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Business of VO – Permission Based Marketing

Don’t become mystery meat in a can! Wait…wrong type of spam…

If you’re struggling with getting responses from your email campaigns – Anne and Gabby are here to help! They’ll go over how to avoid being put in the spam folder, getting more response from your emails, building a legitimate mailing list and some great tools to do it all for you, FASTER!


Quick Concepts from Today’s Episode:

  1. The power is with the recipient

  2. Think of this as a cold call, but a cold email

  3. Put yourself in the shoes of the potential client

  4. On average, only 1% of mass emails are looked at

  5. Permission based lists are either through a company that organizes emails that opt-in to being contacted, or through a list you build through past clients, contacts, etc.

  6. Keep your emails short and to the point

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Full Episode Transcript

VO: Today’s voiceover talent is more than just a pretty voice. Today’s voiceover talent has to be a boss. A VO Boss. Set yourself up with business owner strategies and success with your host Anne Ganguzza, along with some of the strongest voices in our industry. Rock your business like a boss. A VO Boss.

Anne: Hey, guys. Before we get started on today’s episode, we wanna share some boss solutions and some of the ways you can have more boss in your life.

Gabby: Oh, come on. You can never have too much boss, my little entrepre-nerds.

Anne: Entrepre-nerds. I love that. Did you think of that all by yourself?

Gabby: No, not at all. I kinda borrowed that.

Anne: We have a brand new product in our Boss Shop call Book Out Build. I’m super excited about this concept. Gabby, tell us a little bit about this.

Gabby: Oh, my gosh. This is my baby, if I can, my little brain child. This is how I communicate with my clients every single month to make sure that I’m providing them with relevant information that they can actually use and so that I’m not just spamming them or sending them something really annoying, ‘cuz we all have to worry about that and, of course, you and our fabulous Boss team kinda took this ball and ran with it and we’re offering it to everyone now and these are Book Out Builds. With a Book Out Build, what you’re able to do is set up a system whereby you can communicate with clients on a regular basis about the number one thing they wanna know about you, your availability and book out dates in the studio.

Anne: Great stuff and, as Gabby said, you can do this on a monthly basis or a quarterly basis. You can choose the frequency. What’s really cool is we incorporate your own list and we manage it and send out the marketing blasts on your behalf, all in your own brand.

Gabby: You wanna go to, click on shop, and go check out the Book Out Build and Book Out Blast features.

Anne: Okay, now, let’s get on with today’s episode. Welcome, everybody, to the VO Boss podcast. I’m your host, Anne Ganguzza, along with my lovely, beautiful BFF, Boss BFF, Gabby Nistico. Hey, Gabby.

Gabby: That’s too many Fs in that sentence.

Anne: BFF. All right.

Gabby: Okay.

Anne: Gabby, I need to ask your permission about something.

Gabby: Oh, wow. Oh, boy, I’m afraid.

Anne: Well, this is actually right on topic for our podcast today. I want to talk about permission-based marketing.

Gabby: Oh! Well, yeah, of course. Permission, yeah. I thought you were gonna ask to borrow my husband for a minute there or something. I don’t know. I have to think about that one. I have to think about that.

Anne: You’ll have to think about it.

Gabby: Permission-based marketing. I’m not saying no. I’m not immediately saying no to that, I just gotta think about it. Permission-based marketing, yeah.

Anne: We’re friends, Gabby.

Gabby: I know. I love you. I know.

Anne: We share things.

Gabby: I know. It just means we’d go from Boss besties to sister wives.

Anne: Sister wives.

Gabby: Sister bosses.

Anne: Hashtag, Boss sister wives.

Gabby: We need everybody’s permission, technically.

Anne: We do.

Gabby: All the time.

Anne: We do. In order for people to, I guess, accept us or let us into their email, it’s always best to get permission first and that’s where the concept of permission-based marketing comes from.

Gabby: A good number of years back, spam mail was becoming so out of control in email that it was virtually impossible to have an email account, whether Hotmail or Gmail or MSN or Yahoo or any of those and not have hundreds and hundreds and even thousands of junkie, spammy, weird emails coming all the time.

Anne: I remember it.

Gabby: Yeah, I had an Outlook account that, my god, it would get spammed thousands of times a week.

Anne: Yahoo was famous for it, AOL was famous for it. Just all of those older accounts used to get a ton of spam and it got to be very problem-some.

Gabby: Part of it was because there were no laws. There was no protection against that sort of behavior and so, what started to happen was companies got wise, but also, IP providers had to start complying to various rules and congress got involved. It all pretty much boils down to one simple thing: you can’t just harvest somebody’s email address and spam the crap out of them.

Anne: Right. Now, they’re regulated. You can only send so many emails through one server at any given time and that’s where a lot of the internet providers today have really cracked down on people who are sending out to big mailing lists.

Gabby: It’s good for the users and it also is kinda good for the senders. From a sender’s standpoint, you’re running a more secure outfit, you’re running a more legitimate business when you comply with spam laws. Relatively new voice actors or even people who have been doing it a couple of years who are starting to get into things like their large-scale marketing efforts suddenly find themselves staring down the barrel of this thing called spam compliance and they’re very confused by it.

Anne: Yeah, we really need to establish why this is so important for us as a voiceover business. Number one, those marketing emails that you have all set and ready to go to these lists that you may have or have generated, you need to be concerned about spam and sending too many out at once, which could do your brand more harm than good.

Gabby: It could also shut down your email.

Anne: Well, yeah, and you don’t wanna be blacklisted ‘cuz you wanna be able to send email out again through your internet provider. That’s important. Gabby, let’s talk a little bit about what it means to have permission-based marketing, to have people on a permission-based list and I think, probably, when the providers came out for large-scale mailers… I think Constant Contact might have been one of the first ones that came out. I know Mail Chimp is out there, Mad Lily’s out there. There’s a couple of other providers that, all they do is allow you to send out email to lists of people.

Gabby: Right, but they help you to maintain compliance and to meet all of the regulations and things that will, hopefully, keep you from being simply flagged as spam.

Anne: In terms of being able to reach a potential client, it’s important to have said client’s permission. I shouldn’t say that you have to have it, but it certainly helps in your marketing efforts. I know for a lot of people, Gabby, they go and they create their own lists. They do Google searches so that you can contact them for potential business and so, one of the biggest problems with doing this is that these people that you’re going to be sending your demos, unsolicited to, have never ever heard of you and may not necessarily be welcome to be getting that email in their inbox from you.

Gabby: Exactly, and every single recipient of an email, basically, the power is in their hands. They have the ability to select the spam button and if they do this and enough recipients of your email do this consistently, then you get flagged.

Anne: Then, you won’t be able to send email to that domain again. Yeah, you do have to be careful. And, it’s really difficult to send an email to someone who has no knowledge of who your are. People talk about cold calling. This is like a cold email, number one. And, I ask all of you listeners to think about the emails that you get in your inbox every day and how many of them do you consider spam? How many of them do you open? How many emails are you getting from people you don’t know where you either ignore them, put them in the spam folder, delete them, put them in the trash, and put yourself in the shoes of your potential client and word your email and, I guess, come at your email introduction to them in a way where you’re thinking about, okay, I don’t know this person. What would make me want to continue reading this email or even open the email? That starts with your name, the from part of the email, as well as a subject line, which is the first thing that people see and a lot of people I know immediately can just have that amount of information and just dump it in the spam or the trash folder.

Gabby: Right. And, the reality of email marketing is that, much like direct mail campaigns of old, that’s what happens to the majority of them. Only about one percent of direct-mail marketing has a return. Only about one percent of email marketing has a return. Now, it doesn’t mean that that one percent’s not viable. It could be very, very large, actually, but it means that, on average, if you send 100 postcards in the mail, 99 of them are being thrown away.

Anne: Absolutely.

Gabby: If you send 100 emails, 99 are being trashed.

Anne: And, maybe that one that’s being looked at might just be looked at and there will be no action that’s taken on that email. However, it’s been seen and, at the very least, when you’re sending out email to potential clients that have never heard of you before or may have never gotten an email from you before, that is establishing a name and a subject, which allows for, what I like to call, the top of my marketing. A name is associated with something in a subject line that usually is a call to action that gets somebody to open the email. Anne Ganguzza, yeah, I don’t know who that is, but in the subject line, I may have a reason for them to open that and those two things are pretty darn important when you’re sending to people who you have not received their permission to send them email and it’s a very tough marketing method. It’s as tough as cold calls and you do have to realize, just as Gabby said, that perhaps one percent is going to even be looked at. The rest of it might be tossed in the garbage, as opposed to, Gabby, permission-based marketing. Now, how is that established? Let’s talk about that. How do we establish a permission-based marketing list? VO Boss has one.

Gabby: Unsolicited mail and what’s called email harvesting, which is where you’re literally gathering people’s email addresses from, usually, web searches, they’re non-permission-based. You’re just out there and you’re gathering and putting people into a basket. A permission-based list means that you are A: paying money for those email addresses. You are working with a company who’s job it is to maintain the list and to make sure that the recipients are still opting in or agreeing to receive email with either your subject type or as a provider or as a service or whatever the case might be.

Anne: Right.

Gabby: Now, on a small scale, we see this pretty much every single day with damn near every company we have web interaction with. Everyone’s asking for your email address, everyone wants you to sign up. That’s what that is. By taking that action, you are opting in to their list.

Anne: And you are agreeing. Yes, and you are agreeing. You are giving your permission for them to send you mail and, I will say, that they’ve done many studies on effective marketing, marketing and social media, marketing by direct mail, like snail mail, and marketing in email. Marketing in email is still one of the most effective ways to have sales and so, when it comes to permission-based marketing, that’s going to be a better option for you than, I’m going to say, just sending out thousands of emails to people who have not opted in.

Gabby: Part of the reason why email is still so successful is because, in the grand scheme of things, it’s very, very affordable. You are able to get lots and lots and lots of contacts or recipients for very little money invested, even if you’re paying for a list and the return from that is potentially huge. That’s why they work so well. There’s nothing tangible. There’s no postage to deal with, there’s no printing involved. It’s all virtual. It’s great.

Anne: Yeah. That’s why email has been so successful over the years because we no longer have to pay that post… Well, in reality, we’re kinda paying postage when we pay our internet providers in a sense.

Gabby: True.

Anne: We are paying something, but we’re not having to go through the post office, we’re not waiting for mail to be delivered and so, this is a much more cost effective way to reach your potential clients. In terms of, I know, Gabby, you’re talking about purchasing a list. It is entirely possible, I wanna bring this up, that you can create or generate a mailing list for your website. If you have a website, you can absolutely, there’s a lot of software out there, plugins, if you have a Word Press website or even you’re doing Wix, there’s a way to appeal to people to sign up for your mailing list and that would be a permission-based mailing list that you can send your emails to. It’s not always the easiest thing to do, but that’s absolutely the way that you can create a list and grow a list without necessarily having to pay for a list.

Gabby: Well, yes. The other thing is to always take advantage of your hot leads. Anyone who’s hired you, anyone who you’ve done work with. Are you supposed to receive their permission to send them communications of a marketing or sales nature? Yes. In voiceover, do most of us worry about that? Not really. If you hired me once, I’m going to assume that you want to hear from me again because you may have a need that arises or because you need to know things like when I’m booked down in the studio.

Anne: Right. If you have clients that you have done work for in the past and you maintain communication with them, that is, I’m gonna say, that it’s a permission-based because if you were to email a client that you’d done work for, maybe six months ago, emailed them again, hey, just wanna see how you’re doing, just wanna check status and let you know what’s going on with me in case you have a need for my services. That type of a communication, pretty much, I would say, is an agreed upon permission-based communication with a client.

Gabby: Yeah, and I think most people are good with that.

Anne: Yeah.

Gabby: It’s a tough situation because we don’t want to piss people off and, I think, for voice actors, especially, we have to be so careful. We’ve all had this happen, right? I’ve had it happen constantly. You buy something online from a company and then, immediately, they start to flood your email box and you’re like, come on, guys. I just made a purchase. Do you really think I’m gonna purchase the exact same thing again two days later? It’s a little bit ridiculous and some of the larger companies, certainly, I mean, really any retailer now, this is their job. This is what they have to do to retain sales, but you can get as many as two or three emails from them a day, sometimes. We don’t wanna be that. Our job is not to drive people nuts. We don’t wanna harass them. We just want them to think of us every now and again.

Anne: And, that brings up a good point, Gabby, about your email and the content in the email, really. ‘Cuz, you know were creatives, and I know there’s a lot of creatives out there that like to just write and write and write lengthy emails and I know I was guilty of this many, many years ago until I finally learned that people these days, our attention spans, number one, have shortened over the years and we’ve got a lot of information flying at us from all directions and so, the more concise and short that you can make that email, I think the better chance it’s going to be that it will get read.

Gabby: And, I talk all day. I love to hear myself talk. Why wouldn’t I wanna read my own words all day long, too? Come on.

Anne: Yeah.

Gabby: It’s true. We’ve all been guilty of it. Plus, things like Twitter and social media where your character and space limited, people have gotten used to getting the gist of message. Yeah, less is better.

Anne: Now, I’m going to say, Gabby, I did what I call and AB split test a few years back where I sent out email to a list I had generated. I actually had gone out and done research and found some potential companies that had contacts in there that I wanted to reach out to and offer my services and I created lists for myself and then, I also purchased some lists of some production companies and I had actually wanted to see what was gonna work and I thought, gosh, all that work that I did hunting around for these companies, you know, it’s gonna work, it’s gonna work. I’ll send a great email. And, the funny thing is, that the permission-based email lists that I had purchased actually worked quite a bit better than the one that I generated and I think what it was, Gabby, was that I wasn’t expecting the one percent, you know what I mean? I was hoping for 10%. I was hoping for 20, but in reality, when I generated a list on my own, I was only getting one percent back. When I had a list that was permission-based, I had a much better response rate.

Gabby: Yeah. I think one of the reasons why I was very familiar with permission-based marketing from a very early time was that, for years now, I’ve been working with a company called Radio Mall ‘cuz I do a lot of radio imaging work and Radio Mall, these guys are like the gate keepers to all things radio broadcast. They keep up with, literally, everyone’s names and addresses and positions and phone numbers and email and when they move and where they go and they get permission access, so it was always easier to simply hire them, call them, get a list made, and be able to market to radio stations that way. It was a much more effective use of my time and money and VO Boss has some solutions for this now. We’ve started to offer lists.

Anne: Yeah.

Gabby: And products.

Anne: I wanted to actually talk a little bit about that. Because we’ve had our success, Gabby and I have both had success with permission-based marketing lists, VO Boss is super happy and excited to be bringing you our Boss Blast, which is a permission-based marketing list that we have access to and our list is huge. The list is probably over 90,000, yes, 90,000 creative buyers on the list that we have access to that we can help you to devise a marketing campaign that’s targeted to your focus, your industry focus, as well as geographic focus.

Gabby: Yeah, and we certainly don’t wanna club you over the head with our product, but at the same time, we do want you to know that it’s there, it’s available, and there’s a lot of benefit from working with a list like that and going to and taking a look and seeing if it’s the right option for you. We even have a how-to video.

Anne: Yes. I say do both. Make your own list. There’s nothing wrong with making your own lists. It’s not that you won’t have success with that.

Gabby: You should always, always make your own list.

Anne: Absolutely. And, as a matter of fact, if you have your own list and you want VO Boss to help you get on a track to send out some sort of consistently-based emails, we can help you to do that, as well.

Gabby: Yeah. It’s all about diversification. You guys have heard us talk about this a lot. It’s how many ways are there to do this and do I have a healthy balance of options in my portfolio? Well, communication and marketing and sales and all of these things, they have to have that healthy balance, as well. How are you getting out to new people? How are you presenting yourself? And, is it being well-received? That’s such a huge thing, right there. First impressions, right?

Anne: I’d like to give a shout out to our sponsor. If you are listening to us with our quality to connection, our sponsor ipDTL, you to can record like a boss and connect like a boss all over the world. Find out more at

Gabby: Check us out on Facebook, iTunes, Stitcher, Instagram.

Anne: Twitter.

Gabby: All the socials. Please, like us. Get on YouTube, give our videos a big thumbs up and, for all things Boss, of course, go to

Anne: Thanks so much, guys. See you next week.

Gabby: Bye.

VO: Join us next week for another addition of VO Boss with your hosts Anne Ganguzza and Gabby Nistico. All rights reserved. Anne Ganguzza, voice talent, in association with Raymoon Media. Redistribution with permission. Coast to coast connectivity via ipDTL.