Integrated Marketing Reaps Huge Rewards

While the term “integrated marketing” might be a buzzword thought to be limited to those who live and work on Madison Avenue, the truth is that most business professionals practice it on a regular basis. Like most things in life, marketing doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Every time you speak to someone, answer the phone, post on social media, or make an update to the company website, you’re marketing — and the likelihood is that you’re doing all of those things. The question then is: Are you using integrated marketing to maximize your efforts?

 

Branding is a huge component of integrated marketing, and the company brand should be consistent no matter how customers are interacting with the company. That impression may start, or be supported by, your customer service professionals on the phone. If you’re in a busy company, you’re probably putting customers on hold — maybe for a few seconds up to a couple of minutes. The mistake many companies make, however, is that they let that time just pass by… silently.

 

On-hold messages can bring that integrated marketing message to the phones, where companies have a captive audience. The brand message can be carried through in bite-sized nuggets to share extra services, specials, and even answers to frequently asked questions. The point is that you don’t want customers to be waiting in silence. In fact, studies have shown that callers will wait on hold longer AND ask about the promotion they just heard when offered some on-hold messaging.

 

Integrated marketing should definitely be part of your plan, and you can do that easily with the addition of on-hold messages. It’s cost effective and will give your customers something more than silence, because sometimes, it’s NOT golden.

What Is Your Marketing Call to Action?

You’ve heard the saying “the devil is in the details.” Most of the time, this is completely true. Take directions, for example: If you say, “Drive five minutes and then turn right,” the person who drives fast will take the wrong turn. But you can also get bogged down in the details, and that’s where you’ll lose your audience. This is most certainly true in on-hold messages. As with any other aspect of marketing, you need your marketing call to action: the thing that you want people to do when faced with your message.

 

When your customers are on hold, you have a matter of moments to market to them while they are waiting for an associate to come back on the line or their call to be transferred. Typically, they’re thinking of what they’re going to say when that person answers the phone and aren’t as tuned in to the marketing messages as you might like. This is the time to capture their attention simply and directly with your marketing call to action — and not to burden them with too many details.

 

For instance, choose just one marketing call to action in your message. There’s no need to offer three options for people to get in touch with you. In fact, just one would be fine: “Ask your associate when he/she returns to the line.” Assume that your customers aren’t listening with pens poised to jot down an email address, website, or different number to call.

 

If you follow “KISS: Keep It Simple, Stupid,” you will be just fine. If you have questions on how to simply share your marketing messages with your customers through on-hold messaging, contact us. Our scriptwriters will create compelling content that says exactly what you want to say and what your customers want to hear—and at the end of the day, that’s music to everyone’s ears.

Get Fresh with Your Callers

In the world of dating, getting fresh may be followed by a quick slap to ward off unwanted affection. But when we’re talking about the messages you’re sending your customers, you MUST get — and stay — fresh to keep your audience engaged.

 

There’s a difference between having a consistent message and keeping it fresh; ideally, you should be doing both. For instance, when McDonald’s updated their slogan to “I’m lovin’ it,” they didn’t change their core message that they are a quick-service restaurant focused on burgers and fries. Their logo stayed the same. What they did was to update the approach to keep the message fresh and timely for their target audience.

 

No one wants to hear the exact same thing over and over. To put it simply, it’s boring. But you can say the same thing in many different ways to ensure that you’re sharing the point you want to share while keeping listeners engaged. One place to do this is in your on-hold messages. Your rotation may be monthly or quarterly, but be sure to update the message to keep it fresh. Try adding in a different call to action, such as asking callers to like your Facebook page, or ask for their feedback on a new idea you’re considering.

 

Just remember that there’s a fine line between keeping things fresh and confusing your customers. If the message changes too often or hits too far from the familiar, you’re likely to lose people. Vary slightly instead of changing everything overnight and you’ll likely find that customers are eager to hear more about your company, products, and services.

Say What? Make Your On-Hold Messages Work Harder

On-hold messages are an integral part of your overall marketing campaign, but if you’re not sure what to say, it can be wholly ineffective. Where do you start? For some companies, it’s a little more obvious. A car dealership may share the newest cars they have or the ones they most need to get off the lot. But what if you’re not turning products quickly or don’t run regular schedules? Then it might be more challenging to make your on-hold messages work for your brand.

 

Think about what your callers ask you about … repeatedly. If you’re spending a lot of your time on the phone answering the same thing over and over, that gives you an idea of what you should be sharing with your callers through an on-hold message. Perhaps you’ll use the answers as a lead-in to the message system; that way, by the time you’re back on the phone, the customer can focus on bigger issues rather than those nagging little questions he had.

 

Once you start answering the questions customers have now, it’s likely that they’ll come up with new questions in the future. The good thing about that is that you’ll then have the opportunity to update and make your on-hold messages work even better! You don’t want frequent callers to get bored with your message while they’re on hold, so it’s a good idea to change the message at least every few months. Again, poll your front-line phone staff to see what repeated questions they’re receiving so you can add them to your rotation. And of course, if you have specials, be sure to mention them in your on-hold message; you’ll notice that callers will skip right over their initial questions and go right to the offer du jour.

Don’t Miss an Opportunity!

Have you heard that nearly 60% of business callers who are placed on hold will hang up if they are given dead air? It’s as if they’re put into a black hole; they don’t know if anyone is still around or if you’re even coming back to care for them. That’s where on-hold messaging can make a huge difference.

 

Marketing and branding happen 24/7/365 — even when your customers are on hold. There’s a golden opportunity here to extend your reach and cement that message when you share value through on-hold messaging. Sure, you could just use music, and that would be something. But what if you could tell your customers and prospects about what’s new in your business or your latest promotions? What if you could share with them value? After all, that’s what everyone is seeking in this economy: more for less. By simply adding a little content to the line for those few seconds or minutes your customers are placed on hold, their perceived value of your company, products, and services will multiply.

 

The long and short of it is this: If you’re putting your customers on hold to silence, you’re missing an opportunity. Not only will they likely hang up, but you’ve also skipped the chance to share with them something of value. Enhance their experience and add another component to your marketing campaign with a custom on-hold message. You’ll likely see results sooner rather than later.

 

For information on how to start your on-hold messaging campaign, visit www.americaonhold.com.

Do You Have a License for On-hold Music?

When you’re pulled over for rolling through a stop sign (“I’m sorry, officer; was there a stop sign there?”), you’re asked to produce a driver’s license. It’s standard procedure and expected if you want to drive a car. If you don’t have a license, you can look forward to hefty fines. But did you know the same procedures hold true if you want to play music for your callers when they’re on hold? That’s right, you need a license for on-hold music to be legit.

 

As a cost-effective (i.e., free) on-hold option, companies may choose to route their phones through a system to play CDs, local radio stations, or satellite or Internet radio. Certainly, something is better than nothing, but if the companies doing this get caught, the fines can be hefty — into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, in some cases.

 

You may wonder why you need to a license for on-hold music. Essentially, everyone has to pay to replay that music; that’s one of the ways in which recording artists make their money. To be sure that you’re in compliance, the best option is to go through a company that is a member of the On-hold Messaging Association; they would be in compliance with all licensing agreements.

 

A company that provides on-hold messages also can do just music, and many companies also provide overhead music for your location (for which you also need licenses). So no matter why or where you’re playing music for your customers, be sure that you are covering your bases and have your licenses. Otherwise, you could be needing an attorney and some deep pockets.

 

America On Hold is a member of the On-hold Messaging Association and ensures that you have the appropriate licenses to play music. Contact us at 866-800-HOLD to learn more.

On-hold Messages for Business

If you have or work for a successful company, the likelihood is that customers who call into your office will have to be put on hold, whether that’s for 30 seconds or 15 minutes. On-hold messages for business can make a big difference in the grand scheme of customer service and marketing, and help customers think highly of your business.

 

For too many companies, when callers are put on hold, they hear either silence or bland music interspersed with, “Your message is important to us; we’ll be on the line as soon as possible.” If your customers are on hold for a matter of seconds, this could be fine, but if they’re on hold long enough to take a stake in the music or message droning in their ear, you might want to consider upping the stakes with on-hold messages for business.

 

On-hold messages for business offer an alternative to just music or that monotonous voice that shares the length of time callers have been waiting. And the alternative they provide is the golden goose: marketing. Marketing on the phone is painless; you have a captive audience who is waiting to speak with you, so why not talk to those people? Instead of leaving them to their own thoughts about what’s for dinner or what they’re going to wear tomorrow, give them juicy information about your business, your latest offers, or what they should talk to the representative about when she comes back on the phone.

 

One major concern many companies have about incorporating on-hold messages for business is the cost. If you get this much value on the phone, it must be astronomically expensive, right? Wrong. In fact, on-hold messages may be the most cost-effective component of your integrated marketing efforts! And it may also be your most effective, given that the messages are targeted and already reaching people who want to learn more about your company.

 

So offer your callers an alternative to the silence and the loud elevator music that may be causing them to hang up the phone. Try marketing to them instead. Call America On Hold at 866-800-HOLD to get started.

On-Hold Messages Are Your Advertising Goldmine

The Super Bowl… the Winter Olympic Games… March Madness… the Stanley Cup…. All of these events are big sporting competitions, but they are also huge opportunities for companies to spend millions of dollars on advertising to reach their target markets. Every year, from diehard fans to those who rarely follow sports, people are gathered in front of their televisions to watch the big games. And they have become a captive audience for advertisers who vie for the biggest and best eye-catching commercials. But what if you don’t have a million-dollar advertising budget? With on-hold messaging, you can have as big an impact — possibly bigger! — as Coke, Pepsi, and Budweiser.

 

On-hold Messages Are Targeted to YOUR Audience
The joy of on-hold messages is that they are only heard by people who are calling your business. That means those callers are already interested in what you offer, and once you put them on hold, they are captive, much like sports enthusiasts waiting for the next big play. Callers don’t want to hear silence, and while a string of top-40 hits may have them singing along while waiting for you to return to the line, on-hold messages are created to answer questions or push callers to ask about special products or services.

 

On-hold Messages Cost a Fraction of TV Advertising
Each year, we wait to see how much a 30-second spot during the Super Bowl costs. For the 2014 game, it was $4 million. Unless you are a global conglomerate, it’s unlikely you have that many pennies in your coffers. Instead of throwing everything you have at what might or might not turn into a significant ROI (and they often don’t), on-hold messages are guaranteed to reach the right people. And the cost starts in the hundreds per month instead of the millions.

 

Updating On-hold Messages Is Easy and Painless
After you’ve seen that multimillion-dollar spot a couple of times, well, you’ve seen it. It’s no longer fall-over funny, nor does it elicit any tears like it did the first time you saw it. So the companies have to go back to the drawing board to create new material, hire actors, film the cars making hairpin turns, and then buy air time … all of which adds up to millions yet again. On-hold messages, on the other hand, require little more than an idea of your message, talented scriptwriters, voice actors, and a good editing team to update what callers hear. All of this can happen as frequently or infrequently as you choose, and most of the time it’s included in your monthly cost.

 

Capture Your Market with On-hold Messages
Curious how you can make a huge impact by adding on-hold messages to your marketing mix? Call America On Hold at 866-800-HOLD for more information. And use those millions for a nice house in the Hamptons. We’d love to get away this summer.

Make On-hold Messages Work: Be Clear and Concise

It’s been proven again and again that on-hold marketing messages work. This method of reaching out to prospective and existing customers is likely one of the most cost-effective integrated-marketing methods companies use. But just knowing this fact isn’t enough; you need to make on-hold messages work for you and your industry.

 

There’s a saying in marketing: “Content is king.” While that’s true, that refers to written content, which is a far cry from content that one hears on the phone. When it’s written — on a website, brochure, or sales letter — the reader has time to digest it and even go back and reread if needed. But when it’s heard while waiting for a customer service representative to come back to the line, it may slip away before the customer even tunes in. The best way to approach on-hold messages is to be straightforward and repeat salient points, or even words. For example:

 

“Termites. They can cause a lot of damage. You don’t like termites, and neither do we. Ask us how to schedule your termite inspection when we come back on the line.”

 
The word “termite” was mentioned three times in a short little bit. While written copy may use a word often like this to rank in search engines, it can be overwhelming to repeat the same word over and over when reading. However, when listening, a caller may not tune in until she hears the word “damage” (a pain point); when she’s captured, she’ll be listening for what causes that damage.

 

Remember that customers who are on hold are considering what they want to say to the person who picks up and may have a host of emotions circulating in their heads — taking them away from listening to your on-hold message. So to make on-hold messages work, they need to be concise, targeted, and repetitive. You’ll soon find that your callers are tuning in more and more.

 

Questions about how to create great on-hold messages? Our team of talented scriptwriters has the answers. Contact us now to learn more: 866-800-HOLD.

The Season Is Here for On-hold Messages

Ready or not, we’ve entered the holidays. Whether you already have your closets full of presents and your shopping list complete or you’re just hoping to ignore the hype for as long as possible, remember to make your on-hold messages double as your storefront. This doesn’t necessarily mean your messages need to sound like a holiday soundtrack (unless that’s a fit for your business), but you should be maximizing this retail opportunity.

 

Here’s how playing up the holiday season is a win-win for you and your on-hold customers:

 

Reward your callers: Mention an exclusive holiday promo code that they can use online or over the phone, or run a special on a particularly hot item. Either way, make it exclusive to customers who hear it while on hold.

 

Keep it easy: It’s already a busy time, so if you can remind a customer about your services while they’re on the phone with you, you’ve not only saved them time, but you’ve also prevented them from looking somewhere else. Ultimately, you’re reminding them that your company could help them cross something off their holiday to-do list.

 

Plan ahead: This end-of-year shopping frenzy isn’t limited to retail stores with holiday items. Household and business services can be packaged as gift cards and certificates, or you can plant the seed for customers to start planning for 2013 budgets. For example, a business might not be looking to sign up for an outside coffee service for their employees right now, but you can benefit by mentioning that now is a great time to start thinking about 2013 and even offer discounts for signing up prior to the start of the new year.

 

If your on-hold messages could use a little holiday spirit, let the experts at America On Hold help you craft the right on-hold messages for the season. We’ll make sure that you are capitalizing on year-end shopping and preparation.

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