This is a group to share ideas on marketing (y)our VO biz. What works? What doesn't?
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  • I have found that taking a shot and reaching out to the best in the business is often a daunting but truly rewarding experience. I live in a farm town in Pennsylvania and I work in Pittsburgh, so I don't exactly have my finger on the pulse of the vo world. However, on the advice of a childhood friend, Keith Ferrazzi, who wrote a great best seller, "Never Eat Alone," he put the question to me, what do you have to lose by reaching out? So I did. I went right to the top. I sent an email in 2005 to the king, Don LaFonataine and asked him for advice. Low and behold, he wrote back!!! I darn near had a coronary on the spot! He wrote an extensive email, and even took it upon himself to go to my website to listen to my stuff. For some bizarre reason, he took an interest. He followed my progress, and in the year leading up to his untimely death, he had me doing a series of dark sounding trailers, teaching me the art. It's incredible to think what a gracious man he was. I never met the man, yet I'll certainly miss him.
    In any case, it just goes to show you, that if you take some chances, it can pay off. What do you have to lose?
  • Karen, Craigslist! Wow, that's innovative. I'd have NEVER thought of that. Brilliant! I thought about selling myself on EBAY, but I was afraid I'd get bought!
  • Hello Guys and Gals glad to be here. Thanks for the invite Dan. So far in my two years of FULL TILT voiceover work I have discovered that the easiest way to get work is through Craigslist. I know, I know not the place you would think of to find solid people to work with. However as long as you get Pay Pal upfront or after you have sent a watermarked MP3 to the client it seems to work out just fine. I like the ads that tell you up front what they will pay. That way if they are asking for the MOON and want to pay you $20 I don't waste my time.

    If you find an ad for a voiceover gig on Craigslist read it like you would an e-mail from someone that you don't know. If things don't "seem" right it's better to just let it go and forget about it. I scored a $1,500 job off of Craigslist this summer and have developed a long term working relationship with that client. It can happen...just be smart about what you are responding to.
  • Thanks James for reposting!

    I'd like to respond to something you said that got me thinking - and let me apologize in advance for it's length.

    You make a brilliant observation ( I love using "brilliant" when speaking to the English!). The foundation for any successful VO biz is repeat customers. If you don't have 'em, you ain't there yet. Therefore (I love using "therefore" - it makes me sound "brilliant"), don't forget to keep marketing your regulars! They are always worth more work.

    I'll give you a perfect example. I have an agency client in the south east, who's name I won't use because I don't have permission to do so, who hired me to do some furniture spots. Sometime later, he came back to use me for a series of casino spots. I then went online and researched the demographics of the area where this casino is located and discovered that there is a large Hispanic community in the area.

    The next time I spoke with my client I asked them if the casino might be interested in trying to reach that community. He did not know that there was such a large community in the area and took the idea to the casino. They were aware of the population but just not sure how to reach them.

    Well, the bottom line is that I'm now ALSO voicing a large series of Spanish spots for the client. Bottom line: My agency client is happy for more work; his client is happy because they're reaching a fresh audience; and I have more work! All because of a little research and marketing to a current client.

    Now, that whole concept makes easy sense if you're a bilingual talent, but what if you're not? What else do you have to offer your current clients? Another character voice they might use? Another style? How about other experience in reaching a demographic they would be interested in? I have a car dealer that uses me for those loud screamer spots. One day I asked him if he had considered running a few spots on a different station using a different style - a little more elegant and friendly. He thought about it and a few weeks later we tried a different style of spot. It worked like a charm for him, and so now I do two different styles of spots for him every month. He's happy...and I've doubled my income from him!

    I don't know how it breaks down for the rest of you but 95% of my work is from repeat customers. It just makes sense to pay attention to marketing them consistently, while still reaching out for new customers.
  • Hi Dan, this is the gist of what I said:

    1. CD's are outdated and I agree with Debbie that emailing links and MP3's are the cheapest, easiest and most efficient way to get your message across. Most people's demo's are no bigger than 1MB on file so this isn't an inbox clogger.

    2. Following a post by Philip Banks,

    I have been using this kind of system since I started and I'm a great believer in researching your clients using the internet. The underlying theme here is that no one knows anyone until someone says hello so it's our job as voice talent to introduce ourselves to any and all prospective employers. For example, corporate VO's are one of the largest areas of VO work - there are simply thousands of companies out there waiting to put a voice to their new internet website, or corporate video about their new product or site or launch. So they go to or Voice123 or some other site and request auditions. By this time, however, you've lost the game - yes you might win the audition - maybe one in ten or twenty - but the key to a successful VO career (in my opinion and I've only been doing this for 3 years now) is getting repeat business from clients thus ELIMINATING the audition process. Sure, you'll still win and lose auditions but your bread and butter has to come from your established clients - ones that will hire you directly. Some clients will come from the auditions but the majority will come from you going out and introducing yourself. My agents send me on many auditions every year but I still make just as much, if not more, from direct and repeat bookings.

    I'm passionate about this because back in the year 2000 i watched my mother pass away and I realized then and there that she would no longer be able to do anything (physically speaking) on this earth - no phone calls, no hugs and kisses, no visits to the Grand Canyon, no helicopter rides, no tequila binges, nothing, the game of life was over.

    We can sit around and wonder what, why, how and when or we can just GET ON WITH IT. At best, we're hired, at worst, we're not.....

    Just my thoughts

  • I'M AN IDIOT!!!!

    Sorry everyone...and James Clamp in particular!!! I accidentally deleted his excellent post earlier about how he researches potential clients.

    James, if you can remember it, would you repost? We need to consider what you said!

    Again, sorry I blew that out. I certainly didn't mean to!
  • Hi Scott, please don't be offended by my comments and I'm not being patronizing or condescending towards you in any way.....

    You are a businessman. You run your own business. If you don't make the call, who will? What are the odds that you will have a heart attack tonight? What are the odds that president-elect Obama will be assassinated before the end of his first year in office (if he gets there)? WHO THE #@!$# CARES? This isn't Vegas, this is your livelihood. Odds don't come into play here. Research your future employers by using your brain and your ability to search the internet.....think hard about who would employ you and why.........the upside is that you get hired, the downside is that you don't. Also, guesswork isn't a factor either - don't guess you'll do something, if you think about it and come to the conclusion that it is the right thing to do, then DO IT.

  • I think my biggest problems are knowing who to send stuff to.. I mean I have an email database, but what are the odds that they( the person whose email address I have) is a. still with that company and b. still looking to hire, perhaps I'm not diligent enough. I guess I should just open the phone book and start calling folks that I believe may be intrested in hiring me for voice work.
  • Hi Ed! Welcome to the group...or is it group home?

    Sure! By any chance do you have ISDN?
  • Dan, when you need a 'second voice' for a spot, give me a call. I'd like to do some voicework with you. Makin' 2009... mighty fine!
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