Advertising Your V.O. Business Online

Web-services are sold and purchased mainly on a word-of-mouth and discovery basis, with relationships and previous experience being, by far, the most important factor.

Marketing Yourself and Promoting Your Voice-Over Work

What do you need to do to get noticed? As you may have heard, half the battle is just showing up. In order for your brand to show up, you need to know how to market yourself. Particularly online, marketing yourself includes investing some time and effort into building your web presence.

You may also consider the possibility of paying to get your name out there to attract potential customers to your website. After a visitor arrives at your website, your earlier diligent work along with a clear visual expression of your brand can help persuade people to do business with you.

You can also market yourself in other ways, including sharing your story and explaining to others how you can potentially work together. Networking is a way to expand your territory while making new friends. So many different businesses need voice-overs recorded, and they may not even realize how voice acting can help them. When you network with other people, you may be the first person they’ve ever met that does voice acting. As a result, getting your story down pat before you head out into the world of business networking is a must.

Creating A Web Presence

An effective Internet marketing strategy is one of the keys to a successful voice acting business. Your business needs a multi-pronged approach to ensure positive results. One of the first things any voice actor needs to do before jumping in full force to self-market is to build a website. This website can be a traditional one or it may be having a profile on a voice-over marketplace. Most people have both. In the following sections, we focus on how you can build your web presence with a personal website that you can be proud of, how you can utilize social media, how you can maximize how people can locate your presence, and how you can advertise online.


Evaluating Your Online Advertising Options

When advertising online going the word-of-mouth route is the most cost effective solution because it relies on people’s trusted sources influencing their buying decisions rather than a paid search result that was put in front of the potential buyer based on their previous searches (targeted marketing). Both do have their merits though and we’ll take a look at some of the options available.

Advertising

  • Consider the whole picture including researching, planning, creating, reviewing, approving and testing advertisements and for placing media buys.
  • Detail elements that are to be done in-house and outsourced (e.g. ad design, printing, mailing, etc.).
  • Designate employee(s) in charge of establishing provider requirements, requesting proposals, comparing offers, selecting provider and negotiating.
  • Establish schedule for shopping for providers and comparing offers.
  • Establish schedule for sending requests for proposals to service providers and a deadline for choosing a provider.

Advertising Costs

  • Determine advertising cost-sales ratio per services offered (total advertising cost for services offered divided by sales in dollars generated by service x 100)
  • Determine service advertising cost / total advertising cost ratio (product advertising cost divided by total advertising cost x 100)

Advertising and Promotional Budget

  • Tip: Allocate your promotional budget as a percentage of sales. This strategy will ensure positive cash flow and position the company for continued profitability.

Search Engine Marketing Strategy

Being found in the major search engines is vital to anyone who conducts business on the Internet. There are only three steps needed to take if you want to quickly increase your site’s visibility in the search engines. The three steps are: positioning, optimization, and link building.

Internet search engines (e.g. Google and Yahoo!) help users find web pages on a given subject. The search engines maintain databases of websites and use programs (often referred to as “spiders” or “robots”) to collect information, which is then indexed by the search engine.

How do search engines work?

Typically, a search engine works by sending out a spider to fetch as many documents as possible. Another program, called an indexer, then reads these documents and creates an index based on the words contained in each document. Each search engine uses a proprietary algorithm to create its index so that, ideally, only the most closely related results are returned for each search query.

It is possible to submit your website to Yahoo! Search, although like Google, there is no guarantee your website will be listed in the natural search engine results.

Getting Listed in Google

Google states that they add and update new sites to our index each time they crawl the web, and website owners are invited to submit their URL using the link below. Google does not add all submitted URLs to their index, and cannot make any predictions or guarantees about when or if they will appear.

https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/submit-url?continue=/addurl

Getting Listed on Yahoo!

Yahoo has two kinds of listings; the Yahoo! Directory, organized by topic and Yahoo! Search, a search engine based on keywords.

Being listed in the Yahoo! directory costs money but places your website along side your competitors and colleagues within the industry. More importantly, a listing in the Yahoo! Directory greatly increases the odds that your website will be noticed by crawler-based search engines such as Yahoo! Search and even Google, Bing and Ask.

http://search.yahoo.com/info/submit.html

SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION

Search engine optimization is one of the most powerful Internet marketing tools. There are numerous definitions and interpretations as to exactly what Search Engine Optimization means.

It is the process in which the careful and strategic placing, analysis, and wording of keywords of text on a particular website to enable optimum search engine rankings.

There are two unique areas of search engine optimization, “on-page optimization” and “off-page optimization,” respectively. Both of these areas should be given equal importance. Let’s address each area separately.

On Page Optimization

The best way to think about on-page optimization is that it contains all of the elements and factors in good search engine rankings which you can control. This includes your domain name or website address (your URL), your website content such as subject matter, formatting, keyword selection and use of images. On-page optimization also includes how all of your web pages are linked to each other. All elements of your website, which you can edit, modify, or delete at a moment’s notice are considered on-page optimization.

Content is King

As we discussed earlier, having relevant, well-written content on your website should be your first priority. Why is it your first priority? Because all search engines display search results by ranking the content of a specific page within a website.

Google doesn’t always just list the home page of a website as being the most relevant. Google provides the searcher with the page within a website that contains the text that is the most relevant to the search phrase. Not only does it make sense, it’s really in your best interest.

And, this is why they say “content is king, but keywords are queen.” A balance between well-written content and carefully selected keywords are the keys of a solid on-page strategy.

The most important thing to remember about writing content for your website is that it should be genuine and meaningful to your audience. Write for your audience first and traffic will come.

Off-Page Optimization

Off-page optimization includes all the activities and aspects that are out of your control, and, more to the point are controlled by what other people think of your website. These include links, the anchor text, which is the visible text of the link, the authority of the linking website and the age of the linking website.

Google has a patented method for determining the number of links of a website known as PageRank TM. Websites with a higher PageRank TM have a greater number of links from other websites.

Many search engine marketers consider that links are the most important factor in getting those all important natural (non-paid) search engine results. It’s clear that links play a significant role in obtaining great search engine results.

However, the quality of the links matters more in the eyes of any good search engine rather than the sheer quantity of links. So avoid spammy linking practices or including any irrelevant information or themes linking back to any part of your website.

Elements of Off-Page Optimization

So what does off-page optimization include? The list below highlights some of the factors that we believe belong in this camp.

  • Link Relevancy - Links pointing to a website within the same industry are seen as a vote of confidence from a relevant source. (Quality)
  • Link Popularity - Links are the currency of the web. Links that are placed on a particular website and point to another website are seen as a vote of confidence. (Quantity)
  • Anchor Text - The active text used to enable the link is called the anchor text and provides additional information about the source of the link and what the linked-to site will be about.
  • Search Engine Saturation - The number of pages indexed by the search engine. A website with more web pages is perceived to be more authoritative. Having a well-designed sitemap will ensure that all pages on your domain will be indexed by Google, Yahoo! and Bing, giving you a 100% search engine saturation for your URL.

Pointing People to Your Website

The practice of link building should be thought of as a way to acquire a clickable link from another website to your site. If you're needing some ideas for the different types of links you can obtain, just glance at this list. It should be noted that the order of this list is what we've found to be most effective which means some of the most valuable links are also the difficult-to-obtain links. Alright, let's see what kinds of links you can get pointing to your website:

Authority links

Authority links are links from prominent, trustworthy websites within an industry, usually websites that have a vast number of pages indexed in the search engines and update their content daily. These sites tend to attract a lot of traffic and act as portals, directing their visitors to the information and websites most relevant to their interests. It is wise to obtain links from authority websites, whether you purchase, exchange, or submit them for consideration.

Radio station, television, magazine, or newspaper links

If you are fortunate enough to receive some media exposure, they may reproduce their printed, audio, or visual content on their website, including a text link to your website. When you land any media coverage it will nearly always drive a flood of traffic to your website. Spend a good amount of effort on trying to obtain media coverage, but only do so when you have something newsworthy to pitch to reporters or a good ‘life’ story to tell.

Article Author links

If you like writing articles, this may be one of the best link building strategies for you to pursue. Writing about your industry positions you as an expert in the field and also gives you the opportunity to be linked to in your About the Author section. There are many general article submission sites (e.g. ezinearticles.com) and each has different requirements and standards before passing editorial review. In exchange for providing content for their audience and for writing about your area of expertise, the article website will reward you with a link to your preferred URL.

Another approach is to request a guest spot on an industry-related blog. This is a way for you to put yourself directly in front of your desired audience. Consider what your clients might like to read and find out what companies have blogs that you could contribute to. Write from your perspective but on topics that would be helpful to your clients. For example; 7 Tips on Directing Your Voice Actor. Again, at the very least, your 'About the Author' should include a link to your website.

Both of these options are excellent ways of authentically earning outside links to your website, but in either scenario it’s important to ensure that the content is original and unique otherwise search engines like Google will ignore the content.

Reciprocal links

Reciprocal links are links that benefit both you and your link partner. Typically, Website A links to Website B. Website B then links back to Website A. Reciprocal links are regarded as a positive, symbiotic relationship and indicate that the link partners support the other partner's website and business operations.

Directory links

The most trafficked directory will also carry the most weight. As a result, listings in these directories can only be obtained by paying an annual fee for the Yahoo! Directory. Start with a few highly trusted directories such as the Yahoo! Directory, Business.com and Best of the Web.

Site-wide links

Generally, these kinds of site-wide links are reserved for navigation as they are typically found in the header or footer of every page on a website. You can obtain site-wide links by purchasing them from a link broker or sponsoring an entire website directly. Although more expensive than purchasing a single link, the opportunity for people to see your link and click through is much higher because of site-wide visibility.

One-way links from friends or related sites

One-way links are usually obtained through your network of acquaintances and business colleagues in complementary niches. These links act as relevant referrals and can be established from blogrolls or other business related lists.

Press release links

You can obtain press release links when you write and distribute a press release through online news outlets. Sometimes these links are given freely; however, many press release websites only activate your links if a fee is paid. Examples of online press release outlets include PR.com, PRWeb.com, and many more.

RSS / Blog aggregated links

If you start your own blog, find directories to submit your blog URL or RSS feed to. The links that you receive from these directories will introduce your blog to new audiences. Those individuals, by virtue of visiting your blog, will have the opportunity to access your main website. These links provide indirect marketing for your main URL.

Comment and Profile Links

With over 60 million blogs in the world, it is easy to find a number of blogs with subject matter related to your own blog or website. Once you find a blog or several blogs that you are interested in, be sure to leave a comment on a post. When commenting, include your name, email address, and website URL in addition to your comment. Contributing to a community builds trust and insightful comments validate your links.

TIPS FOR CONDUCTING ONGOING PERFORMANCE EVALUATION AND MONITORING

Monitoring Search Engine Results

Tip: Set-up Google Alerts to notify you by email when Google has found a new page that mentions your specified keyword. You can create Google Alerts for “Your Name,” “Your Business Name” as well as “voice overs,” “voice actors,” and “voice talent” to monitor industry activity.

Monitoring Ad Campaigns

While we've been talking a lot about search engine optimization, there is a paid channel on Google called Adwords.  If you're advertising with Google Adwords, remember to login to your Google AdWords and Yahoo! Search Marketing accounts once per day during the first month, then once per week on an ongoing basis. Adjust daily budgets and campaign budgets to allocate more resources for better performing ad groups and keywords.

Advertising Budget Review Schedule

Establish a schedule to review and track the progress of marketing activities.
Establish time-based checkpoints for reassessing strategies, for considering adding new ones or for reassessing budgets.

Key Website Performance Metrics

Set-up a Google Analytics account to monitor website activity such as the number of website visitors, length of stay, depth of navigation, number of clicks.

You now have a great deal of insight into what makes an effective Internet Marketing strategy. You even have lists of tools to manage your search engine optimization progress, and tips for monitoring the performance of your overall marketing strategy.

Joining a Voice Acting Marketplace Website

If you don’t have your own website, a voice-over marketplace is the ideal place to begin developing your presence online. These sites are referred to as online marketplaces, where clients and voice actors can connect to complete a project. The following sections explain the benefits to these sites, what some sites are, and how you can use these sites.

Some marketplace websites are obviously better than others. The following three are the best in our humble opinions:

Voices.com, the site you're on right now, is an online marketplace that connects business clients with professional voice actors. Voices.com is home to more than 250,000 customers and serves companies from Fortune 500s to small businesses. In addition to its role as a marketplace, it provides helpful resources and business developmental tools to nurture its customers, including blogs, podcasts, a digital trade publication, and award-winning customer service unparalleled in the industry.

Taking The Steps To Improve Your Profile on Voices.com

The following are parts that you may need to complete on the voice acting marketplace website. These sections may vary, depending on the site. No matter if you use your own website or a voice acting marketplace website, including the following information is a smart idea to give prospects a better idea of who you are and your skills.

Tips for Editing Your Profile

Tutorial for Uploading Voice-Over Demos

6 Tips From Voices.com Experts on Completing Your Profile