top of page

Direct Marketing vs. Pay-To-Play Sites

An Interesting Debate

Recently in a voiceover-centric social media group, someone asked how much voice actors spend on Direct Marketing efforts vs. Pay To Play sites. It turned into a conversation about the virtue of Direct Marketing vs. Pay-to-Play sites and some made the case that they're more alike than different.

"If you don't like Twitter, don't use Twitter!" - Tom

How much do I spend on Direct Marketing?

As a voice actor I currently don't spend any money on ads, lists, or LinkedIn Pro. I rarely outsource lead generation to virtual assistants. In 2021 I did invest about $400 in website maintenance (both internal and external), upgrading features, etc. That covered domain registration, the website plan, and apps. That doesn't include paying my webmaster.

I will say that in 2021 I spent over $3,000 on rebuilding and adding a lot of new features to

Currently I don't have a paid subscription on any Pay-To-Play site.

FYI this conversation is not just about whether you use Pay-to-Pay sites, Direct Marketing methods, both, or neither. It's also about how much money you're spending and how much time you're spending.

The cold hard truth is that the majority of people who try to do voiceovers for a living will never book a gig. They can join all the P2P sites out there and use every Direct Marketing tactic that exists but they lack the talent and/or skill sets to do voiceovers for a living.

But as Shakespeare wrote, "The attempt is all".

Tip Of the Week

Every audition and cold call is an investment in your voiceover business. If you think you're investing wisely but not seeing any returns, then it's not a smart investment.

  • Don't dismiss any method for booking voiceover work until you've given it a try. To say that Direct Marketing is inherently better than Pay-to-Play sites or vice versa is inaccurate.

  • Don't put any particular method for booking voiceover work on a pedestal. What works for you may not work for others.

  • Educate yourself on how both Pay-to-Play sites and Directing Marketing tactics work. Try them both. Spend some money to properly use them. See what works and what doesn't.

  • If you're spending every day for months doing nothing but auditioning & praying on Pay-to-Play sites and booking little or nothing, try something else.

  • If you're spending every day for months doing nothing but cold calling, cold emailing, blogging, and posting content on social media and booking little or nothing, try something else.

Quote of the Week

Join me at an upcoming event

Here's what I've got going on in the next few weeks - register to attend and add your voice to the mix!


Study on your own time - download & watch VO How-to Videos

Use Promo Code GETMORE for 20% off 3 or more videos!


Paid Links

Grab Studio Gear

VO Strategist Book Club

Voice Over Legal was written by my buddy and crackerjack lawyer/voice actor/video producer Rob Sciglimpaglia. If you want to get a better understanding of what voice actors need to know on a legal level, this book is for you!

Want more studio gear & reading recommendations? VIEW ALL

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.


Keep Going - Work with Me

Book a Strategy Session and get your VO business together!

Tom Dheere

Tom Dheere is the VO Strategist, a voice over business & marketing coach and demo producer since 2011. He is also a voice actor with over 25 years of experience who has narrated just about every type of voiceover you can think of. When not voicing or talking about voicing, he produces the sci-fi comic book Agent 1.22.


bottom of page