Is Your Music Driving Away Customers?

Music is amazing. We use it to enhance the mood, bring back lost memories and even form new ones. But one thing I’ve discovered is that music can be extremely effective in driving away customers.

That’s right, driving away customers. I was in the city and a lifetimeaway from my favourite coffee shop. With a pocket full of change and a head full of ache, I would have given my money to just about anyone for a cup of brown liquid that even resembled coffee!

Then in my coffeeless desert, an oasis appeared. An oasis in the form of a cool coffee cart outside a music shop. The girls behind the cashier were gorgeous and pierced. The menu was scrawled on blackboard surrounded by cargo timber and posters of bands I’ve never heard of. However, as I approached, something strange happened. The closer I got, the less I wanted their coffee.

They had two speakers either side of the register, blasting customers with a face full of high tempo prog rock. I was instantly repelled. But I still soldiered on, grabbed a fistful of change and asked for a flat white to go. “What?!” yelled the cashier. I repeated my order. “You’re going to have to speak up!” She couldn’t hear me over the music. I could feel my face flushing with frustration.

Years ago, I would have grit my teeth and sucked it up. But on that day, I jammed my coins back into my pocket and stormed off without another word.

I’ve noticed this more recently; restaurants, cafes and retail stores all playing music just loud enough so that customers are made to repeat themselves. Is this because the store managers don’t know any better? Does the loud music help keep them awake? Or is it a ploy to move customers through the store quicker? A quick Google search for Millman retail music research will reveal that individuals tend to stay longer when listening to slow tempo tracks when compared with the fast tempo alternative. Food for thought.

– Lachy

Five Vital Ways To Market Your Small Business

When you run a small business, you have to be the jack of all trades doing everything from customer service, to accounting and cleaning. But of all the jobs, finding a way to market your small business is the most important. After all, if you don’t market your business – you won’t be found by customers!

1. Your Website Must Have Brains & Beauty

Imagine your website is a person – they have to look good enough so you admire that attractive shirt they have on, but you also want to be distracted from the attractive shirt by the equally appealing words coming out of their mouth.

You must market your small business – that’s a non negotiable!

You want to be there in the results when people Google your industry. And you want them to stay on your website long enough to click the all important ‘contact us’ button.

Stick to the “F” Rule when designing your website. Imagine the page as a whole and then make sure the important details sit within the F pattern.

For Example:

Notice how the information they want you to see is in one of those red boxes which form a rough F shape? That’s not an accident. This designer has also utilised the clever step of replacing the second vertical line of the F with a stylish image of their product. There’s not actually that much on this page, but it does a provide the user with hints on where to go. And considering this website is the first Google result when you look up ‘WA Builder’ – I’d say it’s working for them. Choose clean colours, strong branding and if you’re thinking you might have crammed too much onto one page take Coco Chanel’s advice and take one item off before leaving the house, because you probably have.

2. Referrals

If you’ve got a few valued clients already, they’re worth spending a bit of time on! Referrals are going to be a massive part of your marketing strategy so find new ways to interact with your existing clients.

Importantly, don’t be shy about asking for referrals. If someone’s happy with the work you’ve done, they’re not going to begrudge spreading the good word. And while you’re at it, get a WoMo account happening so your customers’ feedback is not only accessible, but shareable as well.

3. Social Media – there’s more than just Facebook.

Pinterest: Used to share photos, Pinterest is a fantastic way to market design products, homewares, fashion and home décor.

Twitter: Amazing for quick interactions with customers. People love having access to businesses on Twitter and knowing they’re being listened to.

LinkedIn: It’s a modern rolodex. No professional should be without one.

YouTube: If your small business ‘does’ something, it should be thoughtfully presented on YouTube. Even if it’s digging holes – show people what you can do!

YouTube is especially important as video has become such a vital part of small businesses’ marketing strategies. If you’re not feeling confident, it’s worth spending a few extra dollars to get a professional to do it for you.  Get a professional voiceover, pop it on YouTube and utilise Google search. YouTube advertising is cheap (about 7c a view) and after spending a very minimal amount you’ll find your organic ranking skyrockets and you can stop the spend.

 4. Blog – they’re not just pretty pictures.

It’s like your website – only cooler.  Using a blog as part of your marketing strategy is a great way to give your small business some real personality and give your customers a hub to come to when they want to discuss something with you. It gives you a little more freedom to go into detail about your products or services without being distracting or overwhelming. People know what they’re looking for when they’re on a blog, so know what your audience wants and give it to them.

5. Use the things you already have to market your small business.

You’ve got premises, staff and a phone system, so make them work for you.

Premises: Is your office/showroom thoughtfully planned out and neat? Walk around your space like you were a customer. If you don’t like the way it feels, it’s not right.

Staff: Are they presented the way you want your business to look? When you’re not there, they will be selling so be sure they look and sound the part.

Phone: The phone could be the first way a new client interacts with your business after visiting your stylish new website, so make sure they hear a confident friendly voice on the line coupled with professional On Hold messages. Don’t waste this valuable opportunity to tell them more about your small business because you could sell just the thing they’re looking for.

– Sophie

Choosing The Right Voice Talent

I’m a news radio geek. I listen to one particular news radio station religiously. Every morning I listen to the 7.45am bulletin. I’m irritated if I miss the 5pm bulletin. It’s my thing. It was drilled into me at uni and now I can’t un-drill it. On the bright side, if I’m going to be addicted to anything, I’m glad it’s something as intellectually stimulating and painless as news radio, but I digress.

Over the years, I’ve come to enjoy a particular affection for different news readers. I enjoy the dulcet tones of some of the male readers and the intellectual and pleasant reads of the females. On the whole, I tend to either like the sound of the readers’ voices or they’re so non-offensive that I barely even notice them. A voice on radio should never be the focus – the focus should be on what that voice is saying.

We could listen to this guy for hours.

We could listen to this guy for hours.

An irritating voice is an infuriating distraction. I don’t want to have to try and ignore how much I hate the way someone is reading something, I want to listen to what they’re saying!

It’s the same with your Messages On Hold production. Our diverse pool of voice over artists has been selected to offer you voices that are going to suit specific productions. We want callers to be able to listen to our productions and really hear what’s being said, rather than be distracted by the way our voice talent sounds or the way he or she says specific words.

Our studio team members are well-trained in picking which voice talent should read for a given client. For example, our voice over artist Grayton is the ideal choice for commanding and dramatic reads, whereas Fiona would be more suited to a young, happy-go-lucky type production.

In the copywriting department, we take the time to work out how tricky words like brands, surnames or places are meant to be said so they sound the way they should On Hold. We may not know how Bobinawarrah or Eromanga are pronounced, but we have clients in those areas.  You can bet their callers would be distracted if they heard their town or suburb name read incorrectly.

Whether you’re thinking about becoming a Messages On Hold customer, or you’re already one, it’s always a good idea to head over to our gallery of voices. Have a listen to the voices available to find who would best suit your production.  And when you’re working with us in scripting, let us know how you’d like specific words pronounced. Don’t distract callers from your production’s content – enhance it by selecting the right voice talent!

– Sophie

Time For a Proofread

Here in the Message On Hold Copywriting Department, we write a lot of scripts.  We proof them personally before we submit them to be proofed by the other copywriters. Needless to say, we’re forever looking for errors in our copy.  There are a few cardinal sins… using stale phrases like ‘one-stop shop’ and ‘needs & requirements’ or mistaking ‘you’re’ for ‘your’. Proofing is where these sorts of subtle errors get picked up.

Should a mistake slip between our fine-toothed comb for one of our clients to pick up, we find a fair bit of egg on our face. If they don’t, the gentlemen in studio will, making it virtually impossible for a written typo to be recorded that, in turn, makes our clients sound foolish.

This is not a luxury you get with all marketing efforts, especially ones you do yourself. You can now make and host your own website, print out your own pamphlets and upload your own videos to the web (as mentioned in this story). If no one is looking over the copy you’re putting out there, you run the risk of public embarrassment. If you want to bottom out your credibility as fast as possible, just chuck in an obvious typo and watch your brand equity evaporate.

Typos are never fine.

Typos are never fine.

I recently found a website that contained the word ‘personalised’ in the company name yet in the ‘About Us’ section they had referred to themselves as ‘personzlied’.  ‘Personz lied’ to whoever thinks this is an acceptable public display of your brand. The easiest typos to miss are the skipped words (e.g. ‘the’, ‘that’, ‘a’). Unless you want to sound like you were raised by apes, get someone else to read over your copy… more often than not you’ll be surprised by what they find.

Take this opportunity to proof-read your website and ad material, if you catch any typos… you can thank us later.

– Jakub