Last week I talked about my experiences offering voiceover with Fiverr, and the response I got got me thinking quite a bit about how some prospective voice actors can get ahead of the cut. Some voice actors think the only way to do it is by having unbeatable prices. Yeah, maybe you’ll get tons of work, but how does that affect how you market yourself?
One of my site’s commenters, Paul Boucher, commented on it very wisely: “Unless you have the scale of a Walmart or a Costco, racing to the bottom is a loser’s game.” How true this is in a world of home voiceover studios. In theory, someone with a blanket and a laptop microphone could, perhaps, get voiceover work. but what is that work worth?
That’s where some good reinforced branding comes in. See, the biggest thing to remember when branding yourself is how people will view your skills and making sure that those skills have value. Some voiceover artists swear by the Union Rates card, but even this can be deceptive; a person doesn’t want to over-value themselves and lose work, but at the same time undervaluing themselves means that they can be detrimental to their personal brand.
I believe that personal branding is about investing in the things that make you valuable, memorable, and knowledgable. My business cards, for example, are personally designed with an original design, distinctive red edges, and a classy supergloss texture.
Meanwhile, on the studio side, I put my energy into creating a space with equipment and software to deliver a quality result. I have a home studio that I tweak to have a great sound. And most importantly, I practice and take lessons because the old adage of “practice makes perfect” ain’t just bunk. The best actors I know practice voiceover daily because, like any other skill, it diminishes over time if you don’t stay sharp.
All of this together, with a clean, navigable web site and a little charm, becomes a branding you can be proud to call your own. I believe a personal brand—which is not an option in today’s fast-paced, internet-stuffed, web-wide-world—should reflect not just who you are, but what you do well. If you don’t brand yourself well, people will asume that you don’t do good work.
Back to Fiverr: If you don’t offer work for a price commensurate to your quality, people will assume your quality is sub-par, even if it’s not. This is why people pay brand-name prices despite store brands, which are sometimes the exact same quality, being cheaper: not only is it recognizable, but it also becomes the ‘standard’ in quality and price. cheaper items clearly must be lesser quality.
The lessons to be learned here are this: brand yourself according to your quality, and price yourself according to your brand. A little good marketing goes really far.