How to Get a Job Doing Voice Over Work: Email Marketing
Voice actors reach out to me all the time and ask, “How do I book more voice over work?”. It actually makes sense if you think about it. After you get started, learn all you can skill-wise, the next logical step is to wonder how to get a job doing voice over work. If you look around my blog you'll find all kinds of resources on things that you need to be prepared for voice-over work.
I tackle everything–from areas you need to build up so you can have a solid voice over foundation, a successful business, and make a living doing voiceover work to technical how-tos on how to get a good demo made, best practices for auditioning, and programs on booking e-learning narration work.
How to Book Voiceover Work: Do Email Marketing
I want to spotlight one specific method for making contacts and turning them into paid voice over work: email marketing.
What is email marketing?
As it pertains to a voiceover business, email marketing is doing focused, targeted, personal outreach to clients or potential clients who are likely to hire you for voiceover work.
These clients aren't necessarily going to hire you immediately, and that's okay because that’s not the goal. The goal is to build relationships.
Let’s get this out of the way: This is a long-term process. The idea isn't to send out 50 emails, book 50 jobs, and be instantly successful. The idea is to use a long-term strategy to build solid relationships so that when these prospects need voiceover help down the line, you already have an “in”. You're already top-of-mind. They already feel comfortable with you and a partnership comes naturally.
How do you do email outreach so that you can build strong, natural relationships with people who have the potential to hire you? Let's break it down.
Steps in Doing Email Outreach to Build Strong Relationships
1. Identify your target market.
"My outreach is personal. I believe it works better that way. It takes more time to plan, but the response is better. And to reiterate, my goal is not to get an instant “yes,” but to develop a relationship so that down the line, all the work that you put in on the front end pays off."
There’s enough involved in finding the right contact person and their personal email address to have a course on that alone (and luckily I have just such a course coming out in the New Year). But for the purposes of today’s blog post, I'll give you some essential tools that will help you get started.
- The first is LinkedIn. Often times you can use LinkedIn to find the company that you would like to reach out to and then search through their employees by job title and determine the appropriate person to send your email outreach to.
- Once you find that person's name, you can then use Hunter.io to find that person's email address.
2. Make your emails personal.
This might sound contradicting, but stay with me here - send out emails that are personal but follow a template or “flow.” I have developed tried and tested (100% proven) email templates that I use when doing personal email outreach. It stays professional but warm. I come off as qualified and willing to work, but not over-eager
4 Elements of an Effective & Personal Email for Outreach
Before we jump into the templates, there are four elements of an email that you want to be sure you include, so let’s go over them now.
1. The first thing you want the email to be is intriguing.
It has to make the recipient want to open it. Having boring subject lines or subject lines that clearly communicate that you’re asking for something will simply inspire potential clients to quickly hit the delete button.
I do a lot of research on what types of subject lines get the best open rates, and the conclusion is: short and sweet. Simple.
2. The second element is to demonstrate your capability.
You may be thinking that this is where you highlight how good you are at voiceover. But actually this element is mostly focused on the client. This is where you let your potential client know that their goals are of the utmost importance to you and that you're aware of them and capable of helping to achieve them.It is them-focused and not me-focused. Yes, it takes longer to craft this type of email, but it works better, too. And I’m interested in doing work that pays off. So I like to do that kind of research on the front end to make the note more personable so that the recipient will—if not reply to me—at least have a good impression of me so that when I do follow up emails, they are more likely to receive them favorably.
3. The third element is expertise.
To incorporate this element, there doesn’t need to be something that you say explicitly, but it should be the tone of all your interactions with potential clients. You want to convey that you know what you're talking about and that they're in good hands with you.
There's a difference between arrogance and being confident of your expertise, and that's part of your brand. The way that you execute all of your communication with potential clients and with current clients you're actually working with should be built into your brand.
4. Lastly is instruction.
You might hear this also called a call to action. Give them something to do. If your email stops with, “I hope to work with you soon,” then that's just asking that potential client to shrug their shoulders and let that email get buried down with other emails that they're never going to revisit again.
So if you want them to hit reply so that you can discuss how your service can add value to their work, tell them to!
Email Outreach Templates to Book Voice Over Work
Okay, let’s get to these templates!
For E-Learning Clients
This first one is to be sent to an e-learning client. So maybe it's a company that does only e-learning. Or maybe it's a company that produces e-learning for their employees internally. But regardless, you've discovered that they're hiring someone to work in the e-learning department, which is what tipped you off to reach out to them.
You’ll notice that the language in this email is very personal. It shows that the writer has done some research and isn’t just sending this same email template out to hundreds of companies.
The primary goal here is to communicate that you’re on the same page as the client. You understand their particular struggles (or at least some aspect of them), you care about the same thing, and you are equipped to come alongside them to meet their goals.
Where this template breaks the rules: It starts with the word, “I.” My recommendation is not to do this most of the time. But let this be a reminder that there is no perfect template or formula. You can get some things wrong, and as long as you still have most of them right and are actually doing the work of hitting Send, you can still have success with your outreach.
Also, this template doesn’t get too much into the technical aspects of e-learning. I’m an e-learning designer as well as voice talent, and I find it to be effective to include some industry-specific buzzwords now and then to this type of outreach.
I encourage you to get familiar with e-learning tools and skim e-learning blogs to stay on top of what’s trending so that your outreach can be that much more personable.
Personalize your outreach and be a “breath of fresh air” to your potential clients.
If you’re not going to be putting in the time on the research side, you’re going to be putting in the time sending out more emails. You’re going to be putting in the time one way or the other. I prefer to put in the time on the front end so as to forge good relationships.
Also, you’ll get higher quality clients this way!
For Industry-Specific, Local Clients
Okay, the next email template is short-and-sweet, industry specific, and for local clients
This template also starts with, “I,” but here it is more intentional. The main connection you’re trying to build here is that you’re in the same city. Sometimes communicating that point takes precedence because you are establishing that connection.
Where the template mentions writing in a compliment, this can also be a core value or methodology or something similar that the company has that you share. Again, we are trying to establish connections.
Also, there is an optional section for a video message. Video messages can be extremely effective when done properly. In fact, there’s enough to go over with video messages to be the focus of an entirely separate blog post. But the main advantage of a video message is that it clears all doubt in the recipient’s mind that you are sending the same message to multiple prospects.
A video message shows you speaking the client’s name and delivering a personal note. The client will know that you spent time doing that, and will be more convinced that you are interested in working with them specifically, rather than just getting work with whoever will hire you.
You can also add a link to your demo in the PS here.
Notice that there is no description of your voice here. No one hires you based on your voice description. But they may hire you based on what your voice actually sounds like. You can cut through the clutter of describing your voice and instead say, “Here. Take a listen.”
Response for When the Client Replies and Says They Hire From Casting Sites
The idea behind this type of email is this: Every once in a while, when you send out your super awesome, personal, well-researched cold email, you’ll get a reply that says something like this, “Hey, this sounds great! But… we hire from ABC.com (a pay-to-play online casting site), so we don’t have a need for individual relationships with voice talent. Have a good life!”
When I was conducting my email marketing mastermind group earlier this year, one of the participants mentioned that she had gotten just such a reply, and asked if there was anything she could do about it.
Option number one was she could have shrugged her shoulders, chalked it all up to the nature of marketing, and said, “Well, you win some, you lose some.”
But it takes very little effort to send a quick follow up note that may just end up changing the client’s mind.
Now, I will say that this type of reply does have a rather low conversion rate because oftentimes once a client has decided to use an online casting site, it is hard to change their mind. But we’ll go over what I recommend saying to them, what I recommend you don’t say to them, and why.
So, let’s say that there’s an online casting site called ABC.com. After sending out your cold email, the client replies and says that they only use ABC.com for voice casting needs, so they won’t be reaching out to you for voiceover needs.
Here is what you say:
The most important thing to point out here is that it doesn’t start out the way that most voice actors would be tempted to start out: with the money.
When you start out by saying, “Well, I’m cheaper than any talent you’ll find on that site,” or “You’ll save the 20% service fee if you work directly with me,” you’re not only telling the client that the primary advantage to hiring you has nothing to do with their brand, but you’re also communicating—first and foremost—that you’re cheap.
This is your chance to tell the client why they would be so much better off hiring you directly. Don’t make it all about getting the cheapest rate.
You want clients to associate you with value. You want them to say, “Oh yeah! He/she does great work and is amazing to work with!” Not, “Yeah, he/she is pretty cheap (but I bet we could find someone even cheaper…).
Shape the conversation around the value you specifically bring to projects.
It’s easy to make the conversation about money, but there’s always someone cheaper. So start off by communicating the things that are unique to only you.
First, you talk about the benefits you bring to the table. You’re a partner, not just a necessary component to be thrown in at the end. Talk about why your clients love working with you. You have a short-hand when working together that you can’t get from voice actors on a pay-to-play.
Talk about trust. And how, ultimately, it makes your clients’ lives easier and their projects more successful when they work with you.
Then you can throw in a testimonial from a client if you have one. Mine is, “One of my recent clients called me a zen oasis in her life.” I’m sure it goes without saying, but you’ll want to use something that a client actually said about you, rather than copying and pasting this one.
Only after this do you want to mention money. You can say something like, “Plus you can save the 20% site fee by going directly through me rather than ABC.com.”
And finally, you want to address one more objection the client may have. On an online casting site, the client has access to a huge variety of voices. If they need, say, a male and a female voice, they can meet both of those needs through one site as opposed to having to reach out to individual talent to cast the roles.
So set their nerves at ease by capping off your email with the reassurance that you can quickly refer them to another trusted voiceover partner if there is ever a project you don’t fit the specs for.
The great thing about this email is that it takes very little time to send because it’s one of the few you don’t have to put a lot of personalization into. And it can only work to your advantage to send it! The worst thing that could happen is that the client can say no (which they’ve already done so there’s nothing lost there).
The best thing that can happen is that you change their mind, and they decide to work with you instead of the casting site.
So there you have it! Three email templates for cold voiceover outreach.
Remember not to take any of the negative responses that you get personally. Part of your job as a business owner is to do this outreach and to be consistent with it.
GET the Swipe Files and Make Your Email Outreach a Breeze
These templates are designed to help you get started with your own personal outreach. Have fun customizing them and making positive impressions on your soon-to-be clients so that you can book more jobs and create amazing things with them.
Next month will be covering even more email templates. Specifically emails to production houses and cold email outreach, with some other fun tools. As well as some tips on how to spice up your emails with custom signatures and links to demos.
All my best as you pursue booking more voiceover work using email outreach.