by Jason McCoy
Voice over marketing seems to be a missing element for many extremely talented voice actors.
In this guide I’m going to show you:
1. Why marketing is so important…
2. Give you 3 powerful tips to get your voice over marketing on track and…
3. Explain 4 ways you can diversify your marketing plan.
Let’s get right to it…
When you sign up as a Voice Acting 101 subscriber for the first time, you get this email from me:
As you can see, I ask:
“What challenge do you have with voice over right now?”
Without a doubt, the number one response a struggle with:
Finding voice over work and getting hired.
The sad truth is that many voice actors just don’t have enough work to keep them busy.
And it’s not for a lack of talent!
The solution to this problem comes down to business marketing.
By marketing your voice over business properly, you’ll have more clients.
More clients = more voice over work. And more work = a regular stream of income from voice over.
Most voice actors know they need to market their voice over business, they just don’t do it.
Which is why I made this guide with ideas for finding work.
Even though you know the importance of voice over marketing to grow your business, maybe you don’t know how.
In fact, here’s a recent response I received from someone about their biggest voice over struggle:
That’s because a great voice actor isn’t always a great entrepreneur by nature. You may love the art of voice over but have little interest in running a business.
Or maybe there’s another reason…
You’re a creative type of person, and don’t want to be a sales person.
You dislike the idea of having to sell something.
Maybe you’ve tried some marketing and it didn’t work so you gave up.
Or you became comfortable with your client list and dropped the ball on your marketing efforts.
It doesn’t really matter why you’re not marketing.
Just know it’s one of the main reasons why voice actors (and other businesses) fail.
Here are three powerful tips to help make sure voice over marketing works for you:
These tips are really basic but because they are the foundation of marketing, they’re also very powerful.
One very important note before you begin marketing:
You only have one chance at a great first impression. Make sure your website, demos and your ability/skills are the best they can be before you start marketing.
If you’re trying to sell something of poor quality or something no one wants, no kind of marketing will help you be successful.
Got all 3 up to par?
Have you ever heard of paying yourself first? The general idea is to make saving for retirement the first expense from your income. If saving for retirement is the last thing you do, odds are it won’t happen.
It’s the same thing when it comes to voice over marketing.
We all have a set amount of time everyday to devote to our voice over business as a whole.
No matter if you’re full time or part time, marketing needs to be one of the first things you do. Not last.
You can’t put marketing on the back burner and expect to see results.
It won’t happen!
So instead of marketing last (or never), make it one of the first items on your daily to-do list.
Here’s what your daily schedule should look like:
1) Paid Work – Record, edit and send off any voice over work you’ve been hired or paid to do.
2) Marketing – Once you run out of paid voice over work, spend time marketing your voice over business.
3) Everything Else – Once you’ve met your daily marketing goal, then you can deal with accounting, social media, emails, and all the stuff that isn’t as important as 1 and 2.
Marketing is like dieting, you won’t really notice changes after 1 day. But if you follow this schedule everyday, it’ll become a never-ending, client-base building cycle!
From the outside, voice over seems like a very straightforward business right?
You read and record scripts.
But as a voice actor you know there are many different types of projects you could work on. Voice over is used in audio books, online videos, phone greetings, animations, and commercials just to name a few.
Those are voice over niches or genres.
You can even break a voice over niche down further.
For example, say you’re voice over niche was audio books. You can focus on one specific audio book genre:
By focusing your voice over marketing on one niche (to start), you’ll avoid feeling overwhelmed with too broad of a service, like voice over.
You’ll have the exact client in mind for your specific niche.
This allows you to crush it in that one voice over niche!
It may seem odd to narrow your focus in order to grow but it works because you’re concentrating your efforts.
In fact, some of the most successful voice over actors have narrowed their service offering down to one or two specific voice over niches.
Remember, it doesn’t mean you can’t offer services outside this focus niche, you’re just heavily marketing your selected niche.
How do you narrow it down and select your niche?
If you don’t have any clients yet do one of these 2 things:
1) Choose a niche by thinking about what you’re best at or are most comfortable with when you practice.
or 2) Think of voice over projects you’d love to be a part of.
For me, I’d much rather voice a role in a commercial or do a narration than record multiple characters in an audio book.
So consider what you enjoy doing most and pick that as a niche to focus your marketing efforts on.
Now you have your niche and know exactly where to focus your marketing efforts!
Obiviously the goal of your marketing is to build up your client base, but saying you want to “find more voice over work” or “have more clients” is a not a goal you can easily take action on.
It’s too vague.
There’s no way to know if you’re making progress.
You won’t know if you’ve reached the goal.
A goal like “find more voice over work” is a big picture goal. Big picture goals need to be broken down into smaller, precise goals.
For example, if you wanted to visit Bora Bora next year, here’s what your goals might look like:
Specific goals are smaller, actionable goals that get you one step closer to the big picture goal.
(Try not to get distracted with Bora Bora)
Instead of “find more voice over work” a better specific voice over goal would be: “Email five animation studios today”.
Notice the specific goal has a time frame. It’s tells you what to do and when it do it.
Setting specific goals can be used far outside of voice over marketing. Specific goals are especially useful for things you tend to put off, feel overwhelmed with or just don’t know where to start, like marketing.
Now that you’ve got a good foundation for voice over marketing (make time to market, focus your efforts and set specific goals), here’s 4 examples of voice over marketing in action:
Marketing experts have come up with many different types of marketing strategies. Some strategies work better for voice over than others. You’ll need to test and select which strategies work best for you.
Here are just a few ideas you can incorporate into your own voice over marketing plan.
One of the first places you can start marketing is by reaching out to friends, family, and other important people in your life and letting them know what you’re doing. If they can’t use your services, maybe they’ll refer you to someone else.
Just a quick simple email will do:
“I just started a voice over career, and I’m looking for businesses that need new on-hold phone announcements. If you know of anyone who may need it, let me know. I’d love to talk with them.”
You want to spread the fact that you’re a voice actor to everyone you know. The more people who know about your business, the better.
If you can bring it up in conversation (naturally), that’s great too!
Thankfully voice acting as a career tends to be a conversation starter, so people usually want to know more.
Also, other voice actors are great for word-of-mouth marketing. You may not think so but some of my best clients have come as referrals from other voice talents.
Of course, this usually happens with non-competing voice actors.
So for example, an Italian speaking voice actor may refer their client to an English speaking voice actor (who they really trust) for a project needing an English voice over.
In fact, here’s a referral from another voice talent I received just this morning:
Never underestimate the power of word of mouth marketing and what it can do for your business.
Direct Marketing is one of the most challenging types of marketing but it also comes with a great record for success.
Direct Marketing can be mailings, phone calls, emails…anything where you reach out to potential clients directly.
Here’s my experience with a few direct marketing ideas…
Years ago I marketed heavily toward alternative and CHR/pop radio stations. I mailed (thousands) of postcards, CDs and letters to radio station program directors around the country.
I picked up several radio station clients from these mailings.
But, the problem was that sending anything via mail gets to be expensive.
If you’re comfortable with it, cold calling can also be a great way to market and gain new clients.
I personally feel calling someone out of the blue is slightly intrusive. Just like how you’ve setup a daily to-do list, the person you’re calling probably has one as well.
So when you call they have to stop what they are working on and figure out who you are and what you’re calling about. That’s why some people see phone calls as interruptions to their workflow.
I’m not saying phone calls don’t work. They do.
Before the internet the phone was the best way to connect with someone.
Sending an email solved both of the problems I had with previous marketing efforts:
1. It’s NOT expensive! No postage costs.
2. It’s NOT intrusive! The recipient can read and respond whenever they have time.
The only downside to email is that it’s so easy to do everyone tries to do it.
Luckily, most people do it all wrong!
I’ll show you the right way in just a minute.
Know that even when you do email marketing correctly, you may send 20, 30 or 40 emails before you even have one response. In fact, some won’t even read your email, others won’t bother responding.
There are ways to improve your odds of getting a response (check out #3 here to see email marketing in detail).
Here are a few ideas to help you succeed:
Change your perspective on your expected marketing results. Instead of trying to get a YES every time and getting bummed for every NO you hear, make it your goal to get 99 no’s before you get a 1 yes.
Here’s what 99 no’s and 1 yes looks like:
Seriously, make a spreadsheet with 100 rows and keep track!
By being prepared for rejection, you’ll overcome it.
Also, remember timing is everything!
Ever notice how your ears perk up when you hear a commercial for something you’re actually thinking of buying? If you weren’t considering the purchase you’d tune it out. That’s why you’ve got to make contact with the prospect when they need voice over.
How do you know when they need voice over?
That’s why follow up is important. In fact, 80% of sales happen on or after the fifth contact. So just because you aren’t immediately hired the first time you make contact, don’t think it won’t happen later.
That doesn’t mean to bother people who aren’t interested. So keep track of who you’re reaching out to with either a spreadsheet or CRM software.
A quick note on this email marketing thing…
Because marketing takes so much effort and can be met with rejection, people tend to get…well…lazy.
They try to scale this and mass mail as many people as possible. It becomes about quantity instead of quality. Which is 100% the wrong thing to do.
Your marketing emails should be personal and show interest in the person you’re sending it to. They should not have any hard selling.
Here’s a really bad example of a marketing email (hopefully you can learn from):
Am I really going to respond to this person?
There are so many things wrong with this email. I’m only going to touch on a few of the main issues.
First is the terrible subject line: “Call Me”. That’s pretty demanding for someone trying to make a sale.
Second, the really generic email address. It’s blurred in the image above but it’s from a spammy sounding gmail account.
Third, the email is way too long. In fact, this email has 3 more paragraphs not even shown.
Fourth, it’s not written to me personally at all. He doesn’t know my name or what I do. It’s just a email he sends to everyone he can.
The fifth and final takeaway is how it’s all about the sender. He says:
“I would be happy…”
“We are offering…”
Now you know what not to do. Here’s a better way to structure your voice over marketing email:
The email should be a maximum of 4 sentences total (sometimes sentences 1 and 2 can be combined). If your email is longer than 4 sentences it will most likely be deleted.
Sentence 1 – Something specific to the person you’re sending it to.
Sentence 2 – How do you know them? What’s your relation?
Sentence 3 – Why are you contacting them? Don’t sell or talk about you. Make it about them.
Sentence 4 – What would you like them to do next?
Keep this structure in mind when sending emails and you’ll get much better response rates from your email marketing.
In case you don’t know what pay-per-click is, let me quickly explain:
PPC is one way search engines make money. A search engine (like Google) shows your ad when someone searches for a keyword related to your business.
You basically create a campaign with a list of keywords related to what you do. You then bid for your ranking or position in the search results. When someone searches for a keyword related to what you do, if your bid is high enough your ad will show in the results.
So let’s say someone searches for “female voice talent”. If that was one of your campaign keywords, your ad would appear at the top of the results page (just like they do for these advertisers):
You only pay if someone clicks on your ad which then takes them to your website.
Once they’ve reached your website you hope they convert from a visitor to a lead (and hopefully a paying client)!
Using Google’s AdWords, you can see “female voice talent” is searched around 50 times per month. The suggested bid price is $6.74 for that keyword phrase:
That’s for just 1 click!
So PPC can be expensive, especially if you’re not sure what you’re doing.
There’s much more to PPC campaigns than just creating an ad.
In fact, Pay-per-click campaigns have burned me more times than I care to mention. I was finally able to get a better ROI by following these simple guidelines:
First, narrow down who you’re targeting. “Voice Over” is too broad of a search term. Go with something more specific like “Spanish male voice talent”.
Second, use the negative keywords feature. Negative keywords are words you don’t want to show up in searches for or words you don’t want to be associated with.
For example, you probably don’t want to pay for clicks from people who searched “free voice over” or an accent or location that isn’t you, like “new york voice talent”. So you’d add those to your negative keywords list.
By adding negative keywords to your campaign, your ads will not show for searches including those words.
It’s really important to make sure your website and your demos are exactly what the searcher is looking for. If a visitor doesn’t instantly like what they see (or hear) when they click your ad, you risk losing them.
Start off small and try to do PPC yourself. There are many PPC managing companies willing to setup your campaigns. But you know your business best and Adwords provides many tools to help you succeed.
Please be very careful with PPC. You can easily lose your daily budget without gaining any new business.
I won’t go into all the Pay-to-Play sites available (you can read details on a few on this list)
Instead, I’ll focus on how Pay-to-Play sites should be used as part of your marketing plan.
Pay-to-Play sites continue to be a great way to gain experience, jobs and clients. That’s why pay-to-play should be one part of your marketing plan.
I’ve landed jobs from every one of the pay-to-play sites where I’ve been a member.
Pay-to-Play sites have been successful because they do all the marketing for you. They enable you to just focus doing what you love, voice over.
That’s one of the main differences between pay-to-play and direct marketing:
Each has it’s benefits. Direct marketing is great because you spend less time competing for jobs.
It just depends on how you want to spend your time. Pay-to-Plays work best if you feel you’re one of the better voice talents on the site and you’re willing to compete for every job.
Here’s the major problem with using Pay-to-Play sites:
Some voice actors end up using Pay-to-Play as their only form of marketing.
The problem with just using pay-to-play sites to find work is that your business is dependent on another business.
Building your entire business on someone else’s platform is never a good idea. They can shut you down, change their terms, and worst of all – put you out of business.
That’s way too much control for someone else to have on your business.
That’s why it’s fine to use Pay-to-Play sites as a part of your marketing plan, but it shouldn’t be the only way you’re getting work.
I’ve heard stories of people who enjoyed years of success selling items on eBay only to wake up one morning and find out that their account had been terminated.
That’s why it’s so important to diversify your voice over marketing efforts.
Try these and as any other marketing strategies you can find to see what kind of success you have.
Take action today! You’ll end up with more clients and you’ll reach your big picture goal of consistently having voice over work!
What did I forget?
How have you seen success with your voice over marketing efforts? What worked for you?
Let me know in the comments below.
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