I have an acquaintance that offers voice-over business consulting services primarily to those who are new to the voiceover profession. In his usually very sound advice he advocates offering VO, narration, and voice acting services through freelance marketplace websites.
He actually suggests setting up profiles and offering gigs in not one website, but in as many sites as possible – and I’m totally on board with that.
Yesterday he posted a video in which he advocated offering freelance voice services through gig economy websites but then he said something odd.
He said, this:
“Do not post links to your gig pages from your social media profiles, like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.”
The reason he gave was equally shocking:
“If you send a potential customer to a freelance marketplace then you run the risk that the buyer is just going to find your competition who will beat you on price and quality.” (Not a direct quote but that’s the abridged version.)
I was sitting there, with my chin on the floor, thinking,
“He can’t be serious. Can he???”
But he was. It was right there in the video for all of his followers to see and hear. But this is not just about voiceover artists. It’s much bigger than that.
If you are a freelancer, this is about you.
Here’s why I was stunned:
If you were a plumber 20 years ago would you have refused to advertise in the Yellow Pages because that’s where all the other plumbers were advertising?
Fast forward to today…
If you have a website not ranking on the first page of Google for “voice-over work” (and good luck with that!) would you keep your website a SECRET because all the other voiceover professionals have websites on the Internet, too?
Of course not.
This was advice based on flawed thinking. Let me explain why:
First, the vast majority of consumers of voice-over services who are
- working on a tight production budget or
- don’t know exactly what they are looking for
aren’t going to work with an agent or an expensive production studio. Instead, they are likely going to talk to whoever is handling their video production, audiobook or e-learning courses.
These folks already know about sites for freelancers like VideoToOrder.com, Fiverr, PeoplePerHour, Upwork, and the many, many others. Freelance marketplaces aren’t secrets hiding in the dark web and only accessible those in the know.
These sites are a part of the new “Gig Economy” and they’re not going away. In fact, these marketplaces are beginning to diversify and specialize in various areas.
For example, VideoToOrder.com is focused on bringing buyers of video content and video-related production services together with freelance professionals from around the world. Our sellers are professionals in the following areas:
- Digital Video Production
- Video Editing
- Video Marketing and Promotion
- Audio Services
Creative professionals working with average-sized businesses and startups use freelance marketplace websites because their budget will go farther, there are a ton of vendors from which to choose and the ease of entry is manageable.
Marketplaces are losing the stigma of cheap work for cheap people; there’s no reason to be ashamed of setting up shop in one either.
If you’re not going to promote a direct path to your gig pages, then why offer services through these types of websites at all?
Hoping a potential buyer will find you via a cold visit or a site search among the dozens or even hundreds of other vendors (especially on a bloated, “general services site” like Fiverr) is so unlikely that you might as well be playing the lottery!
Which stands to reason… if we’re going to play the odds anyway, then the opposite could potentially also be true:
It’s just as likely that someone will follow another vendor’s gig or profile link to the marketplace and, through my friend’s logic, find YOUR profile and purchase YOUR services.
Thankfully, that other vendor is marketing his or her gigs on social media, right?
Lastly, there’s this:
I might possibly agree that you would not link out to your freelance and gig pages from your website…
But more on the cost of social media versus traditional advertising a bit further down in this post.
This is the most important thing I want you to know right now…
In order to become successful through freelancing, you absolutely must do the following 4 things:
1. BUILD RELATIONSHIPS
In this new era of “relationship marketing” you’ve got to put “social” into “social media” and keep it a two-way conversation between you and your connections. People do business with those they like and trust.
They liked you enough to click on the link in your social media post – they’ll like you enough to consider your offer.
Not only will they find this one job you’ve linked to, but they will also see the other services you are offering there.
2. GET OVER THE FEAR OF COMPETITION.
If you are worried about having competitors or them beating you on price and quality, then why even be in business?
3. DEMONSTRATE QUALITY AND OFFER VALUE.
Build that quality and value into your profile and gig offers. When the customer goes looking for others they will use their browser’s back button because of the low-quality postings and the sea of other offers.
Yes, freelance marketplaces tend to drive the cost of services down due to market supply. But here’s the thing:
Do you want to get paid for your services at freelance market pricing forever?
ABSOLUTELY NOT!!! However, as a new freelancer, you have to keep this in mind –
The cost of client acquisition through VideoToOrder.com and sites like it is essentially ZERO.
If you provide every client you work with
- fair pricing,
- exceptional service and
- conscientious follow-up,
you will earn long-term clients who will likely have many voiceover jobs in the future.
If you strengthen and build on that customer relationship they will tolerate higher service fees and bring you new voiceover clients who will work with you outside of the marketplace.
And that’s giving yourself a 20% pay raise!
4. BUILD YOUR PERSONAL BRAND
THIS is the future of search engine optimization. Pay attention…
Yes, building links to your marketplace profile creates “backlink diversity” and “social signals,” which are good for search engine marketing but, more importantly, it also increases brand awareness.
but… you’ve got to wrap your brain around this new concept RIGHT NOW:
“Brand mentions” are the future of link building and SEO through “implied links” and “non-linking mentions.” – Moz.com
(Search those terms after you read through to the end of this article. This requires too long of an explanation and there are Google patents and research citations that need to be provided in context to the explanation as well.)
Your personal brand leads to social capital, which the greatest influencers of our time use to create real financial wealth.
Let me explain:
So let’s sum up why I think not linking to your gig pages and freelance marketplace profiles from your social media accounts is really bad advice:
Do you know what happens when you do not advertise or market your business?
Do you know what’s worse than nothing?
Putting in time and effort and paying money to develop the infrastructure of your business… only to get more nothingness.
If you’re more afraid of the competition than nothingness, shut your business down now and save yourself the stress of being an entrepreneur.
If, instead, you’d like to CRUSH IT selling on freelance marketplace websites, do EXACTLY these 5 things:
1. SET UP YOUR FREELANCE PROFILE.
Work to make it spectacular! Your seller’s profile is the place to describe:
- Your experience,
- Your “USP” (a “Unique Selling Proposition” is a statement about why you and your company are different from the others.) and
- Your value statement.
Hire an experienced copywriter if you need to; it’s absolutely worth it. Copywriters offer gigs through freelance services websites, too.
2. CREATE COMPELLING SERVICE OFFERS.
- Everything in the gig description should work to build trust.
- Describe the gig and be specific. Don’t try to cram a bunch of services into one offer. Voiceover for whiteboard or explainer videos is a separate service from narrating an audiobook or voice acting in a cartoon for children.
- Advertising copy must answer Who, What, When, Where and Why? – especially why.
- Include a great video or a sound file that showcases your talent.
- Price your freelance services accordingly.
Invite the prospective buyer to communicate with you if there are questions and tell them that in your profile and your service offers.
Communication creates trust. Buyers need to trust the seller before they will make a purchase.
4. ADVERTISE YOUR GIGS EVERYWHERE!
And I mean everywhere. Don’t be shy.
Build links back to your gig pages and marketplace profiles. Share these links regularly on ALL of your social media profiles. (Remember, social media means being social, not spammy.)
Again, if you are afraid of competition you probably need to consider just being happy in a day job. Honestly, being an entrepreneur is not for everyone. That’s not meant to be demeaning or a bad thing either.
5. UNDER-PROMISE AND OVER DELIVER.
Complete the job before the deadline and do the job until the client is satisfied.
Especially the first job for a new client.
First impressions are EVERYTHING, right?
(This is where you nod your head in agreement.)
I am a long-time freelance marketplace buyer, I know that if a job that is going badly from the start that it isn’t going to get any better.
If the seller does just enough to get by with my project, rest assured that our relationship isn’t going any further.
Let’s wrap this up with a little business math…
How much does it cost to establish a profile and post a service for sale on VideoToOrder.com?
Do you know how much it costs to send out a tweet, post to Facebook or make a status update to your LinkedIn profile with a link back to your gig?
Do you know what the cost of 20 tweets, posts and mentions is?
1,000 social media mentions?
WHERE ELSE CAN YOU POTENTIALLY ADVERTISE TO MILLIONS OF PEOPLE FOR FREE?
Just. What. If.
ONE of those tweets, posts or updates lands you a new client?
What if that 1 client goes on to work with you for a few years and brings you 5 new clients who also go on to work with you for a few years and all bring you, 5 new clients, as well?
OK. Let’s go absolutely bat-shit-crazy and assume that each of those 25 clients brings you 5 more clients…
Do you know what 5 x 5 x 5 equals?
You might answer “125” but my answer is, “The geometric growth of your customer base at zero additional cost of new client acquisition.”
From one social media post.
The “golden BB”… The stone in David’s sling that found it’s mark on Goliath.
Can you honestly afford NOT to tweet, post or mention your services through social media as much as humanly possible?
My guess is, “Probably not.” and as much as I respect my friend, I have to respectfully disagree with him here.
This is business.
It’s not about lovely caskets or cheaper coffins. The life or death of YOUR freelance business is worth more than the fear of words like “perhaps,” “maybe” or “might.”
Get to it.