I couldn’t believe it.
About 6 years ago, my voiceover career was just getting off the ground. I’d landed some good clients, but hadn’t hit any big paydays yet. I was beginning to wonder if this voiceover thing was actually going to work out.
In the meantime, I was living in Austin, TX and beginning to build some very key relationships. One of those was with my now good friend and client, George.
At a happy hour one night at a busy downtown bar, George and I sat down over a couple cold Shiners (local Texas brews) and started talking despite the droning din of chattery hipsters and cocky bartenders.
After a few minutes, the conversation turned toward his business, direct response marketing. It was a concept I’d never heard of. And George hinted at the fact that he hired voiceover talents all the time.
It was so loud in there that I had to lean in and pay close attention.
But, wow…did I get an education.
I learned that night that Direct Response is like what you see in infomercials – the customer orders directly from the company selling the product, versus going through a retail channel.
DR is nothing new, either – it dates back literally hundreds of years. Even Ben Franklin operated a direct response mail order business.
However, in recent years direct response marketers have started leveraging the power of two extremely powerful tools:
- The Internet
- Video (requiring a voiceover narrator)
Long-story short, I’d convinced George to give me a shot. By the time I left he’d hired me to voice a “video sales letter” for a new project.
It’s six years later; George and I are still great friends, and he still hires me several times per year for voiceover projects.
And for each one, I normally charge over $1,000.
I assume I have your attention now?
Good. Let’s talk details so you can find out what it takes to break into this relatively obscure v/o niche.
Video Sales Letter Voiceovers
“Video Sales Letter”, aka VSL: Essentially a long commercial (anywhere from 15-45 minutes, usually landing right around 30).
The narrator (that’s where you come in) reads the VSL script in the first person, often assuming the role of an expert or professional like a doctor or attorney. Sometimes you don’t have a specific identity – you’re just narrating.
You take the viewer through a series of carefully-crafted sales messages, starting with a shocking statement about a problem they’re likely facing, some background information and education on that problem, and then you present the solution in the form of the product being sold.
I do a lot of VSLs for supplements that are sold directly for websites that address health issues, like memory and aging, weight loss, intestinal health and more. But I’ve also been the VSL narrator in other niches like Survival, Home Business Opportunities and more.
There are tons of people starting their own direct response businesses every day. And as George told me that day long ago, a good voiceover talent who can “sell” the product well is IRREPLACEABLE.
What are the Pros of this Voiceover Niche?
Most v/o talents have never heard of direct response marketing, so there’s less competition. Plus, the industry is expanding and there are more opportunities than ever.
So, what’s the Catch?
The catch is that you have to find the people like George who produce these products and “funnels” (the series of offerings leading to a product purchase). And they’re not exactly going out of their way to be found; a lot of these guys and gals work quietly, pulling strings behind the scenes.
VSLs have become one of the several niches in which I work, and I have clients all over the world who pay me well to provide this service for them.