events to sell products, they can generate revenue. There are a lot of reasons. I think speaking makes sense for a lot of different people in a lot of different industries. You just gotta figure out what the win is for you and what makes sense for you of how speaking could fit into the business.”
That being said, there’s a couple key questions I think are really important that people have to answer. These are the pieces that people if you don’t get right, it’s really hard to book speaking engagements, because most people come at speaking and they come at it from the perspective of, “I just want to speak. I want to speak to anyone and everyone. What do you want me to talk about? I can talk about anything and everything you want me to talk about.” That just doesn’t work.
Really, it’s no different than, Spencer if you’re teaching about building a website or a blog, I know you teach niche sites. You could say, “I’m going to do a blog about parenting. It’s for everybody. It’s for any type of parent.” You may do okay with that, but really the way that you become a really strong blog is like, “I did a thing for a blog for parents that their first child is under a year old and how do you deal with that.” A really specific niche type of thing.
Well then at that point, it’s a heck of alot easier to find readers, and to find your audience, to find potential people that would be a good fit for your site. The exact same thing is true with speaking. If you try to be this generalist and you try to be everything to everybody, it’s just not going to work. You got to be really, really clear about not only what it is that you speak you about and who it is that you speak to, but you also have to be clear about where those people gather, who are the actual buyers for the types of events that you might be interested in speaking with.
Just because you’re passionate about a subject or a topic, or just because there’s something that you’re interested in, doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s a market for it. You may say, “I am passionate about teaching underwater basket weaving.” That’s adorable but it doesn’t necessarily mean that there are massive events that are gathering around that subject or topic.
Again, not only do you have to be clear about who you speak to, what you speak about, but also that there’s an actual market for that subject or topic and that there’s events and organizers that are actually hiring speakers to come talk about that.
Spencer:Yeah. That makes sense. Definitely niching down and finding your focus is going to make things a lot easier. At that point, how do you reach out? I know some speakers just speak for free, others get paid. How do you cross that threshold into getting paid to speak? What’s your approach to reaching out to event organizers? What do you do there?
Grant:First of all I think there’s a misconception around speaking for free. I think it’s perceived as negative, this bad thing. The reality is actually speaking for free can be a good thing. The importance though is you have to be clear about why you’re doing it.
Don’t just speak for free for the heck of it. If you want to do something for a friend, throw in a favor, that’s one thing. Just as a business model, speaking for free just out of the goodness of your heart, that just doesn’t work. That’s a great way to go broke real quick. It’s no different than any other service. If you just said, “Hey, I just want to offer my service for free forever and ever.” That’s not a business. You’re just being an overly nice person who’s broke.
You have to be clear, if you’re going to speak for free, why you’re doing it. As some quick examples, it might make sense to speak for free because it’s an event that you wanted to attend anyway, or you wanted to get the practice, or let’s say you have some of the product or service that you offer on the backend. Speaking for free is ultimately lead generation.
For example, we have someone who went through our Booked and Paid to Speak training program. Their primary business is actually a coaching business. They use speaking primarily as lead generation for their coaching business. He was telling me he had generated $372,000 in revenue from their coaching business but it all comes from free speaking engagements.
On the surface, you’d be like, “Oh, you speak for free. Yeah, you’re not a real speaker.” That free speaking, very strategic, lead to hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue in a different part of his business. Again, all that to say, it can make sense to speak for free. Again, as long as you’re clear on why you’re doing it.
Having said all that is just a background there. I found a potential event. I think I would be a good fit for it, what would I do at that point? One of things that I recommend is that you start by focusing on conferences, events, groups, and organizations that are already looking for a speaker.
Let’s say you’re interested in speaking at a certain conference or an event, they’re already most likely planning on hiring a speaker. You don’t have to convince them to hiring a speaker. They’re already looking for one. You’re providing a solution to the problem that they already have. The key though is you want to make sure that you’re providing a specific solution to the problem that they have.
Meaning that again, I live in the Nashville area. If I say the Nashville Home Gardener’s Association, there’s a conference, or I don’t, whatever. I don’t know anything about gardening, I don’t know squat about that. It doesn’t make a lot of sense for me to reach out and say, “Hey, I ate a tomato one time. You should have me come speak.” I have to make sure that I’m speaking on something related to what they’re looking for and is a good fit for their potential audience.
Again, that goes back to what we’re talking about that first stage, that first step, is being really clear about who you speak to, what you speak about so that then you can start identifying who those potential events are. Again, once you identify what some potential events, conferences, one of the best ways to start is just reaching out with a cold email.
One mistake that a lot of speakers make is they send this 98 paragraph email about why they’re so awesome and why they should hire them to come speak. Just don’t do that. Think about it again from your own perspective. If someone was reaching out to pitch you for something, how is it that you would want to receive that email? What would make you want to open it? What would make you intrigued to read it or to respond to it?
Oftentimes, that means it’s going to be a very, very short and sweet. The means, it’s going to be a very, very personal to them and not this generic copy and paste email that you send to 100 other people. Just a few of those little things.
One thing I always like to do in that initial email is I like to ask a specific question, something that makes it really easy for them to reply to. If I just send an email and say, “Hey, I’m a speaker. I saw that you hire speakers. If you ever need anything, let me know.” There’s nothing for them to respond to, there’s no reason for them to reply, there’s no need to start a conversation there.
But if I ask something very, very specific and if I say something like, “I came across your Nashville Gardening Conference in October. It looks amazing. I was curious when you’ll start reviewing speakers for the event.” That’s a very specific question, that’s personal, it’s direct to them, and it’s really easy for them to reply to. They may say, “Hey, we’re going to start reviewing speakers in a couple weeks if you are free to circle back with us then.” They may say, “Hey, unfortunately we already hired someone.” The reality is this can be a bit of a numbers game and that a lot of those emails will just go completely unreplied to.
Just again, just initially, especially, is you’re just going to be knocking on some doors in a virtual setting and trying to get some traction there. Once you start doing more events, it’s a lot easier to get additional events. You can do a lot of word of mouth, you can do a lot of repeat, a lot of referrals. A lot of business can come from actually networking, connecting with other speakers that speak on a similar subject or topic.
The way that most events work, I’ll give you a great example. I spoke at an event two days ago. The event went great. Actually, they had me six years ago at the exact same event. Afterwards, I was talking with the client and they said, “Hey, you’re awesome. We’ll give you a shot in four or five years and we’ll go from there.” Because most events, they want different speakers. They don’t want the same speaker every time. They want the audience to turn over a little bit before they bring some speaker in.
For him to say, “Hey, we’ll talk to you in four or five years.” I want to continue to maintain that relationship with that client. What would be smart on my part would be, “You know what, I know you’re not going to have me back for four or five years. In the meantime, you’re going to need another four or five speakers. Let me introduce you to Spencer. Spencer is a friend of mine. I’ve seen him speak. He’ll be awesome for your event.” If you show up and you kill it, that makes me look good. It can be used to build my relationship with that event planner.
There’s a lot of that that exist in the industry as well, of just speakers referring speakers to for their other events that I already did so they’re not going to have me back for a while or the types of events where they have a bigger or smaller budget than what my fee is so I’m able to refer another speaker that might be a better fit. There’s a lot of that that exist, where just networking with other speakers can be really valuable as well.
Spencer:Yeah, absolutely. I’m sure it’s one of things that once you’re in the industry, once you’re looking for different opportunities, a lot of things start to come out of the woodwork, just like anything. Once you start networking and marketing your business, opportunities start to happen a little bit more than when you first get started.
Grant:Yeah, absolutely. I think that’s really true. A lot of it in the beginning is you’re planting seeds. I think again, it’s no different than any other service based business where you’re just planting seeds. The more seeds you’re planting, eventually, it’s going to be leading to something. You may feel like I’m throwing a lot of seed out there and I’m looking at the dirt, and I’m not seeing anything happen. That doesn’t necessarily mean nothing is happening. Maybe something is happening, you just can’t see it below the surface.
There are times where I’ve emailed clients or talked with clients and followed up with them for years. Maybe it took couple of years before they finally booked me. That’s just the way that that one happen to work out. There are other times where I’m re-speaking at an event. The wife of the National Director for this organization happened to be in the audience at the smaller regional event. She immediately calls her husband and says, “Hey, you need to have Grant come speak at a national conference.” You can’t plan on that. I didn’t know that she was going to be in the audience.
Those types of things happen when you’re continually speaking on a regular basis and continue to spread that seed. I tend to find that that good things happen.
Spencer:How much can new speakers expect to make per speech? One gig, somebody that doesn’t have a lot of experience, just getting started, how much can they make in speaking fees?
Grant:Speaking fees can feel a bit like this big mysterious black box. We’ll demystify it a little bit here. First of all, I’ll give you the short answer. If people are interested, this is totally free, you can go check out myspeakerfee.com. It’s a calculator we put together that basically you answer a couple of questions about a specific event that you might be speaking at. It will spit back a number. It really tries to demystify and simplify it.
Let me give you some context and then I’ll give you some ranges. There are a lot of variables that go into it. One big variable is going to be your experience level. If you’re a band new speaker, you’ve never really spoke before, and you’re not as good as someone who’s been doing this for several years, you typically know you won’t able to be to charge as much.
Another variable is going to be the industry that you’re speaking in. You can charge more in some industries versus others. You could charge more speaking to corporations as opposed to non-profits. You can charge more speaking to colleges versus high schools. The particular market or industry you’re speaking in has a huge variable.
Your marketing materials is a big factor. Meaning your stuff, your website, your theme of video, those type of materials, they need to look sharp, they need to look professional. Whether we admit it or not, whether we want to acknowledge it or not, people judge books by their cover. If your website sucks, then people are going to assume that you suck as a speaker. That may not be right, that may not be fair or accurate but we all do it. You need to make sure that your stuff looks professional, looks sharp. That doesn’t mean that you need to spend tens of thousands of dollars. Again, it needs to look professional. It needs to look sharp.
Another factor would be how far away the event is. For example, I’m a lot more likely to take a lower fee for something that happens to be here in Nashville versus if I got to fly halfway across the country. It’s a lot of travel or it’s just the place I don’t really want to go. Some of those are different factors. Those are variables as well.
Another variable would be if you are selling product. I’ll give you an example, one buddy just couple of days ago who was working with a speaker, who has a high end offer of something that they sell. He spoke at a big event, a well-known event, and he sold a million dollars’ worth of product at the event. For him, it makes sense to speak for free because he is going to clean up on the backside. Some of it depends on those types of variables. All that to say again, there are a lot of variables that go into it. Again, I’d encourage people to just check out myspeakerfee.com, that’ll help.
Again, let me give you some ranges. For most speakers who are getting started, most speakers are going to fall within $1,000 to $5,000 range, between $1,000, $5,000. Again, lot of variables within that. Between $1,000 and $5,000. For speakers who’ve been doing this for a little while, if you’re speaking let’s say in the corporate space or in association space or entrepreneur space, sometimes you can charge between $5,000 and $10,000.
Professional speakers who are speaking corporate, who have been doing this for a little while, they’re going to be $10,000 to $20,000. Then you’re going to have professional speakers, some that are like B list celebrities, best-selling authors, athletes, stuff like that. It’s going to be like $20,000, $30000 or so. It can go up drastically from there. There’s going to be big name speakers that are $50,000, $75,000, $100,000, which just sounds absurd and crazy but that’s the going rate.
I’ll give you this quick side. A speaker buddy told me this couple of years ago. He said, “Your fee is in relation to how long it takes to explain who you are to their boss.” For example, if I’m in charge of hiring a speaker and I go to my boss, for example with the event and I say, “Hey, we want to hire Oprah.” It needs zero explanation. Therefore, she’s going to be able to charge an exorbitant rate. Versus if they say, “Hey, I want to hire this guy name Grant. He’s a good speaker. I saw him speak one time, I’ve seen some videos, I came across his podcast, or blog.” The longer you have to explain, the more your fee drops.
Again, the bottomline again, I definitely encourage people to check out myspeakerfee.com. I think that’ll definitely help.
Spencer:Yeah. That’s a great resource. I was actually checking it out while you’re talking there. It has a lot of different factors, pretty cool. People can check that out for sure.
I want to ask one more question about speaking and then I do want to talk about Speaker Lab just a little bit. I know this is a huge discussion in it of itself. Do you have any one tip that you can give for giving a great speech? What should people be thinking about if they want to put together a speech that is memorable, that people will be inviting them back? What makes a great speech?
Grant:You’re right, there are definitely several factors. I think telling stories is really, really powerful and effective. I think using humor is really powerful and effective. I think one of the best things that anybody can do though is practice, prepare, and rehearse.
Whenever we see a great speaker, oftentimes we assume, “Oh, they’re just good. They just wing it. They just got up and chaffed from the hip there. Yeah, they just made it up as they went and it just turned out to magically be really, really good.” I promise you, it does not work like that. They spent hours and hours and hours practicing, rehearsing, going over it.
If you ever watch a stand-up comedian, if you see a special on Netflix or something, I promise you, they didn’t just, “We’re just going to hop up on stage and speak for, tell some jokes, hopefully people find it funny, and it’s all going to work together.” It’s just doesn’t work like that. They have gone over and over and over that material so many times, so polished, and so dialled in.
For example, if I was going to tell a story right now or the story that is something that would tell on stage, it would be really polished and dialled in. Why? Because I’m not making it up, because I’ve told it hundreds of times, because I know exactly how to time it, and exactly how to tell the punchline. All of that, all of those factors just because I have a lot of practice with that.
I think the more you speak, the more comfortable you become. I think that if you want to do well as a speaker and you got maybe an event coming up or something in mind that you want to speak at, the best thing you can do is really spend a lot of time practicing it, going over your material, working on your talk itself, so that when you get up, you feel a lot more confident, you feel a lot more comfortable, you’re not glued to your notes, you’re not trying to memorize the script buy you just really know the material and you know where you’re going with it, and it’s not something that you thought about 30 minutes before you walked up on stage. I think the more you practice and go over it, the better off you’ll be.
Spencer:Yeah, great tip. Absolutely, that makes sense. I do want to dive into The Speaker Lab. Obviously, you mentioned this before, this has become a big part of your business, so you don’t have to speak at 60 or 70 events a year. Are you willing to share any numbers or just give listeners an idea of the success that you’re having with The Speaker Lab, whether that’s a number of students or just whatever you’re willing to share there.
Grant:Yeah. For contacts sake, when I was speaking full time, we were doing about $300,000, $350,000 or so in revenue per year. That was again doing around 70 events a year. At this point, we’ve cut way back and we’ll do 5 to 10 events. This year, we’ll do close to $1 million in revenue, maybe cross that million mark. It’s a huge, huge difference in terms of I’m doing a fraction of the speaking gigs that I was doing and yet we’ll double or triple what we’ve been able to do in terms of revenue. Yeah, definitely, it’s been a different model but definitely much more scalable at this point.
Spencer:Yeah, absolutely. Congrats man, that’s huge. I heard to the grapevine, actually I was talking with Steve Chou not too long ago.
Grant:You know Steve?
Spencer:Yeah. Steve is a great guy. I was just at his conference, Sellers Summit, just earlier, well it’s last month. Great event. He was talking about just how well you’ve done with webinars. That was eye opening to him. Now I know he does a lot more webinars. Why do you like webinars so much?
Grant:I remember I was on Steve’s podcast a while back. We’d talked about a bunch before and I kept on like, “Dude, you got to do webinars. You got to do webinars.” He’s like, “Yeah, I don’t know.” For his credit, he had his autoresponder sequence setup that just works really, really well and just sold at autopilot in the background. I said, “Dude, webinars just work.” We just talked it through in depth of what to do. I remember he did this first webinar I think he did $60,000 in revenue, in sales. He was like, “Okay, I’m a believer now.”
First of all, webinars just work. I mean they really do. They just work really, really well especially if you are selling some type of product or course that’s going to be above $500 to $1,000 range. Even from $1,000 up to $2,000 or so you can go on some webinars. Webinars are really a great way to not only teach and to give away some of your best materiel content to share some success stories. But then to say, “Hey listen, we’re just scratching the surface.” Right now, someone who’s interested in speaking, we’ve given several things that they can go ahead and do and implement but the reality is there are a lot we haven’t even touched on. You just don’t have time for it.
It’s an opportunity to say, “Hey, if you want to go deeper in this, if you want more information, if you want more support and training, here’s this resource, here’s this tool, here’s this coaching opportunity that we have that people can learn more about and take a next step with.”
Webinars are just really, really effective for that not only teach but then also to run and present some type of offer to take a next step with you.
Spencer:Are you doing all your webinars live or do you have some evergreen recorded webinars in there?
Grant:We do a lot at both actually. I would highly recommend, if you were someone who’s saying, “Okay, I’m intrigued by doing webinars. I’m just going to record it and set it on autopilot, and set it and forget it.” That doesn’t work really well. I recommend that if you’re going to do webinars, you need to do a bunch live at first. The reason being is you want to be really comfortable on webinars. Webinars, they’re not overly complicated but it’s a different piece. You want to do it a few times just to get the feel for and get the hang of it.
The other thing too, and this is very similar to creating a speech. When you’re creating a speech and you’re just sitting there, working on your presentation or your talk, how you think the audience is going to respond, it’s just an educated guess. You just don’t know. Is this going to work? Is this going to resonate with people?
If I’m working on a new story, I may get up and deliver it. I think it’s going to work, I think it’s going to go well but then I’m going to able to see in real time, this is working or this is not working. It’s the exact same thing with a webinar. You may deliver the webinar and be like, “You know what, this seems to really resonate with people just based on the chat or people had a bunch of questions about this. Maybe something here was unclear and I need to improve that. By the time I made the offer, this seemed confusing to people or this didn’t work.”
Each time you do a live webinar, it allows you the opportunity to tweak it, make adjustments, and improve on it. By the time it’s really dialled in and you’ve done a lot of live webinars, then your offer, the pitch, the presentation, the teaching, the intro, all those pieces are really well thought through. You know that they’re really well polished. By the time you turn it on evergreen, then you know this moment is the best possible webinar that I could do. It makes a lot more sense to put it on evergreen versus again, I’m just throwing up something up there, hope it works, and hope it converts. You really want to test it in a live setting and then make adjustments from there before you eventually make it evergreen.
Spencer:If people want to watch one of your webinars to either learn about speaking or just to dissect what’s working really well on your webinar, on your pitch, that sort of thing, where can they go to do that, to watch those?
Grant:To kill two birds with one stone go to freespeakerworkshop.com. At this point, at the time that this is recording, that link goes to automated webinar registration page so people can walk through that exact. I encourage people to do it. Even if you’re just not interested in speaking at all, you can opt in and just walk through that to see what the email sequences are like, those pre-impose, what the webinar structure is like.
I still do that today with other people as I’ll opt in for something just to walk through, to see what the emails are like, to see what the webinars like, to see how they present something. I’ll always just pull on some ideas from, “Oh, here’s something we could do, here’s something we could try, here’s how we can change the offer.”
Literally just yesterday, I saw something on someone’s webinar. I was like, “Oh, that’s a really clever idea. We should totally implement.” This is a simple thing we could implement in our automated webinar. I think just paying attention to what other people are doing can definitely lead to some good ideas.
Spencer:Yeah, I agree. I’ve done that a lot. I’ve watched either other webinars or just gone through email sequences. You can pick up a lot of great tips from other marketers or just people selling products in general. I encourage people to do that. How are you driving most of the traffic to Speaker Lab?
Grant:A lot of it at this point is through Facebook ads. I guess to take a step back, when we first created Booked and Paid to Speak, I was like, “Okay, how are we going to sell this?” I think this is really important to think through, because most people are like, “All right, I want to create a course, or I want to write a book, or I want to have some type of thing that I want to sell.” But they don’t really think through how they’re going to sell it. I promise you, the model of if you believe that they will come does not work. Nobody cares about your things. You have to really think through how are you going to sell it.
The two most common options are going to be, to do some type of the big launch thing, where’s it’s this big open close launch for a week or so and you do that a couple of times a year. I was personally never super intrigued by that. That just felt very, very stressful to me. I felt like you’re putting all your eggs in one basket. If something goes wrong, which things tend to go wrong in tech space, it could really screw you over from a financial perspective. I wasn’t super interested in that.
One thing that I had seen people do is people were doing a lot of these live webinars and they’re doing an evergreen type of format where you’re doing the webinar, you’re making an offer, but you’re also going to do pretty much the exact same thing the next week or in a couple of weeks or something. I’ve seen some people do similar things to that so we decided that’s what the model we wanted to do.
We were doing a lot of Facebook ads from the beginning. We still do a lot of Facebook ads. We have a more organic traffic now from this point. Most of the stuff that we do drives people to the webinar. Even people go to the myspeakerfee.com, that will help them to figure out what their speaking fee is. At the end of that, after they complete that, we’re asking them if they want to register for the automated webinar. A lot of what we try to do tries to drive people to the webinar itself whether organic or paid.
Man really, if you’re going to do paid, it’s really a numbers game. I think it helps a ton to do a lot of live webinars to know basically what your numbers are. I’ll give you a quick example. Let’s just say hypothetically, it cost you $5 to get someone to register for your webinar. Let’s say you spent $500 and you have 100 people that register for your webinar. You know of the 100 people that you’re going to have, you’re going to have let’s say a 25% show up rate. You had 100 people, you have spent $500, $5 a lead, you had 100 people register, but only 25 of them are actually going to be on the webinar. You know from the past that let’s say two of them are going to actually buy, whatever that conversion rate works out to. Two of the actual 25 people are going to buy. If you’re selling let’s say $1,000 course, that’s $2,000 from the $500 that you started with.
What you got to do though is you have to do several webinars in that type of context to figure out what those numbers are. I know generally that if we put $1 in, we’re usually going to get around $3 to $4 out. That’s from a lot of tweaking and just knowing those numbers. How do we improve the registration rate? How do we improve the show up rate? How do we improve the conversion rate? How do we improve the conversion rate on the follow up sequence? We add in a down sell sequence as well.
Basically, the more you know those numbers and you know that when I put $1 into ads, it’s going to come back and this may come back as $1.50 or $2, or some people are $10 or $20, depending on what you’re offering. If you know those numbers, then Facebook ads could be really, really, really profitable. But again, you have to not only know the numbers but you have to have some type of system and funnel in place ultimately that sells that you know converts and you know works.
Spencer:What type of Facebook ads have you found worked best for you? Are you doing video ads that take people directly to the webinar landing page or some other sequence?
Grant:When we first started doing webinars, I was doing most of the ads myself. Partly just because I wanted to figure it out, I wanted to learn how do you actually do an ad and what’s the difference between the campaign and an ad, setting an ad.
At this point though, we’ve had a couple different contracts that worked with us. We got one guy we’ve been working on for a while now. He does all the nuances in terms of just targeting, of turning on ad sets, turning off ad sets of what’s working, what’s not working. He’s really in the nitty-gritty.
I can tell you though that we try a variety of different things. One thing that works really well for us currently is doing a lot of look-alike audiences. We’ll take a list of the buyers for our course. We will upload it to Facebook and just tell Facebook, “Find us more people like this.” Facebook just knows an insane amount of information about us. It’s able to say, “Here are all the behaviours and different criteria and factors of these people that bought. Let’s go try to find more people like that and show the ads to them.”
Facebook, ideally, wants you to be successful because if you are successful, you will spend more money with them. I know for us, we spent a lot of money on Facebook. As long as it keeps working, we will continue to spend money on Facebook ads.
We do a lot of look-alike audiences. We do some retargeting so if people go to our site, I think we’ve all experienced that, you go to a site, then you see the ads chasing you around later. We do some of that with retargeting ads as well. We do kind of a two-step process where we’ll run traffic to our ads to a piece of content whether that’s a written blog post or one that we’ve been doing for a little while now is I did a 15 minute Facebook Live couple months ago. Basically just walking through a step by step process of finding and booking speaking engagements. We have people that will view that and it costs us about $0.02 per view currently, which is pretty minimal. And then we will retarget people that have watched a certain amount of that video.
There are several things to try. I think the biggest thing I would say with Facebook ads is the same thing I’d say with webinars is that you really have to try, you have to be willing to test, and you have to know that what maybe working for Spencer may not work for Grant and vice versa and for anybody else. You have to try couple different things knowing that it’s an experiment and you’re tweaking and improving as you go, and then hopefully, you will be able to find the right combination that make sense and works for you.
Spencer:Any other tips that you’d like to share either for speaking or what’s made your course so successful?
Grant:In speaking I would say get really clear on how speaking fits into your business and what make sense for you. Again, like I said, there’s no right or wrong way to do it. You can speak a lot, you can speak a little. It’s really a blank slate of what makes sense. I think again that speaking can be used for most entrepreneurs on their business in one way or another.
Even if you’re speaking at something for free, if you go to an event and you’re seeing someone on stage, that’s the speaker, you’re going to ascribe a certain amount of credibility with that person. There’s a certain level of respect that goes along with, “Oh, that’s a legit thing to be a speaker at a conference or an event.”
There are a lot of speakers who may speak just primarily from that same point. It’s just good for brand building. It’s good for credibility and recognition in the industry or in the space that they’re speaking in. Again, I think speaking makes sense for everyone. I think it can actually look different for everyone.
In terms of the online stuff that we’ve been doing, I think part of the reason that the funnel that we have and the course that we have has done well, is because we’re solving a really specific problem. It’s not saying, “This course is going to teach you everything and anything you need to know about speaking, about how to write a speech, or how to find speaking engagements, about all this.” Really, it’s about how to find and book speaking engagement. It’s a very specific thing. We don’t really even talk about anything in there about creating your talk. We touch on it briefly but that’s not really what it’s about.
The same thing with if you’re teaching how to do niche sites, you’re teaching something very, very specific. There’s a specific need and a specific pain point that people have. We can get into a lot there on how to actually go about doing that. I think really getting clear about what’s ultimately the problem that you’re solving and making sure you’re creating your material around that to solve a specific problem for a specific person and specific audience, that’s what everything that can really do well and sell well and not just someone that create this generic product or course. I just throw it out there just because I see other people doing that. I just don’t think that that works well if you’re not solving a specific problem for a specific audience.
Spencer:Excellent tips. I appreciate you coming on the podcast. You share a lot of great strategies I think the people can take away that have been listening here. We’ve mentioned a couple of different URLs. How can people follow along with you or where would you like to send listeners now?
Grant:Yeah. Just to recap those URLs. If people are wondering how much should I charge for a speaking engagement, go to myspeakerfee.com. If people are interested in going to one of our trainings, webinars about how to find and book speaking engagements, go to freespeakerworkshop.com. If people are interested in just the speaking topic, you can definitely check out thespeakerlab.com. There’s free podcast, there’s lots of blog post, and lots of just free resources. People can check out all about speaking, speaking industry and how to find and book speaking engagements. Yeah, definitely check those out.
Spencer:Perfect. Thanks Grant, I appreciate your time very much.
Grant:You bet, Spencer. I enjoyed hanging out with you brother.
Spencer:Yup, thanks a lot.[/expand]
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