Your Best First Impression: Starting the Marketing Conversation

“I love junk mail!”…said no one. 

Well, maybe if you’re gathering starter materials for a bonfire, but for the rest of us, those generic marketing ploys don’t exactly warm the heart. There are a thousand reasons why, but in the end it all boils down to this: people are tired of being “sold to.” We want to be seen, and we want to be helped with needs that we actually have.

No junk mail!

But marketing is selling, right? Yes, the goal of marketing is to sell your services -at some point in your relationship with a potential lead you will need to broach the topic of working together, but there is a right and wrong way to get there. 

The art of marketing is just that – an art. It takes time to learn and there is too much nuance to it for any single person to teach you everything you’ll ever need. But there are some major red flags, and simple fixes that can transform your first contact. Let’s take a look at 3 common mistakes together, and what you can do to turn things around.

Before proceeding any further, I want to make this clear: the voice-over industry is a creative industry, where opinion matters just as much (or more) than specification. Voice-over marketing is relationship-based. Marketing yourself as a “better commodity” just isn’t going to work. The opinions expressed here are all based on this assumption.

  1. “Dear Customer, … whoever you are.”

One of the first and greatest marketing mistakes is treating every client the same way. While generic templates do have a place and can be effective in the right situation, such marketing efforts rarely work on a first contact. In fact, this approach can have a very negative effect on your brand, giving the impression that you have no interest in the client beyond their money. 

Before you even consider reaching out to a potential lead, take time to get to know them. At the very least you should know and find a way to incorporate the following into your outreach:

  • Your contact’s first name.  
  • Client’s industry – What do they do? Who are their customers?
  • Client’s mission & potential challenges they face

Knowing who your lead is and what they need help with is invaluable information to have, and can help you to make a much more personalized connection that says “I see you. I understand you. You can trust me.” Clients want people to help them who have their best interests in mind. Nobody is expecting you to be completely altruistic here, but this is an attitude to aim for in your efforts. 

  1. Me, Me, Me…

A second common mistake in the world of “introductory junk mail,” is an over-emphasis on the seller or the product. Yes, your marketing does need to present your service. After all, if your prospect doesn’t understand what it is that you offer, how can they understand how you can help them? The mistake lies in the portion of time spent discussing you (the seller) vs. the lead. 

Sending out a first contact that is almost exclusively seller-focused is akin to meeting someone at a party for the first time and saying “Hi, nice to meet you! Let me tell you all about me,” and ending that conversation with “I’m here if you need me!” before walking away to find someone else to connect with. Such one-sided interactions can easily leave the prospect feeling apathetic to your message, if not worse. 

There isn’t a specific percentage of a message which needs to be lead-focused vs. seller-focused. What is more important is the tone of the message. A five sentence email with just one sentence about the lead may have an excellent positive impact if it’s the right sentence. Focus on creating a tone in your first contact which sincerely communicates “I’m focused on you.”

  1. Rushing to the finish line

The third red flag we need to address is rushing to the sale and trying to “seal the deal” in our first contact, as though if we don’t make a sale right then and there the whole deal is off, and our chances are shot. 

There is nothing wrong with asking if your potential lead has an immediate need for a voice actor. Sometimes they do, and sometimes you really do close a sale on your first contact. However, “What will it take to get you into a used car today?” is not the right approach for a first contact, and pressing them for an immediate hire, on your first or any contact, is not ideal. 

Any message that smells like “I’m a voice actor, please hire me” is the wrong message. Focus less on “hire me” and more on “working together…collaborating with you…” and similar messaging. Clients will get the idea, and you will position yourself as caring about their work, which you likely do anyway. A cold, hard sell will rarely leave a lead with warm fuzzy feelings. 

Your first contact is arguably the most important contact in a marketing relationship. As the old adage goes – “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” When getting your foot in the door, make sure you do it the right way. Be engaged, be client-focused, and be sincere, and ultimately you’ll be more successful. 

Want some more advice on marketing and keeping clients happy? Think about marketing from the client’s perspective.



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