I am excited about taking on new skills that will give me new options for my work and career. I know that doing anything new is scary, so I will take it easy on myself and give myself the time I need to absorb the new information. But I will do the things I plan to do and not let things get in the way of this commitment I have made to my success. I will follow the plan I have made anyway, even if I am not always feeling courageous.
For success as a virtual speaker’s assistant over the long term, you will need to create a system to attract speakers to you. Building trust and starting relationships with future clients means helping them think of you as the go-to person in your area of expertise. An important start is to create a presence on the Internet on both your own web site and other important places on the web.
Focus on Client Education and Identification
The focus of everything you create as web content is to show that you are an amazing resource for speakers. Some speakers don’t know what they don’t know and they don’t know where to turn for advice they can believe in. The more you can educate them to become good consumers of speaker-related services, the more likely they will want to work with you.
But other speakers are very experienced and know exactly what they need. You might consider having at least two sections on your site – one for the relatively new speaker, the other that gets into a lot more detail about what you can provide in your areas of expertise for the professional speaker.
Too many speaker’s assistant web sites are generic and don’t show off your expertise or personality. Speakers tend to be very opinionated and will probably have an immediate judgment of your site. They will decide you are a pro or you are not and make a snap decision on taking the next step. Never hoard important information. Although it may seem counterintuitive, giving away important information is the best way to prove you know what you are doing. Creating content-rich web sites is a great way to attract speakers to you. If all you say is “I can help you make money” or “I can save you money”, the speaker will be skeptical. How exactly are you going to do that? Creating organization, your ability to market? Give examples and client success stories to prove your point.
Your Profile on the Speaker’s Assistant Directory
As soon as you complete and pass the Virtual Speakers Assistant Training Program final exam, you become certified as a Professional Virtual Speaker’s Assistant. This gives you an opportunity to be listed on the Speaker’s Assistant Directory, a place many speakers visit to find speaker’s assistants.
We suggest you draft the information in a Word document and then cut and paste your answers into the online profile form. Here is the information that is part of your profile (PVSA Directory Submission Form):
Speaker’s Assistant (your) name
Business Web Site
Business Contact Email
Business Phone Number
Business Address (optional)
Professional Certifications/Designations (be sure to include your PVSA)
Speaker Assistant Specialties: Select as many as apply from the list:
Managing the Speaker’s Relationships
Work with speaker bureaus
Work with meeting planners
Identify speaker prospects
Managing the Speaker’s Intellectual Property
Inventory source material
Get permissions and avoid trademark violations
Understand and research the target audience and competition
Create one sheets and speaker bios
Create multi-media presentations
Create special reports, tip sheets, articles and white papers
Create podcasts and videos
Managing the Speaker’s Office
Write administrative office procedures
Manage speaker contracts
Manage industry certifications (CSP/NSA and others)
Manage emails/incoming calls
Managing the Speaker’s Logistics
Manage the speaker’s calendar
Respond to requests after the speech
Set up travel and technology
Coordinate videotaping and transcriptions
Coordinate media opportunities
Managing the Speaker’s Marketing and Sales Process
Help promote the speech
Maintain and update the speaker web site
Handle the speaker’s database of clients and prospects
Coordinate the marketing and sales plan
Produce newsletters and email campaigns
Implement social networking strategy and plan
Manage lead generation and outreach
Managing the Speaker’s Products
Create virtual product launches
Manage speaker products and fulfillment
Sell products at events
Check out what other individuals have done with their directory entries before completing yours.
Your Speaker Assistant Web Site
Many speaker’s assistants already have a personal or business web site, but if you do not, this might be your chance to purchase a domain name and get an Internet address (the www.GreatName.com, called the URL) that will make you easier to find and remember for speakers. Consider including the words, “speaking” or “speakers” “speaker’s assistant” in your business name and/or web site URL.
Another important element of your web site will be to add the Professional Virtual Speaker Assistant insignia to a prominent location as soon as you pass the final exam and become a certified PVSA.
Overall the speaker’s assistant web site must do several things well:
1. Let potential clients know who you are and what you do
2. Create a place for potential clients to correspond with you so you can start a relationship with them
3. Give clients a place or way to pay for your services
Information about You
Your potential clients are not only judging you by your expertise, but what kind of relationship they think they would have with you. Will it be productive or not give them enough value for their money? Easy or difficult? Formal or informal? You communicate all of these things with the words, format and graphics that appear on your web site. Make sure they send the message you want to send!
Here is the information you will want to include about you:
• A short personal (not too personal) biography of your background
• Your photo
• The services you offer
• Your education and certifications
• Testimonials from clients
• Articles or other information to showcase your expertise
• How to contact you (phone, email and at least your city and state)
When you have the opportunity to do radio, newspaper, magazine or web interviews about the advantages of working with speaker’s assistants, you will want to capture these for your own web site.
You can both link to them on the radio station (or publication) web site and put actual copies as PDF or audio downloads on your web site in a special section. In addition, we have a slidecast video available for you to embed into your site or link to that shows potential speakers what they can expect in working with an speaker’s assistant.
Email Sign Up
Most web sites now have a place right on the home page where readers can sign up for a free gift or ongoing newsletter or other information updates.
Giving away a free download (generally an article, report or audio of interest to your target audience) that is automatically sent when an individual enters his or her email into a space you have created on your web site for this purpose. Many email marketing services will provide you with the tools to do this on your own web site. This is a great way to demonstrate your expertise and to entice people to give you their names and emails to build your database.
You are starting a conversation with your audience of potential clients that you might want to continue by using additional timed emails (autoresponders) to give potential clients more information about a subject they care about, as well as further introducing them to how you can help them.
Search Engine Optimization
A web site is unlikely to bring you new clients just because it exists. The web site is a resource for the people who come to your site, but it is up to you to drive traffic to your site.
One way to get people who need you to your site is to make sure that search engines, those places people enter keywords on the Internet to get a list of web sites that are likely to get them the information they are looking for. The three major search engines are Google, Yahoo and MSN. Be sure to submit your site URL to those sites so they can send people who need you your way.
Search engines work by keywords, so the more good quality content you can put on your site, particularly with words that potential clients might search, the closer you may get to the top of the list. Use words and phrases such as speakers and speaking often on your site.
Another way to drive traffic is by giving potential clients your business cards or flyers, by sending emails with a link to your site, by submitting articles with a link to your email and more.
Tracking Web Success
Once you create a web site, you will want to track how many people have visited your site and how many of these visitors become clients. You will also want to know what pages they visited and how long they visited the site. These web statistics will help you discover what is working about your site and what is not so you can make changes over time.
An easy and free way to keep track of these statistics is to have your web developer add Google Analytics, a tracking system, to your web site. It is also important to set up a Google Alert for your name and your business name so you will be notified when others mention you or link to you on the web.
Social Networking Sites
While having your own site is essential, you can also harness the power of the Internet to your advantage by adding your business profile to social networking and other business sites.
Consider adding your profile and photo to some of these sites:
To be an effective way to drive traffic to your web site, adding your profile is just the start. You will need to take an active role and add new content at least once a week. Sites like LinkedIn and Twitter allow you to interact with visitors by allowing you to ask them a question, or by allowing you to answers the questions of others where you can highlight your expertise.
Status updates are widely used on most sites where you can tell your readers what you are up to. You will want to keep them abreast of the speaking industry, exciting happenings and the fact that you are a focused insider who is having a lot of fun making things happen.
You can also post your own events on sites like Facebook when you schedule a teleclass or webinar or let authors know of important speaking events that you will be attending, live or virtually.
Responding to Inquiries
The purpose of driving traffic to your site is to allow you space and time to highlight who you are and what you offer and to excite people about working with you. We hope they will be excited enough to email or telephone you right away and start a conversation that will result in a working relationship.
However, too many professionals do all of this work to attract potential clients and then do not respond to inquiries in a timely or professional manner.
It is important to set up standards for when you will respond to inquiries you get by phone or email, for instance, that you commit to answer all inquiries within two business days.
We also suggest that you set up a standard response so that if you are too busy to send completely personal responses, you will be able to adequately get questions answered with boilerplate emails or by directing individuals to information already on your web site so you allow yourself some time to set up an appointment to talk by phone.