Many businesses rely on music as an on-site branding tool or to set a specific mood for their customers. Because of its unique value, music is protected by copyright laws. Most music can only be played publicly with a proper license.

You Have Options

As a business owner or manager, you can pay for a service that provides music, in which case, the provider is responsible for maintaining the license.

Another choice is to license music from a company that owns a music library.

A third, but unlikely, option is to negotiate separate licenses with the copyright owners for each piece of music you play.

Whichever path you prefer, it's important that you choose one if you want to use recorded or live music in your company's public areas.

The Bad News

There are severe penalties for copyright infringement. They can include a civil suit in federal court, damages of up to $20,000 for each copyrighted song played, and legal fees. Criminal charges can be brought against those who willingly use copyrighted music without a license. Penalties include a fine of up to $25,000 and/or up to one year in prison.

If you would like fully licensed music for your lobby, restaurant, retail environment, telephone system, or any other application, talk with your BusinessVoice Account Executive or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. at +1 800.473.9005.

Telephone Skills Training

Seth Godin is one of the most popular and respected marketing bloggers on the planet. Here's a dose of his common sense applied to the subject of your callers and the person who may be responsible for creating their first impression of your business.

"...When a homeowner decides to put his house on sale and calls a broker...When he calls the moving company...When a family arrives in town and calls someone recommended as the family doctor...When a wealthy couple calls their favorite fancy restaurant looking for a reservation...Go down the list. Stockbrokers, even hairdressers. And not just people who recently moved. When a new referral shows up, all that work and expense, and then the phone rings and it gets answered by your annoyed, overworked, burned out, never-very-good-at-it-anyway receptionist, it all falls apart. What is the doctor thinking when she allows her neither pleasant nor interested-in-new-patients receptionist to answer the phone?"

Given what's at stake each time your phone rings, this is a question worth asking yourself: "Could our staff use a refresher course on telephone skills and etiquette?"

Click here to learn about TelArt, a 35-minute CD that teaches your staff how to treat callers like the valuable customers or prospects they are. It may be the best $39 you ever spend.

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.