Your Marketing Mix – Putting the Pieces Together
You’ve got a great voice – but, in order to get work, other people need to know about it!
While focusing on your craft is certainly important, that’s only part of the equation. From deciding where you should spend your money to how you should spend your time, there’s a lot to think about.
If you’re re-evaluating your marketing efforts, below you’ll find tips and tricks from Voices on how to spread the word about the services you offer.
The Importance of a Marketing Strategy
First, start your marketing strategy by identifying your overall goal. It can be as ambitious as you like. It’s for your eyes only.
It’s important to identify what success means to you, as it could take many forms. Whatever achieving your dream looks like for you is a personal choice. Once you’ve identified what your end goal will be, you’ll need a plan to achieve it.
If your goal is monetary, you’ll need to break down how you’ll get to that amount. Your outline should include how you’ll bring together your network, what skills you bring to the table, and what avenues you’ll explore in order to make that happen.
Setting Up Your Career Vision – Your End Goal and How to Get There
With your overall goal in mind, narrow that goal down to smaller pieces. Starting at a year, five years, and ten years – what do you hope to achieve and when?
You can break your plan down even further to think about your strategies and tactics. Think of it as pyramid, with the end goal at the top, the strategies below that and the tactics to get there at the base.
To demonstrate how this can be employed, say your first goal is “have a self-sustaining voice acting career.”
The strategies are the smaller goals you’ll use to achieve the larger goal. They could be:
- launch a website
- improve my voice acting technique
- create a recognizable brand
Further to that, tactics are the actions you’ll take to achieve your strategies. For example:
- investigate website building options – build it yourself or hire someone
- hire a coach
- get headshots done
Set Goals that are Realistic, Specific and Achievable
SMART goals meet the following criteria. They are:
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Achievable
R – Realistic
T – Timely
It’s important to measure your goals and see if you’re where you want to be on a monthly and yearly basis. It can also be helpful to see what you’re doing that’s moving you closer to your dreams – and what isn’t.
Some of your goals may be monetary. You are in business and if you’re a full time voice actor you need to support yourself. If that’s the case, you’ll need to learn how to budget and provide quotes. It’s important, but it’s not always easy. Here’s some advice for keeping your cash flowing.
Building Your Brand by Highlighting What Makes You Unique
For voice actors, creating a brand is a good way to plant yourself in someone’s mind. Branding needs to be consistent at every point so that people can recognize it and it becomes something they feel like they can trust and rely on.
You might choose to highlight what makes you unique – offering translation services, post production services, or being able to perform multiple dialects might be what sets you apart.
Once you know that brand, it’s up to you make it clear. If you’re looking for inspiration, you might look to your signature voice – the voice that you get booked most often to do – but it can also be built on what you believe, or even a catchy aspect of who you are.
Use the same image or headshot across your branding, as people will often see you before they hear your voice.
Communicate with Marketing Collateral
What is a business card? A business card isn’t just a piece of paper.
A business card is an identification card, representing you, your brand, and most vitally, is a portable networking tool that bears your contact information and credibility as an operating business.
Carrying business cards at all times is very important because you never know when you’ll run into someone who wants to work with you. Whether it’s a potential client, a colleague, or a reporter, you should always have a handful of cards on your person wherever you go.
Now that we’ve covered why business cards are significant, it’s time for a little housekeeping . For best results, include the following on your business card:
- Company name
- Your name or stage name
- Your corporate mailing address
- Studio Telephone number
- Mobile Phone Number
- Email Address
- Website (for example, your website at Voices)
Some professionals opt to have a logo or photograph of themselves on the card. Let’s delve into this gray area for a while…
A photograph on a business card is a visual reminder of who you are. Many real estate agents have their photos on their cards, chiefly because most of their business is conducted in person and they are leveraging their physical image to help sell their services to you.
As this isn’t the case for the majority of voice work, you may think that it would not generate the same effect. When all is said and done, the product you sell is your voice, not your appearance. That factor alone could prove the clincher for not including a photograph of yourself on your business card or website.
However, consider this: the Internet can often be ‘faceless’ and ‘surreal’, especially when conducting business. If you sent your clients hard copies of your business card in the mail with your photo or likeness, they would be able to put a face to the voice, so to speak, and think of you more as a professional than as someone they worked with “on the ‘net”.
Of all the business cards I have ever received, the only ones with photographs have been of musicians, real estate agents, and other artistic types. This suggests that most freelance professionals consider their company as an extension of themselves, branding promotional materials with their photo or likeness.
When comparing the cards of freelance professionals with corporate business cards, particularly those of web companies, I found that the business cards of employees stationed at larger companies focus on selling the company website instead of placing the emphasis on the point of contact.
This can be achieved by relying on email as your primary (or sole) source of communications with customers, building impersonal web pages and content that doesn’t set you apart, and using ‘form’ emails instead of providing your email address. Although forms may prevent spam to a degree, they may also be preventing opportunities from reaching your inbox.
That being said, if it’s hard to contact you, I mean the real you, it’s quite possible that you’re currently just another website and not a business person after all. That’s a scary thought, especially when the goal is to make contacts and grow your business.
This is when we have to start thinking critically about how business is done, especially online, and how we can humanize the experience, with or without a photograph.
Networking With Producers and Other Actors
One way to start is by getting out and meeting people, in other words, networking.
Joining a local business club is a good first step to help you build bridges and have face time with other professionals from diverse industries. Your library or phone book is the place to start looking for these groups. The likelihood of people outside of our industry knowing a voice talent personally is slim, and you might just be the only link they have to a great voice-over for their company. Not only that, but social interaction is healthy for everyone 🙂
Another way is to include more than just bare bones information on your website. For clients who find you there first, it is truly the first impression of who you are as a person as much as it is of your voice.
Networking is paramount to growing your business and making new contacts, whether online, over the phone or in person. You never know when someone in your network will refer you to one of their colleagues or hire you for work. When you develop a rapport with a variety of business people, opportunities that benefit you may abound from unexpected sources, even through a blog posting.
Budgeting Your Time and Energy to Market Yourself
How much time you invest is up to you. The Beginner’s Guide to Voice Acting recommends that you spend just 20% of your time doing voice over and 80% of your time marketing your voice.
It also recommends you spend a percentage of your budget on marketing so that it can fluctuate accordingly with what you have made.
One of the most cost-effective solutions for marketing is social media, but even that needs to be done strategically. You can also use other low cost methods to market, like newsletters to keep your clients informed and keep your service in the forefront of their minds.
International voice actor Brian Thon has some interesting recommendations for how to launch a voice acting career, including tips on getting new clients.
Marketing to New Clients Should Decrease as Time Goes on
When you’re first starting out, getting your name out is a priority. You can’t be hired if no one knows what you’re doing!
However, as you progress in your career, it becomes easier to get business because you’ll (hopefully) have repeat clients or referrals. Your time will be invested in doing work, but also in maintaining the relationships you have established. This may also lead to referrals, a great way for you to build your book of clients.
While you want to invest some time in seeking new clients, certainly, more work should be coming to you once people are aware of what you do and are pleased with the service you’ve provided.
Voices Can Assist with Your Marketing Efforts
How does Voices fit into all this?
Your profile allows you to have some online real estate. If you’re going to make the most of your profile, it’s essential that it’s fully filled out. It provides you with a chance to reach clients you might not otherwise see opportunities from.
Over the course of time, it can help you build up your brand and get your auditions heard from major companies. If you don’t have a profile, get one today!
Marketing is a Wheel with Many Spokes
Marketing can’t be distilled into one activity. Instead, it ends up being a variety of strategies you employ based on where you are in your career and where you want to go. There is no shortage of ideas you could consider like your own website, business cards, pay per click advertising, and networking.
While it’s up to you to determine the mix, the important thing is that you are putting yourself out there for your amazing voice to be found. Eventually, it may be necessary to outsource some of these tasks. That’s a great thing, though, as it enables you to focus on what you do best – using your voice to bring messages to life.