Diversifying your Voiceover Business
In this blog, we're going to talk about how to diversify your voiceover business, to ensure you have multiple streams of incoming work. That way, you aren't relying on just one source, and you can have a varied and exciting career.
So let's get to it, we're going to break this blog down into the multiple areas that I work, or have worked, across, and explain each one in a little more detail.
There's direct marketing, my own website, pay to plays, rosters, voice agents, freelancing sites, referrals and in person marketing.
But first let's just talk a little more about why it's important to diversify your business. There are many paths into voiceover, and some people, especially working actors, tend to work exclusively with an agent, however if you are like me, and spend all your time doing voiceover, then you're going to want a few options for incoming work, to keep yourself busy, and to keep those bills paid.
Of course it's very important to maintain the same professional standard across all platforms of work, whether they be freelancing sites or directly through a client. But creating these multiple sources produces more of a gurantee for continual work. I've had months where one source of work, like freelancing sites, has gone bone dry, but my referrals have gone up and I've worked more directly with a client. And other months where vice versa.
So if the goal is to work as a full time VO, then let's discuss your options to help build your business.
I plan on speaking more about my direct marketing tactics in a later blog, but for now, let's just say this is the cornerstone of my business, and most businesses. And to simplify it, you can look at it like this.
- Research clients who might need your services
- Get in touch via email, and make it about them not you
- Follow up and keep in touch
And that's it! The way I like to look at it, is that I am just letting people know I am out here doing my thing. And most people, if you write considerate emails that are personalised, are pretty good at responding.
Then over time you will build up a client base full of clients who know what you do, trust you can deliver and return to you time and time again.
Now this might seem like a no brainer, but it is worth mentioning here, as I do get work directly through my website. And there is a few things you can do to make sure that clients can not only find you, but hire you directly.
Make sure your website is up to date, keep recent work visible and add something knew every month. Even if it's just updating an image, trust me, it will help.
Ensure that your site is easy to navigate, on all devices, with clear menus and connecting buttons that work!
Do the SEO basics, now it would be great to have a site that was ranked 1 on google, but it's not always necessary. But make sure you have done the SEO basics, or get someone to do it for you.
Create landing pages for specific areas of work that you have done. This allows clients to find you more based on niches, and work you have already shown your strengths in.
Too often I see voice actors who just use their website as a placeholder, that doesn't feature enough of their work, or is wildly outdated. And in terms of direct marketing, that's where you're going to be pointing your clients, so keep your website fresh folks.
Pay to Plays
Now I won't go on about pay to plays too much, because we've blogged about it before, and there are a million other blogs about it as well. But what I will say is, that if you are a full time VO, then utilizing pay to play sites can be very advantageous. Being available to audition on them at short notice is imperative, and finding the ones that work for you both fee wise, and remuneration, is very important.
Now rosters are slightly different from Pay to Plays, and there are two types. Client rosters and site rosters. Client rosters are lists kept by production companies of voice actors and freelancers who can help them. Often when you are marketing you'll get a response from a company adding you to their freelancer roster.
But site rosters, are things like voquent.com, voiceproductions.com and voicearhicve.com. On these sites you are able to join, and often be vetted as a professional, and then post your demos for clients to find you organically, by searching for either your accent or your specific style of work.
Although there is negotiation room, for the most part, a lot of these sites book you immediately for a job and the rate is set. This means that you need to be available at short notice, and there isn't always mention of whether they have taken a cut of the money, which assumedly they do.
Now as mentioned, there are still many voice actors who work with agents, and get a large proportion, if not all, of their work that way. But for some of us, the large, exclusive agents aren't available (for many reasons, such as the saturation of the market, a similar voice on their books, or a lack of a specific skill that the agency seeks) and for others, it's not a viable option when we already seek much of our work ourselves via direct marketing.
However, non exclusive agents can offer you another course of auditions and work as well as what you seek yourself. These agencies work alongside your business, and you can have multiple in different areas, once again increasing your potential for work. Most of these agencies charge a commission of between 15 and 20 percent.
To find them, all you have to do it search online, and you'll realise just how many voice agencies there are out there.
Freelancing sites are another one in the VO world where it kind of comes down to personal preference. There are many people who make a great living on them, and others who think they degrade the industry and professional work.
When it comes to freelancing sites, I've had some luck, and done some great work on them, and I think the assumption that every client is looking for the cheapest way is actually not true, at least not in my experience.
Some of the major freelancing sites for voiceover work are fiverr.com, Upwork.com and peopleperhour.com. But there are many others, so do your research and find out what works best for you and your business.
When I first started voicing, I didn't really think of this as any sort of viable option for getting voiceover work, but the importance of your reach, and your network, can create great benefits when it comes to referrals.
If a client approaches me about a job, and I am just not right for it, then I won't hesitate to pass it on to someone in my network, and the same has happened for me on countless occasions. We can't be right for everything, so getting to know other voice overs, and delivering quality work to your existing clients, will ensure that they are all able to recommend you for jobs, and pass on the work.
And while we're on that note, that's why it's not only important to have a social presence, so other VO's can find you, but it's important to keep in touch with your existing clients, even if it's just an email or a short newsletter once every six months, at least then you'll be putting yourself back in front of them.
In Person Marketing
And last but by no means least, we come to in person marketing. As voicesovers we spend a lot of time by ourselves, at home marketing and in the booth recording. But every now and then it is amazing to head out into the great wide world, and introduce yourself to people who might want your services.
There are local business fairs, industry specific conventions, and heck there is even now voiceover industry events like One Voice and Vox, that allow you to meet and connect with voice overs and potential clients.
So when you have the time, take a look at whats happening in your local, and your global market, to see if there are ways to do some in person marketing.
Well I think that pretty much covers all the ways in which I diversify my business.
I hope this blog has been of some use, and don't hesitate to get in touch via sbvoices.co.uk if you have any questions.
Happy voicing folks