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4 Lessons Learned From A Failed Attempt At Marketing

The other day I posted a picture on Instagram. I’d taken a screenshot of my intinerary in my Delta app. It showed the number of days until check-in for three upcoming flights.

marc scott flies with deltaIn other words, this was not a stunning photograph. No breathtaking sunset. No full moon night sky. No masterful architectural creation. No beautiful people. Just a boring screenshot of something I was really excited about. Getting on an airplane is fun.

A day later, I received a comment on that Instagram post. “Beautiful! I’m a photographer in NYC check out my portfolio.”

If ever there was a failed attempt at marketing, add this one to the list. “Beautiful,” really?

It seems clear to me this photographer has an automated system in place to leave comments on Instagram pictures that are probably connected to a particular hashtag. Either that, or they’re actually wasting their time spamming new posts with a request to visit their portfolio.

Whatever the case, it comes with a couple of valuable marketing lessons you can apply to your voice over business.

4 Lessons Learned From A Failed Attempt At Marketing

1) Limit Automation: Next to recording actual voice over jobs, marketing is the most important aspect of your business. Or, at least, it should be! After all, if you’re not out there spreading the word about your services, there won’t be a lot of booked work. Don’t trust something as important as marketing to a lame, ineffective system.

Bonus Tip: If you’re using Auto DM’s on Twitter (or any other platform), stop right now. Nobody wants an automated, impersonal form message from you for any reason.

2) Know Your Audience: I posted an Instagram photo about check-in dates for upcoming flights. What the crap does that have to do with a photographer in NYC? Why would their portfolio have any relevance to me and what incentive or motivation would I have to visit it? Before you do any marketing, research your audience and tailor relevant, targeted messages designed specifically for them.

Bonus Tip: If you’re not researching your audience ahead of time, you risk wasting a lot of time sending the wrong messages to the wrong people, producing limited ROI.

3) It’s Not About You: “I’m a photographer… check out my portfolio.” Me, me, me. This message was all about them. It demonstrated zero interest in me, my needs, or why their services as a photographer might be relevant to me. When you’re reaching out to voice over leads, your message needs to speak to them, their needs and why your services would be of value to them.

Bonus Tip: Don’t start every sentence with, “I.”

4) Stop Using Form Letters: Do you know where generic emails and form letters go? Into the spam or trash folder. Do you know what happens to those auto DM’s? Delete! If you want to be more effective in your marketing, start being more of a person and less of a robot. If there’s one thing I learned from my early marketing efforts for my voice over business, it’s that generic mass messages produce extremely limited results.

Bonus Tip: Relationship is a big part of the marketing equation. To build relationship, you need to personalize.

How This Example Could’ve Been More Effective

With the above four tips in mind, let’s consider how this photographer could’ve left a more personalized comment that would be much more likely to produce the desired result… to get me to click-through to their profile.

“Hey, Marc. Looks like you’ll be in NYC in a few days. If you need a photographer while you’re in the city, say the word! You can click the link in my bio to check out my portfolio. Have a safe flight and enjoy your trip.”

A couple quick, personalized sentences that would’ve taken just a few extra seconds to type. But they would’ve made all the difference in the world.

By that comment, I would clearly see the message is neither automated, nor a generic response. It’s personalized. It shows they’ve actually looked at the picture I posted. It takes an interest in me and isn’t all about them.

Marketing takes time and effort. It’s easy and tempting to look for ways to automate as much of the process as possible. From scheduling tweets to sending generic form letters. The problem is, the methods aren’t going to be nearly as effective as taking a little time, doing a little research, and adding a personal touch to each communication.

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The Definition Of Insanity

“I’m submitting at least 10 auditions a day, but I’m not getting any work.”

Are you trying any new types of reads or auditioning for different types of work?

“No. I’m doing what I’ve always done.”


“I’ve been sending at least 10 emails to leads each day for 30 days and it’s not working.”

Did you try tweaking the wording in your email?

“No. I’m still using the same form letter.”


“I’m tired of working for low rates.”

Have you tried quoting higher?

“No. I’m using the rates that’ve always worked.”


“I tweet links to my demo everyday on Twitter. I’m not getting work.”

Have you tried engaging with leads, prospects and clients?

“No. I don’t have time to tweet.”


“My demo has had over 1,000 plays but I’m not booking work.”

Have you considered making a new demo?

“No. I can’t afford it.”

The Definition Of Insanity

The definition of insanity is simply this; doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result.

If you’re not getting the results you want to see in your voice over business, maybe it’s time to start doing something different.

Pick one thing you can change today and do it. You might be surprised at the results!

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Where Are You Getting Your Voice Over Advice?

At my last unofficial count, there are roughly 437,812 voice over groups on the various social networks including – but not limited to – Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+.

Within these 437,812 (unscientific count) voice over groups, I’d estimate that approximately 92.7% of the participants consider themselves to be experts. Each one, just as happy as the next to point out everything you’re doing wrong in your voice over business. They’re less giving with helpful advice.

Everyone Is An Expert… Or Are They?

Lucy-the-doctor-is-inMany of these people, based on my observations, are well meaning enough, though few, it seems, have achieved any level of success in their own business. This, of course, seems to result in bitter rants more than useful or practical advice.

Don’t get me wrong, there are people in some of these groups absolutely willing to help and more than qualified. However, it can be a challenge to find them in the group. There are also some groups that are absolutely better than others when it comes to seeking and finding advice.

Where Are You Getting Your Voice Over Advice?

Read any book on success and you’ll find one theme repeated over and over and over and over again.

You’ll become like the five people you spend the most time with.

Who are you spending time with? Or, in other words, where are you getting your advice from?

I’ve got a list of people that I turn to when I need advice, help, or to bounce ideas off of. All those people are successful, intelligent, and wise. They stretch me. They make me better. Most importantly, they’ll tell me what I need to hear. Not what I want to hear!

Getting started in this voice over game isn’t easy. It’s also not impossible.

If you’re going to look for answers to your questions, just make sure you’re getting it from people who are achieving at a level beyond you. The level you’re moving towards. This is how you’ll grow.

Those people – in my expert opinion 😉 – are not the ones dispensing bitter diatribes in online groups and forums.

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One Way To Elevate Your Self Confidence

Being confident is one of the most important building blocks for voice over success. When you’re self confident, it impacts every area of your life and business. You market better. Audition better. Perform better.

What can do you, then, to build your self confidence? In this weeks video I share a tactic that I’ve employed for a couple years now, very successfully, in my own voice over business. It worked wonders for me, and I believe it can for you too!

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