Blog

Holiday Recordings, On-Hold and Overhead!

Safe to say, we’ve never experienced a year like 2020. It’s also hard to believe that this long, tumultuous year is finally winding to a close and the Holiday Season is coming!

The 2020 Holiday Season represents a critical time to connect and re-connect with customers. Especially organizations who’ve had to deal with COVID-related disruptions. Closing the year on a positive high note will likely be more than welcome at your place; both internally and in reaching out to your demographic.

On-Hold Marketing, Messages, & Music

Let’s start with Messages-on-Hold. Busy phone traffic skyrocketed in 2020, a byproduct of productivity while social distancing. Medical offices, car dealerships, retailers, suppliers, restaurants, and a myriad of other operations adjusted to phone ordering as terms like “curbside pickup” entered our daily lexicon. Increased phone traffic has also resulted in longer hold times and that is not likely to let up through the holidays.

Consider the many topics of discussion you can share with callers and potential approaches to your next on-hold production.

*Motivate Sales for an end-of-year push. For many, holiday sales will help offset an otherwise down year.

*Changes in procedures, protocols, and hours. Using hold time productively this way can help inform callers who have already reached out to you.

*Reinforce branding. A topsy-turvy year and uncertain economy have created an unintended disconnect between many purveyors and their customers. There’s no better time to reestablish that identity.

*Build a bridge, extend compassion. It’s what the holidays are all about, right? If ever there was a season where wishes of peace and good will should be well received, 2020 has to be it. Words of reassurance will not hurt in that regard.

IAP writers can help you find your voice and develop a script. The Holiday Season is traditionally a time for changing MOH productions anyway. This year’s Holiday On-Hold Audio can be an extra special opportunity to shine.

Overhead Music

If you already subscribe to IAP’s Overhead Music, now’s a perfect time to change up the audio and reflect the season. If you’re not a subscriber, today is a great time to inquire and get started. Either way, here are FIVE new and different channels of music, geared just for the season.

*Christmas Carols…Classic Carols and Hymns of the Christmas Season.

*Christmas Peace…Instrumental Christmas and Holiday Favorites, calming and relaxing.

*Christmas Swing…Throughout the Holidays, Swing is King!

*Festive Instrumentals…Instrumental background music geared for the Holidays.

*Holiday Hits…Holiday Hits of the Modern Era.

Need a few elegant phrases to accompany your OHM? Just like Messages-on-Hold, custom writing and standard Holiday greetings can be blended into Overhead Music/Messaging for a seamless, classy sound customers, visitors, and patients appreciate.

Don’t Wait!

Turnaround time is always fast with Illinois Audio Productions. In a year where so many have been slowed down in ordering and delivery, there is no slow down with IAP’s technology and experience. We advise getting your order locked-in as soon as possible, whether on-hold, overhead, or both. Show your audience how much they’re appreciated and build momentum for a brighter new year ahead!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Could YOUR Business be at Risk for Thousands in Fines for Music Licensing Violations?

In case you didn’t know, hold music and overhead “waiting room” music are subject to licensing fees…and what falls into the category of “rebroadcast” can be confusing. The bad news is violations for using non-licensed music can potentially cost thousands of dollars. There’s no fighting it in court, either – music licensing companies have total legal control and rarely lose.

 

What’s considered a rebroadcast violation that could cost your business thousands?

For example, if your business has overhead music and/or telephone on hold BUT uses

–radio

–personal music libraries

–music collections on your electronic device

–CDs

–other music sources where you don’t pay for specific business licenses

(and just because you bought a song for your library doesn’t mean you bought the licensing rights)

you could be sent a bill to pay for all the time you’ve used the music AND where you’ve used it AND how big the facility is where the music was played.

 

Fortunately, you can protect yourself and your business from all this – by using licensed music from a production house like IAP. We can protect you from fines and harassment. It’s a simple remedy that also gives you more freedom in your music choice options. Plus, you can add messages on hold or overhead announcements that make money for your business AND there are many music genres to choose from in our overhead music package.

 

Choosing the smart option of licensed music from IAP, also gives you the ability to choose your music bed by genre AND gets rid of extraneous fluff. Let’s use radio as a comparison. Would you like your callers to hear random tunes on the radio (where some might be offensive), selected by a DJ who says things out of your control? Even worse, there’s commercials advertising for others! Once, I was at a chiropractic’s office waiting for my appointment when his overhead music channel advertised for a different chiropractor in town!

 

The ability to control your business’ audio marketing cannot be understated. Using specific music from Illinois Audio Productions for your messages on hold AND for overhead music gives you peace of mind –

1) knowing you won’t have to deal with music licensing issues in the future

 

2) assuring you have good music geared specifically for your business

 

3) eliminating distracting vocals that can end up competing with the voiceover of your custom message

 

4) controlling your audio branding with personalized messages

 

5) Matching genres (Country, Smooth Jazz, Easy Listening, Rock, Classical, and even holiday!) to the season and current marketing strategies

 

 

Don’t take chances with music licensing. Contract with a vendor like IAP and avoid the possibility of costly financial penalties.

4 Easy Steps to get Custom Hold Messages

If you ever thought about putting messages on hold to work in your phone system but figured the process would be too cumbersome or time consuming, we’d like to illustrate otherwise! Hold music and effective on hold marketing is simple…IF you have the right vendor with professional phone message experience. IAP makes the magic happen for you in four easy steps.

Wondering if and why you need on hold marketing services? Done properly, a professional phone message can engage a captive audience in otherwise dead hold time. In the transfer process, silence on hold can seem infinitely longer in the caller’s mind. And forget radio. Even if you have rebroadcast rights from ASCAP or BMI, radio’s music selection has limited appeal at best, not to mention commercials that could be promoting a competitor!

 

A solid, effective telephone on hold message system helps alleviate the seemingly slow passage of time associated with silence and the annoying, costly aspects of radio. IAP on hold marketing delivers personalized messages with broadly appealing telephone music. The overall sound can be geared for your clientele’s call-to-action…all we need is a little input and we’ll do all the work!

 

*STEP 1: Fill out a quick and easy questionnaire, then e-mail it to us. We’ll write a custom script based on the info you provide. Our writers are highly experienced at creating a professional phone message, written specifically for the messages on hold format. We’ll take your answers and transform them into attention-grabbing, inspiring custom messages that get results! We work with many industries and know how to appeal to your callers in the spoken word.

 

*STEP 2: Choose a voice. Listen to the voice demos on our website. We have an excellent selection of male and female voices. Professional and versatile, our voice artists know how to appeal to all demographics, young and old. Need a special accent? Kid’s voice? What about messages on hold in a foreign language? IAP has you covered.

 

*STEP 3: Select music. You’ll find many music choices on our website. Easy Listening, Jazz, Oldies, Classical, Country, Rock…we have all kinds of licensed, instrumental hold music. Every time you freshen your hold messages – whether monthly, bi-monthly, twice a year, or whatever your needs — you have the freedom to select new tracks/genres with every production. Your telephone music can also capture the holiday spirit when the time comes.

 

*STEP 4: Determine delivery format. Your telephone on hold message system will replay custom on hold message audio via MP3, wav file, from a USB drive, burned to CD, even mixed to tape.

 

That’s it! Using your business telephone to market and upsell customers can be done in 4 easy steps with Illinois Audio Productions. You’ll see right away that we’re an easy-to-work-with company where you always get one-on-one answers from a real person. Give it a try!  We’re glad to answer any questions.

IAP introduces new eRemote Message On Hold Playback Technology

The next generation of Messages-on-Hold (MOH) playback technology has arrived at Illinois Audio Productions (IAP).  The IAP eRemote player offers a number of new benefits, starting with how it’s programmed.  Each unit is assigned a specific email address, which IAP programs initially before shipping.  Once installed, the player itself periodically checks for new email and then follows its commands.  This is the foundation of many eRemote advantages.  Changing audio is as easy as sending the player an email!

Using IAP eRemote technology, you no longer need to burden staff with the responsibility of downloading an MP3 via USB drive.  No more loading tapes or CDs.  IAP can remotely load the unit directly from the studio!  This is a key point especially for multiple locations across many cities, states, or even countries.  No employee ever needs to be on-site to physically load MOH audio.  Plus, the unit can be scheduled to play specific files for designated time periods at multiple locations.

Here’s a recent real-life example.  This past holiday season, a group of six automotive dealerships each had IAP eRemote players in place.  Each had custom messages designed to run from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day.  IAP completed the recordings in-studio well in advance, then “instructed” all six individual units to play just those designated messages…all by a simple email generated centrally from IAP.  On the scheduled “stop” dates, replacement audio was directed toward the group and worked flawlessly at every stage.  All done automatically without any end user involvement and no dealership staff or time required!

This ability to remotely add, replace, or delete messages offers distinct advantages, obviously.  But eRemote units also offer flexibility in other ways.  Volume level too high or low?  Output to the phone system can be adjusted remotely.  Have special recordings to play only during scheduled times?  IAP can email your eRemote unit accordingly.  Need to check the status of what’s playing and what’s scheduled to play?  eRemote makes both possible…and easy to do.

Also easy?  Installation.  IAP includes an Ethernet cable, audio cable, and AC power adapter.  Plug them in and the unit typically begins playing in 90 seconds or less…true plug-n-play convenience!  Since every eRemote unit has been pre-programmed with its own email address, issues with firewalls and direct network access are minimized or never enter the picture at all.  The player actually “checks” its own email for audio so you don’t have to manually load it.

Giving your business a competitive edge requires great attention to a million and one details.  MOH is a proven method for boosting revenue…after all, your phones are the front door to opportunity.  But during the course of a busy work day, it’s easy to overlook when your staff is focused on other priorities.  With your new IAP eRemote unit, you get all the benefits of MOH without any manpower expense.  From one location to hundreds, imagine the possibilities!  Put IAP’s outstanding MOH quality to work in your operation remotely with the dynamic new eRemote unit…no matter how many locations you have or where they’re located!

Tips for Effective copy writing and winning solution beyond audio

There’s a style and method of attack when it comes to writing copy for the ear, and if you’ve been with Illinois Audio Productions for any length of time, you’ve likely seen, heard, and/or experienced the different nuances.  Audio copywriting is very different than standard print copy because the intended audience never gets to actually read it.  Colorful phrasing and pertinent points must be expressed quickly and succinctly – meaning the number of words to get a print across must be minimal.

We’ve learned a few tricks along the way and even though “Audio” IS our middle name at IAP, our skills in marketing go beyond the magic we create in our studio.  Do you have pictures and graphics laid out for a new tri-fold brochure…just need help with the copy?  Unveiling a new product line and want to introduce it with a press release?  Unhappy with the number of internet “hits” the blogs are getting on your website?  These are just a few areas where you might consider recruiting the writing services of IAP.

While some areas of print advertising in newspapers and Yellow Pages have become increasingly passé, new wrinkles in technology have opened several other avenues to reach your audience, especially online.  If you’re putting together an informative “how to” video to give customers a hand using a new device, a well-constructed “story board” makes your video easy to understand and avoids extraneous information that causes the viewer/customer to tune out.

For example, if you sell home security products and have had a recently successful rush on a new Smart Home system, there’s a great chance your customers may not remember just how to program it or use it to the best potential.  This could result in a lot of technical phone time monopolizing your sales staff, who suddenly find they’re re-explaining every feature.  But a well thought out video can show visually, step-by-step, every advantage and nuance of that system (how to program locks, thermostats, home electronics, sprinkler systems…you get the idea).  It reinforces the purchase and lets the user go through the tutorial at his or her own speed.  Picture the possibilities…from heavy duty track part sales to high-tech tutorials in medical supply.

As business needs change, have you found yourself wishing you could simply tweak what your own website says about your operation?  This is a situation frequently encountered by organizations that no longer use the original web designer who set up their online presence in the first place…most likely some time ago.  Since not everyone is a web design wizard, even cosmetic text changes can be problematic.  Chances are, you do have the knowledge, ability, and the power to alter your online presence to spotlight a featured special or service.  But what to say about that highlighted product?  Leave it to the pros at IAP.

No doubt, it’s more of a visual world than ever with the advent of popular digital signage and specialty items like vehicle wraps.  So what do you want to say that will separate you from the pack?  You already have the answer right at your disposal.  Trust the experts at IAP to give your message some pop no matter what form of media you’re using.  If it’s a series of short headliners for a digital sign or banner on your delivery fleet, you’re covered.  Press releases, brochures, fliers, and e-mail blasts?  Check.  YouTube video or website content?  Leave it to IAP.  We have the whole language at our command…and so do you.

Spring Cleaning Checklist-Updating with a Fresh Message and Audio

It was the never ending winter, wasn’t it? No matter where you read this, chances are good you felt it. But winter has finally ended and so begins a new season of reinvigorated growth and a consumer population itching to go out and spend. Be ready for a busy spring and whatever you do, don’t neglect the phone lines that are sure to stay humming as we get closer to summer.

Even the most diligent, well-meaning Messages-on-Hold users take a break from their MOH after the busy holidays and New Year. But as we get into the second quarter, it’s time to freshen up marketing campaigns and kick start new promotions. This applies to audio for food service, retail, agriculture, the auto industry, veterinarians, and a cross section of proactive operations. If you’re in hospitality, this is prime time to raise awareness of summer specials. Caterers? You know wedding season’s coming. Hardware outlets? Put away the snow shovels and start talking about weed killer and hedge clippers. MOH is a vital component because it relays the most crucial information to callers already on the line and wanting to do business with you.

If you haven’t changed your MOH in at least three months, chances are, repeat callers have begun tuning out. Shake it up and give your MOH a Spring Cleaning. Even if it’s just scribbling down basic ideas, the team at Illinois Audio Productions (IAP) can formulate a rough draft to give those callers something new to grab onto. For those who may not have as many repeat callers – dental practices, for example – it’s still a good idea to refresh MOH audio this time of year to catch the changing audience once the school year ends. You have a number of services to promote…which are best with the time parameter in mind? Let’s put them at the forefront.

The bitter winter put a dent in construction time and home sales. Expect a big rebound and use your audio advantage to reflect an increase in activity and foot traffic. Time to run a new radio campaign? This is an area of audio production where IAP excels and will no doubt save you money compared to station and agency rates. A related industry that will also benefit from both a strong radio presence and a highly topical new MOH production? Building suppliers and home DIY stores. Not just BECAUSE the season’s changing, but because of the toll winter weather itself took. Lowe’s, for example, is expecting higher than usual spring sales as homeowners begin repairing snow damage to roofs and driveways. Spring sales growth of approximately 4% is expected according to Forbes, 5% total for 2014. It’s this kind of possibility that could be in your future, too.

Wheels turning yet? Here’s another thought and maybe a lesson also learned from winter. You never know how Mother Nature can affect your business and today’s phone systems typically accommodate alternate greetings in case of closure with no remote voicing necessary. Would you like to have a professionally produced voice prompt announcing emergency closures? They were used prominently in recent harsh weather and will no doubt come into play with spring storms and hurricane season coming. While you’re at it, what voices do your callers hear with your Automated Attendant (AA) greetings and Interactive Voice Response (IVR) prompts? If they’re done in-house and leave something to be desired, get a professionally polished voicing job from IAP.

So welcome spring and a world of new profit potential. Get a jump on the competition and give your callers and radio audience the kind of info they need to place orders, set appointments, and walk through your door. It really is a golden time to explore the potential using IAP audio. Let’s talk about breathing new life into a tired radio spot and updating MOH audio along with all the phone peripherals. You can even engage in a live chat with us depending on the time you’re reading this. If not, please don’t hesitate to ask any questions…we’re always glad to help.