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!

August 6, 2013

Do you know someone who you can recommend?

Filed under: Business, Musings — Tags: , , , — connieterwilliger @ 12:17 pm

For some reason a lot of people ask me if I know people. Do I know someone who could produce this – crew that – voice this. The answer is usually yes, but referrals are a tricky thing. There is time involved. And reputations at stake. On both sides! Actually on all three sides. The Asker, me, and the person I refer. Referrals can be a wonderful thing, but you have to be careful.

When I was producing and writing corporate media full-time, I was often asked if I could recommend people to either write a project or produce something. If I wasn’t available to do the writing project myself, I had to spend quite a bit of time evaluating the person/company needing the script and then searching my memory and Rolodex for someone who I felt might be compatible. The last thing you would want is to pair up people with wildly different styles and expectations. Corporate projects for large government contractors go a lot smoother when you match up someone who understands the way a large government contractor works.

The same thing if someone was looking for a shooter. What KIND of a shooter? I had my go-to people, of course (still do), but not every person is right for every job.

But it is even more than knowing who to refer. First you need to evaluate the person doing the asking – do you know this person? Well? Well enough to know how they do business? Social media has made us an international group of people who THINK they know each other. But connecting on Facebook or LinkedIn does not a business “relationship” make. So, you need to truly know that the person doing the asking will be able to follow through if you do refer someone to them.

This has never been an easy task, but back when everyone truly knew each other (one of the benefits of belonging to professional associations), you tended to know the person doing the asking.

You also need to know what kind of budget the person doing the asking might have in mind. You don’t want to refer people who would charge significantly more (or less). Which means that you probably should have a good idea of the pay expectations of the people on your referral list. New CRM software makes it easier to keep track of this kind of information, but you have to know the person well to be able to get and store this information.

It is a matchmaking process that will ultimately reflect back on you, so you need to make sure that the connections you make have a chance of being successful. Will their work styles be compatible? Or will they make each other nuts!

One thing the Internet does help with is helping people get connected on their own. I can quickly get hyperlinks to lots of resources and pass that along. This is particularly helpful if you either don’t know someone for this particular referral, or you are reluctant to make a referral for whatever reason (don’t know them well enough, know them all TOO well).

Yes, referrals can be a wonderful thing. I am not talking about sites like Referral Key. I am talking about referrals with no expectations. Referrals because you want to help a good person connect with another good person.

So, the answer is, “Yes!” I usually know someone I can recommend. But it would be helpful for us all to really know each other, so that these referrals can be meaningful and successful.

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