All of my paid work has been obtained via word of mouth from people I have done work for in the past. For awhile that worked, I edited out of my bedroom and did production sound and concert sound gigs to pay the bills. I had never actively pursued clients or cold called people to get sound design/editing jobs. The major factor being that I could not offer a professional editing/mixing environment for clients. I have recently completed my small studio build, two rooms. One is my edit mix room and the other is a recording room designed specifically for VO and then foley, sfx recording etc. It is a very dry room. What I want to actively seek out is commercial work and VO recording. What tactics have you all found to be most productive in approaching a company that you are trying to cultivate a working relationship with, but do not have a connection to? I have thought about the idea of also doing some craigslists posts, but in all honesty I am trying to get clientele that would generally not search CL for sound editors.
I agree with George - an online identity is important (even if only a simple "interactive business card" style website), but also CONSISTENCY in your online presence across all media platforms.
I also agree with Andrew that mixers and conventions and any other opportunities to be around people physically can help. If anything, it helps everyone put a name to a face for the future. Patience is key, and you may very well have to begin at the ground level with Mandy.com and Craiglist and the like.
What I believe should be the long term chief focus/investment is in developing meaningful relationships. Do that, and the referrals/clients will follow. Personally, I feel emailing and advertising appears desperate and is not an approach I recommend. And I can personally attest that I have been on the receiving end advertising/cold-call emails before form people and entities I don't know of trying to tell me about their services and get me to work with them etc (I don't mean potential clients because that's different)... they all go direct to my trash can without consideration. Harsh? Maybe it may seem that way, but it's not at all. The people I'm going to go to to work with or hire are people I know personally again, based upon a meaningful relationship we have developed because this line of work is about calculated risk and reliable relationships. I would rather you try to, as Andrew mentioned, take time to meet up for coffee or something of that nature to develop a relationship so that you have a foundation to build off of. If I get two emails, one from somebody I've had lunch with or talked shop with at a mixer, even if many years ago, versus someone's cold-call email of equivalent content, I'm going to be naturally driven to talk to/work with the one who I know and have developed a relationship with.
This is just my 2 cents.
@Stavrosound I also agree that emailing and advertising gives the impression of being desperate. Do you think cold calling and emailing people not in advertisement but to setup some kind of meeting/coffee to instead of talking about the services I offer but inquire about the services they need or look for would be a better approach? Feb 9, 2013 at 6:34
Honest emails...much in the tone that you've written this question...can work. Sometimes you luck out. I also suggest industry functions like meet ups, conventions, hardware/software demonstrations, development councils etc. Also, A lot of time people over look connections they already have. Ping everyone you think has a shot at either using your service...BUT more importantly may be able to refer you to someone. Then Always Always Always try to meet them in person...if for only a 5 minute coffee.
Yeah that is what I really want to do, currently in the process of getting together some kind of presentation/info/listing of services so that I have something tangible to have them leave with other than a business card. Feb 8, 2013 at 3:02
I will start keeping an eye out for meetups here, most that I have seen are just actors. Feb 8, 2013 at 4:01
I would add to what Andrew already said: get a cool looking website and a profile on Linkedin. Even if the ideal is to meet your clients offline, you still want to have a strong online identity.
Otherwise, congrats on building your new studio!