by Jason McCoy 

Updated May 2019

Recently I received a question related to voice over marketing (which always seems to be a popular topic).

Here’s the email:

Is sending your voice over demo on CD via snail mail a waste?

I was a big fan of mailing out voice over demo CDs back in the day.

In fact, there are two instances (from many years ago) I remember sending out around 400 CD packages within 30 day periods.

The first time was when I was just getting started in voice over.

Radio imaging was the voice over niche I was most interested in at the time and I wanted to see if I could pick up more radio clients.

So I purchased a list of commercial radio stations, put together a nice marketing package and snail mailed my imaging demo CD to as many CHR, alternative and country radio station program directors as I could find.

The result?

Two clients.

2 Clients / 400 CDs Mailed = 0.005 Success Rate

That may not seem like much but thankfully both clients were large market radio stations that paid well and ended up retaining my voice over services for years.

So, it does work and it was worth it for me back in the day, but…

Is it worth it to mail out your voice over demo on CD today?

Even though I saw success with mailing out marketing packages years ago, I don’t think it’s the best way to spend your marketing budget now.

Here’s why…

First, it’s expensive.

When you factor in the cost of CDs, mailers, and postage, plus the time it takes you to put it all together and ship, it gets expensive, especially if you plan to continue to market this way.

Second, the odds are stacked against you.

Many things have to fall into place in order for this marketing campaign to be successful.

You’ve got to…

– Hope you have the correct mailing address

– Address it to the right person

– The postal service has to physically deliver it

– Your prospect has to take time to open it

– It must be received at a time when the prospect has a need or is interested in voice over

– Your prospect has to like what they hear on your demo

– And finally they have to make an effort to get in touch with you


That’s a lot of obstacles to overcome.

No wonder I only saw a 0.005 success rate.

Third, when was the last time you used a CD player?

With everything being digital now, does a prospect even want to receive a CD in the mail ?

I personally wouldn’t want to have to open it up and find a cd player.

Sending a CD might create more work for your prospect.

All that said, there is ONE benefit I see to mailing CDs to prospects:

Since there aren’t many people that take the time to actually send something via the postal service, you will instantly stand out, which would be beneficial in an industry like voice over.

While standing out from the crowd is important in voice over marketing, all the other negatives that go along with mailing CDs show that there are probably other ways to get a better return on your investment.

Marketing Alternatives to Test

Maybe you…

Still mail something (so you’ll stand out) but not a CD…

…or…you try email marketing…

…or…you work on building client relationship over time….

It will require testing things out, but you’ll eventually find ways to get the best return on your investment.

Also, keep in mind, improving your ROI isn’t just something to consider when you’re marketing, spending and buying things for your voice over business…

You also need to get the best return on your time – which could mean turning down a low paying job so you’re available for one that pays more or hiring someone to free up your time to record more.

Highest Success Rate?

Ask yourself: “Can I get better results by using my time or money differently?

How about you?

Which form of voice over marketing has given you the highest success rate?

Let me know in the comments below.

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  • Mike McDonnell says:

    I do like the idea of mailing something, like the suggestion of mailing out business cards to potential clients (DPW). Might be a good idea to follow-up with an email thanking them for visiting your website or listening to your demo. Like Jason often suggests, building a relationship over time that may someday result in a loyal client. Great discussion everybody. Thanks!

    Reply

    • Jason McCoy says:

      Following up with prospects (without being annoying) can completely change your business!

      Reply

  • Bradley Hyland Johns says:

    Thanks Jason,
    I agree that CD’s are definitely old school and cumbersome. I have a bow of them though…and once in a while I’ll hand one out to an interested person, just in hopes they stick in their car’s cd player and have a listen on the way to work. If they like it, they’ll contact me.
    I spend my marketing cash on good quality branded post cards and business cards, and also a small “branded” gift item ( nope, not a mug or a pen etc 🙂 I send to all new clients and possibles that I’ve connected with somehow. I’ve gotten nothing but great comments and thank-you’s from this so far.
    I find that custom branded postcards are the biggest bang-for-the-buck out there.

    Reply

    • Jason McCoy says:

      I bet very few people send the small branded gift. Great way to stand out!

      Reply

  • Scott W. Burns says:

    I like spending money on the Post Cards as a “Teaser” campaign idea! CD’s are so 1990’s. Believe it or not I hear of some agents in large markets who still want them! Apparently they don’t have clutter in their lives. I’m thankful CD’s are pretty much history. They’re expensive coffee cup coasters…

    Reply

  • Larson Bennett says:

    Thanks for this blog post. Though I’m no VO neophyte, I am just now getting a website and developing marketing materials. The CD question came up for me, but when I considered the costs and the outdated nature of the medium, I quickly dismissed the idea. It occurs to me that the ticket is finding a way to get prospects – with as little pain as possible – to click on a link to one’s website where he or she will find the talent’s demos front and center. What about a postcard advising that an email is on the way? Maybe. For about 10 years I was creative director at a Phoenix ad agency, which means I was on the other side of the table. About once a month I received some type of promotional item from a lady in an attempt create and up my awareness of her. That actually resulted in my contacting that person zero times. As with all advertising, it’s not only about awareness, which is important, it’s also about solving a prospect’s problems. So, for me, it’s about finding the most efficient way to get potential clients to go to my website…where they will easily and without searching around, get right to my demos. If they like what they hear, they will then click on my About page where I communicate that I’m the answer to solving their voice over issues. This, of course, follows the due diligence of contacting production houses, ad agencies, broadcast operations, etc. to get the NAME of the specific person with whom to communicate. Beyond the heads-up postcard, any suggestions on how to get prospects to open an email and click on the link to a talent’s website? That, to me, is the endgame.

    Reply

    • Jason McCoy says:

      That’s great insight Larson. I am surprised you didn’t end up contacting the person who consistently followed up with you. I guess you were aware of her services but it didn’t solve your problem at the time. I agree, getting a prospect to listen to your demo on your website is how you’ll increase your conversions. Getting a prospect to open and click a link is a challenge. I’ve tested a few things and have noticed that personalization is key.

      Reply

      • Larson Bennett says:

        I guess I should have said that I didn’t contact her in terms of hiring her for voice over. I suppose our initial contact must have been encouraging, but her style didn’t fit our needs at the time. I do remember thanking her for the first gift. But, honestly, it has been over 10 years, so it’s all a bit cloudy. Well, I will say this, she did accomplish the recall part of the equation; however, it would have been better if she had researched our clients a bit and expressed a knowledge of them. That’s the kind of thing that matters.

        Reply

  • I recently toured a local studio doing research for my VO business plan. I asked them this very question, and they said, “Absolutely not, no CDs, thank you very much,” and said “everyone” does MP3s now. works for me! That said, I was thinking exactly what you were saying about snail mailing out something to a studio who’s retained your services and/or prospective clients, some type of office supply that has your brand name on it, perhaps, pen and notepad or sticky notes, magnets, that kind of thing. I love the biz card with QR code idea in the comments below.

    Reply

    • Jason McCoy says:

      MP3s are easier for everyone, just gotta stand out from everyone else.

      Reply

  • Melinda Kordich says:

    cds haven’t been a thing for YEARS I don’t know why one would even consider it…

    Reply

    • Jason McCoy says:

      I guess because it’s the way it was done in the past. But you’re right, it doesn’t make a lot of sense today. How about sending a flash drive instead of a CD? Just a much work and cost to send but a more useful medium.

      Reply

      • Melinda Kordich says:

        I send my demos via mp3, no one is going to bother to plug in a flash drive-I work with a casting director-believe me you want to be as easy and accessible as possible, one click of the mouse-done! Tech has made our job so fascinating….

        Reply

  • [400cds = $20] + [400 mailers/postage = ~$400] = $420 plus time
    Time is a factor, but if you get 1 job it covers materials cost.

    That
    said, if you’re going to mail something physical, I’d go for very
    pretty business cards with a link to your demo online. QR code on the
    back, maybe. Cheaper to mail and with a QR code, they can scan it with
    their phone and listen anywhere.

    [500 biz cards = $25] + [500 letters and postage = $210] = $235 plus time.

    Half
    the cost, 100 more opportunities, twice the ease of use, and they still
    have a physical object in hand to remind them of you. ; )

    Reply

    • Jason McCoy says:

      Great idea! Everything about this is easier. Do people actually scan QR codes? I’ve seen them for years but I’ve never scanned one. Even if they didn’t maybe they would just go to your website.

      Reply

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