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The Newest VO Opp Is Right
In Your Town: Internet Marketing
By Mandy Nelson
Voice Actor
I'm hardly the one to turn to when it comes to marketing trends, but my eyes are open and my mic is always on for new opportunities.
And the newest VO opp is right in your own town - Internet marketing.
Early in 2009 I joined yet another web service to get my voice out there for potential clients to hear. All I had to do was put my profile online, pass a little test that proved I knew how the site worked, and sit back and wait for the bags 'o cash to be delivered to my doorstep.
Imagine how unsurprised I was when:
  • I applied for a couple of gigs,
  • was told I was the voice they wanted, and then
  • the job was given to the person who charged an eighth of what I did.
But this isn't about situations like that - any one of us could write about that over and over again.
This is about keeping my eyes open and seeing what type of jobs were popping up for voice talents.
I started to see a rising trend in short marketing videos. How brilliant!
Make a short video explaining your company or your web site, or try to get people to sign up for a service, and you can put it anywhere on the world wide web. Wow.
At the same time I notice this, the web site I'm waiting to land a gig from emails me the magical "you are invited to interview" request.
And I did.
And I got the gig for the web site itself!  And yes, I stuck to my guns and wouldn't lower my price.
Since then, I've done their web site tutorials and gotten subsequent gigs through their site.
Once I realized that these videos were here to stay, I started reaching out to the kinds of companies that produce them.
In many cases, they are just discovering the niche, too.
So how can you go about finding this work? Well, I can't tell you because then there would be less for me to do.
Oh, I'm kidding.
There is plenty of this work out there right in your own back yard.
Contact local video companies, production companies and marketing companies.
When talking to business owners that are selling a product, ask if they have a video on their web site or on YouTube.
Look for other freelancers as well.
For instance, I often pair with a few video designers and animators, and we've been able to share job leads and contacts.
A general rule for these marketing videos is that they should be less than two minutes in length. Some, depending on the platform, go longer.
Since there is no standard on how we set our rates, be prepared to offer several different price points that depend on length.
Also be prepared to work within your audience. For instance, if you are going to do one of these videos for Macy's - as I just did - you know the budget is higher and you will make more money.
On the other hand, if your video is for an Internet start up, or for your neighbor who is trying to sell his patent-pending USB every-man mic, then be prepared to negotiate.
But please, oh please, do us all proud and offer a fair price - not an undercutting price just so you get the gig.
Now take a look around you and see who needs your services.
Get out there and contact them ... before I do it first!
Mandy Nelson is a very active voice actor, who with audio engineer/husband Dan operate Dandysound. Based in the Boston, Mass. area, they serve many regional and national voice-over clients, including Travelocity, Sony and Cox Communications.

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Comments (6)
Mandy Nelson
3/3/2010 at 7:32 PM
Thank you all for your feedback. I'm glad that this article was helpful / supportive / a reminder that you're on the right track. Bettye, you are missing out by never seeing Beantown. It's a lovely place, so hop on over!
Cheers ~mandy
Linda Naylor
2/25/2010 at 11:15 PM
I have lived your article, Mandy. I just got started in the biz, last August. have concentrated on my small town, and have made an indention. I attended a business luncheon, in December, and the speaker said, "You already know everyone that you need to know..

That is soooo true. Bettye Zoller was my producer, and she gave me all the skills that I needed to capitalize on "my home town." I thank her.

Now I am on my own, and my town is my marketplace. It is a smorgasborg. The hospitals, firemen, businesses, the historical society and many others are commited to me. I don't need to be famous. I just need to pay my bills. Ha. Your article was right on. We can stay home and be profitable.
Paul Strikwerda
2/25/2010 at 2:21 PM
You're right on the money, Mandy! Thanks for sharing your insights. There are many local video production companies that are involved in all kinds of interesting projects.

I happened to emcee a recital that was taped by one of those companies. At the end of the concert, the owner came up to me and asked me if I had done any voice-overs. The next day, I recorded my first script for one of his productions!
Jay Webb
2/25/2010 at 10:10 AM
That's just brilliant, Mandy. Thank you for sharing. I market my services mostly outside of the city where I live because voiceovers are small potatoes here. These days, however, I can see the potential of web marketing videos, and I've been trying to come up with a way to have more local business. Hopefully, with your suggestions I can make some inroads. Thank you!
Edward Ladner
2/25/2010 at 1:29 AM
Thank you for the very helpful, inspirational, and informative article. Although I have done some voice over and narration work in the past tihs year, I am determined to get my A game launched in a serious manner. Sincerely, Ed Ladner
Bettye Zoller
2/25/2010 at 12:45 AM
Thank you, Mandy. Wonderful article and subject. I will share it with students at my seminars on audiobook narration, corporate narration, medical narration, and the business of voiceovers topic, too. I stress to all students the necessity of selling jobs of your own and cultivating clients. Don't wait for the phone to ring with your agent giving you a lead. Don't spend all your time voicing auditions for the pay to play sites and hoping you get a job. While that's ok, and I certainly advise having agents (in at least three large cities), it is so important to have clients of our own. All the best to you and wow, hope we meet. Invite me to Boston. I've always wanted to see it.
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