sign up for our

Home Shop Subscribe Advertise Articles Directories Classifieds Calendar FAQs Contact Us Login

Voice-Over Marketing Mistakes That You Are
Making - And A Biggie That Actually Works

February 20, 2018

By Jonathan Tilley
Voice Actor / Coach

Remember standing behind the mic for the first time? Feeling the gentle distance between your mouth and the pop screen? At first hearing the silence of your surroundings then, once you spoke, the symphony of your voice in your headphones?

Aaaaaahhh the amazing voice-overs you create with your voice behind the mic. The ridiculous amounts of money you would earn from a single job. The accolades you would receive from your artistic genius. The world was yours.  

Now jumpcut to last week when your stress levels were higher than a Wall Street stock broker on the verge of a meltdown.

Rent is due, there's more mothballs than dollars in your bank account, and you're bouncing back and forth between artistic integrity and getting a cubicle job.

You ARE a voice actor. Your KNOW you can do this. But maybe… just maybe… you've made one of these top 5 marketing mistakes.  

After all you're a voice actor, not a door-to-door salesperson, right?

So cut yourself a break, pour the chai/coffee/wine/absinth (no judgment), and listen up.


You don't need a Master's degree in Business to become a successful VO. On the contrary. It's quite easy (and I'll get into that at the end of this article).

But you do need to stop doing these 5 things immediately. Otherwise you will turn into the cliche of a starving artist that your awkward Uncle Arnie would always mock you for at family gatherings and then ask you, "So when are you going to get a real job?!"  

From now on I want you to stop pulling your hair out with these 5 marketing strategies everyone tells you to do - but it still brings in zero ROI. (ROI stands for Return On Investment. Don't worry. I didn't know what it was when I first started out either. No shame. All love.)  


Let's start with the first thing. Ever tell yourself this? 
"Yeah, but if I write a weekly blog about how much I love VO, which mic to use, and how I edit using these shortcuts, then my dream clients will find me on the internet, read my blog, consider me an expert in my field and book me!"  
Your dream clients have no time. Like zero. Nada. Goose egg.

Here comes the harsh reality that may sound… well… harsh. Do you really think they have time to dillydally through the internet, look for some pleasant reading on how to edit an mp3, and by the luck of the million-to-one gods stumble upon your blog post, and that is what makes them decide to call you up and book you?

If your dream client works at a talent agency, he doesn't give a flying Fig Newton about how you edit an mp3. He wants you to do the damn job and work so hard that you save him time and make his life easier.  

Yes, you are important. But you aren't so important that your dream client will hunt you down, run after you, and buy you a dozen roses because you wrote a blog post about editing an mp3 file.

So if you have a blog, stop writing it. You're wasting your time - unless you are also a coach/educator where you teach other VOs your know-how.


Which leads me to the second marketing mistake you need to stop doing immediately. Marketing mistake number two goes like this:  
"Yeah, but if I do a webinar / Facebook Live teaching others how to be a pro VO, then I'll show my expertise to my dream clients and they'll book me."  
Yes this is true… if you are a coach/educator, and your dream clients are your students of VO. Then by all means, blog and Facebook Live yourself away.

But if you are NOT a coach/educator, if you are NOT, and you do not have any coaching products to sell at the end of a blog post or Facebook Live, then why are you giving away your secrets for free?

Ever hear of the successful VO who gets over 1,000 likes on his Instagram from his followers who are NOT other VOs? Neither have I.  

Yes, social media is there for you to show your work, keep brand consistency, and interact with others - but it's not something that seals a deal.

Social media is the small talk at the bar. Social media is the glance across the room. Social media is not the signing of the contract.

So stop doing webinars, doing Facebook Lives, and posting 10 times a day in hopes of getting work.

Rather, post once a day to share your talent with the world without wanting anything in return. Then use the one ridiculously simple marketing strategy that I'll tell you about at the end of this article.  


Moving on to the third marketing mistake you probably have done between now and when you first got behind the mic:  
"Yeah, but if I audition on all the Pay-2-Play (online casting) sites, then my dream clients will listen to my amazing work and book me."  
Ever sell anything on ebay? It's where clinically diagnosed bargain hunters go to buy stuff.

Now, if those clinically diagnosed bargain hunters reproduced mutant babies with 6 fingers, four toes, and an even more stingy, miserly, selfish brain, those mutant babies would go to Pay-2-Play websites like Fiverr and Upwork to hoard your work for pennies.

These mutant babies are interested in one thing: not spending any money on your work. These same mutant babies are the ones who complain about the stamp prices going up by 2 cents at the beginning of the year.  

Seriously, why are these mutant babies even being considered to be your dream clients? Why are you catering to them when all they want is more for less? They will never treat you or your work the way you and your work should be treated. You're so much better than that. Bye, Felicia.  


How about this zinger, which I hear far too often. Ever make this mistake?   
"Yeah, but if I throw together a website that doesn't work on mobile devices, at least that's better than giving away my work on Pay-2-Play sites… AND I'll call it something catchy like, even though my real name is Greg so that dream clients will book me."  
Did you know Ryan Gosling owns a restaurant in Beverly Hills? Pretty cool, right! Do you know what it's called? "Tangine." Or as most of humanity calls it "Ryan Gosling's Restaurant." 

You see, your name hold so much weight. You're original. There's no one like you on this planet. You're a star!

So why are you branding yourself with something catchy and cliche like "Your voice Choice by Joyce Boyce" when your name is Greg. It just makes you sound cheap and inexperienced.  

Rather, try this whopper of an idea: Your First Name and Your Last Name dot com. Or if you want to get fancy: Your First Name and Your Last Name and the word Voiceover or VO dot com.

That's simple. To the point. Gets the job done. And Google's search engine recognizes that, and puts you at the top of the list. Yay!

And please for the love of the internet - where over 70% of all traffic is viewed on a mobile device - make sure your website is responsive. (Responsive means that your website looks perfect on a desktop, laptop, tablet, and smartphone. Some people call it mobile-friendly.)  

If you are beginning to have a panic attack about your website being responsive, here's a huge tip. Build your website in half the time with Squarespace. They have great templates just for voice actors, and all of their templates are responsive. I switched over to using Squarespace in 2014 and I haven't looked back. It's a game changer. You're welcome.  


And last but not least, here is the fifth marketing mistake you've probably made thinking that it will build a reputable VO business but hasn't:    
"Yeah, but if I give discounts/do work for the "exposure" I'll get my foot in the door, make an amazing impression, and then when things really get rolling, I'll raise my prices so that dream clients will continue to book me."    
Didn't I cover this in number 3? Didn't I talk about the miserly mutant babies? Didn't I say that these people are not your dream clients?  

The same goes for these types of people as well.

Your dream clients understand that the value you give is impeccable VO work. They understand that when you raise your rates, they see you growing up and leaning toward greatness.

Your dream clients don't bat an eye when you raise rates. Rather, your dream clients think to themselves, "Aaaaahh, they finally they know their worth." 

Well done. You've made it this far. Congrats. You'll never do those 5 marketing mistakes ever again. Promise? Pinkie Swear? Ok. Moving on ...


Now that you've freed yourself up from all those marketing strategies that just wasted your time, here is the one ridiculously simple marketing strategy that books the big gigs with the big wigs:

Talk to people.   

Yup. That's it. Talk to people.  

Building professional relationships (or talking to people) is where the jobs come from. It truly is all about who you know. But it's also about who knows you.  

I can feel you cringing just thinking about going up to a stranger and asking them for a job. And thank God that's not what I'm asking you to do.

On the contrary. I want you to talk to people in your local area. Your hair dresser, your grocery shopping manager, your town's school principal, your event manager, your local church.

These people have an already established network of people you can leverage.  

Let's take your hairdresser as an example. Next time you get your haircut, go in, be pleasant, ask your hairdresser how they are doing. Keep the conversation light. After you've paid - but before you put on your coat to leave - say this:
"Hey, just to let you know, I'd love to be a resource to you. I'm a voice actor and I'd love to be your voicemail voice. Here's my card. My website is on there where you can check out my demos. I think what you do is awesome and I'd love to make you sound just as awesome for your business."  
Then go the grocery store, your local school, your gas station - heck, run errands - and get into conversations with people. Offer up your services to bring them value.  

By talking to these different people, offering your services, and making it all about them and not about you, you become a resource to them. You become the one they go to when they need you most.  

By simply talking to people, you let them know who you are, what you do, and how much you'd love to help.

Remember the last time someone genuinely wanted to help you? Neither can I! In a greedy, self-consumed world that we now live in no one, NO ONE offers to genuinely help others and be a resource to them.

But by being the one who does just that, you leverage the one thing we are hard-wired to do: make a human connection. And by talking to people and making a human connection you become a local legend.      
Jonathan Tilley is a voice-over artist who has voiced for Facebook, Red Bull and Google. And he's also a personal brand strategist who helps voice actors shine online and share their talent with the world. He is the creator of the new, breakthrough online course, League Of List Builders - the fast way to structure and strategize your networking outreach to book the big gigs with the big wigs. Click the link below to learn more about the course, and hop on its free VIP Wait List.

League Of List Builders:

Your Daily Resource For Voice-Over Success
Tell Us What YOU Think!
Please Note: Since we check for spam, there will be a slight delay in the actual posting of your comment.
Your Name:
Your Email Address (will not be published):
Your Comment:
Your Comment:
Security code:     
Comments (11)
Marshall Choka
2/27/2018 at 7:14 PM
Thanks for the insights! Simple no-brainers that we just don't think about.
2/24/2018 at 3:09 PM
There are times we need to see what is obviously the right thing. I need to blog this right now!
Al Perry
2/23/2018 at 8:49 AM
Good stuff, Jonathan ! I am so guilty of #3 and 4. I intend to implement your tip. Thanks !!
Johnny George
2/22/2018 at 5:32 PM
Good stuff, Jonathan. I anxiously read each point hoping I wasn't falling into some category I thought I was doing a great job with.

Don't write a regular Blog. I leave that to the Courvo's & Florian's of the world. But occasionally I'll write in an entry. More so for other VO's as you've done here. The rest I pass without falling into them.

And TALK...You betcha! Your 30 sec elevator speech should always be close to brain & heart. Marketing-Marketing-Marketing. However!...Don't do so much that people tend to delete them, before reading them. I get some so regularly, I delete before even reading the title. Sorry to some of you over-zealous ones. There's just not enough time in the day. If there was...guess what I'd be doing, (besides living my life?)...

Bob Bergen
2/21/2018 at 11:10 AM
Jonathan Tilley gives some GREAT advice here! Some of it common sense, but because of the internet much isn't as common as it used to be/should be. Really great stuff!!!

The only point I disagree on, and it's really for a very specific genre of vo actors, is in regard to social media followers and a social media presence. If your vo career is fan based, such as animation and games, buyers look at your social media follower numbers as seriously as they listen to your read. If their number one choice in talent has 2000 followers, but their number two choice has 20,000, it would't surprise me that number two gets the gig. Networks, studios, producers want an audience to view and (or) purchase their product. They see social media followers the way networks see Nielsen Ratings.
Jonathan Tilley
2/21/2018 at 2:05 AM
Depends on how tech savy you are and how much content you have, Jason. Would love to check out your site if it's up and give you some pointers. Here's the link to my website reviews.
Elizabeth Dulin
2/20/2018 at 8:43 PM
Loved this because it confirmed, encouraged and informed! Thank you! (Squarespace!)
J. Christopher Dunn
2/20/2018 at 12:41 PM
Jonathan - Shove the BS out of the way to make way for real work. I like it. I like it a lot! I'm guilty of jumping on what seemed to be the latest social networking craziness only to discover no effect to my bottom line. Your advice about working for exposure is spot-on. People can die from exposure!!! Thanks for sharing the good stuff.
Bill Nevitt
2/20/2018 at 11:13 AM
Great info, Jonathan, especially point #1. "Everybody and his brother" in the v/o biz has a blog. This may have been a cutting edge idea years ago, but now, it's passe. Spending time behind the mic prepping auditions and "talking up" your v/o biz will bring much better results in "the long run." Just one man's opinion!
Roy Worley
2/20/2018 at 9:48 AM
Good stuff, Jonathan! Love the way you write. Very helpful content. All the best to you.
2/20/2018 at 9:44 AM
Incredibly helpful. Thanks! I'm on squarespace right now. Trying to find the right template. Any tips on the best templates for VO?
Back to Articles
Get your bi-weekly dose here ... all things VO!
Inspiring interviews help your VO career
With Sean Daeley and Paul Stefano - check it out!
For essential voice-over business strategies