Entries Tagged as 'marketing'

are your voice-over prospects dead?

Peter K. O'Connell Google Contacts

If you’ve worked with any prospect or client database for any period of time, it will happen to you. Through a phone call, a direct mail or an email blast that you’ve done, you find out one of your prospects has died.

Worse, they’ve been dead for a while but because you hadn’t reached out to them in much more than an automatic (read: email blast way) you didn’t know.

You didn’t kill them but you feel like crap about it anyway for a number of reasons. Maybe it shook you a bit. OK, take the day, do something else at the office. Come back to prospecting tomorrow.

And when tomorrow comes, learn the lessons.

One lesson is that if someone is a TRUE prospect, you should try and call them a few times a year. Be a real person on the phone (not salesy), chat and talk a little business. Keep them on your prospect/client list if there’s an opportunity and pull them off the list if there is not. Also pull them off if you can never get through or if they never call you back. Or put them on a secondary (not prime) list if you don’t want to give up on them completely.

The other lesson, the one that requires more physical work for you, is that it’s probably time to clean up your database of prospects and clients.

I know this to be a valuable exercise because I just finished doing it.

No, a death didn’t trigger the clean up. It did, however, make an eye-catching headline (gotcha) and yes, I actually have been through that “death” experience with a few prospects (it’s bound to happen to every business person). It was awkward and I survived.

What caused me to go through all my voice-over prospects were the results of my voice-over email marketing campaigns and some voice-over direct mail campaigns I did in 2015. What I knew in my head before all that was that it had been a while (read: years) since I did a thorough scrubbing of my list. I tried to do some work on it but it wasn’t enough.

Also, let me be clear, I am well aware that it is the quality of the list and not the quantity that makes it valuable. I’m not saying I always “lived it” but I know it.

It is a lot of tedious work to purge as you are looking at every name on your lists. For me, that totaled easily over 4,000 contacts (leads, clients, voice talents, family, friends, etc.)

I knew there were going to be some “corpses” in there – some that were still alive but were dead to me, in a business context.

Studying data results (most easily done, in this context, via email blast results included in most email programs) showed me that a lot of people were not opening my voice-over business emails. Now, there are many reasons for that (like spam filters). I also know that some people HAD opened my emails but it didn’t register as having been opened (ah, technology). Ultimately, the numbers were enough of an indication to me that I needed to look through the data and purge.

In my case, I use two primary tools for coordinating prospects: Google Contacts and LinkedIn. Google Contacts is a free address book (and or Customer Relationship Manager if you want to be all fancy pants about it). In it are the contacts I have had since the beginning of time (importing them to Google Contacts when that became my tool). LinkedIn started in 2002 and I remember hopping on around 2005 or ’06; LinkedIn lets connected members download each other’s emails. My profile clearly states I will be communicating with my connections via email (and it is not terribly frequently).

Time gets away from all of us. While we are seemingly always busy gathering prospects and client information, it is a more rare occasion when any of us purge it. While not hoarders, there is definitely some cleaning up we all need to do.

And so I began.

I looked at each individually exported list (Google Contacts and LinkedIn). I also compared those lists to those email addresses that had bounced, opted out or otherwise failed from my email blast system. It was a lot of checking and cross checking, then updating or (mostly) deleting.

What I discovered in my voice-over database probably won’t surprise you but it still agitated me…

• There were prospects from easily 10 years ago who I had long forgotten about…some of who’s businesses had even closed (they aren’t prospects anymore); same with some really old one-time only clients
• When I first joined LinkedIn, likely not understanding it and not having a business plan for it at that time, I connected with a lot (A LOT) of people for no good reason other than to build connections —those folks are gone from my connections now
• Google Mail will create contacts for folks you may only briefly email in something called “Other Contacts”; evidently it was a few (many) years before I got that memo and noticed that option (more deletions)
• You and likely only you can do this task as the voice-over business owner because only you know who to keep and who to toss – this job cannot be delegated and done effectively
• Tedious and tiresome as it is to do, the result of your focused efforts to manage your prospect and contact lists will pay off in your future marketing efforts

Between my two main sources, I deleted or updated over 1,200 contacts (yes, one by one). Besides feeling lighter and less stupid (or stupid to a lesser degree) what, if any, outcomes came from this exercise?

Well, here what I have found in only the past 2-3 weeks since I completed the chore:

audioconnell email blast study

• In November, 2015 I sent out an email blast to 2,749 prospects and clients (excluding all voice talents, family members and other non prospect/client related people)
• Overall, I had an open rate of 28.3%
• I had a “unique viewer” click through rate (people clicking on a link to read something) of 11.31%
• I had 88 bounced emails (even though I “thought” I was keeping up with deletions after every email blast)

• In February, 2015 with my purged and updated list, I sent out an email blast to 1,547 prospects and clients (same exclusions) (-1,202 contacts)
• Overall, I had an open rate of 35.4% (+7.1%)
• I had a “unique viewer” click through rate of 12.4% (+1.1%)
• I had 15 bounced emails (almost 6x fewer)

Taking into account, within this imperfect science, that the two blasts had different content, were sent at different times of the year and different times of day, the numbers are improved. They’d HAVE to improve considering I was carrying so much “dead” prospect weight. Worse, the numbers I’d previously studied were inaccurate. Because I didn’t properly manage my database, I was not managing my business as effectively as I could have. Advice: don’t be me.

There are other steps and plans that I can take with this renewed focus on database management. If I choose to target certain media business categories, there’s no reason I can’t pull them up from Google Contacts and LinkedIn, update the addresses (or lookup and add addresses in the case of LinkedIn) and do some better-targeted marketing.

I need to get on the phone to these folks more.

Finally, I need to try and make it a priority to more regularly edit, update and purge my database. It’s hard to keep up with it but I need to make an effort.

You’ve read about my mistakes here because I know you made some of them too, maybe more. You don’t have to write about your mistakes but I sure hope you can learn from mine. It’s not the end of the world for me or you, just another step in the voice-over journey.

I hope this helps.

a new logo for the toronto maple leafs?

Toronto Maple Leafs logo

This is a conundrum.

On the one hand, as a Buffalo Sabres fan, I shouldn’t even HAVE a Toronto Maple Leafs logo on this web site. It is sacrilege.

On the other hand, the possible switch of one of the more famous logos in the NHL interests the heck outta me.

So Go Leafs Go!

In spite of not having won a Stanley Cup in many years (like many, many years) it is still one of the most famous teams in hockey. It was the city I saw my first NHL game in at the old Maple Leaf Garden.

It is said that in honor of the team’s 100th Anniversary next year, their will be a new logo (and one assumes uniforms as well).

The logo is famous but I would not call it iconic. It’s not as ugly as, say, the New Jersey Devils logo. Simple as it is, I find the Maple Leaf logo attractive but certainly with room for improvement.

There has been no official logo redesigned yet but the talk of a new Maple Leafs logo has the sports graphic design world (mostly amateurs at this point, I believe) frothing at the mouth. Understandable, as it’s an exciting proposition.

There are a lot of ideas out there but one early logo I’ve seen really shows promise. The designer is Matt McElroy. It retains the simplicity of the original mark, the colors (which any would be crazy to change) and adds a kind of simple strength to me.

 Toronto Maple Leafs Logo Concept By Matt McElroy Number9Concepts All Rights Reserved

Toronto Maple Leafs Logo Concept By Matt McElroy Number9Concepts All Rights Reserved

It takes a well know international hockey mark (the blue maple leaf) and adds a simply, strong “T” to a new logo that everyone in the NHL (and probably the world hockey community) would know instantly.

Toronto Maple Leafs Uniform Concept By Matt McElroy Number9Concepts All Rights Reserved

Toronto Maple Leafs Uniform Concept By Matt McElroy Number9Concepts All Rights Reserved

Do I think this will be the winning design? I don’t know. I’m pretty sure that logo race is just getting started and some big logo design houses (hopefully not just uniform makers, oy!) will get in on the race.

This should be a lot of fun.

new cbs sports logo

CBS Sports Old New Logo

I really need to listen to my inner voices sometimes.

About 3-4 months ago I remember seeing the CBS Sports logo and thinking “Man, that thing is dated!”

Now I come to find out that at the end of November, CBS Sports announced they are unveiling their new logo during Super Bowl 50 (notice “50”, not the roman number for 50 which would be “L”, which in the common vernacular would stand for “loser” — this is my guess as to why the NFL isn’t using the “L”).

It’s good that they are updating the logo. The problem is the new logo sucks.

Drab. Dull. Not a damn sporty thing about it.

Now you may say “it’s a TV logo, they’re going to make it bounce around and spin and look really cool in motion.”

Fine but no. A logo needs to be able to convey the message of what you (your brand, company) do, in and of itself. This new CBS logo could be for a CPA firm or even a dishwasher. The old one at least has a little style and some motion to it. It felt a bit sporty.

Where’s the action? Where’s the excitement in this new CBS Sports logo? It’s SPORTS for goodness sake. Where’s the vibrance? Where’s the motion? The old logo (much as it needed a refresh) had lots of these attributes.

CBS Television Network Logo

But of course the old CBS Sports logo did not posses a classic style to it that would allow it to live forever like, for example, the logo of its mother ship, the CBS Television Network and it’s classic Eye logo and font. This logo will (and should) live forever.

So let’s take a quick peek at how this new sports network for CBS compares to some of the other sports network logos.

Sports Network Logos ESPN, Fox, NBC

When looking at sports networks, you’s have to start with ESPN which has gone from a little cable station in Bristol, Connecticut to a sports giant. How big? Basically, ABC Sports ceased to exist when Disney (which owns ABC) bought ESPN. And this logo needs a refresh. It looks about as 80’s as the old CBS Sports logo.

Fox Sports logo is…meh. Whether it’s Fox Sports, Fox News and the Fox Network, the logo is plain. Not bad, just plain. Such a wide ranging and successful company should have a more impressive network icon. But again, there’s a reason I’m not part of this discussion. 😉

Finally NBC Sports. This is a bit of a mashup. You’ve got the iconic peacock (one of the great logo refreshes/rebirths of the 20th Century), the recently refreshed NBC workmark (which I like very much) and the scripted sports work mark, which is just OK. But of the three logos, probably NBC Sports works the best as a logo.

So there you have it, my take on network sports logos.

The bad news is you can’t get the last five minutes of your life back. 🙂

first in, best in

Christy Harst Voice-Overs Holiday 2015 Card

Opened my mail today, this last day of November to receive my first voice-over holiday (read: Christmas) card! I thought it was a great one! My poor photography skills don’t do the card justice.

Congrats to my friend and fellow voice-over talent Christy Harst on her design and message. And Merry Christmas!

mca-i gets a logo makeover

 Media Communications Association-International has completely redone their association logo

Media Communications Association-International has completely redone their association logo

Before I begin, I feel I must disclose that I was a past-member of Media Communications Association -International (MCA-I) and a national board member.

That’s right, the poor group (at the time) must have been in such desperate shape that they put me on their national board. And I have friends who are still on that board (and who are making it a great association today). I like the group but I was the only Buffalo-member, and with kids, I couldn’t build up the group locally — no time. But we did some great stuff of the national group.

With all that cleared up, I feel I am ready now to address that MCA-I has gotten a brand new logo for the association.

For any of you who have ever served on a not-for-profit board, you know that getting marketing stuff done like a new logo is like passing a kidney stone…difficult and painful, there will be vomiting and crying and the positive result will be a relatively small outcome from a lot of work.

But in MCA-I’s case, the new logo was TOTALLY worth the effort. It’s awesome!

I don’t know who designed the logo but it’s great.

I suppose I actually ought to give some historical perspective on why this new logo came about.

The old logo sucked.

OK, enough with beating around the bush, eh?

Well, I liked the colors of the old logo and the font but it was altogether too odd. It looked too much like one of the drawings CBS might have thrown out when they were first designing the CBS Eye logo. This is just my opinion of course, but since they have a new logo, someone in power over there agrees with me.

Allegedly.

This new logo (specifically with it’s icon) speaks to the heritage of the media professionals who started the association, working initally in film, evolving with the medium into video, straight through to the new generation of digital media producers who make up much of the MCA-I’s current memberships (certainly there are still many filmmakers still in the group).

For all of them, that icon totally works.

The font and capitalization of the word mark is sharp with rounded and pointed corners. Just nice. And they held on to those great, unique colors.

Plus I have seen some different versions of the logo for different uses and it is really flexible.

So congrats to ALL who were involved in the design of this new logo and the marketing plans that go with it. Job well done. I hope your group continues to shine.

the clippers aren’t the braves

The NBA's Buffalo Braves were kidnapped and taken to San Diego and then to Los Angeles to become the Clippers

The NBA’s Buffalo Braves were kidnapped and taken to San Diego and then to Los Angeles to become the Clippers

So the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers had kinda of crazy season last year, having less to do with basketball than a loud-mouthed owner who said horrible stuff in front of his mistress that she publicized and which allowed his wife to sell the team out from under him.

And now they have a new logo. Oh and a new owner.

The logo sucks. Not for any graphic or design reasons.

Years ago in the late 70’s, the local owner of the NBA’s Buffalo Braves sold his interests in the team to a couple of other fellas who helped move the team to San Diego and then Los Angeles, where they became the Los Angeles Clippers.

Therefore, because I’m a Buffalo boy and because of my obvious personal bitterness to this BS transaction all those years ago, Picasso himself could have designed the Clippers new logo and I would STILL say it looked like crap.

Screw the Clippers.