After presenting to new friends at the NSA Minnesota chapter meeting a few weeks ago, I got a followup question asking what the difference is between eSpeakers and a performer directory like Gigmasters or Gigsalad. Should a professional speaker have one or the other? Both?
Both Gigmasters and eSpeakers publisher your speaker profile in a directory on the web so that potential buyers can find and contact you. In that way, there is overlap in what these two organizations offer. But there are many more differences than similarities, and whether you should belong to one or the other depends on your marketing goals and target audience.
Gigmasters’ home page title is “Musicians, DJs, Photographers, Kids Parties, Weddings, More!”, reflecting their primary market of individuals planning a party who are looking for local entertainment. The site is open to all, and I have heard of corporate party planners using Gigmasters. But the site’s focus and marketing target is not the JimCo Annual Meeting, but rather Jimmy’s graduation party: “We’re here to help you celebrate all of life’s special moments.”
eSpeakers marketing is targeted at corporate and association event organizers. A growing number of professional buyers know that they’ll find speaking pros on eSpeakers. eSpeakers also hosts coaches, trainers and consultants on their sites — all laser-focused at the business market. Speakers on the eSpeakers directory gain credibility by being in the great company of fellow professionals.
When a speaker purchases a profile on Gigmasters, they are able to enter their name, contact information, fees, long description, and post photos and videos. The profile also asks for their “song list” and “group members”, indicative of the site’s primary type of vendor: bands.
An eSpeakers profile shares some of the general content that Gigmasters includes, and additionally offers opportunities for speakers to showcase speaker-specific marketing material, such as a list of programs with audience benefits, a menu of services performed, languages spoken, professional awards, and more.
Gigmasters publishes member profiles on the Gigmasters site.
eSpeakers publishes member profiles on potentially many sites:
- eSpeakers Marketplace
- The Meeting Professionals International (MPI) Speaker Resource directory
- The Smart Meetings speaker directory (an organization for event organizers)
- The speaker’s national speakers association website (if applicable)
- The speaker’s local speaker association chapter website (if applicable)
- The Senior Planners Industry Network (SPIN) speaker directory
- Participating speakers bureaus like Washington Speakers Bureau (WSB) DirectConnect
- and many more…
Gigmasters charges a monthly or annual fee to have a profile, and a percentage of your booking fee if you’re booked through the site.
eSpeakers charges a monthly or annual fee to have a profile, although many members receive a free Starter account as a member benefit of their national speakers association. eSpeakers may publish a speaker’s profile through many different sites (some speakers are shown on as many as 30 sites that eSpeakers powers): some of these sites charge a percentage of the booking fee for jobs booked through the site, and on some of these sites there is no finder’s fee (the leads are free). When a lead comes to a speaker through any site powered by eSpeakers, the email notice clearly indicates any applicable finder’s fee so that the speaker can decide whether they want to accept the lead or not.
Should a professional speaker belong to eSpeakers, to Gigmasters, or both?
In my humble (and biased!) opinion, any speaker who wants access to corporate and association meeting professionals is well served by a complete eSpeakers profile.
A speaker who additionally wants access to the primarily residential market served by Gigmasters should consider their services as well.