When I went pro in VO through Such A Voice eight years ago, voice-over was a 7 billion dollar per year industry. In the eight years since, the industry has more than doubled to 15 billion per year. Let that sink in. The question is, are you tapping your share of it? If the answer is “no”, you can fix that.
As in every industry, we’re in the business of getting business. Primarily, that means prospecting and following through. Getting work requires you to work smart AND work hard. However, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel – just replicate what works and think of places where you can gain a competitive advantage.
Here are a few tips:
- Target small, non-union markets when you’re starting out. Think broadly. Look for opportunities all over the world. Go online to find industries that hire talent regularly like advertising agencies, marketing companies, media production houses, eLearning companies, etc. These people will come back to you again and again. Repeat business is a key to sustainability.
- When emailing prospects, remember, it’s about them. That means you need to respect people’s attention by being brief, direct, and client-centric.
- Attend events like trade shows and business expositions. Your local Chamber of Commerce will be happy to let you know when and where these expos are scheduled in your area. You can go as an attendee. Make sure voice-over is on your lanyard, then target businesses that hire VO talent like the local network affiliate, brand development company, university, healthcare provider, etc. Be prepared to talk about your area of expertise quickly and succinctly, elevator-pitch style. Highlight your signature sound and what you can do that will serve their needs. As you develop relationships with your clients aim for return business with quarterly check-ins. Network with them once you have trust and rapport: Ask for referrals.
- Update and nurture your website and social media channels. SEO is a science, so if you have a website learn about analytics and keyword listing so people can find you more easily. If you advertise online with tools like Google AdWords (AKA Pay-Per-Click), set a budget and expand it as it starts to pay off.
- Expand your demo base and selectively sending to hyper-targeted contacts. Mailers still have a relevant place at the marketing table. Limit your numbers and add a short handwritten note. That personal touch can dramatically increase the mailing effectiveness. People still appreciate physical merchandise. Everyone can use a memory stick (USB drive) with your demos on it.
- Campaign with email. This can sound complicated but it’s really just messaging your contacts. List building here is key. Keep track of everyone you interact with and target. Quality record keeping is a must. Use a Contact Manager (CRM) that is specifically designed to handle your contact management. HubSpot provides a free one. PipelineDeals.com is a quality CRM for a nominal subscription fee.
- Finally, follow up and follow through. If you tell someone you’re going to do something like call them in two weeks, call them in two weeks. Sounds obvious, right? It can get tricky when you have multiple contacts and situations, so this is another reason to be thorough with your CRM so opportunities don’t slip through the cracks.
The bottom line is that by concentrating your efforts on gaining business, you will gain business. Diversify your tactics and persevere.
And remember: If you build it, they will come!
Find this useful? Dig even deeper into topics like this in our VO Pro Membership.
Brian Thon (pronounced ‘TONE’) is an international voice artist and national producer. He has worked behind the mic and behind the board in studios throughout the US, with up and coming voice talent to published authors and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame musicians. For more of his work visit brianthon.com.