VOICE OVER BUSINESS - PART 3Marketing Your VO Business: Start Where
You Have The Best Chance Of Booking Work
By Kim Handysides
Voice Actor & Coach
Marketing your voice over business is a never-ending activity. So to be effective, know your wheelhouse reads and put your energy there first.
Focus on where you have the best chance of booking work to get the most return on your marketing efforts.
And when you do pay attention to niche voice markets, make sure that the marketing strategy you select serves that niche.
For instance, if the majority of your target clients live on LinkedIn, why spend any marketing energy on Instagram?
Also be aware that a hot market today (i.e. political in 2020 or eLearning in the Covid-19 environment) doesn't mean you should spend a lot of energy there. If those niches are not in your skill wheelhouse, your time is better spent marketing elsewhere.
Finding ways to introduce yourself to the ever growing market of voice over buyers - through P2Ps, direct marketing, agents, etc. - is a primary building block of your business.
And once you begin to book work, the care and nurturing of your existing clients becomes your top marketing priority. Provide excellent customer service with honest communications, professional interactions and a "how can I be of service?" mindset.
This can lead to real relationships with clients, once you've worked together and taken interest in each other's lives.
But be selective. I have become friends with a few clients over the years. Ones where our common interests and take on as aspects of our shared industry led to interaction outside of our professional relationship - but that's rare.
Authenticity is key in building trust with a client, and focus on always being professional.
KNOW YOUR VALUE
When quoting your voice over rates (I cannot say this enough), know the market prices for your voice over services.
There are some great rate guides out there (for instance, the GVAA Rate Guide), so use these tools.
Know your value.
Are you always giving discounts when requested?
Remember that you're not running a charity, you're running a business designed to put food on your table. When customers are accustomed to getting discounts because you're willing to drop your rates quickly, it will be very difficult to move them back up to your standard rates. Then you'll always be working for them for less money.
So it is best to understand what the market rates are, and know why you charge what you charge. Factor in:
Devaluing your services just creates a race to the bottom. It is impossible to stay in business this way.
AND COMMUNICATE CLEARLY
A couple notes about how you communicate with clients.
First, I will say again, you are a BUSINESS.
Having a weird business email or PayPal name sends a message that you don't take your business seriously. You're dealing with business people, so unless you're in animation or unicorns are your brand, an email like firstname.lastname@example.org may bring you a chuckle, but will be confusing to the person trying to pay you.
Second, some people send thank-you notes or promo items after jobs.
I never have. I feel a little uncomfortable doing that. You've given them a service, so sending a thank-you gift makes it seem like perhaps you overcharged, or like a bribe for them to hire you again.
To my mind, it sends a message that is not professional.
If it's part of your brand to do so, that's your choice, but I question whether it is seen as businesslike.
Gifts at Christmas or Thanksgiving are different, of course. Many businesses send a holiday greeting as a customer appreciation gesture.
Also different is a branded promotional item.
But a gift after doing a job? Personally, I wouldn't.
Kim Handysides is a top voice over artist in commercials, eLearning and narration. With a background in theatre and film and a thorough grounding in radio and television, she's a 2019 Voice Arts Awards winner and five-time nominee, and "loves sharing advice, tips and experience with anyone who asks." She is also a voice over coach, offering private coaching and group study classes - and loves dogs, mountains, beaches and story.
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