Recently, I was invited to speak to a group of voice-over artists about how to improve the sales effectiveness of their websites.
I share this with you because what I have to say to voice-over artists sounds a lot like what I have to say to any service business. Many of you are service professionals, so you should find this interesting …
An adventure tour of service seller websites …
A quick dash out onto the net to look at a half dozen or so of the websites voice-over artists are using to drum up business reveals sites that are best described as brochure sites. Lots of pretty graphics, catch phrases, and some samples of their work.
Most of them are as useless as an ashtray on a motorcycle, spouting such sales bonfire-creating phrases as “commercial voice-overs”, “corporate narration”, “character voices”, etc., and the obligatory menu of links to “biography”, “resume”, “contact us”, etc.
Obviously this is no way to get a flood of business.
So I interviewed my sponsor to see what I could learn. I asked about how voice-over artists were getting business … what kinds of frustrations they’re having closing deals … and what the people who hire them are looking for.
Here’s what I found …
Rapid and massive change, threat or opportunity?
Technology and the Internet (not to mention COVID-19) are transforming this industry big time. In the past, voice-over artists tended to live and work in major metropolises and recorded their parts in local recording studios. Today, they simply record their work on a home computer, and email it to their clients.
Many people find the idea of working from home attractive and are flooding into this industry faster than advertisers and ad agencies seem to be able to hire them, creating a hyper-competitive, commoditized market for voice-over talent.
Many voice-over artists are still drumming up business by networking, cold calling, and working through talent agencies. They’re hungry for easier, less time-consuming methods that work. And they’re complaining about price sensitive clients. Meanwhile, clients complain of unreliable, technology-challenged voice-over artists.
Of course, I could be talking about just about any service business here, couldn’t I? Is there really that much difference between marketing financial services, landscaping services, voice-over services, or copywriting services? Not really.
So let’s see what a little gap analysis can tell us about what voice-over artists aren’t doing online that they could be …
It should come as no surprise that most of the sites I visited could be improved dramatically through the adoption of some basic direct response fundamentals – benefit-oriented headlines that zero in accurately on the specific desires, fears, and frustrations of the target market … more effective use of voice samples, testimonials, clients lists, etc. that demonstrate proof of promise … and clearer, more compelling calls to action.
Most of the sites have pictures of the voice-over artist, but very few use conversational copy. Few position the voice-over artist with any degree of authority. And even fewer are set up to generate leads.
All human relationships require time to develop, and none of the websites I visited even tried to collect my contact information for any other reason than to obtain a quote.
Should I be surprised? No. Believe it or not, many of the people I speak to in service businesses resist the idea of maintaining regular contact with prospects.
They pigeonhole themselves as simple “jobbers” that get looked up from time to time, rather than trusted advisors capable of bringing ongoing value to the marketplace.
Is it any wonder they find themselves fighting for scraps and constantly waging price wars with their competitors?
The solution is to target a narrow segment of the market and engage prospects within that market with copy and content that helps them solve pressing problems – whether they hire you or not.
Do this effectively, and before long you’ve established yourself as an authority within that market. Almost no one in the voice-over artist community is doing this. And the same is true for most service pros. Their advertising is too broad, and too desperate.
Most of the websites I visited on this outing seemed hell bent on pretending to be all things “voice-over” to all people. And none tried to engage me in any kind of ongoing dialog. With the rapid changes in the way voice-over services are being rendered, there are plenty of opportunities to do so.
Change is always unsettling to buyers. Companies that hire voice-over artists who work out of their homes and do their own recording are worried about getting quality work done quickly. Why not address that uncertainty with a free special report – “10 Questions To Ask A Freelance Voice-Over Artist Before Hiring Them To Be Sure Your Project Comes In On Time, On Budget, And Sounding Great!”
A free report like that could be offered in exchange for the prospect’s contact information. And then the voice-over artist could stay in touch with some really interesting tips, tricks, and trends impacting the use of voice-over in whatever niche he or she happens to be specializing in.
Or how about targeting emerging segments of the market with “do it yourself” information? I know this sounds counter-intuitive, but it’s an extremely effective way of differentiating yourself. When you go after an emerging market like this, you can create a tremendous amount of expert status and notoriety in a very short period of time. Even better, you can actually get people to pay you to market to them.
Let me explain …
How savvy service sellers can manufacture instant street cred out the wazoo … easily command ultra high-end fees … and laugh in the face of cutthroat, price chopping competitors …
Voice-over is traditionally associated with radio and television. But what’s happening with radio and television right now? Consumers are using new technology to eliminate the commercials, and advertisers are migrating BILLIONS in ad dollars over to the Internet. At the same time, traditional online marketers are racing to add video to their marketing to make it more engaging. The vast majority of them haven’t a clue about voice-over.
Why aren’t any of these voice-over artists riding this wave by positioning themselves as online voice-over specialists? Why aren’t they providing “do it yourself” information to these marketers?
Many of the people who’d engage with such offers would end up hiring them. I know this is true because it happens to me all the time in my copywriting business. It’s true of many service businesses.
Consider the merits of this approach:
- It’s much easier to differentiate yourself when you lead with how-to information rather than a direct solicitation of your services.
- Prospects will divulge their contact information far more readily if they perceive you’re offering them information rather than trying to push your services on them.
- They’re much more receptive to your ongoing communication, allowing you a far greater opportunity to build trust and a relationship.
- You’re perceived as not just another “jobber”, but an expert at providing solutions that are specific to their particular situation, thereby justifying much higher fees.
- Your marketing costs are self-liquidating or better. Product sales at worst cover your marketing expenses, and can easily turn a tidy profit. Service revenues pulled through the marketing funnel are pure profit.
Do you see the power in this concept?
I firmly believe that with a little ingenuity, virtually any service business can grow infinitely faster and more profitably by bolting an info-marketing component to the front end of the sales funnel.
It can spell the difference between continually scavenging for price-sensitive prospects in the frozen market tundra, and having your very own private farm overflowing with repeat customers happy to pay your premium fees.
Need a little help making the transition?
Apply for a free strategy session and let’s brainstorm.
Until next time, Good Selling!