Anyone who has been following me for a while will know that I am an active networker. During many networking meetings there are smaller meetings within the meeting, either with a few people, or one-to-ones, and a question I am often asked in these situations is, ‘So, where does your work come from?’
The answer is, from a few different places, so I thought I would write this article to explore each of these sources in a bit more detail than I usually can in a meeting situation.
Here are seven different sources of work, in no particular order.
My own website.
When I first started out, my website was literally a shop window I could send people to where they could hear samples of my voice. It was built on a wix template and it was never going to found by anyone without me directing them there. I am now on the third iteration of my website, built for me by the lovely guys at Choose Purple, and I now have a bit of SEO going on, which means that actually people DO find me this way. I wouldn’t say that I get a lot of enquires through my website – maybe one a week – but considering this is organic traffic (I haven’t paid for any Google Ads so far), it’s not too bad.
If nobody knows about your business then nobody is going to buy from you, and one of the best ways I’ve found of telling people about what I do, is by attending networking meetings. It can be a slow burn – a marathon rather than a sprint – but it does work. It requires effort and consistency because you need to get to a point where people know, like and trust you before they will refer business to you.
This is something I try to do every day. I use Google to find companies I would potentially like to work with, I do my best to find a named person to write to, and then I get in touch with them via email. The most effective way to do this is to make the email about them rather than you – how can you solve their problems and make their life easier. I learned most of what I know about email marketing from Jonathan Tilley, a fellow voiceover artist and brand strategist. He taught me that it’s not enough to just send out one email and hope they reply – you need to follow up a few times, and I now have a system where I can schedule these at the same time as I send out my first email. It’s amazing how often it’s the second, third, even fifth follow up that elicits a response, and I have landed some great clients this way.
The platform that I use most for business is LinkedIn. I also have a Facebook business page and I dip in and out of Twitter and Instagram. I’ve had enquiries from all of these platforms, but LinkedIn is the one I get most from. If someone on LinkedIn mentions that they are looking for a voiceover artist, then half a dozen people will often tag me – and they tend to be people that I’ve met through networking.
This isn’t the only way that LinkedIn works for me though. I’ve had people find me on LinkedIn by searching for what I do (which shows that key words are important), and I’ve even gained a client through a comment I made on someone else’s post that she liked, and she looked me up!
I have voiceover agents in the UK, the USA and New Zealand, and I am also registered with a few online directories of voiceover artists. These tend to be sources of auditions, rather than jobs directly for me, and these auditions are open to a number of other voiceover artists (and sometimes it’s a large number!).
I am no longer registered with any ‘pay to play’ sites. These are websites that you pay to have a profile on, where you audition for jobs posted by clients, often with 100+ other voiceover artists.
When I first started out I used to book some work through these platforms (the market was less crowded and the rates offered were higher back then), and I do still have clients that originally found me this way who keep coming back.
Referrals can come from people I have met through networking, but also from people I have actually worked with. I have received enquiries from companies that have been recommended to contact me by others I have worked with. I have also been hired by people within large companies that have had me recommended to them by a colleague I’ve worked with before. I have even received referrals from other voiceover artists who have clients with projects that don’t suit their voice, but it might just suit mine.
There are a few companies that I have an informal partnership with. They do something different to me, but sometimes their clients need what I do, and they will point them in my direction. For example a telecoms provider might send clients to me that want a voicemail greeting recording.
To date I have done very little in the way of paid advertising. I’ve never tried Google Ads, or advertised on any of the social media platforms. I have done a little print advertising, for example in my local Chamber of Commerce diary, and in an awards brochure when I was shortlisted for an award, but neither of these brought me any return and I am wary of going down this route again.
So those are the different ways that I find work. I may have missed something out but those are the main ones. I would love to know how you source work for your business too!