Voice over marketing is critical to your success both short term and long term. This post is part of our series on how to become a voice actor.
Why is voice over marketing so important?. The answer lies in the internet. Increasingly the way clients source talent is online. Of course clients might have a roster of existing voice over talent, but many will either top that up or look for new talent online. Of course this all depends on the different parts of the voice over industry.
What you will learn in this post.
- #1 – Basics of voice over marketing.
- #2 – The 6 ways voice over marketing methods.
- #3 – How to improve your voice over marketing through client research.
Voice Over Marketing Essentials.
Voice over marketing is not like consumer marketing. Consumer marketing is where large companies market goods or services to the general public otherwise known as consumers. Companies like MARS, Nestle, Nike and many other brands mass market to consumers.
Business to business (B2B) marketing is the term used for when business buy services off another company or business. In general B2B marketing involves people to people buying. As an example it a buyer might be a voice over casting director who buys services from a voice over actor. In larger more complex organisations B2B marketing can involve large contracts, diverse teams of people who each have specialist skills.
Because voice over marketing is more like B2B marketing you need to think more about the person, the client. This means that you have to be careful not to spam people, not to ‘beg’ for business, not to shout at them on social media (because you can even though they don’t know you!).
There is a fine line to tread between making potential clients aware of you and being seen as a nuisance/spammer. Always reflect on how you might react if you were receiving the same communications as you send out.
#1 – Basics of voice over marketing.
Getting Organized with a Customer Relationship System
The important thing to do before you start researching and afterwards is to get organised. We will in a later module show you how and why a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system can save you time and help you get super organised.
One of the best methods though is to create a simple spreadsheet. The spreadsheet can at a later date be uploaded into your CRM system so you won’t need to repeat all your work.
For now, your spreadsheet needs to contain the following headers:
- Type of business
- Contact (Full name)
- First name
- Last name
- Email address
- Telephone No: (office)
As an example in type of business you might use VO Studio, Commercial company, Voiceover Director (Freelance)…
As you build this list you will create a mini database of contacts.
Don’t forget if you already have a list of contacts then you can add these into your spreadsheet.
As we move through the next modules you will learn more about how to profile customers and to out your research into action, to help you grow your VO business.
What is CRM?
CRM (customer relationship management) software is chiefly used for managing relationships with potential and existing clients, helping you to convert leads into clients and keep your existing clients happy; but in addition to this core function, most CRM systems are designed to help you perform a range of other useful business tasks.
CRM applications will usually allow you to:
- store and segment contacts
- view a communications history between your business and your prospects/clients
- assign and manage tasks
- manage calendars
- manage a sales pipeline
- deal with client enquiries
Some CRM systems we recommend.
A simple and affordable CRM software for your voiceover business. Insightly is an easy-to-use, feature-rich CRM software that won’t break the bank. Easily manage customers, prospects as well as easy tools to analyse your customers base.
Nimble sells itself as the pure Social Customer Relationship Management system. Nimble, besides having the main features of a CRM, has a much deeper integration with social networks. Nimble can obtain information for you whenever you are using either Safari, Firefox or Chrome browsers – it does an incredible amount of searching for information automatically.
Although there are free versions of CRM systems available we recommend you pay and invest in a good CRM system. It is the cornerstone of your marketing, saves time and helps you to build relationships with clients.
#2 – The 6 ways voice over marketing methods.
#1- VOICE OVER MARKETING – WEBSITE
You need to understand that an voiceover actors website is rarely used in a professional casting process. This is worth repeating, your website is rarely used in a professional casting process.
So why do you need a website?
Having a website allows you to showcase yourself:
- To get work – having an online presence allows casting directors, producers and directors who are interested to learn more about you.
- To be able to control what material is presented about you – you control how you appear in search and start to own your personal brand. Having all your information in one place makes it easy for those looking to get to know you and wouldn’t you rather have control over what they see?
- To have a digital hub – a home base when social media sites come and go. Who knows what Facebook, Instagram or Twitter will look like in ten years? You don’t. But you will know what your acting website looks like.
Decide on the focus of your site. Look at where your career is now and where you’d like it to be. Often it’s a good idea in your marketing to position the facts in a way that tells where we’re going, not where just where you’ve been.
RECOMMENDED WEBSITE TOOLS
Squarespace is incredibly well designed. It’s clear that there is a thoughtful team that pores over the details of this website builder. I is by far and away the best website builder both in terms of design and user experience.
Beaver Builder is a drag and drop page builder plugin for WordPress that aims to help you build custom sites in minutes not months. The plugin comes with a range of professional looking home page and content page layouts. Everything on your pages can be fully customised.
#2- VOICE OVER MARKETING – PR
PR often seems as though it is something only done by big agencies or PR specialists. The truth is that these professionals do save you a heap of time, but they cost a lot of money. The reality is that with a bit of creativity, focus and know how you can take control over your own PR and use it to get valuable exposure. it’s more important than ever that you understand how and when to grab the attention of a reporter.
The biggest mistake most people make when trying to write a newsworthy PR article is that focus on promoting themselves rather than creating a story. There are key elements that a journalist looks for in a story — and the human interest angle is key. Do you have a human interest angle, and can you show that your news has an impact on people?
Why Use PR
- Press releases improve SEO
- Press releases generate social signals and increase publicity
- Press releases often get republished in other sources or quoted in online and print publications generating even more publicity.
- Press releases get you more work.
- Press releases provide an ongoing stream of content to use on your website.
FOCUS ON THE AUDIENCE
Target – Think about the publications that connect with your potential clients. Research the magazine, you should know their specific focus and the structure of their releases. So do your background work.
Honesty – If your words are honest, people can really feel it. Just like when you’re telling a story, written language no is different; if you know what to say, words come out fluently and there is no artificial touch in your press release. Write it first then edit afterwards.
Respect – Journalists are people who have limited time. Don’t be lazy, make it easy for them to take your work and use it. Never lose track of the fact that you aim to build a professional relationship, so you should never take things for granted. Show them respect and build a relationship.
Precision – Be concise. A short message/announcement might be a lot more impactful than a 2 page press release which drifts and doesn’t have a compelling story.
Engagement – Create the feeling that there are things happening and you have a lot more opportunities ahead waiting to be announced. Leave the impression that the readers should keep an eye on you.
Story – Every time you write a press release, even if it’s just adding a new product to your roster, don’t forget to include a short story about the brand.
#3- VOICE OVER MARKETING – EMAIL
Email is by far and away the #1 form of communication in business. Phone is used primarily for setting appointments and meetings. More collaborative tools, like Skype, have taken over for more elaborate discussions about projects for instance. Whereas email is used for notifications and updates. Emailing may be an inherently more convenient way to contact people, but it’s by no means the perfect vehicle for cold contacting. Being able to email a busy person and get the response you desire is literally a skill you need to know to increase your income.
- Competition – the person you’re trying to reach already has hundreds of emails in their inbox. Many of them won’t even be opened.
- Easy to ignore – it only takes a couple of seconds for someone to delete your message. And those are the lucky emails. Think of all the emails blocked by spam filters or sent directly to junk.
- Conversion rates – most salespeople cold email, they have an even success rate of about 1-3%.
- Potential – cold emails have potential. With the right research techniques and the right message, you can connect with anyone.
- Simple to learn – email is very simple to learn, anyone can send an email.
- Low cost – emails are low cost to send out, but they it does take some time to prepare a great email.
- Speed – email is quicker, more direct, more modern and business-like.
#4- VOICE OVER MARKETING – SOCIAL MEDIA
As a voiceover actor you have at your disposal an amazing set of tools to help you market yourself. The problem though is that too often people don’t use these tools well and don’t appreciate how they differ.
Most voiceover actors feel they need to use it, want to use it, but don’t know where to start. The truth is it is hard to use it well. Most voiceovers in fact use it really badly, they simply shout out about a job or post up a new show reel.
The art of social media is that it is and always has been social, yet most people and in fact businesses, simply use it to broadcast.
With so many social media sites already out there and even more popping up each day, where do you begin? Do you create a Facebook account or do you hop on whatever “the new Pinterest” is today? Each platform has its own etiquette and way of being social.
They are also distinct differences in how they are used by people. What someone posts on their Twitter profile maybe and often is very different to what they post on Linkedin. Understanding these differences can help you to get better results.
If you want to compete take the time to decide which platforms you are going to use.
SOME SIMPLE RULES
The first thing to do is to recognize that you there are some ground rules you need to adopt when using social media.
#1 – IT’S ABOUT THEM NOT YOU
This is the first and most important rule. If ill be the least popular person at a party if all you do is spend the whole evening talking about yourself.
#2 – UNDERSTAND YOUR CLIENTS
- Which social media platforms do they use/belong to?
- Where are they active on social media?
- When are they active on social media?
- Who does your client engage with on social media?
- What content does your audience seek on social media?
- What information do they share on social media?
#3 – DON’T SPAM OR PESTER
Don’t bombard contacts you don’t know with friend requests. Don’t direct message your work, show-reel if you don’t know people it is spamming.
#4 – BE CONSISTENT
Turning up once a month does not help build your social media. You need to be a daily activity.
#5 – BE SOCIAL
Respond to people, be polite and be engaging. Be you and also look for good content that is either useful, entertaining or relevant to people.
RECOMMENDED SOCIAL MEDIA TOOLS
Hootsuite is an enterprise level social media management tool used by over 10 million professionals. They can help you schedule and analyze your social media marketing campaigns.
Do your notes keep piling up in your default Evernote notebook(inbox)? By using Zen, you can quickly organize your notes with swipe operations. Zen helps you reach inbox zero in Evernote, leaving you feeling refreshed!
#5- VOICE OVER MARKETING – NETWORKING
Many products have to be experienced to be bought. There are very few customers that will buy a new automobile without doing a great deal of research and test-driving the car first. Tradeshows are industry gatherings where customers are invited to come sample all that the industry has to offer. To introduce their new lines of products, as an example Ford Motor Company spends a great deal of time setting up and operating their booth at the international consumer auto shows each year. These tradeshows often have interactive videos and are also where all the most important people gather to meet their clients. It’s important to respect clients time but these can be great ways to meet people.
Some tradeshows to consider:
Industry specific events e.g. gaming, car shows…
Try to choose an industry or sector where you have experience and some knowledge. Do you home work before you go and set some clear goals as to who you want to talk to.
LOCAL BUSINESS NETWORKS
Local business networks can be a great way to get to meet local business people and develop some relationships. Most networking events publish lists of businesses that are members so you can get to research potential clients before you go.
If you have existing contacts or clients ask people to refer you on. The art here is for them to do it. So ask politely and then follow up. If they send an email for instance ask them to copy you in.
#6- VOICE OVER MARKETING – COLD CALLING
There is one thing that tends to horrify voiceover actors and in fact many other business people, it is cold calling. There are a number of definitions of cold calling, but Wikipedia describes it best:
Cold calling is the process of approaching prospective customers or clients, typically by telephone, which weren’t expecting such an interaction.
The word “cold” is used because the person receiving the call is not expecting a call, or has not specifically asked to be contacted. Most voiceover actors will immediately and instinctively come up with lots of reasons why not to do cold calling:
- “I’m not comfortable doing that!”
- “Cold calling takes too much time.”
- “What if they hang up on me?”
- “I don’t like talking about myself.”
WHY COLD CALL
Well, first of all, marketing your services is not a neutral thing. We’re either moving forward or we’re moving backward. You need to consistently be doing things to create momentum with your personal brand and VO business. Good reasons to cold call are:
- cold calling is one of the least expensive.
- it to one of the most effective methods.
- it quickly identifies opportunities.
- It quickly builds a relationship with a client.
- it gets you work.
#1 – SET REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS
Make your cold-calling expectations easy-to-meet. If your expectations are to “make a sale” or actually even reach the person you’re calling, you may well be disappointed. Decide that your #1 goal for the call is simply to have an introductory conversation. That’s it!
No matter who you talk to be pleasant. Do not treat a secretary as less important, this can kills you opportunity.
Know a lot about who you’re calling:
- Research their website.
- Watch any videos with voiceovers (check their YouTube channel as well).
- Read bio’s of people in the company (particularly the person you are looking to talk to).
- Read reviews.
- Know their company’s history.
- What products they or services they offer.
- If they use different types of products or services.
- Their business hours.
- Their location.
Being knowledgeable about the person and company you’re calling is not only respectful and professional, but you’ll be able to ask intelligent, spontaneous questions and give informed responses in your conversation.
#3 – OUTLINE SCRIPT TO GUIDE YOU
Write out an outline or a brief “script” of what information you’d like to share, and what information you’re calling to discover.
This is not a “pitch” that you read.
Having an outline of the important points you’d like to convey will help keep you succinct, on track, and prevent you from straying too far off topic.
#4 – BE RESPECTFUL AND COURTEOUS
If you hear phones ringing in the background or get put on hold immediately by a hurried-sounding receptionist, pay attention!
If you can tell it’s not a good time to call, then get off the phone.
You can simply say, “I was calling to talk about how I could help your business, but it sounds like you’re super busy right now. Would it be better if I call back later?”
You will amazed at how showing empathy for the person on the other end of the phone will immediately soften their tone of voice, allow them to relax momentarily, and will very probably get you transferred right away.
If you do get someone who is rude or short with you, do not react to it. Be polite and remember your manners.
#5 – BE YOU
Talk into the phone as if your best friend is sitting in front of you.
I want you to be totally engaged and present. Do not multi-task when you are on the phone!
#6 – LISTEN AND TAKE NOTES
People can sense when you’re just politely listening and waiting for them to finish so you can speak. They can tell when you’re reading from a script and not being sincere. Ask open questions – why, what, how, where, who and when.
Really, really, listen and respond as if you’re responding to a friend you care deeply about.
#7 – ASK FOR A FOLLOW UP
After following the previously mentioned steps, simply ask for what you want.
Simple. Clear. No hidden agenda. Direct, short sentences are best:
“How would you like me to send you my demo reel via email or would you prefer to download it from my site, I’ll send a link?”
“When is a good time to schedule a date in the diary to meet and discuss this in more detail”
#7 – GET OFF THE PHONE
Do not be ramble on so long that your potential gets bored.
Make sure you end the call first. That way they’ll be more likely to take your calls in the future when they know you won’t be taking up too much of their time.
#8 – FOLLOW UP, FOLLOW UP
During or after your conversation, take detailed notes. Enter these straight away into your CRM system and enter any dates or reminders in your calendar.
#3 – How to improve your voice over marketing through client research.
There are lots of ways to get work in voiceover. Much of the pay to play sites for instance will give you chances to audition and get work.
But if you want to take your career to the next level, you need to be much more strategic. Getting a solid roster of regular work with big name clients, will give you not only a great income, but also an enviable and prestigious portfolio of clients.
Researching clients starts the moment your career starts, it is how you:
find potential clients / companies.
find specific people that can hire you e.g. voiceover directors.
help you to understand the broader picture of how your niche works – who knows who.
how work is commissioned and what projects are coming up or what is changing.
#1 – Identify Your Research Objectives
The first thing to do is to create a draft of the type of people you want to find and potential companies.
The more work you put in at the beginning the easier it gets.
Research takes time and therefore you need to think about it as a cost, an investment. So you need to work efficiently.
It is easy when on the internet to go down ‘rabbit holes’ and lose time. What I mean is get distracted too easily.
First of all focus on what you need to research:
- Places to get auditions
- Networking opportunities e.g. industry conventions
- Partners e.g. video directors who get involved in projects early
The next thing is to where you research:
- Search engines – Google, Bing
The last and final thing then is understanding how to research. This is something that a lot of people do not understand.
For those of you that are new to searching there are ways to improve the accuracy of your search results, they are called Boolean searches, but you don’t need to get hung up on that term.
The first important thing to appreciate about Boolean, is that there are only 5 elements of syntax to understand. These are:
The most important is the “quotations”.
We are asking the LinkedIn database to search for all of the people who include both the word “casting” and the word “director” on their LinkedIn profile. Meaning we are only looking to find candidates who candidates who have both keywords mentioned in their profile.
When using search, if the keyword you’re searching for needs to be considered as a whole word e.g. Voiceover Casting Director, then it must be enclosed within quotation marks in your Boolean search string. If not, the database will consider the space between the two words to be an AND and will search the database for two terms – voiceover AND casting AND director.
In other words, you must use quotations wherever you have two or more words e.g. “voiceover casting director”
Build Your Voice Over Client Base Using Google
#STEP 1 – CREATE A PERSONA
- Create a simple client persona:
- Typical age
- Type of company where they work
- How often they hire/source voiceovers
- Do they have sign off for sourcing or work in a team
- Size/type of projects
- Lead time of projects
#STEP 2 IDENTIFY WHAT
- Be clear about your research objectives:
- Build a list of specific potential clients
- Match profiles and types of clients to specific people
- Eliminate people that aren’t potential clients
- To find out the detail
#STEP3 – CHOOSE YOUR KEYWORDS
voiceover director, voice over director, voice over casting director…
USE QUOTES “”
Google defaults to AND searches automatically, so you don’t need to type “AND” into the search engine to get that result e.g.
“voiceover director” AND london
is the same as “voiceover director” london
WHAT TO DO NEXT
Here’s what NOT to do:
Copy the email address and send some long email with your demos attached.
People won’t take read an unsolicited email with audio files attached. Never think that a potential client wants to hear your demo reel. All you are doing is spamming them. The chances are if you do this you will simply annoy them and they could even mark your email as spam. That makes it harder to email other people. If your email gets blacklisted by email providers your in trouble.
You want to build a relationship with them. So before you reach out to them, look them up on social media, follow them, like them, read and make comments on their blog. This will help open the door to a relationship with the company. It shows you know what they’re about.
Voice Over Marketing Summary
There are lots of ways to develop your marketing. The art of marketing is to be creative, put time in to thinking about the client and not just how you can sell to them. Establishing yourself in any industry takes time but there are some simple ways to find voice over work and get auditions.
Marketing to be successful has to be consistent. A one off email campaign or a week of pushing social media then quitting won’t get you anywhere. Plan and schedule your marketing on a regular basis. As a voice over actor who is new to the industry there are only three activities to focus on:
- Practicing your voice skills.
- Voice over marketing.
Everything else is not pushing your career forward.
For more information on voice acting visit our series of posts on how to become a voice actor