I spend a lot of time thinking about growth. I reflect on simple growths like how since I stopped biting my nails, they keep growing so fast or how I try to keep an eye on the aloe plant on my desk to catch it as it grows. But I also like to think about complex growth often – the way I changed after a painful break-up or what I can do to improve on a project I’ve been working on since 2014. The more I think about growth, the more lost I get; lost in the juxtaposition of how easily I can influence it and how difficult it can seem to push it. I can water my aloe plant, but I can’t take any extraordinary measures to make it bigger; I can put time into my project, but I can’t force anyone to participate in it.
So growth is a fickle thing and what does that have to do with Voice123? We’re 14 years old, but yet we’re still growing and if I’ve learned anything about growth is that it takes time, and it takes people to make it happen. So this post serves as an update about what we’re doing to keep growing. Not only that, this post serves as a call to action, because if I’ve learned anything about growth, it’s that an entire community pushing for it makes it come much faster than a handful of people (even if those people work as hard as the team at Voice123 do!).
The biggest way we grow is word of mouth. Both on the buyer’s side and talent’s side, we get most of our new members through referrals from friends, family and colleagues. There are numerous strategies to foster word of mouth marketing, and we do a lot to ensure that our talents and buyers have a fantastic experience with us so that they recommend us and speak highly of us. We make sure that our product is easy to use, always working and an integral part of their careers. We also work hard to offer fanatical customer support so that when problems do arise, our users can solve them quickly and that they have a memorable experience with our Community Advocates.
But more than that, we’ve been working on building a community of users that feels invested in Voice123 because let’s face it: our futures are all tied together. Talents need Voice123 to get jobs from buyers, and buyers need Voice123 to find talents. Voice123 needs both talents and buyers to have something to post. So we’re all in this together. To build community, we’ve kick-started our forums again, and we’ve been actively releasing more interactive ways to reach out to our audience. We post daily on Twitter and Facebook (also they are hilarious, check us out), post blogs at least biweekly (but weekly when we can swing it), our leadership has attended conferences in Atlanta and Columbus, and we created an Instagram account where we share bits from our office life including birthdays (our Community Manager, Juana’s birthday) and the adorable dogs that come to our office (Napoleon, Margarita’s bulldog, is an office favourite).
An important way that businesses grow in today’s search-everything-right-now world is SEO, search engine optimization. We’ve had some heavy hitters help us with SEO in the past including Jun Loayza, who’s been with Bunny Inc for three years and is currently Product Manager at Bunny Research, and Luis Betancourt, who now runs his own SEO consulting and teaching business. They’ve helped us immensely to be within the first few organic result on Google’s prestigious 1st page. In fact, do it right now! Google “find voice over talent” and you’ll see us, in first place.
SEO is on-going through so we’ve taken courses, both online and offline, audited our site and I finally learned Google Analytics. All with the goal of tending to our existing flame and growing it even bigger. Most SEO efforts are largely unseen, but if you have a keen eye, you may notice some changes in the way we’re managing our online presence. The most notable change is the regularity of the blog. We’re working hard to deliver new, fresh content every two weeks. We’re hoping that we hit it out of the park and notice more repeat visitors coming to check in and learn something new. We’re still relatively fresh into our SEO re-efforts, but we’re hoping that with our amazing mentors and the brilliance of the internet we’ll start getting, even more, new leads through searches.
Another way we’re growing is by using the mentorship opportunities and talents from Bunny Inc, our parent company, to improve our technology. We’ve changed a lot since the days when Tania and Alex had the idea to create opportunities in the voice over industry, ultimately changing the industry and democratizing it. Since then our branding has changed, and our site has seen many improvements and added features. Our latest improvements include a full makeover of the onboarding process for talents and buyers, a new buyer’s audition inbox and just this month we added a question about buyouts in the project form that buyer’s fill out. The onboarding processes improve our retention and give us much more information about our users so we can better serve them. The audition inbox gave the old audition inbox a cleaning up: it has a simple design and listening which makes rating and picking through auditions much easier. Good for buyers but good for talents too because they’ll get more feedback and have a higher chance of their auditions being heard. Finally, the buyout text was much requested by our talents so they’d have valuable information about jobs before auditioning so we were happy to oblige and add it in.
We can’t talk about the future because it’s top secret and we’d have to ship you to a desert island so you wouldn’t tell anyone. But, we’re working on a lot of improvements, testing a bunch of new ideas and as soon as I’m allowed to write about them, I’ll tell you. Promise.
What can you do?
Simple! Be an active participant in our community. Short story: growing up, I hated my hometown. I thought it was the worst, and I couldn’t wait to move away. Then I did, and when I came back, I got involved in my community. I started volunteering; I met the owners of the places where I’d hang out; I organized events and got involved with as many as I could. And this funny thing happened, I grew to love the community, and I was filled with responsibility and pride for the improvement of my city.
Communities can be online just as much as they are offline and if you’re a user of Voice123, you’re automatically welcomed and encouraged to be a part of our community. So use our forums, ask questions and help out your fellow voice over industry colleagues. This will create an atmosphere of self-help and openness that will help you boost both your career and help fellow talents and buyers out. Interact with us on social media (tell us that our posts are funny, interesting, awful, annoying) and share the things that you connect with. You’ll be helping us to increase our reach and bring in new leads and users. Don’t forget to give us feedback so we can improve our platform and our spaces. Tell us what works for you and what doesn’t and keep in mind that we’re human; we’re trying our best here to make a platform that helps make work fulfilling both for our talents and our buyers.
We can’t grow without your help, and as we said before, we’re all linked in a chain that makes us need each other. The stronger we are and the stronger we push towards our collective goals, the better the payout will be for everyone.
Growing a platform and growing a community aren’t simple growths and the team behind Voice123 spends a lot of time thinking about our growth. Since we can’t just water our laptops and wait for Voice123 to grow (like my little aloe plant) we’ve been doing a lot of different things to grow.
We’ve been making sure that our product is the best it can be and that we’re offering the highest quality customer support so that our users will rave about us to their friends, family, and colleagues. We’ve also been active on social media and in communities offline and online so that folks will get to know us personally and feel comfortable vouching for us. We’ve invested and are investing more into SEO efforts in hopes that we’ll be able to bring in more organic traffic, which will mean more projects to apply for and more people to fulfill jobs. It also means fresh, new content on a daily basis via our social media feeds and new blogs more often. We’re also improving our technology – we’ve improved the onboarding processes for our talents and buyers, we’ve added text to our project forms to make projects clearer, and we’ve implemented a new audition inbox to improve the user experience of our buyers.
That’s what we’re doing on our side. But we need you. If you’re a talent or a buyer, we need you to advocate for us, spread the word about how much you like us and why. Participate on our social media channels and talk to us, give us your feedback and let us know your ideas for our growth. Think about growth with us and together we’ll make it happen.