Marketing - The Secret to Success
Want to know the secret to being a successful voiceover artist?
Here it is:
The more people that know about you, the more successful you'll be.
When I first got into the VO business, I came to a surprising revelation: the business of voiceover has very little to do with your voice. Almost nothing, actually. I'd say that a true VO career is maybe 5% about the quality of your voice, and the rest is all about marketing that voice.
Think about it:
You could have a custom built recording studio with careful attention to acoustics.
You could have a professionally produced demo and get training from a top-quality VO coach.
You could have perfect elocution and enunciation. "She sells seashells by the seashore" rolls off your tongue like butter dripping off of a hot biscuit.
You could dance over complicated medical narration scripts with the grace of Fred Astaire.
You can believably sound like you're from New York, or Old England, or South France or West Germany, or the mid-West...
...But if no one knows that this amazing voice is out there, you're dead in the water.
If you don't get your vocal cords to vibrate against the right ear drums, at the right time, you will go nowhere.
Marketing is the key. You have to be able to sell who you are and what you can do, to the right people, at the right time. It's important to understand that marketing is not just about selling a product (in this case, your voice). It's about focusing on the needs of your customers.
Say for example, you have a lemonade stand and sold cups of lemonade for $.50. You might get a few customers and that would be fine.
But what if you thought about where you were going to set up your lemonade stand? Say, for example at the bottom of a busy off-ramp on a hot, Summer afternoon during rush hour.
And what if you packaged your lemonade in a plastic bottle to make it easier for customers to drink when they're waiting at the stop light?
And what if you put your name and website on the label so customers could go to your website later and buy the product directly from you?
And what if you posted a sign at the top of the on-ramp telling people that there would be ice cold lemonade for sale just a few hundred feet down the road?
That is marketing.
You can be a voice over artist and might make a few bucks. But if you want to succeed beyond working for whatever gig you can land from a freelancing or P2P site, a consistent, organized plan for marketing your voice is in order.
There are several tactics when it comes to voiceover marketing. I won't go into specific details (mostly because I don't have the space here to dedicate to it.) What I will say is that you need to have a plan. You need to take a piece of paper (or open a new document, but that doesn't sound nearly as romantic) and write down a specific, organized strategy for how you're going to get people to hear your voice and eventually hire you for work. This plan is what you use to promote and push your business forward.
Spend the time to carefully write out a strategy that you'll use to promote yourself and then follow that plan out to the letter. It may take some tweaking and some trial and error to find the right combination, but by doing this, you will be far ahead of the individual who thinks the world owes them something simply because they spent money on a demo and want it really bad.
It’s been said by many others and they are correct: the three most important parts to a successful voiceover business are marketing, marketing, and marketing.
About Rob Marley - A Los Angeles native, Rob is an accomplished voice talent, coach, producer and writer, now living in the Hill Country of Austin, Texas. Find out more here. Photo by Rod Long on Unsplash