Using Co-op Dollars for Your On Hold Marketing

Yes, On Hold Marketing helps you sell more products or services and makes it easier to build stronger long-term relationships with customers. But, this blog post is about generating immediate revenue from your On Hold Marketing (OHM) program itself.

One Company's Approach

Based in Columbia, South Carolina, Merritt Veterinary Supplies has been a BusinessVoice client since 2003. Tara Haltiwanger is the company's Marketing Manager and in charge of Merritt's OHM program.

Since she first started using our services, Tara has pursued vendor co-op dollars to cover the cost of Merritt's On Hold Marketing.

"When I began the marketing department for Merritt Vet, I added co-sponsorship programs to our print publications and On Hold Marketing program," wrote Tara. "Most companies in our industry expect it now. They either sign up for the year or they don't. If one of our suppliers doesn't renew, I open up the OHM space to other vendors. Most stick with the program as a means of low-cost advertising."

Here's How it Works

Merritt uses its On Hold Marketing to promote specific veterinary medicines and products. They charge between 8 and 10 participating vendors $450 each annually. That investment entitles every vendor to one message on each of Merritt's bi-monthly OHM productions. Participants enjoy one full year of exposure to a targeted audience that's calling Merritt Vet ready to buy.

By the way, the production updates are timed with the release of Merritt's sales flyers in order to reinforce the printed content.

Ready to Try It Yourself?

We love Tara's initiative. And we want to encourage you to consider a similar co-op program. In fact, we'll help you get started.

We can provide digital sell sheets that explain the cost-effective benefits of On Hold Marketing. We'll even brand them with your company logo and contact information. Then, just send them to your vendors and partners to begin building a co-op program that could easily pay for your On Hold Marketing program. You may even be able to turn your OHM into a profit center!

For more details on other ways we can help, talk with your BusinessVoice Account Manager. If you're not yet a BusinessVoice client, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call +1 800.473.9005.

Closed for the Holidays

Here's a reminder that's especially appropriate for the holiday season: Don't make your callers guess why your office or store is closed.

The Problem

A co-worker emailed this story to me on the Friday after Thanksgiving. "I called a company today and their office was closed, presumably for the holiday," she wrote. "But their phone system sent me immediately to the receptionist's voicemail, which made no mention of why they were closed, when they'd re-open, or when they might return my call."

She added that "the voicemail message didn't include the name of the company either, so I could have easily thought I had called the wrong number, and then tried to call again."

Don't frustrate your callers that way. Provide a great caller experience instead.

The Solution

If you'll be closed for a holiday, scheduled downtime, inventory, or any other reason, make sure your call processing announcements / call center recordings give callers all the information they'll need, including an alternate number they can call in the event of an emergency.

It's certainly not the best option, but if your telephone system sends callers to an individual's voicemail when your company is closed, please make sure that person updates the outgoing message as often as necessary to prevent caller confusion.

You may even want to use your website, social media or email to proactively inform customers when you'll be closed.

Talk with us about other solutions. Call +1 800.473.9005 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

What Do You Want Callers to Do

When we're designing your On Hold Marketing program, we'll help you define your marketing goals during our discovery process.

Then, each time we create new content for you, we'll consider those goals and apply specific strategies and tactics to help you meet them.

And here's a tasty detail: We'll also work to identify specific calls-to-action that we can use in your copy.

What makes that so important?

A lot of On Hold Marketing copy doesn't do a very good job of helping callers respond to information they've just heard. The calls-to-action are vague - or even non-existent - so callers don't know what to do after learning about a product, a service or an offer.

But we make it easy for your callers to take the next step in the buying process. We'll tell them which employee or extension to request for more details, or which promo code to use when speaking with your sales rep or ordering online.

And with our exclusive Heard On Hold feature, we can give your callers quick access to any page of your website or social media channels, no matter how long the URL or how buried the page may be. (Your callers' actions are measurable, too.)

For more details on these benefits, please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call him at +1 800.473.9005.

Calculate the Value of Your Hold Time

Before you invest in a product or service, do you make sure it'll deliver good value?

If so, you'll love our Hold Time Calculator.

By entering just five numbers into the blank fields, you'll see how long your company's incoming callers spend on hold each year.

For instance, let's assume your company receives just 10 calls per hour during a nine-hour business day, and that only 50% of those calls are transferred or put on hold. (Studies show the average is 57%.)

Let's also assume that your shortest possible hold time is ten seconds, your longest possible hold time is two minutes, and your average hold time is 45 seconds.

That means that your company puts callers on hold for a total of 205.3 hours each year.

Here's Where Value Enters the Equation

In 205 hours, you could run 24,600 30-second radio spots. Even if each spot cost just $50 to air, you would spend $1,230,000 to broadcast to an audience that may not have an immediate or even potential need for what you sell. Radio and TV certainly have their strengths for many B-to-C marketers, but by its very nature, broadcast advertising is wasteful.

With On Hold Marketing, you can up-sell, cross-sell, strengthen your brand identity, and deepen relationships with existing or likely customers for as little as a penny per call. THAT is excellent value. And when the On Hold Marketing content is as thoughtful and focused as ours, the value is even greater.

If you're not using On Hold Marketing yet, take our Hold Time Calculator for a spin, and see how many smart marketing hours you could be adding to your arsenal.

The Important of Voiceover

Already in 2014, we've lost many great voice personalities. Here are five we miss the most, as we acknowledge and celebrate all that they brought to our lives.

James Alexander Gordon was the football (soccer) announcer for BBC Radio for more than 40 years, and is considered to be one of the most recognized voices in British broadcasting history. His distinct Scottish accent and delivery style added thrill to an already thrilling sport. Learn how he got his job.

Steve Post was heralded as "New York's Lenny Bruce," and his show, "Morning Music with Steve Post," aired from 1982 to 2001 on WNYC. Post garnered a huge listening audience for a program that featured classical music, but it was always punctuated by his deep baritone and off-color comments. Known for his wit and sardonic sense of humor, the radio host referred to weather forecasts as "weather lies." Listen to this rememberance of Steve Post.

Pete Van Wieren was a beloved figure in Atlanta, as the voice of Braves baseball from 1976 through 2008. Nicknamed The Professor, Van Wieren worked alongside Skip Caray to deliver Braves fans a delightfully intelligent play-by-play account of each game. He also wrote a book about his career in broadcasting, cleverly titled Of Mikes and MenListen to Pete Van Wieren.

Don Pardo introducing Saturday Night Live might be the most recognizable sound in late-night television. In his iconic style, he welcomed some of the greatest musicians, actors and comedians of the last 40 years, spending 38 seasons with the show before his death in August 2014. He also earned the unique distinction of being one of the few announcers who audiences knew by name. Watch this tribute to Don.

Robin Williams is known for much more than his voiceovers; he was also a brilliant actor and a groundbreaking comedian. Even though his voiceover work often went uncredited, his vocal performances in iconic movies left a lasting impression on an entire generation. Watch this behind-the-scenes look at Robin's work in Disney's Aladdin.

Did you ever think about the powerful effect your On Hold Marketing voice has on your callers? Based on the nature of the content, the voice talent can soothe, excite, entertain or instill trust and confidence in your brand.

Listen to our On Hold Marketing voice demos here

Swell Telephone Etiquette

The other day I stumbled onto an old-school instructional film about telephone skills and etiquette in the workplace. (Watch it here.)

While telephone technology has changed quite a bit since the piece was produced in the 1940s or '50s, the important lessons in the film are just as relevant today.

In fact, I was surprised to see that so many of those lessons are also highlighted in the TelArt program, our 35-minute CD about telephone skills and etiquette. (Listen to a sample here.)  But the film also offers many unique points, including these:

1) Communicating via the telephone is just as important as meeting with your customers face-to-face, so it's important to do it well.

 2) To a caller, being greeted by an interested voice is like receiving a warm handshake through the phone. 

3) When you and your staff provide friendly, polite service on the phone, you make your callers feel welcome and valued.

4) When you talk with customers by telephone, they form a mental image of you and your company. Make sure it's a positive image, and that you're someone they want to conduct business with.

The film's approach is a little exaggerated and obviously dated, but give it a look. You may recognize some of the same basic problems in your office.

Here's more information on why telephone skills and etiquette are so important to your bottom line.