Most online companies, including voice over artist small business owners, market wide and ignore borders. But there may be an opportunity that is ripe for harvest in your backyard that many of us overlook. Businesses that are already remote can still keep pumping out product and services during the COVID crisis. How do you make sure you’re one of them? Go local.
I got a call from my local agent yesterday at 5:55 p.m. asking about my availability to voice a spot tomorrow at a downtown studio. This rush ad is a government commercial about coronavirus. The Hail Mary call made me stop and think about my local community. How could I help local businesses? Specifically, what I can do as a great voice over talent with her own professional studio to help keep some of the local commercial and narration business flowing during a trying time.
Call Local Production Houses and Ad Agencies and Other Suppliers
I have a great relationship with many of the local production houses and ad agencies in my town, having worked at them all for over twenty years and being one of my city’s top go-to commercial voice over artists. Many of the higher tier ad agencies in Montreal, like in Toronto, LA, Chicago and New York haven’t yet adopted the recording remote mentality and I wondered about my friend-colleagues and how the COVID scare and isolation recommendations would impact their livelihoods.
So, I called a few yesterday to find out how everything is going. Most were anxious. Many ad agencies were postponing campaigns. With staff to support, kids to feed, mortgages to pay and a slow-down in revenue coming in, my heart went out to them. I also had an idea.
An Opportunity for Voice Over Actors to Help
Growth is one thing many small businesses struggle with. Lately as my production studio gets busier and busier it has been more difficult justifying leaving my studio to go downtown, battle traffic, find parking, and wait for hours for client approval in someone else’s studio, when I could save all that time and pour it back into other work that has landed in my supply chain. Could this be an opportunity to help these local businesses comfortably move into the online world?
While on those calls to local production houses, I reminded them that I have Source Connect and a state-of-the-art broadcast quality production facility in my own home. So, for any of their clients who might want to use their services and record remotely this would work. Further, the prod houses could assure the ad agency reps that they and the clients could also work from their homes. To many of us voice over artists who have been successfully working remotely for years, this seems obvious. But to people who are used to working the traditional way, it may not be apparent. My contacts were very happy and thankful for the reminder. I also recommended other local voice over colleagues who have Source Connect in their home studios. Now my production house contacts have a variety of accessible talent to offer their clients. I took this further and drafted and sent an email to all my local ad agency contacts.
Local Voice Over Opportunity with Google My Business
While we’re here, I want to share another local voice over marketing tactic I’ve had recent success with. Have you filled out your Google My Business form? I did ages ago, but then didn’t put much effort into it because I figured it’s primarily for businesses that cater to local consumers. I know my local contacts. We have established relationships and I reach out to them directly. Plus, my home studio business is largely with clients outside of Montreal. However, one or two of my local clients have recently begun to hire me in my studio, so I figured, OK, let me put a little attention into Google My Business.
Helping Builds Trust and Nurtures Relationships
I refined and filled out my form more. I asked for reviews from a few clients. Less than a month later, local inquiries for voice work went from nil to a few a week. Not all of these led to bookings. But some did. And a couple of these were nice and big. The inquiries are still rolling in. Not to put too much of a fine point on it, being available and helpful to your local community during this time may be an opportunity to grow your local voice over market share. Helping, especially during difficult times builds trust and nurtures relationships.
We don’t know where this whole thing is going. Hopefully, COVID will be contained, whether through isolation, flattening the curve or a vaccine. Throughout it all, staying informed, staying positive and staying in touch (remotely) are good strategies. I wish good health for you and your loved ones.