EWABS Episode 147, June 16, 2014 First EVER VO Marketing Roundtable



First EVER VO Marketing Roundtable

0:00:00  Intro starts.  

0:01:56  Dan does the introductions.  Ann Ganguzza from Irvine, Calif.; Debbie Grattan and Paul Rarick, from Michigan; Doug Turkel from Miami, Fla.; John Melley from New Jersey: Kelley Buttrick from Atlanta.

0:04:19  Tonight’s about VO marketing.  Dan asks how marketing has changed in the last decade.

0:04:51  Ann says her use of online marketing has increased.  The internet has let her see others market and develop her own plan.  Her background is in technology.

0:05:49  Debbie and Paul reply.  When she began, other people did the technical stuff.  Now she and Paul where all the hats.  Having a partner allows him to market and her to do voice work.  Often if you’re by yourself, you exhaust yourself.  

0:07:17  Paul does the crap Debbie doesn’t want to do.  They didn’t do much marketing for a long time and then when there was a big rush of VO talent into the business, they began.

0:08:07  Dan turns to Doug.  Doug need to differentiate himself.  He’s got an everyman voice, not the deep booming sound.  He evolved to the “un-nouncer” describing what he sounds like that he’s been able to use for different situations.

0:10:02  Kelley has a journalism/public relations background.  Her marketing is very research and relationship oriented, on a very individual basis.

0:11:02  George, caught mouth breathing, gets asked about how he markets.  His challenge is that when he does his job well, he won’t hear from his clients again!  He speaks to 5 to 10 new people per week.  That’s why he joined Edge Studio to get support for marketing.

0:13:42  Dan asks what types of marketing are available.  

0:14:06  Debbie said her approach is “if you build it they will come,” at her website and then work on the SEO.  She uses keywords, YouTube, and a blog.  She doesn’t like cold-calling.  She prefers feeling good about what you’re doing.  There are people who love cold calling.  Find whats a good fit for you.  You could spend all your time marketing and have no time for work.  

0:18:02  Debbie tries to be very responsive to potential clients.

0:18:32  Anne weighs in.  She schedules Twitter tweets.  She wants to “drive the traffic” from social media to your website.  She tries to engage and interact on social media so people get to know her.  It takes time.  

0:19:56  Dan asks Doug if he thinks it’s essential to drive people to your website for demos or is it something else?  Answer: It depends.  The market you’re going after might expect to hear from you in different ways.  Most will still come from your website.  It should build trust with your clients before they ever work with you.  He has a lot of nice things clients have said on his site.  You either sound like what a client wants or you don’t but your site will reinforce you.

0:22:32 Kelley has people who work on her SEO for her.  She says the first thing she does is find out about a client.  She finds people who might hire her and then researches them in detail.  She’ll then send a “warm” email with her talking about the client before she talks about what she can do.  

0:24:24  Kelley talks about “thoughtful appreciation.”  What can she do for someone who does something helpful.  She has sent items that people like and want as thank-you gifts.

0:25:22 Dan asks who does their websites.  Anne does her own, Paul has done Debbie’s but also gotten outside help.  Doug urges people to take pay-to-play sites off their websites.  Why direct clients to those sites?

0:26:57  George describes his experience with websites.  

0:28:32  Dan uses others to make his sites, but he wants to be able to change and update, to have control.  

0:29:22  The group chimes in about the issue of not having website control.  George says make sure you have a site you can manage.  

0:30:09  Kelley writes her own content.  She has an SEO plan.  She wants the site to read well, and the SEO wants it to say things a certain way.

0:31:40  Thanks to our sponsors!  Harlan Hogan at VoiceOverEssentials, VoiceOverXtra, and Edge Studio.  

0:33:22  Dan moves the conversation to BRANDING.  

0:34:12  Doug says it depends—that Dan’s mustache is memorable, for example.  Doug took a stack of scripts he’d been hired for.  He compiled the specs into one document.  He looked for the common feature—everyday guy, not an announcer, and so on, stood out.  That led to “un-nouncer.”  Your booked jobs will give you a peek into your clients’ minds.  What they think of you is more important than what you think of yourself.  

0:36:47  Doug says another possibility is ask the clients for a word or a paragraph about what they think of your performance.  Doug took “Doug gets it” into “Doug understands so you can be understood.”

0:38:09  Anne talks about personal branding.  She agrees with Doug that it’s difficult to do this yourself.  Everything she posts has a conscious choice to reinforce the brand.  

0:39:52  Debbie says when she’s reading social media by VO talent, they’re targeting other VO professionals, not potential clients.  Look for ways to serve your clients.  Make their job easier.

0:42:20  Kelley says there are subtle ways to brand.  She’ll send gifts from her town (Athens, Ga.).  

0:44:14  Doug points out that all this assumes you’re good enough at VO that you book work.  

0:45:22  Dan asks about the idea of “niche.”  Do you find your niche or does it find you?  Doug says it’s semantics and it can happen either way. 

0:46:32  You can’t force a niche.  It’s something you know a lot about or have a passion for.  He says it’s important that you specify what you do and what you’re good at.  

0:46:59  Niche marketing—is your name the thing to grab as your domain name?  Put yourself in your client’s shoes.  They’re looking for “medical narrator.com” or whatever it is, your key words are baked into your domain name.

0:48:36  Dan asks, what about marketing to agents?  Don’t you have to make lots of money already?  Debbie says it depends on the market the agent is in.  Small market agents might well take you on.  Much of the work doesn’t require an agent.

0:51:06  Dan announces another break.  Dan and George talk about getting your audio analyzed at http://vostudiotech.com/  or http://www.homevoiceoverstudio.com/

0:51:47  George asks questions from the chat room.  Kelley fell out of the Google Hangout; bandwidth issue.

0:52:31  Q: how do you create a blog that isn’t just white noise.  How much is too much?  A: Paul says he’s focused on the SEO side of this.  He looks at search results.  They blog 3-4 times a month.  The challenge is finding something clients want to read.  Debbie uses actual events that inspire her to share them.  She started blogging as an SEO avenue rather than to share knowledge.

0:55:26  Anne agrees.  For SEO, the more you can have fresh content, the better.  Content is king.  Write what you have to share, with search terms.  That establishes your expertise.  Gear your content to people who will hire you.

0:56:37  Doug adds—if you can be the expert in a specific area of VO, then you can become the go-to person.  That also makes it easier to write blogs or whatever.

0:58:17  Q  How important is it to have a site that’s mobile friendly.  A:  Very important, several say.  George then talks about sites like wix.com, squarespace.com/, and wordpress.com/

 Look for the term “responsive” to be sure mobil users can easily see your stuff.

0:59:24  Q  With social media and online networking, is snail mail still viable or a waste of time?  A: Anne says there’s a place for the handwritten note.  You’ve take the time…and it’s noticed.  

Debbie says the key is building client loyalty.  Snail mail has a place and a big one just because it’s more unusual.  Find ways to authentically make nice or friends with a client.  Make it personally yours.

1:02:02  “Gifts?” says Dan.  And George asks if giving branded marketing items as gifts is “distasteful.”  

1:02:45  Deb says it depends on what you’re doing.  If you’re sending a blanket marketing contact, then it could work.  Another option: Paul will send a request for a review after invoicing.  They hold a drawing every month for a $50 VISA gift card for those who reply.  

1:04:58  Kelley is back then gone, then back.

1:05:22  Doug has printed cards he uses for handwritten thank-you notes.  

1:06:58  Kelley speaks on the whole subject of gifting.  She got advice—don’t give holiday gifts.  They get lost in the shuffle and you’ll be expected to give every year.  There’s a difference between promotional and gifting.  There’s a place for both.  Think before you “gift.”  Keep the two distinct.  They’re for different purposes.

1:08:02  Q  What’s a branding post?  A  Branding post is about a show you like that shows your interest.  If you do this enough, you’ll be known for that brand.

1:09:57  George asks John Melley if he has a “silver bullet” for marketing…but he’s gone…

1:10:26  Q  If you have a website, can you buy additional domain names for the same site?   A: Doug—talk to an SEO person.  Yes, you can buy domain names and point them to an existing site.  You can’t have multiple names for one site.  You can also put content on those additional sites.  You can link to your main site.  

1:12:05  Dan comments that someone owns voiceactor.com, but won’t respond.  There are people who buy domain names and sell them.  George said he had multiple names and it became too hard to meld them into a brand.  

1:13:52  Kelley adds that if you have a common name, you may also want to buy that domain, too.  If your name is googled, you want YOU to come up.  

1:14:25  Debbie was told multiple pages, with each “optimized” can increase your SEO.  Paul says the more pages you have, the more opportunity for SEO.

1:15:28  Anne says there’s power to advertising yourself as a regional talent.  A couple of local terms can help you.  

1:16:41  Q: With social media and online marketing.  Is snail mail a good marketing tool?  A: Anne says there is a place for them.  Anne sends New Year’s cards.  

1:17:45  Dan sends his biggest clients fruit baskets.

1:18:14   Debbie says the key thing is touching your clients in a variety of ways and consistently.  Find ways that put a personal spin on it.  

1:19:47  Doug — be aware of your market.  If no one else is sending cards, do it.  If all the VO talent is doing it, don’t.  

1:20:37  Dan asks for everyone to give one final point, plus a link of their choice.

1:21:02  Anne: Be authentic, be yourself.  Go to http://anneganguzza.com/ or http://vopeeps.com/

1:21:14  Debbie: Be consistent.  It’s a marathon, not a sprint.  Be authentic.  Make it a relational business.   See http://www.debbiegrattan.com/

1:22:07  Kelley: make sure everyone you know knows what you do in a non-cheesy way.  Make sure your parents, neighbors and so on.  Her site: http://www.kbvoiceovers.com/  (soon to be new and improved) and on Facebook.  https://www.facebook.com/kbvoiceovers?ref=br_tf

1:24:27  Doug.  Do everything you can to create your own opportunities.  Be so good at what you do so they can’t ignore you.  “You can’t work for those you want to work for but don’t any less than you already do.”  His sites: http://voiceovertalent.com/   and http://unnouncer.com/

1:25:52  Group hug.

1:26:12  Thanks to donors.  

1:26:37  R.I.P. Casey Kasem.  

1:28:02  Clickers!  Get your EWABS clicker—green, red, purple, and more.  Next guest: Unknown!

1:28:57  Thanks to sponsors.  Harlan Hogan http://voiceoveressentials.com/, Voice-Over Xtra http://www.voiceoverxtra.com/, and Edge Studio http://www.edgestudio.com/  

1:29:43  Audio-only is on iTunes thanks to Lee Pinney.

1:30:29  Thanks to producer Kathy Curriden and others.

1:31:10  End of show.