We live in the Information Age. A dizzying array of information on any topic, including starting and marketing your voiceover business, is freely available on the Internet. For instance, I Googled “how to get started in voiceover” and received a list containing more than 3 million hits!
With so much information freely available, you may find it difficult to believe that one of the biggest ways to make money on-line is through information marketing. However, people are always looking for shortcuts to success, so they gladly pay a perceived expert to guide them through the process. Just for grins, check out the number of hits when you Google “how to be an information marketer”. The number of hits is staggering, to say the least.
I believe in obtaining coaching and mentoring from a more experienced person in order to attain the next level of success. I don’t believe in predatory marketing practices from people who offer those kinds of services. If you’re looking for a coach or mentor in voiceover or any other facet in your life, you should do your own research to determine the best fit for your needs and budget.
Since information marketing on the Internet is viewed and heavily promoted as the quick path to wealth, many, if not most, information marketers are preying on people’s emotions and seek only to line their own pockets. I am growing increasingly concerned about these practices in the voiceover industry as more and more people flock to this field and look for the magic secret to success.
I was thinking about this topic today after attending 2 webinars this past week. One was aimed at a group from multiple industries, while the other was specifically targeted to voice talent. Each lasted about 1.5 hours, but I ended each with widely varying thoughts about the host. I decided to point out a few of their sales techniques in hopes that I can save someone from making a serious financial mistake. (Note that I deliberately will be vague in describing each marketer’s approach and offer.)
1. Like a drug dealer approaching potential junkies, the first sample is always free. They hope to get you hooked so that you’ll shell out money for their program and/or products.
How many offers of “free reports” have you seen on-line? How many free webinars have you seen or attended? You never know how useful they will be to you until you actually commit the time to view the material.
Sometimes these “free” offers contain some very good information. For instance, the first of 2 free webinars that I attended this week showed me all the steps needed to create a particular thing. I now have the confidence to create one on my own, and I had an inspired idea about how I might use the thing in my life. The marketer provided solid content and then explained the benefits of the paid program.
Other times, the webinar is a poorly-concealed and aggressive attempt to market the host’s paid program or product. Such was the case in the second webinar I attended this week. It started with the marketer offering some useful tidbits but progressively degenerated into testimonials from hand-picked participants.
Dont get me wrong — testimonials are vital for your voiceover business. Comments from satisfied clients can help to convince a prospect to hire you to voice their project. You should include testimonials on your voiceover web site, as well as on your profiles on LinkedIn and the voiceover pay-to-play sites. My point is that a webinar should provide some sort of useful content for those viewing it. It shouldn’t be an infomercial for the host’s products and services.
2. The sales pitch or copy is overflowing with adjectives designed to tap into your emotional response.
People make buying decisions based on how they feel. Who wouldn’t want to achieve success, have whiter teeth, be able to retire sooner, win fame and fortune, and exceed their fondest dream? How would it feel to have all the money, fame, and jobs you could imagine? Wouldn’t you like to know this oh-so-easy method of living your dream life in the shortest amount of time possible?
An experienced copywriter can create such enticing text that it makes you salivate and WANT the product. Once you fall in the trap of imagining all the great and wonderful things the marketer is talking about, you are extremely vulnerable to buy whatever they are selling.
3. They always make the offer seem very limited or exclusive. If you don’t ACT NOW, you may miss out!
This technique surfaces in several different ways:
- Only a limited number of products remain at this price. It will either sell out FOREVER or be available for a much higher price later.
- Only a certain number of seats are available for this event.
- We only accept a certain number or type of people into this program.
Remember, they are counting on you acting due to an emotional response, and this technique adds the avoidance of negative emotions on top of the acquisition of positive emotions promised in the other copy. If you’ve ever sat through a timeshare presentation, you’ll be familiar with this tactic. The marketer knows that if you walk away and think about their offer, you are less likely to buy it with each passing minute.
4. A higher-priced paid program or service often has a salutary effect on the minds of would-be buyers.
I tend to think that information offered as a report or webinar to a group of people is meant to ensnare many unsuspecting people into buying something they previously had not considered. The same is often true when you attend a free seminar in-person, such as when Drew and I went to an event promoted as an Internet marketing seminar.
On the other hand, a complimentary, private, one-on-one consultation with an expert about your specific business needs can be a smart business move. Many advisors provide a free, 30-minute meeting, You need to interview someone to see how well their product or service meshes with your needs, so I’m not talking about that situation in this post.
In Webinar #1 this week where I obtained some good info, I thought the cost of the paid program was reasonable for the time involved. In Webinar #2 which contained all of the testimonials, I was shocked and appalled by the prices of the paid program. I wondered who in their right mind would actually pay those prices.
Sadly, I think a number of people will make undue sacrifices in order to buy that program if they perceive the marketer to be expert. A higher price can indicate to people that the marketer is in such extreme demand that they can command any price. A high price tag is also another way of making the program seem available to only a chosen few. We all like to feel (there’s that word again) that we know things or have opportunities that aren’t available to all.
I’m sure the participants in such a program would obtain some value, but would the program really fulfill all of the amazing promises made about it?
5. If someone is really trying to sell you something, look for the PS at the end of the sales copy.
The sales copy is often several pages long so that every possible benefit can be explored in depth, and testimonials can be seen in every other paragraph. When this copy is sent through the mail in a letter, the common thought is that people may skip all of the sales copy and go right to end to see who sent the offer. On-line information marketers continue to use this ploy and add some final glorious adjectives with a call to action as a postscript.
If you’re considering buying any type of program or service to gain the advantages promised by the expert, I suggest these steps:
A) Don’t make any decision for at least a 3-day cooling off period. Get away from the emotion of the sales pitch to think logically and clearly about the offer and its usefulness in your life.
B) Do some simple math. Figure out how much money you have available for this program or service. Look at the offer and assign some sort of monetary value to each part of it: materials, time with the expert, and other resources provided. Does it require additional costs, such as travel? How does the sum of the parts compare to the price as a whole?
C) Do some research for similar products and services. If it’s something targeted only to voice talent, ask your colleagues on your favorite voiceover chat board whether they have experience with the provider or can recommend other options. Do a Google search for info about the expert and their products. Subscribe to their blog; you’ll get a good feel for how they present information.
In this Information Age, continue to sign up for free webinars and reports. You never know where that next sparkling idea for building your voiceover business will appear! Just be aware that free webinars and reports usually come with a hidden agenda to sell you something. By considering the points outlined in this article, you can make an objective and informed buying decision.
Do you have any thoughts about the methods used to market products and services to voice talent? Please leave a comment on the blog!
Photo: Greg Grieco