“Marketing is a sound. Those who hear the sound you make and resonate with it will follow.” Bill Sanders, project management and process consultant at Roebling Strauss
We can’t expect them to find us if they don’t know we exist. In order for them to discover our needle in the online haystack, we have to make noise. Lots of noise. But what kind?
Some say the answer lies in Massive Marketing.
The truth is, most voice talents are pretty good at doing someone else’s marketing. That’s what they get paid for. But when it comes to tooting their own horn, a lot of them are as clueless as a hamster in outer space.
If marketing is not your forte, you’re not alone.
In April of 2012, VoiceOverXtra polled its readers and asked the following question:
“As a newcomer to voice over, what is your biggest challenge at this moment to starting or growing your VO income and career?”
A quarter of respondents answered: Marketing for jobs.
Because different people mean different things when using the same words, here’s my definition of marketing:
Any activity that helps you find clients and helps clients find you.
It’s about understanding your clients’ needs and connecting your product or service with customers who want it.
Effective marketing is a compelling, engaging conversation. It’s about building profitable relationships and creating an amazing experience around your brand, product or service.
That rather long interpretation might not be approved by the Harvard Business School, but it works for me.
Before we delve into that a bit deeper, let’s make one thing clear: it all starts with what you have to offer.
If your product or service sucks, no marketing campaign -no matter how brilliant- is going to help you make millions, or even a decent living.
Stinky flowers don’t attract a lot of bees.
Most manufacturers know that they should not bring a product to market that is not fully developed. Many budding voice-overs have yet to learn that lesson. They’ll pay a demo-factory good money to make them sound alright, until the client finds out that the Emperor has no clothes.
That’s not marketing. That’s misleading the customer by offering something you can’t deliver.
Marketing starts with creating the right product, letting the right people know you have it and making it easy for others who don’t yet know you to find you. But there’s more to it than that.
As a seller, you still have to convince the interested party that you can be trusted and that the value of what you offer exceeds the asking price.
How do you do that?
For one thing, trust needs to be earned. You need to give people the feeling that you understand their needs and that they’re in the right hands. Every single interaction you have with a potential client is an opportunity to prove yourself. Every interaction is a marketing opportunity.
That’s why I’m always marketing. In fact, I’m doing it right now!
Blogging is a form of content marketing. It’s about offering relevant and (hopefully) valuable information to attract and engage a specific audience. Blogging is a way to establish yourself as a knowledgeable, likable and trustworthy partner.
At this point I can already hear you say:
“But I’m not a client. Just a colleague. I don’t hire voices. You don’t need to market to me.”
Well, since a great part of my work is based on referrals from people like you, wouldn’t it be beneficial to let my fellow-professionals know I’ve been around the block a few times when it comes to voice-overs?
People don’t refer people they don’t know and don’t like. This blog is an opportunity for you to find out who I am and what makes me tick.
Secondly, this blog is read by lots of other people: graphic designers, copywriters, videographers, people in advertising, agents and so on. Some of these people do hire voices or know someone who does.
Here’s the thing: to most people, reading a blog doesn’t feel like they’re absorbing marketing information. Quite often, the blogger is just telling a story. I call it Covert Marketing.
Now, Overt Marketing is all about pushing info down someone’s throat, whether they’re hungry or not. Whether we’ve established relationship or not.
Covert Marketing is making people aware of what you’re offering so they become hungry for your service.
Overt Marketing revolves around what you want to sell.
Covert Marketing is about what people want to buy.
Overt marketing is about you.
Covert marketing is about the customer.
Overt Marketing is giving people direct messages:
BUY MY SERVICE
SIGN UP TODAY
I AM THE BEST
Covert Marketing is suggestive and under the radar: You answer a question posted on an online forum. You write a (relevant and semi-intelligent) Facebook comment. You write a blog sharing some of your expertise. You help out a colleague. You’re a guest speaker at a seminar.
Here’s a critical distinction: at no point do you ask people to buy from you.
Overt Marketing is sending a mass mailing to all you contacts. It is a general message telling the world how great you are and what you have done for other clients.
Covert Marketing is targeted. It’s relevant. It’s almost always personal. There is a connection. There is a reason why you are contacting someone.
Overt Marketing is you doing the talking (and we all know that voice-overs are good at that).
Covert Marketing starts with you doing a lot of listening and asking a lot of questions. You identify a need or a problem. You find out how valuable meeting that need or solving that problem would be for your contact. Only then can you connect what you have to offer to meeting the needs of your client.
Overt Marketing is a sales pitch. It’s about getting. What’s in it for me?
Covert Marketing is about giving. About being of service. It’s reciprocal.
If you want information, you need to give information.
If you want people to contact you, you need to contact people.
If you want people to refer you, you need to refer people.
Treat people the way you want to be treated.
In the end, Covert Marketing goes even further than that. B.L. Ochman, president of What’s Next said it best:
Marketing is everything a company does, from how they answer the phone, how quickly and effectively they respond to email, to how they handle accounts payable, to how they treat their employees and customers. Done right, marketing integrates a great product or service with PR, sales, advertising, new media, personal contact. In other words, marketing is not a discipline or an activity – it is everything a company is – at least if the company wants to be successful.
Now, that’s what I’m talking about when I say you’re in the business of creating amazing experiences for your clients. Once you start doing that, something unexpected and delightful will happen.
You can stop marketing.
Your clients will do it for you.
You just keep on wowing them!
Paul Strikwerda ©nethervoice
You can’t force a client to hire you, but there are four things you can do to make that much more likely. Here’s how to get more clients in your corner.