black speakers network headshot

Black Speakers Network (BSN) provides speaker training development and community to 550+ members. Below is their MemberSpace case study which contains website screenshots of their membership setup along with a short founder interview.

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Home Page

BSN's home page uses friendly images and video to showcase their founder and members engaging with each other. It's very welcoming and helps visitors get an immediate sense of wanting to be part of the group. They also have many testimonials from actual members here - always a good idea.

black speakers network home page screenshot
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Sales Page

After clicking a call-to-action on the home page, visitors are brought to a dedicated sales page explaining what's included in the membership and what it costs. They have a nicely edited video of their members interacting which carries over the welcoming sense from the home page. They also have additional testimonials right by their sign up link!

black speakers network sales page screenshot
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Member Navigation

After paying to become members, people are sent to a navigation page with a clear getting started message at the top and an email address for support (very smart). They then explain and link to every aspect of their membership in a vertical list so users can easily scroll to access anything they want.

black speakers network navigation page screenshot
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Member Pages & Content

The member navigation page also acts as the member content page with links out to various videos, documents, their Facebook group, event registration, and more. Everything is in one place so members can always find what they're looking for. Plus this page is linked in their top navigation.

black speakers network member page screenshot
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Interview with the Founder

Why did you start your business?

When asked, who is Brian J. Olds, I like to say that I was the tall, skinny kid from Baltimore city who lived most of his life attempting to blend into the background and dared not to stick out. Born an introvert, I never thought I would one day stand in front of hundreds of people and confidently deliver speeches.

Yet, in 2006, I stood up in a small classroom on the campus of Morgan State University to deliver my 1st presentation in Toastmasters. I WAS AFRAID. My sweaty palms trembled as I clenched my notes like a security blanket. I didn’t want to speak, but I knew I had to because instinctively I recognized that everything that I wanted in life was waiting for me… just outside of my comfort zone. It was there that I discovered not only my passion for speaking but also my desire to create platforms to assist current and aspiring professional speakers in reaching the audience they were called to serve.

Fast forward today, as the President and Founder of Black Speakers Network we are on a mission to equip, connect and inspire the next generation of Black Professional Speakers. I have come to realize with professional speaking and in life, it doesn’t matter where you start, it only matters where you are going.

We are here to help current or aspiring professional speakers gain clarity on their mission, message, marketing, how to monetize and manage their speaking business. We also seek to increase opportunities for our members by connecting them with meeting planners and platform hosts in search of speakers.

How does your business model work?

Black Speakers Network’s (BSN) primary business model consists of membership subscription powered by MemberSpace, digital products sales, event marketing & sponsorship, affiliate marketing as well as training and consulting. We certainly started from very humble beginnings. Our very first digital product was a $5 PDF download entitled: 51 Online Resources To Find And Book Speaking Engagements. This was a great test product to verify proof of concept and showed that we had a market of under served African American speakers. From there we began to slowly increase our portfolio of offerings.

We started building a community very early on especially on Twitter and Facebook, so it did make natural sense for us to offer some kind of paid membership option. MemberSpace has been a strong partner since the beginning of our membership program in early 2018. MemberSpace has been the only membership platform we have trusted, and they have grown with us to over 6 figures in revenue.

How do you continue to build your membership?

Historically, Black Speakers Network has done very little traditional “selling” to convince people that they should join. In fact, the vast majority of our growth up to this point has been largely organic. Most people will hear about BSN on social media or do an organic search and the most common reaction is: “Wow, I had no idea this organization existed”. We only just recently began running paid social media ads. We nurture new relationships by adding them to the BSN Facebook Community at http://bit.ly/bsnfb where we capture their email address and consistently provide valuable content and resources. This comes in the form of weekly webinars, which we call speaker development classes which give members a sample of the value of our membership. Before crafting the membership options we conducted a survey in our community to determine what our people wanted and how much they were willing to pay for it. This really removed the guesswork and allowed us to focus on building a great membership experience.

How do you keep cancellations down?

Once we crossed the threshold of about 100 members, attrition was something that we started to keep a close eye on. We know that members will not remain BSN members forever and certainly, we want those who have achieved their goals to move on in a productive way. As a company, we strive to remain curious, not just about why members leave but why they choose to stay. Through surveys, community engagements, and most importantly, live conversations, we can keep a pulse of which resources, opportunities, and membership features are most important for our members and act quickly to make continuous improvements. I really appreciate the fact that MemberSpace has such a simple yet robust back-end dashboard to quickly assess how our membership program is evolving. Not only that but if we do need to change, update or verify membership information I can do it simply and easily in most cases right from my mobile device. I could not ask for a more user-friendly platform.