By Stephanie Ciccarelli
May 4, 2009
The first presentation at the Voice Coaches Expo this year was delivered by Jay Silverman, discussing how technology can help to facilitate traditional marketing techniques while reminding us that offline marketing is still one of the most personal and effective ways to self-promote.
I've taken some time to jot down much of what Jay advised as well as added my own thoughts in this article about how you can leverage technology combined with the personal touch.
Creating new opportunities to market yourself has never been easier thanks to technology, specifically, the Internet.
Having a website that you can call your own to feature your voice on is absolutely mandatory in today's world where you, and your voice, may be only a click or several keystrokes away.
Although the web offers an abundance of opportunity to network and get the word out about your business, don't forget that there is a whole world out there of flesh and blood connections that you can introduce yourself to with some personal marketing.
Many people grew up before social networks, before it was common to use the Internet as a business tool, or even before the Internet existed, period. Networking was based upon the physical of meeting people in person at events, business meetings, at conferences, social encounters and in the workplace.
Firm handshakes, making eye contact, being friendly and open while exuding confidence and an attitude of service were and still are key in developing meaningful business relationships... the challenge faced today is making those skills translate to networking in a virtual environment.
Those same people are also in business today, and to their benefit, are applying techniques and person-to-person communication skills to online efforts.
People everywhere admire and are moved by the personal touch. It means so much more when you receive something that you know has been touched, written by hand or sent especially to you in the mail.
Consider the following ways that using technology can help create more business for you:
Have hard copies of your demo on CD: Being able to hand someone a physical representation of your work is very important. You'll find that there are people who want to hire you who are uncomfortable with receiving attachments via email, especially when it's the first encounter. While MP3s are more convenient for you as the sender, sometimes they can pose issues and actually deter people from listening to your work if the MP3 is unsolicited.
Business Letter that accompanies the demo: Share that you are looking for work and have the talent, are understanding of what that perspective employer does and thus needs from you. Do more self-marketing through following up. More business is lost because someone drops the ball on follow up than any other reason.
Do web research to learn more about who the clientele is: Find out what they need and how your voice can help target their target audiences.
Build a website: Your website gives you the opportunity to look better and present yourself. Fully display your range, depth of your voice, and other assets.
TIP: Don't just hope that someone finds your website among the millions of sites out there. You must guide people to finding your website. Helping them find you is very important. List the URL of your website on your business card.
Marketing activities still work, and as communications processes evolve, you can apply the same principles to your marketing as before.
1. Training and your ability to use it (formal training, reading articles, listening to podcasts, etc.)
2. Communicate person to person and sell yourself to convey that you know what you are doing and that you can help them.
3. Your willingness to use some of your time resources even better. For those who are still working in other areas outside of voice over, you will need to give up more time than potentially anticipated.
Hesitation will only hold you back.
Here are a number of ideas to help you self-promote and be a good ambassador for your business:
à¹ Be aggressive in marketing yourself
à¹ Take advantage of marketing opportunities already out there
à¹ Be creative in establishing marketing opportunities for yourself
à¹ Educate people about voice over
à¹ Educate people, even those at social / recreational events you participate in
à¹ Business meetings outside of your workplace
à¹ Give examples that they'll recognize to learn more about what voice over is really about
à¹ Bring a load of business cards
à¹ Training makes you qualified to seek out work
à¹ Do something social to network with people one-on-one, BBQs for instance
à¹ Non-technical, inexpensive ways to extend your self-marketing a little bit farther.
à¹ Be prepared
à¹ Develop an elevator speech / pitch
When you give an elevator speech, you're summing up who you are, what you do and how you can be of service to someone in less than 60 seconds. You can also see this as the amount of time it would take you to travel on an elevator with a person of influence from the first floor lobby to their executive office, upwards of 30 floors or higher. You've got a limited window of opportunity to make an impact and you've got to have your pitch down.
If there is a follow up question from the person you are talking to, you know they are interested.
For some great examples of this, visit:
Remember to follow up and stick with it. Also, always have a copy of your demo on you as you'll never know when opportunity will knock. Handing someone a demo CD, even though it may seem to be low-tech when compared to zipping an MP3 off to someone, is still a viable and potentially preferred way to present someone with your offering and show them what you can do.
Jay Silverman (Mechanicville, New York)
In addition to being a voice actor and professional announcer, Jay is a marketing and public communications expert. His experience in communications training spans the corporate, government, higher education, and not-for-profit sectors. Jay is a member of the marketing faculty at the Sage College and the University of Albany.
Looking forward to hearing from you,
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