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Voice Over Marketing Strategies:
Your Consistent, Organized Plan ...
 
By Maxine Dunn
Voice Actor

So, you think you're a voice over artist? Well, I have news for you. You're also a MARKETER of your voice over services.
 
Yes, you'll be doing a lot of voice over work. But if you want a thriving and long-lasting voice over business, you'll need to become a savvy marketer, as well.
 
Marketing your services and promoting yourself - that is, "Getting the word out" that you're available for work and building a client base - will be one of your primary functions as a VO.
 
Remember: consistent, organized, marketing of your voice over services will be KEY to your success!
 
START COLD

One of the strategies I recommend is cold calling, so be sure to read my recent article, Anatomy of a Successful Cold Call, for an in-depth look at this very effective marketing method. That article outlines an easy step-by-step "how to" guide to calling new clients.
 
Knowing and implementing cold-calling techniques will give you a tremendous advantage over your competition.
 
WORK THE WEB
 
You're going to need a vehicle to get your demo in front of potential clients.
 
And that primary vehicle will be your professional voice over website. I recommend not even thinking about reaching out to prospective clients until you have a website up with your contact information and voice over demo(s) available to listen to.
 
TIP: Keep in mind that your demos should play instantly or load quickly, and have superior sound qualityA client will not want to wait for two minutes for a demo to load. And inferior sound quality will have them quickly clicking away.
 
HELP WITH YOUR SITE
 
You will need to decide upon a domain name for your site (for example, www.maxinedunn.com), and I recommend GoDaddy for domain name purchase.
 
Their prices are great, and their customer service is excellent.
 
You'll also need a web host to host your site once it's designed. I recommend Hostgator for webhosting.
 
There are many options for website design, so I suggest doing your research to see what's best for you.
 
For instance, visit Voicebank.net and peruse other voice talents' sites to get a feel for what resonates with you.
 
UP TO DATE?

The bottom line is that if you want to be taken seriously as a voice over professional, you must have a website.
 
If you're an experienced pro who already has a website, make sure your site and your demos are current.
 
How long has it been since you updated your demos and your website?
 
If you've had the same site for years and years, consider a redesign to present fresh material to your clients.
 
GET ORGANIZED!
 
When you start contacting clients directly, or come into contact with them at live events, you will need a system to keep track of their information and your interaction with them.
 
Establish a way to organize your information, whether it's with sophisticated contact management software or a simple tickler file with 4" x 6" index cards, a ballpoint pen, and a calendar.
 
Design a system of managing your contacts that suits your own personal style.

ONLINE CASTING
 
Subscribe to one or more of the online voice over casting services, sometimes known as "pay-to-play" sites.
 
For instance, the two I subscribe to and recommend are Voices.com and Voice123. Some of my highest-grossing clients have come from contacts established through these two sites.
 
There is no guarantee that you'll get work once you have subscribed, however. I submitted auditions for close to a year before ever getting a job via this method.
 
However, they are a great way to increase your online presence, not to mention a wonderful way to keep your chops in shape by regularly submitting auditions.
 
They also keep you up-to-date with what clients are looking for, as well as educate you on what types of clients to avoid.
 
NOW START MARKETING ...
 
Here are three steps to get yourself actively marketing:

1. Start the Cold Calls.

Although a well-designed, well-optimized website will certainly attract clients to you and pre-qualify them, start reaching out by telephone to prospective clients on a regular basis.
 
Even if you just make one phone call a day, I guarantee that by the end of a year you will have created multiple, revenue-producing relationships with new clients.
 
It's much easier than you think, and can yield incredible results.
 
Just get started. Don't be afraid. You can course-correct as you go. The important thing is to pick up the phone and get going.
 
And remember to record details of every call.

2. Watch TV, Listen to Radio.

A great way to locate prospective local clients is to watch TV commercials and listen to the radio.
 
On any given morning while listening to CNN, I'll hear commercials for local businesses, such as a 
  • furniture store,
  • car dealership
  • community college
  • roofing service
  • law practice
  • chiropractor
  • restaurant
  • pet groomer ...
These are ALL potential clients for you! Keep a notebook next to the TV, and when you hear a local business advertising, write down the name and put them on your call list.
 
Same goes for the radio. Keep your ears open for local clients that use voice over services. And then actively pursue those clients.
 
3. Attend Live Events & Network Online.
 
In Colorado, where I live, the Colorado Film & Video Association conducts what's called a "Schmoozer" - an event where industry professionals gather and network one evening each month.
 
Check with your local Chamber of Commerce and local Film Association to find out about advertising and film-related events in your area.
 
Show up and take your business cards and demo CD, and talk to people!
 
Also, attending voice over industry events like VOICE 2010 is a great way to expand your influence in person.
 
And subscribe to VoiceOverXtra, voice over forums and newsletters. Contribute, ask questions, get yourself known.

4. Build On Relationships.

Once you start working, or if you're already a working pro, look for ways to build on the client relationships you've created.
 
For example:
  • Ask for referrals from everyone you work with.
  • Ask for written testimonials from your clients and post them on your website.
  • Keep in regular touch with your clients to stay top-of-mind.
STIMULATE CLIENT BUSINESS
 
These are just a few of the many marketing techniques you can use to create and expand your client base.
 
Implementing even a couple of these strategies will stimulate client attraction. And if you stick with them consistently, you will definitely see an increase in your client base and growth in your voice over business.

And to wrap up, here are some ideas for you to brainstorm with ... 

WHO TO COLD CALL ...
 
Start with the Yellow Pages for cold-call prospects. Your prospects can include:
  • Video production companies
  • Advertising agencies
  • Television stations
  • Radio stations
  • Recording studios
  • Audio / visual production services
  • Sales training companies
  • Public relations firms
  • Talent agents
WHAT THEY NEED ...
 
Here are potential clients in your community that use voice over services for either advertising, corporate communications, video production, telephone voice-mail and on-hold messaging, and e-learning and employee training:
  • Grocery stores
  • Furniture stores
  • Hospitals and medical centers
  • Construction companies
  • Financial services and banks
  • High tech companies
... AND MORE

And here are additional places to market your voice-over services:
  • Voice prompts for telephone systems
  • Talking toys
  • Audiobooks
  • In-store radio networks
  • Documentary narration
  • Point-of-purchase displays and videos
  • Real estate tours
  • Museum / historical walking tours
  • Online product descriptions
  • Trade show video displays
  • In-flight entertainment networks
  • Telephone company applications
  • Video games
  • Podcasts
  • Government training films
  • Mass transit guides
  • Website tutorials
  • On-hold messaging

Give your marketing strategies time to work. Be organized, focused, and consistent and you'll be amazed at the results.

LINKS TO COMPANIES MENTIONED ABOVE ...

ABOUT MAXINE ...
 
Maxine Dunn is a top voice over artist and on-camera spokesperson who has been seen and heard in hundreds of commercials, documentaries, corporate narrations, voice-mail systems and websites. She is a British native and her ability to also deliver a perfect American accent gives her business a wide range. She works with Fortune 100 companies, award-winning creative teams, and maintains an extensive clientele - locally, nationally, and internationally. Best known for her voice over and spokesperson expertise, she is also an avid writer who enjoys bringing stimulating and motivating material to her readers. Her free weekly e-zine, The Creative Business Advisor, is available at her website (below).
 
Complimentary newsletter sample: http://conta.cc/MaxineNL 
 

 

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Comments (13)
RandyBeisner
4/25/2017 at 11:03 AM
Great information.

Any tricks on what to say on cold calls? Thanks in advance,

Randy
Elizabeth Rendin
1/22/2017 at 1:34 PM
Amazing!! I can't wait to put all of these valuable strategies to work! Thank you!
Edward Leonard
4/29/2016 at 9:23 AM
THIS is very helpful. Thank you!!
Rick Roberts
10/7/2015 at 8:33 PM
I am waiting on my demo and I appreciate your information on marketing.
Frank Eriksen
11/25/2013 at 4:52 PM
Thanks for the info Maxine. Almost anyone can do the work, but not everyone can get the work.
Jan Anderson
11/6/2010 at 11:48 PM
Thank you for all the fantastic ideas, Maxine. I am new to the VO game and your suggestions are VERY helpful.
BP Smyth, Narrator
8/5/2010 at 6:47 PM
Gary,

You bring up some interesting perspectives. My active observation regarding those pay-to-play sites is that most of the work solicited is for non-broadcast V/O, and I must say that in my opinion most of it is junk. There is however plenty of material expressed on those sites for every Tom, Dick, Harry, Sally, and Sue to get their feet wet in this business. It gives one the opportunity to practice auditioning, and if one should happen to land a gig it will at least help with expenses. Also, it could lead to repeat work, thus more expenses paid.

I don't know about you, but I haven't noticed celebrities doing any non-broadcast work that is solicited on those sites. Celebrities are almost always Union associated where such association forbids working on non-union projects.

I like the idea of having as much access to opportunities as possible. Thank heaven for non-Union opportunities. Union affiliation is quite expensive. I also really appreciate having a home studio to perform both auditions and broadcast quality finished projects.

The future of V/O is as it always has been. Those in demand will rise to the top and those that aren't in demand will sink and quit, and that goes for both Union and non-Union talent.

Lastly, you mention talent auditions without "subjective direction." Do you think it should be a mandatory requirement for auditions? Maybe you can shed more light on the subject.




Gary
8/5/2010 at 3:19 PM
Most of the subscriber audition websites are for non-union work. There is a backlash - everybody having (fair) access to opportunities & home auditioning has created an environment that's really ruined the quality of all broadcast media. Talent audition without subjective direction. The end product is that broadcast quality is awful, and audience jumps to the MUTE button. The playout of this scenario is that the voice market will further implode, until it is entirely the domain for celebrity talent.
BP Smyth, Narrator
8/5/2010 at 3:01 PM
Maxine, I visited your website earlier today and I must say it is very nice. I do believe that one should investigate all options available, then choose what fits them the best. Being a fan of "single page" websites simply fits my minimalist, less is more, get-to-the-point personality.

I have been to thousands of websites looking for potential clients, and I have become frustrated at times searching for the specific information I need to evaluate them for contact. Too many hoops to jump through on some sites, if you know what I mean, and alot of those sites are artistically attractive. Just hard to navigate with the multitude of pages to go through.

But by all means, everyone has their own opinion, and are certainly entitled to it, especially in this business, which is 99.5% opinion driven.

Again, your article is excellent and will help countless V.O. talent, myself included. And, that is my opinion. :)


Maxine Dunn
8/5/2010 at 12:33 PM
BP, thanks for the recommendation on the web design company.

I disagree that a v/o site must be a single page & that directors/production folks only want to hear a demo. I don't think v/o sites need to be "one size fits all."

For example, my site has seven pages & I get regular feedback that the producers/directors who book me, enjoy my site & like learning more about me. It makes me a person to them. And if someone wants to listen to my demo immediately & not view anything else, all they need to do is click the "demos" link. But for those wanting to know more about me or read what other clients think of my work (testimonials) it's there for them.

I encourage each voice actor to pursue what they feel is best for them (whether it's one page or five pages) & to take the time to view many other voice actors sites, mainstream v/o's as well as Hollywood stars, to get a feel for what they want. We are all very different so we don't all want the same type of site.

For example Joan Baker's or Beau Weaver's sites have many more than one page, and their sites are BRILLIANT.

Again, one size does not fit all. We're all individuals & being unique while remaining authentic to who we are, I believe, is very important.

V/o's: If you want a one-page site, you have my complete support & if you want a 10-page site, you also have my complete support. :)

Maxine
BP Smyth, Narrator
8/5/2010 at 11:31 AM
Maxine,

I wanted to mention something about website design. For those considering having one designed either for the first time or a re-do, visit the site of ArtistUpgrade.com. These people are fantastic designers and webmasters.

Mick and Alison will truly make your design reflect your "niche". I know this, they designed mine. I am very pleased with the results.

Website design is EXTREMELY important. Please don't try and design it yourself, on one of those do-it-yourself sites. Being that V.O. is soooooo competitive, having a properly designed site will create an edge we all need, to compete.

Also, the simpler the better. They design "single page" sites that get your profile noticed quickly, and with class. Producers, Directors, and others looking for the appropriate talent for their projects don't have the time to delve into a whole bunch of hoopla about you. They want to hear your demos, period.

Please feel free to visit my site to view an example: www.BPSmythVoice.com and then visit the ArtistUpgrade site for other examples including package deals. You won't regret looking.

BP Smyth, Narrator
8/5/2010 at 9:58 AM
Thank you, Maxine, for sharing this very important information. I've noticed that this business is about 95% marketing and 5% actual gig performance. The guidelines you have shown, need to be utilized by all, newbies and oldies alike.
Linda Ristig
8/5/2010 at 8:27 AM
Maxine, this is a well-written, concise, and jam-packed article about marketing! Thanks for all your dedication to your craft, but also for reaching out to others to share what you know. You rock!

Cheers, Linda
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