Picture this. You’ve looked up two different local clothing shops on Google and decided to check them both out in person. The first store has a big sign with the name of the business on it. The windows are crystal clear and clean--you can see right through and distinguish exactly what the shop sells because of the beautiful display in the window. The colors painted on the walls are nice and appealing and the lighting is bright and inviting. You can clearly see the open sign and the hours of operation on the door. You don’t even hesitate to go in.
As for the second shop, you have a hard time finding it. You can’t distinguish it from the other because there aren’t any signs anywhere. When you finally find it (you think) you can hardly see the mid-1990’s mannequin with a faded sweater through the window because they’re so dirty. There is only a single lightbulb flickering above the entrance. You can’t tell if they are open let alone if you’re in the right place. You leave without looking back.
As a voiceover actor, you may not have a physical storefront but you most certainly have a digital one. Your website is the storefront of your business and you are the owner of that business. With the rise of online casting and buyers going straight to the internet to find talent, we know how important a website is for your business. Your website (or lack thereof) can help bring potential buyers closer or push them farther away from you.
I have a few helpful hints, whether you’re building a new website from scratch or just need a refresh.
1. Place Your Demo in Clear Sight (Above the Fold)
One of the main reasons to have a website is because it’s one place (that you own) where you can direct people to listen to your demos - your product. That being said, it is imperative that you place your demos where they are easily found and can be easily played. This means that they should be placed above the fold meaning on the top portion of your homepage without having to scroll down. Potential buyers are just like me and you. They want to find what they are looking for within seconds. Once they find it they don’t want to try and figure out how to work your player. User experience is important. Make sure it is a one-click audio player with the capability to download the audio file if they chose to.
2. Contact Information
Where is your contact information on your website? Is it buried in your bio copy or on your about me page? You may have an amazing demo but if a buyer can’t find how to contact you in less than 30 seconds they may just give up. At the very least make sure you have your email address and/or a contact form plus your phone number at the top header or in the footer of your homepage, and/or on a contact page. In a perfect world, your contact information would be in close proximity to your demo player.
3. Mobile Friendly
A recent study shows that 81% of Americans now own a smartphone and most online searches are done on a smartphone vs. a desktop or laptop. Because of this, it is vital that your website be mobile-friendly. You know as an internet user how frustrating it can be to pull up a website on your phone and having to pinch and zoom your way through the content to find what you need. You don’t want your potential buyers to have that type of experience on your website. If they do, they probably will abandon your site within seconds. Unsure if your website is mobile friendly? Use Google’s free tool to check.
4. Client Testimonials
Word of mouth is one of the most successful forms of advertising. In this day-in-age of online influencers, Yelp reviews, and crowdsourcing, people have become more reliant on reviews from others before purchasing. Client reviews show others that they can trust you and your work. Put as many as you can on your website in a prominent position.
5. Clean and Functional Design
You may love animated cat gifs and Comic Sans font, but to others, these things can be distracting. Potential buyers don’t want to guess at what you do. It needs to be clean, legible and attractive. This is where a professional graphic designer and website developer comes into play. Invest the money to hire someone that can take your vision and turn it into something beautiful and functional.
Open for Business
Think about the two scenarios at the beginning of this post. Which store do you want to be? The bright, welcoming store that people don’t hesitate to go into or the dark, dingy outdated store that people don’t even hesitate to walk away from? Your website is an investment, but if you’re serious about your voiceover business, it can’t really be one you can afford to skimp on. As always I’m here to chat. I love helping people improve their websites. Contact me anytime or feel free to set up a free 15-minute consultation.
Keep on rockin' your biz,
About the Author: Anne Ganguzza is a full-time voice talent and award-winning director and producer who works with students to develop their voice over and business skills - including VO demo training and production. She specializes in Conversational Commercial and Narration styles, including Corporate, E-Learning, Technology, Healthcare - Medical, Telephony, and On-Hold. Located in Orange County, CA, Anne offers private coaching and mentoring services to students in person and via Skype, ipDTL or Zoom.