VO Marketing Tips – Part 1, The Basics

For the past few years, I have had the distinct honor and pleasure of taking part in an exciting and wonderful career as a Voice Talent. Because I have such a passion for voice acting, it naturally drives me to want to succeed and see my business flourish. Most people, when I tell them what I do for a living, simply shake their heads in amazement and exclaim how cool it must be to get paid “just for using my voice”. I smile, shake my head vehemently, and agree. But, as all of us in the industry know, the fun part of using your voice is probably only 20% of the job! The rest is comprised of everything else that is required to operate and maintain a successful business. A large part of that is knowing how to market yourself to generate new business, as well as having an effective plan to nurture and sustain existing business relationships.

Along my journey, I have experienced many trials and tribulations, and have been truly blessed to have learned a few lessons along the way. I certainly do not claim to be a marketing expert to any degree, but I’d love to share some marketing tips that were effective for my business. I hope that they can, in some way, help you too, and allow you to truly flourish in this great industry!

Some basic tips that I have found to be really helpful in expanding my business include:

Get Your Demo Professionally Produced and Keep it Fresh!

This is your most important marketing tool and vital to your success as a voice over artist. If you are serious at all about your VO business, this should be your number one goal. As you grow as an artist and as a business, it will be necessary to keep your demos current and even add more to your current portfolio. Go to a professional studio and make it a priority to invest in your demo – it is your calling card!

Write a Great Bio

A foundation to marketing yourself – Even if you are just starting out in the business, you will need to provide people with information about who you are and your relevant experience. For many of us, this can be an immensely difficult task! Once your bio is developed, however, it can be used many times over – as part of your business introduction for new clients, a cover letter for auditions, Bid Response letters, as well as a section on your website.

Talk about what you do

All the time – to everyone! You never know who may be in need of your services. Even if they may not be in need of your services right now, they just might be later on down the road, or they may know someone who is. Don’t be shy! People always seem to be fascinated with the concept of voice overs as a business – and it’s a great ice breaker and conversation piece at parties!

Figure out your “Brand” and Develop a Strategy

This is a vital step in creating and establishing your identity as a voice over artist. Exactly “who” are you and what is your specialty? Your brand identity will be repeatedly communicated, in multiple ways with frequency and consistency throughout the life span of your business. Famous for his innovative branding,Doug Turkell, the “Unnoucer” has flourished by creating and marketing his unique brand of voice overs. Just do it already! Butdothink carefully about this one – changing your brand once established can be a bit difficult, though not impossible!

Take classes and workshops in your profession

It will allow you to network with your peers and even better, establish a relationship with an industry “expert”, who can provide you with even more valuable business leads. Taking classes will not only add educational/ training credits to your resume, but will also allow you to establish and assess your “competition”, and strengthen your vision for possible “niche” markets which may not be covered by your peer group.

Make yourself Accountable

Write down your business goals and establish a system of accountability for your business. This will help you develop a clear picture of how you can better market yourself. Spend an allotted time each day working on new contacts – this includes cold calling! Make it a goal to meet someone new in the business everyday!

It’s all about Customer Service!

Go above and beyond for your clients. Give more than they expect – and you will find that they will come back again and again. When I book a job, I usually give at least two finished takes for the client to choose from, even if they are not requested. Since I usually record more than two takes for each spot anyway, it doesn’t add a lot of time to the job on my end, and my clients really appreciate it!

Take care of your existing customers!

The word “Marketing” is often thought to describe advertising activities specific to gaining new business, but keep in mind that enriching and nurturing the relationship of your existing customers can be critical to your business survival. Contact them periodically and let them know you are available for them and keep them abreast of any new projects. Many times during a new business “low”, my repeat clients have come through with flying colors and kept my business booming!

Get Testimonials and Publish them!

When you complete a job, especially when you know the client loved your work, always ask for a testimonial, as well as a copy of the finished product for your demo reel. You can simplify this process by creating a generic “Thank You” template or form email that includes your request so you don’t forget. You’d surprised at how many clients are more than willing to do this for you if you just ask! Let your clients do the marketing for you!

I hope you have found these tips to be helpful and I welcome all comments! Upcoming articles in this series will discuss marketing options for building and marketing your VO business online.

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How to Find a Great Realtor to Run Your Property “Comparables” (Comps)

Establishing value on your property is critical. Skill number one above all other skills to master.

The most important aspects of being a real estate investor is the ability to establish value on houses or properties you are considering buying, wholesaling, or flipping. Irregardless of location, be it California, New York, Houston, or Dallas its a must know skill to learn in time.

But how do you master comping property if you do not have Multiple Listing Service (MLS) access? How can you practice and practice running comps (like I have until you breeze through it), looking at land, comparing variables like year built, location, lot square feet, bed and baths, subdivision and lastly what is the property next too? Is it next to a commercial center, stinky ranch or pig farm or a nice area with a creek or lake? These factors are important to know in learning to master running comps on property.

Before you can become proficient with running comps you need MLS access from a realtor if you are not one already. And this is how you do it. You want to find a realtor you know on a personal level, maybe a friend, friend of the family, or relative. If you don’t have a realtor on hand you need to make friends with one.

This is how you go about making friends and getting MLS access. Drive for dollars and find a vacant, boarded up house ones you want to consider buying or wholesaling. Find two or three, then call a few Realtors up tell them you are real estate buyer or investor and need a good realtor to buy through and run comps.

Start off only giving them a few addresses to comp then a week later give them a few more, meanwhile take them out to coffee get to know them, their likes dislikes, hobbies, etc. Form a relationship with them. A week later give them a few more comps to run, be sure the houses are in your actual buying areas of interest. In other words make sure its real comps of real houses. Its one way to get to know your platinum areas.

Phone your realtor talk to him or her about the houses he or she comped. Make the chat a casual conversation. Ask them if they would like you to refer them (realtor) to the sellers who want to list. Of course the realtor will say yes! Let them know not all sellers you meet are desperate or motivated sellers and some simply need a good realtor to list with.

Then when a seller does not want to sell ask them if they would like to talk to your realtor to see if listing is right for them. Call the Realtor and give them the seller’s name, phone, address, and the condition of the house. This will show the realtor you are serious. No one works for free. Keep track of those referrals maybe the realtor will give you a small finders fee once listed and sold, just don’t ask for one at this point. Your sole goal is MLS access! The gold standard of running comps.

Somewhere in the discussions you are giving them the comps to run, they start to get a bit overwhelmed at the extra work load of running the comps for you. This is what you want. They need to realize in the back of their minds without you mentioning it, they should just give you MLS access.

However, when you feel its a good time tell them you can “save them time buy getting MLS access as an “real estate assistant” or such, just whatever is easier for them” which they can ethically do. This is why, they have real estate assistants who run comps for them, look up properties on the MLS and help out in the office for them.

If you are giving them leads they are going to be more than happy to give you the access you need once you establish trust with them. It is wise to be working about 2-3 Realtors at once to see who is actually a big picture or forward thinker. Do this until they get you the MLS access. Do this until you can speak their language. Do this until you get your MLS access. But stay in touch with the other Realtors, because you never know when you will need them too.

Let this soak in a bit and see if it helps you to get the MLS access you need. Zillow or no other comp service is worth a darn, hey its hard enough to establish value with the MLS as it is. Some Realtors will say they can run the comps but a realtor see’s comps through a different light than the investor. Here is one major difference, WE write the $200,000 check to BUY the house, Realtors only list the house. We better be right-on with our comps! Get it!?! So they see running comps through a different pair of glasses, and this is one of many reasons why you need the actual MLS access yourself.