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Voice Over Marketing Wake Up Call:
75% Of My Focus Was Worthless! 
July 16, 2013

By Dan Hurst
Voice Actor

I recently had a major wake up call concerning my marketing strategy.  

Mind you, I’ve always felt that marketing was one of my strengths. It was one of my majors in college, and I’ve always had a fairly strong marketing agenda. Good marketing skills combined with several years of good experience are worth something, aren’t they?  

Well, yeah. Except that over the past couple of months I did a major review and assessment of my business and marketing strategy (everyone should do this every two years), and it was ugly. The results startled me.  


The first thing I realized was that I have four main revenue sources in the voice over business:
  • Radio/TV/Network promos,
  • eLearning,
  • Automotive, and
  • Infomercials.
Some of my clients don’t fit into those categories, but they are regular, steady clients, and I value them immensely.

I don’t want to do anything to lose them! I love them, and they get my full attention and efforts just like my other clients do. I have no second-class clients.

But the fact is, their revenue level falls into a fifth revenue group that I call the General category. Nothing wrong with that, it’s just a label.  


What was so startling about that General category was that I focused about 75% of my marketing efforts on the businesses that fall in that category, but not one of them – not one – became clients as a result of those efforts.

All of them came to me by word of mouth (a referral) - or a few found me in a web search.  

OK, well I guess you can call my efforts to be found on the Internet part of a marketing strategy.

But my point is that all the emailing, banner ads, postcards, B2B advertising, networking, etc. that were targeted to those various industry sectors, were pretty worthless.  


I wonder what would have happened if I had spent more of that marketing money in the four categories where I already have a niche!  

So now I’m in the process of revamping my marketing strategy. I’ll be focusing a lot more on those categories where I can leverage my great connections and experience to generate more business.

And the General category? I’ll continue to count on referrals and web visibility, but why spend marketing dollars on stuff that apparently hasn’t really worked?  


I made the mistake many small businesses make. I fell in love with my marketing efforts.

I mean, there were times when I did things just because it felt good to be doing something … anything.

However, looking back, it’s obvious that I was just being busy for the sake of being busy.  I should’ve gone out and played more golf!  


Don’t be like me. Learn from my mistakes.

Figure out what your bread and butter is and capitalize on it; leverage it to greater opportunities.  

When I was a boy growing up in Honduras, we had a family friend in the mining business. He took me down into one of his gold mines once. It was fascinating and intimidating.  

I asked him, "Why did you build this gold mine so far up in the mountains?”  

He shrugged and answered, "Well, ‘cause this is where the gold is.”  

You might want to reconsider trying to dig new gold mines when you’ve got a wealth of opportunities in the mine you’ve already developed!      
Dan (Daniel Eduardo) Hurst is an experienced bilingual (English and Spanish) voice talent operating out of the Kansas City area. His business now extends internationally, with clients including Volkswagen, Telemundo International, Shell, Hallmark, TransCanada and Walmart. When he’s not working, he spends his time cheering for losing sports teams and getting kicked off of golf courses.


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Comments (8)
Cliff Zellman
7/16/2013 at 5:07 PM
Quote of the month ..."It's where the gold is." And you Sir, are 24k!
Philip Banks
7/16/2013 at 5:02 PM
Well thought through piece, thank you for taking the time to write it.

Here's where most readers get lost. The reflex action is to shout "Woot awesome! I gonna print this and put where I can see it."

I assume it will be along with the other 650 articles they've printed and subsequently forgotten. Why does this happen? They lack the facts, real hard "NO ARGUING WITH THAT" facts.

What exactly did the writer do and how exactly did it work?

Here's an example.

Several years ago there was a dispute between the local commercial radio stations and the union in the UK about (can you guess?) ... MONEY.

"Strike Brother Banks ... Show your solidarity!"

I did and then went a step further.

How much did I make from radio ads? How much time and money did I spend in order to get the work?

85% of my marketing time and money was spent on local radio ads and they in turn rewarded me, at the peak, by making up 2.25% of my income.

I didn't strike Brothers and Sisters ... I STOPPED!

In return I released a huge amount of money and time to spend on other things, not just my business but ME as well! I'm SO selfish and louche!

Fast forward one year. What was the worst that could happen? I take a 2.25% hit in the income. How weak would my business have to be to not be able to take a 2.25% hit?

Needless to say, I marketed myself to people with better budgets, better jobs. Less money spent, less time spent. The result? A 58.5% increase in net income.

What Dan has suggested works ... Brilliantly!
Eric Singer
7/16/2013 at 4:05 PM
Thanks so much for this wonderful advice! I'll do my best to avoid the same trap. Meanwhile, here's hoping your sports teams start winning a few more--if that's something you'd enjoy-- and may you always break par on the golf course, even if only on holes 12-14...if they allow you to play that far. :)
Rebecca Haugh Michaels aka LoveThatRebecca
7/16/2013 at 4:01 PM
Oh Dan, this is absolutely great advice. We can all get caught up in being busy without being effective. It's wonderful to read your experience and think of the times when I have to stop to review, refocus, and get digging! It always pays off. Thanks so much for sharing. So what's it gonna be, 9 holes or 18!!???
Patrick Sweeney
7/16/2013 at 2:52 PM
Why do we all kind of know that but do the opposite or get distracted elsewhere? Simple, practical advice! Thanks Dan! Looking forward to your Faffcon6 presentation.
Anthony Gettig
7/16/2013 at 12:29 PM
Superb! A very timely article, Dan. I was recently going through my business data and drawing conclusions as well. You really hit the nail on the head with your insights. Thanks for sharing!
Tricia Basanyi
7/16/2013 at 9:18 AM
LOVED this, Dan....I've done this recently, too and have changed my marketing methods to focus more on my niches. It does work. Thank you for the article...absolutely loved the analogy at the end also. Now go play some golf! :)
Elizabeth Holmes
7/15/2013 at 10:38 PM
Great advice, Dan! Thank you for sharing it. There's no substitute for comparing actual results with anticipated results. Effective marketing depends on it.
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