In fact, one could say that this is pretty much the point of the effort I make to reach out. I want people to notice and hear me.
Mind you, I’m not seeking notoriety for the sake of it. That’s called vanity. I want to be known for what I have to say, whether people agree with me or not. I don’t care if they do, as long as they start thinking for themselves.
Because I’m fairly outspoken, colleagues come to me for advice. One of the questions I’m asked is this:
“Paul, can you give me a simple marketing tip that could lead to some quick results?”
QUICK AND SIMPLE SOLUTIONS
I strongly believe that most fundamental truths are simple, but that doesn’t mean that living those truths is as simple as they sound. Effective marketing is never simple, and results are seldom quick. Otherwise everybody would be an independently wealthy marketing genius.
Plus, marketing is not some thing you can buy at your local hardware store. It’s not a noun. It’s a verb. It’s an ongoing process.
In my opinion, everything you do and say could be an example of marketing. Me wearing Dutch yellow clogs to a voice over conference is not some silly publicity stunt. It’s marketing. Me testing a new microphone and writing about it, is marketing. Not only for the manufacturer, but because it positions me as an industry expert.
You may question whether I really am an expert, but as long as people perceive me to be one, that’s all that matters.
Effective marketing is about creating a lasting and positive perception using different media to reach a large audience. A large audience adds credibility because it gives you a bigger megaphone allowing your message to resonate more strongly.
But do you really need a big megaphone? Can’t you just hide in your small corner and do your thing?
This is what I tell my students:
Being very good at what you do is not good enough anymore. If you don’t get noticed, you barely exist as a professional. And if people don’t know you exist, how will they ever find you and hire you?
You’ve got to make some noise in order to be heard!
THE BEST TIP FOR BEGINNERS
Now, here’s the question I know you’re dying to ask:
How do you create that lasting and positive perception, especially when you’re just starting out?
The best tip I can give you is this:
Make yourself look more important and established than you are.
The goal is to impress clients and win them over. In order to do that you need to show that they can TRUST you.
Now, let me ask you this:
- Would you trust an overweight fitness coach?
- Would you hire a website builder whose own website looks like it was designed by an amateur?
- Would you pay for a nice dinner in a restaurant with dirty tables and stained wine glasses?
Of course you wouldn’t. In all these examples there’s an obvious mismatch between the impression you get, and what you expect to see. You expect a fancy restaurant to be spotless. You expect a web designer to have an impressive website. You expect a fitness trainer to be in shape, right?
Effective marketing is about creating and managing your clients’ expectations. They are going to pay good money for your services, so you better look your best in every way you communicate.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS AND SECOND CHANCES
The problem is that some voice overs look like slobs in pictures. Because they spend most of their time by themselves in a dark padded room, there’s no need to dress up. I totally get that, but there’s a difference between being comfortable and making a professional impression.
Perhaps you were born with golden pipes, but people tend to judge a book by its cover. You may think that the way you look doesn’t matter because you are a VOICE actor, but first impressions count for a lot. If you look sloppy, clients are going to think your work is sloppy.
If your Weebly or Wix website looks like a 12-year-old could have put it together, do you think it instills confidence? If you want to come across as an established talent, should you really post that photo of you recording in a linen closet?
If you advertise yourself as a pro, you better look the part.
The same can be said about demos. You may not have many credits to your name, but a well-produced demo can showcase your potential, and make you sound like a million bucks! It tells your future clients that they are in good hands.
ARE YOU AN IMPOSTER?
But isn’t making yourself look more important and established than you are a form of cheating? After all, you’re making people believe you’re something that you’re not.
I don’t think so, and I’ll tell you why.
Let’s say John, who is new to retail, opens a shop in town. Shouldn’t he do everything he can to make that shop look as appealing and professional as possible? I mean, who wants to shop in a place that looks like it’s put together by somebody who doesn’t know what he is doing?
The same is true for you. You may not have a physical store but you must have a virtual presence that’s open 24/7. This means the world is your marketplace. You need to do everything your budget allows to make that online store look as professional as possible. That’s not cheating. That’s smart business!
As long as you can deliver the goods you promise to deliver, you’re not pretending to be something you’re not. And by the way, does John offer his products at a reduced rate, simply because he’s new in town? Well, he may throw in a special, limited offer to attract customers, but he would be cutting into his own flesh if he would sell his entire inventory at half price.
ALWAYS ADDING VALUE
And there’s more! He would create an expectation from the get-go, that his goods aren’t very valuable. Those clients that bought from him at a discounted rate, would expect him to continue to offer low prices. Once you’re down, it’s very hard to get up.
Now, some will say that the problem with John’s example is that he’s offering things that are tangible; things you can put on a shelf. Service providers like voice overs deal with things that are intangible. They have no physical substance, so they’re much harder to quantify.
I think that’s BS. Just because you can’t put it in a box, doesn’t mean it’s not real and can’t be measured. Turn off the sound and any commercial will fall flat on its face. What’s a video game without VO’s? Imagine eLearning without sound… movies, cartoons, TV promos…
You add so much value.
Sell yourself as such, and charge accordingly!