Connie Terwilliger – ISDN Voice Talent

May 17, 2015

Marketing. It’s part of the job.

Filed under: Business, Marketing — Tags: , — connieterwilliger @ 12:22 pm

Most small businesses struggle with balancing time. How much time you spend working vs. how much time you spend seeking the work. There is no magic formula, but you have to be aware of the fact that no matter how talented you are, if no one knows about it, you won’t have a business very long.

That means marketing what you have to sell to the people who want to buy it. global plug

Putting up a website and just hoping people find you is simply not going to happen. My business is global and as each day passes and more and more people buy domain names and throw up websites, it becomes harder and harder to get the right eyes on you and what you offer. Even if you throw a lot of money into SEO, there are larger companies out there using the same key words who will nearly always rank higher in the searches.

So basic marketing skills become even more important.

  • Networking is part of marketing.
    • Virtual – get out and meet people who may have use of your service, or be able to refer you to someone who does. People like doing business with people they like! Join a group, attend conferences, or simply do things and get to know the people around you.
    • Cyberspace – do the same kind of thing online. Join groups. Contribute something valuable (or funny) to the conversation. Let people get to know you and your sparkling personality.Cold calling – the very thought sends chills down the spines of some people, but if you do a little research on a company before deciding to call, you can start developing new relationships with little to no pain.
  • Cultivation – you need to nurture the relationships you have or are developing. There are various ways to do this and you need to find what works best for you. Having a good easy to use CRM system is helpful. There are a lot out there with various prices and features. This is where having your own peer support group is helpful – for recommendations.
    • Newsletters – I started to send out Quarterly newsletters again after a few years hiatus. Mail Chimp is working well for me at the moment, but others like Constant Contact. Here is a link to the latest newsletter. (Click here to sign up to get it!)
    • Personal emails – include something personal in your personal emails! Do you know if your client is married? Kids? A favorite sport or team or pet?
    • Post cards – it might be worth it to send out a batch of post cards. Kind of depends on your total “look.”
    • Occasional calls – check in with favorite clients by phone once in a while.
  • Referrals – this point is referring to people referring you to do a job. I want my clients to think of me if someone asks them for a voice for a project. But it can work the other way as well, I do get the occasional request to recommend male voices, or people who speak Spanish or French. You need to be very careful who you refer to whom. A mismatch could end up with a bad feeling – for you!
  • Repeat Business – this is the best way of course to keep a business going. So how do you get clients to come back again and again?
    • Provide a quality product
    • At a fair price
    • In a timely manner
    • And be fun to work with
  • Stay in touch (Refer back to Item 3 on this list “Cultivation”)

Some of this will cost some green and need to be built into your budget. We can’t do everything for free. That’s part of the reality of being a business. There is a lot of truth to the old adage, “You have to spend money to make money.” However, many of us spend too much for too little in return, but that could be the subject of another post!

Spend a little time to find the right balance of work and finding work that works for you! If you have other ways to make and keep your connections, please add a comment!

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July 3, 2012

Am I on Twitter?

Filed under: Communication, Marketing, Musings — Tags: , , — connieterwilliger @ 12:00 pm

So, I keep seeing this question pop up on various social networking groups…

“Are you on Twitter?”

Well, yes, I have a Twitter account. @ISDNVoiceover

And I have people who actively follow my tweets. Or have at least clicked on the link to Follow Me. And many of them will probably see this post when it gets fed to the various places it gets fed to when it is published.

But am I ON Twitter? Not very much.

I still don’t get it. Unless I am using it all wrong, it seems like a pull website. Where I have to go to it and pull the information. OK, Facebook is that way too, but for some reason I WANT to go to Facebook and check out what is happening. I just don’t find myself drawn to Twitter the same way.

Perhaps I just need someone to break it down for me. Talk to me like I’m six years old. Wait, the six year olds probably don’t need to be told. It is now in their DNA.

 

January 4, 2012

What will the future bring for video?

Filed under: Business, Marketing — Tags: , , , , , — connieterwilliger @ 12:01 pm

Humans frequently predict the future. It helps us plan for a rainy day. We think it helps us know what should we look out for that will ensure we keep moving forward toward our ultimate goals – whatever they may be.

It is very interesting to look back at predictions to see what the soothsayers said and what actually happened. This reading is sobering, amusing, thought provoking and sometimes just plain silly.

I found a website with 20 predictions that we are still waiting for – like the flying car and weather control.

http://www.manolith.com/2009/07/30/pending-future-technologies/

And to me an even more interesting website with 100 predictions from 1900 – including that there will be no C, X or Q in our everyday language.

http://blog.longnow.org/2007/04/18/100-year-old-predictions-from-1900/

So what is next for video – or more specifically video commerce? Justin Foster just posted a piece on MediaPost. He is co-founder and Vice President of Market Development for video commerce solutions provider Liveclicker. He is also the founder of the Video Commerce Consortium, a trade group devoted to advancing the use of video in e-commerce.

He thinks that videos will continue to get shorter – as attention spans dwindle. I think he is probably right about that. And video will become more interactive – he moves it from “‘nice to have’ to ‘must have.'” And with so many Apple products in the market, HTML5 is going to be the darling – until something else comes along.

These are just a few of his predictions. Read the whole article: http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/165153/2012-video-commerce-predictions.html#ixzz1iWMAXKzh

As for what is next in general here at 42nd Street Productions. 2012 has started out bright and sunny – literally and figuratively. It is a glorious day here in San Diego and I just got back from a session at a studio where we did a phone patch with the client on the East Coast. No rainy day yet. But knowing what the trends are will help me continue to prepare for the inevitable.

July 11, 2011

Balancing Life and Work

Filed under: Business, Marketing, Musings — Tags: , — connieterwilliger @ 9:42 am

The past few years have been interesting to say the least. After getting my mom to move across country in order to be closer to me so that I could start to help her as her need to be helped increased – I started to see a dramatic increase in personal time in my calendar.

As a rabid type A – most of my time has been spent working. As a free lancer and the sole means of support for my critters and my house – most of my time was spent working or marketing or bookkeeping or networking or something else that required large amounts of time in my “cave.”

So, learning how to carve out the time for my mom was a challenge.

Combine that with the down turn in the economy and there was a bit of a dip in work – which in retrospect was perhaps a good thing – as it allowed me time to help my mom when needed.

The possible side effects of this internal struggle between work and personal time is that I may very well be seeing that I actually don’t need to spend as much time “working” as I thought! Entire weekends have gone by recently without stepping into my studio and miracle of miracles, the work continues to come in.

A thread on a VO forum recently has been discussing what people do to market their business. A few people doing this as their sole means of income don’t spend a lot of time “marketing.” They are able to use the “repeat business/referral” formula of marketing. They were feeling a bit guilty that they didn’t spend hours creating newsletters, researching new companies or opportunities, networking, etc.

In reality, they have established a reputation for being good and reliable and the business is coming to them. What little “marketing” being done ends up fairly passive, but still effective.

And there may be another side effect of learning to balance life and work – when you take the time to be involved with people and really connect, a side effect is that you connect better with the scripts you record, which shows in the end product and makes the client happy.

I guess the bottom line for me is to make sure I am doing the best job possible for my current clients so that they think of me the next time they need a female voice.

Oh, I still poke around the Internet looking for potential work partnerships, but getting out of my studio and into the world of people and real relationships is much more important.

June 6, 2011

Work. Invoice. Thank. Promote. Repeat.

Filed under: Business, Marketing — Tags: , , , , — connieterwilliger @ 7:47 am

It’s really a simple recipe. Do the job. Send the invoice. Thank the client. Promote the results (to the right places at the right time). Repeat.

OK, perhaps it isn’t all that simple. And I am still struggling – after all these years – with the thank yous and the promotion part of the formula. The repeat part is one of the keys to actually making a living in this business. And if your database is bloated with old leads you may be missing those repeat opportunities.

If you are just starting out, this formula is predicated by knowing what you do well and finding the people who want to buy what you have to sell. If you have been in the business for a while – or a long while – you may have the same problem I am trying to address – too many names in my contact list. And if you are trying to add new qualified leads to your list, that method is evolving.

For the newbie – a quick review…

Part one – knowing what you have to sell. You have to know what sets you apart from the rest of the people selling themselves as voice talent. What kind of scripts showcase your unique sound and style? Some of this can be developed in classes, workshops and with coaches. But so much of it is really done on our own as we listen, analyze and talk back to what we are hearing as we go about our normal day.

After you truly know that you can compete in an area of voiceover, it is time to create a demo that showcases this particular talent. Just what constitutes a demo these days continues to evolve, and will depend in part on what you do well, where you live, what kind of technical skills you have – and whether or not you subscribe to web-based casting services with their unique SEO/SEM.

Part two – finding the people who want to buy what you have to sell means basic marketing skills. This is an element of voiceover “training” that most classes leave out. And it is arguably more important than your talent.

The Internet is both a blessing and a curse. It has made some of the search for potential clients somewhat easier and certainly much more expansive as you can now market globally. But it is changing the way we approach people

I recently heard a story on the radio about how social networks are playing a much more important role in the search for potential clients or employess. People want to work with people who other people trust. While preferring to work with people you know and trust isn’t new, the days of approaching a complete stranger with your resume and getting the job are waning as more and more people jump into the referral pool.

My summer-time goal is to whittle down my huge contact list and focus on those who actually know my name and what I do.

November 16, 2010

2-Sided Business Cards?

Filed under: Marketing — Tags: , — connieterwilliger @ 7:03 pm

Back in September I left nearly all my business cards at FaffCon and suddenly realized that I would need some for the VO gathering in New York in December, so it was time to re-order.

When I looked at my standard order, I thought about the back – which has been blank.  One thing I have noticed over the years is that I like to jot down notes on the back of cards, but I don’t normally fill up the whole back of the card, so I decided to pay a little extra and add a short line or two of text at the top of the back of my card – with just a bit of smile to it – and plenty of room to make a few notes. I also went with color on the back that is a screened version of the logo on the front.

Do you do this? There were lots of options for the back – calendars, tip charts, appointments, but nothing really specific to VO.

So, is this just more money for little or no effect? I posted this question on Facebook and have had quite a response – mostly pro to something on the back. A very few said they never look at the back.

They should be here in a few days and we’ll see if it gets any response.

Business Card Front

Business Card Back

July 13, 2010

Marketing Maxim from Maxine

Filed under: Business, Marketing — Tags: , , , , — connieterwilliger @ 1:07 pm

My dear friend and fellow voiceover talent Maxine Dunn had an article published on VoiceOverXtra discussing something near and dear to my heart – Cold Calling.

“Smiling and Dialing.” The act of picking up the phone and actually speaking to someone. People make a huge deal about the idea and the reality of “cold calls.” In reality – it ain’t that bad – and it can yield fabulous results.

http://www.voiceoverxtra.com/article.htm?id=5kegz3y2

Top message from the article:

Forget the “sales objective” training modules that lead you through a step-by-step trajectory to “get the sale.” People do business with people they know, like, and trust. So your cold call is opening the door and initiating that relationship.
Another great point from the article – once you are on the phone with someone – DON’T MULTI-TASK! Close your Facebook page. Stop checking email. Don’t click through your MyPoints offers. Pay attention to the conversation.
Good stuff Max! Thanks for the reminder – time for some calls.

June 9, 2010

More from VOICE 2010 – Maxing out the Internet

Filed under: Business — Tags: , , , , , , — connieterwilliger @ 4:56 pm

This was one of my favorite sessions at VOICE 2010, because my good friend Peter O’Connell was on the panel – well, OK, it was filled with great information from the rest of the presenters too.

John Florian kicked it off with some of the top level statistics from the first ever survey of voice talent conducted to find out how voice actors use the internet to enhance their business. Look for detailed results in upcoming columns on VoiceOverXtra.

Peter encouraged us to focus on who we want to find us – and figure out what we want to say to them – and it ISN’T how great we are! We need to identify what sets us apart and tell them what is in it for them. We should all do a SWOT on our careers: Identify our Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.

Doug Turkel came next – he is the UNnouncer. His message was multi-fold (much like his little handouts). First, we need to identify why clients are looking for us – wait, that sounds a bit like some of what Peter said (hmmm). And who do we want to find us (ah, a theme is developing here). We also need to make it EASY for them to find us! He encourages targeting our specific markets by using some of the free tools available – for example, sign up for free trade magazines in industries where you excel – and scour the business journal and business sections of your local paper.

Trish Basanyi (as usual a vision in purple) focused her remarks on social media and how it can be leveraged to get work. Use the import contact features and start connecting with your existing contacts in a more personal way.

David Kaplan calls himself the Voice On The Run and never stops – not even for dinner. While most of us probably couldn’t keep up his pace, he suggested finding the people who want to buy what we have to sell by using such tools as BackStage’s Call Sheet (formerly the Ross Report) to glean contacts. They usually do reports twice a year for voiceover people.

April 20, 2010

The Power of Face-to-Face Networking

Filed under: Marketing — Tags: , , — connieterwilliger @ 4:11 pm

Over the years my local work has dropped way off. Luckily for my continued mortgage payments, work outside the market has and continues to increase. My website placement on the web is a great part of this, as well as direct target marketing, social media, various “agents” around the world and the introduction of pay-to-play websites.

My face-to-face marketing efforts had pretty much dwindled down to monthly MCA-I meetings where I would have the word Voice Talent written under my name on my stick on name tag. That is usually the extent of my “sell” at these meetings – primarily because most of them think that they can’t afford me. I should probably try to change that impression somehow. Or maybe they are right. But I should open the conversation.

But after a rather disappointing 2009 economically, where my electronic marketing efforts were dramatically reduced due to an increase in personal time after moving my mom out to be closer to me, I decided to jump-start my local marketing efforts with some more face-to-face networking.

One week I attended 3 such events in a row – two on one night – and followed it up the next week with another. With good results (see the end of the post for details.)

Now, not all of these networking events were worth the parking and glass of wine costs.

The first was a huge party for IT geeks – their March Mingle (sdtechscene.org). It was free and the food was fabulous – new Italian restaurant on 30th Street in North Park (Il Postino). Met some nice people there. Still following up with some of them. Cost – $12 glass of wine. Free parking on the street.

The next night I attended an industry event held by a vendor. It was free, parking was discounted, the food was great, and I had a chance to spend some quality time with of the folks I see at those other meetings.

On a tip from one of those guys, I re-parked my car in a $10 lot near the Old Spaghetti Factory where I paid $15 for entry (plus the fee for having to get money out of an ATM) and another $10 or so for a glass of wine to rub shoulders with multi-level marketers (Nu-Skin, Send Out Cards, and some strange ***IRS alert*** travel website), anti-aging compounds distributors and get out of debt plans. I did meet some cool guys running a non-profit for performers (sdeag.org). But most of the people I met must have taken some sort of super networking course where they clasp your hand and look you in the eye and with all the sincerity they can muster ask you who your ideal customer is. Over all it was a huge disappointment. I didn’t need food, but if I had, it was sparse.

So I was not really keen on going the next week to what looked like a similar kind of networking event, but ultimately decided to go (Campbell Networks). It was held at a brand new night club downtown on 4th (FLUXX) and the crowd was diverse and successful. I connected with several people, a couple of them I knew already who then introduced me to people they knew – which is always good. Came home from that event energized – $7 for parking and $11 for a glass of wine.

The result of all this crazy face-to-face contact? One job contracted and completed, another inquiry fielded, and several referrals (both directions). Additionally, I connected with potential support services for my mom. I also won a two-night stay at a beach side hotel in a business card drawing sponsored by “It’s all about the Kids!”

I’ll keep looking for the right face-to-face networking opportunities. But I promise I won’t clasp your hand and stare into your eyes asking who your ideal customer might be.

April 5, 2010

Twitter? Facebook? LinkedIn? Email? Smart Phone? POT? Blogs? SEO? What works?

Filed under: Business, Marketing — Tags: , , — connieterwilliger @ 7:33 am

It has been an interesting year – trying to find the right mix of media to keep in contact with my clients and potential clients. Depending on who you talk to, the mix of media can be one or more of the above, in any order and in every possible percentage. What works for you?

I’m finding that my Blackberry lets me get out of the studio, but getting out of the studio means less time to work my network of contacts. And being an early adopter of nearly everything technological (I had a Kaypro), I have had to try out social media as a way to connect.

Can’t say that it is really working for me yet – although I did manage to land a nice project through a Facebook happy coincidence. I joined an e-Learning group the same day someone else did who happened to be looking for female voice talent. Hey, it happens.

However, I have spent several hours trying to search Twitter to find some way to leverage that site. I am not seeing it yet. Maybe one of my LinkedIn groups will get a post for a free teleconference specifically on the subject of Twitter. Instead of clicking past it, I would be inclined to check it out. I just don’t like not being in the loop I guess.

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