I received an e-mail tonight from a voice-over actor seeking work. I decided to post my answer with some additional thoughts here on my blog in the hope that it helps other voice talent better utilize e-mail as a marketing tool. I am a voice talent marketing myself.
The only help that I can offer your career at this point are 5 pieces of e-mail marketing advice:
1) It’s better to write customized e-mails which address the needs of the recipient instead of generic e-mails to a group. You need to research the person or company to whom you’re writing before you even think of sending them a message. When writing the e-mail body, it’s helpful to explain the reason which compelled you to make contact (referral, newspaper article, web search, etc.). When I contact people with whom I wish to work, I explain how I discovered them and the reasons that I am a good fit for their business. Those reasons would be things I uncovered in the research phase.
2) If you do send e-mail to a group, the addresses should not be listed on the TO: line. It’s a privacy violation to make e-mail addresses visible to a group. In fact, some people harvest the addresses for their own purposes, generating even more spam for the recipients. In addition, people often reply to all, which generates unnecessary email traffic for most of the people included in the message. Add your email to the TO: line and your recipients’ email addresses on the BCC: line for group messages.
3) The subject line of your e-mail should be a succinct statement that compels the recipient to open the message. The message I received had a subject line of TEST. I would have deleted that message without opening it if I had not been able to read the first line in the autopreview. I opened it only because I could tell it pertained to voice-over; I thought it was probably another newcomer who wanted my guidance.
4) Don’t send attachments to people whom you don’t know or who are not expecting them. I cannot overemphasize this point! So many people send unsolicited demos to me. I will NEVER open them, and I’m sure I’m not alone. In these days of rampant computer viruses, people are leery of unsolicited attachments. Besides, if everyone sent me a 3 Mb attachment, I would quickly run out of mailbox space. Let me say this one again: Don’t send attachments to people whom you don’t know or who are not expecting them.
5) Your message should be a clear call to action. What do you want people to do when they read your message? Saying you are “ready to cooperate” with me could mean to me that you will cooperate when I ask you to send me all of your money and the deed to your house. 🙂
Correct grammar and spelling are worthy goals in all of your communications. I am constantly amazed to receive e-mails with spelling errors and incomplete or incoherent sentences. Remember, you are making an impression with every type of communication. E-mails that seem unprofessional are deleted by producers without a second thought. Furthermore, if I were a producer who hired voice talent, I would wonder how you could interpret my script if you can’t seem to express yourself.
E-mail is an essential component in the marketing toolbox for any professional voice talent. Hopefully, my observations will help you craft messages that help you convert prospects to clients. If you have other ideas on the topic of e-mail marketing, please share your comments here on the blog.
Mary C. McKitrick says
Karen, you have summed up perfectly what I was feeling last night when I received an unsolicited demo and very long email from another voice talent seeking work. It was obviously an email “blast” (although mercifully, the other recipients’ names were undisclosed) and the salutation was “Hi there”. Because the demo was in another language, I was interested enough to keep it, and it was a good demo. But I wanted very much to write back and scold the sender for violating most of your 5 points! It should have been so obvious that I’m just another VO, not a production house – I would have been a lot more enthusiastic if someone had written, “Dear Mary, I see that you offer voice-over in English and German – I offer VO in ___. I would be delighted to promote your services on my site in exchange for the same from you.” That would have been an attractive offer. Writing a personal note back to this person who didn’t take the time to learn about me or address me by name just didn’t seem like a good use of my time.
Thank-you for writing this excellent post. And for giving me a place to vent! 🙂
Hi, Mary! Our mindsets are often similar, so it’s no coincidence that you and I are friends. 🙂 It’s probably also not a coincidence that we both received similar messages; in fact, my message also had the salutation of “Hi, there.”
I like your point of offering to exchange links when you offer complimentary services. Again, such a request illustrates that the sender has taken the time to research the recipient’s business and potential needs.
Mary, thanks for the note. I’m glad to know we are of like mind once again!
(As an aside to anyone reading this response and interested in marketing, note the way that Mary has subtly promoted her bilingual skills on another site. I’m a big advocate of self-promotion, and, unlike the e-mail that triggered this post, it was done well in this instance.)
Mary C. McKitrick says
Nothing gets passed you Karen 😉
Here’s another bonus tip —
I received an e-mail from a newcomer who wanted my advice about her web site. However, I couldn’t look at it because she didn’t include the URL in her signature line. You want to make it easy for people to listen to your demos and connect with you.
In my e-mail sig lines, I include:
* My url
* My phone number
* A link to my audiobooks on Audible
* A link to NarratorsRoadmap.com
* A link to my blog/newsletter sign-up page
I no longer include my social media sites in my sig line.
edited 10/14/21 as my sig has changed over time