1. Spending too much time building your contacts database and not enough time making the cold calls. A red flag that indicates you are procrastinating is when you spend more time organizing something than doing it. No one likes making cold calls, and it takes most people a while to become comfortable making them. While your Excel sheet of potential contacts might be up to 50 or 100, they are getting out-dated just sitting there! As a rule, keep no more than 12-15 new potential clients in your database a week. Each day that you dedicate looking for new voice over jobs, make sure that you call 3 of those new contacts. Spend at least one day a week working on your marketing plan, and don't forget to follow up with new contacts the following week. Eventually cold calls will be no sweat, and your network of new clients will hit a growth spurt in 2010!
2. Spreading your talents too thin. There is a fine line between marketing your talents for niche you are in, and advertising a niche you would like to be in. While it is important to continue exploring your voice over talents and shooting for new voice over jobs, careful about how you advertise yourself to potential clients. Don't promise something you can't deliver. Be honest about your experience doing work in a particular niche to avoid getting a bad reputation among clients you would like to build professional relationships with. Your demo should speak for itself. Take a look at your online profiles and see if there is a disconnect between how you are pitching your voice talents to clients and what you actually sound like. This is what you sound like to clients.
3. Going into business with shady clients. There are certainly more legitimate clients out there than shady ones, but be careful who you send your auditions to. If the client is not clear about the type of voice they are looking for, or if the advertised spot is not from a reliable source or client, take heed. It is not unheard of that a dishonest client will use a demo for a spot without telling the voiceover artist. Protect your auditions by leaving a watermark somewhere in the audio of your demo, either in the form of a beep or by leaving off the last sentence of the audition. Also, be hesitant to continue working for a client who has yet to pay you for work you have already done for them. Stay polite and friendly, but it is appropriate to remind them about past fees due before doing more projects for them.
4. Not following up with clients. This is a big no-no for when you are trying to establish new contacts and for keeping in touch with old ones. Especially if you talked with a new client about potentially working for them, you do not want to make the mistake of falling out of touch with them. Be persistent without being annoying. After all, they have more going on than thinking about your voice over work, and there is nothing wrong with sending a friendly reminder -- as long as it sounds friendly. Keeping in touch with previous clients is the only way to get repeat business! Set up alarms and reminders in your database to follow up with happy clients 4-6 months after a project. This time of year is the perfect opportunity to send them a holiday newsletter, letting them hear about your recent achievements and reminding them that you are available for future projects.
After analyzing your voiceover marketing approach, set a new goal for 2010. Whether it is being more organized or marketing yourself for different voice over jobs, set a goal and write it down somewhere. Print it out and post it somewhere near your work station and again in your home, like on your fridge. In the voiceover industry, only you are going to hold yourself accountable for your triumphs and failures. Stay on the ball in 2010 to continue growing into the kind of successful voiceover artist you want to be!
-By: Catherine Marshall