[Originally posted 7 January 2011 at johnmatthew.com/blog]
Voice actress Melissa Lawson (http://melissalawsonvo.com/) asks: “… what is your take on building relationships as a VO talent? Do you cultivate relationships that keep you getting hired back by the same orgs?”
Great question, Melissa. The business of client relationships, and marketing in general, is of course very complex – just go to Amazon and search for marketing books and you’ll get an idea of the huge volume of information available. There is certainly no one correct approach, and everyone has different opinions and experience.
In general, my experience points toward these concepts:
1. DO keep in touch, but DON’T overdo it. Clients who like you will keep you in mind for a long time on their own; there’s no need to bombard them with weekly or even monthly emails, newsletters, postcards etc. I generally only do a mass email once or twice a year.
2. Have a good reason to get in touch. Your clients are busy, they – like you – have way too much emailing, webbing, FaceBooking and Tweeting to sort through, and another email to “just say hi” or “I just bought a new microphone” will be little more than an annoyance. So make sure it’s a big deal – a major booking, a website overhaul with new demos, new (and impressive) representation – are worthy of noting.
3. Include media links with your announcements. People like video, people like to look at stuff. Whenever possible, include a link to related media or content. If you booked a big TV spot, let’s see the video! If you have all new audio demos on your site, include a direct link to your audio page.
4. DON’T send media files as attachments unless specifically requested. People generally don’t appreciate large, unsolicited attachments, and many will get blocked by anti-spam software or corporate firewalls.
5. NO HOMEWORK. Like I said, your clients already have too much on their plates. Don’t give them any more by asking them to review your website or your voiceover demos, or provide feedback of some sort– at least not in a mass communication. That sort of data is very valuable, but is best got by one-on-one communication – and best of all in person or on the phone.
6. Make it EASY – and FUN if possible. Postcards are dead, don’t bother with them. Email is fast and easy for you and your clients. Keep your comments brief and to the point, but not so sterile as to be devoid of personality. Everyone likes to laugh or be amused, so inject a little humor if appropriate. And again, direct links to media, no attachments.
7. Always be professional and respectful. Don’t ask clients for email addresses unless it’s an appropriate moment. I usually ask who to get in touch with for a copy of the spot; if it’s not the producer you’re working with, you can always get the producer’s email later on through that contact person. And ALWAYS have business cards with you at the session.
So does all this actually work? I believe so, but don’t expect a landslide response to your marketing. The idea is to remind your clients that you’re out there, impress them with your continued success and evolution as a talent, and to give them a smile or a chuckle if possible. But it’s often a long time between projects that you’re right for, so be patient. And keep in mind, it may be the friend or associate they refer you to who needs your voice now.
I hope this helps. If you have any more questions, feel free to get in touch.