Hello? Is anyone there? You've just been put on hold (you think!) but all you hear is silence. Are you being transferred? Are you still connected? Will anyone return to take your call? This scenario is fairly common and not only bad customer service, but also a missed opportunity. In today's world, there is no excuse for this. Why not provide music combined with a message that will let your caller know they are important to you?


Even better, why not take the opportunity to let the caller know what your company is about and let them know about your products and services or tell them about special programs or company initiatives?


Marketing-On-Hold (MOH) is a valuable service that is easy to manage and inexpensive to install. The service is offered through a small playback device that connects directly to your phone system. The message and licensed music plays when callers are placed on hold or during call transfer. The message itself is recorded in a sound studio by a voice actor and can be customized to any company's needs. The message is easily changed by downloading a new file via an internet connection or a memory device like a USB/Flash drive.


The cost will fit into any size company's marketing budget. Typically, you can expect a one-time purchase of the MOH device ($230 for a Flash Drive Player and $350 for an Internet-connected player) and a monthly subscription cost ranging from $40 to $75 depending on the program, which will include some number of new recordings per year.


The benefits easily outweigh the costs:


1. Let your caller know they are still connected

2. Shorten the perceived hold time

3. Inform your callers of your products and services

4. Improve your company image 


Our clients using this service vary widely in their business interests. Schools can let parents know about upcoming events or schedules, Retailers inform callers of promotions and store hours, Medical Practices remind patients that it's time for flu vaccination and Auto Dealerships highlight the vehicles they want to promote.  For some, it's just to simply thank the caller for their business.


The content of the message is important, but don't be overly concerned with the writing process. Experienced script-writers and copy editors are available to work with you to design the message and it's typically included in the monthly cost. 


Click here for a sample of a typical message


Hot Tips for Message content: On Hold Messages are about "theater of the mind". It's a place where, through music and voice, you can create warm and friendly feelings about your company and guide callers' attention to the points that you want to highlight. 


In the End


Traditional marketing can be very expensive. Advertisements in Print, Radio or Television come with substantial price tags. Marketing to customers while they wait is not only efficient but effective as well. Callers are already reaching out to you with a purpose and are ready-made captive audiences.  Seize the opportunity to provide information about your company and your products and services, or at least make sure your callers know they are on hold and important enough that they are appreciated.


Your website is very important, not only because it is a marketing tool, but because it reflects on the brand of your company. Anyone who tells you otherwise is living in the past. Of course, there are many different types of websites, and if you are running a small business you may have a small budget and limited resources to really grow the website. But there are still simple actions you can take to improve your web presence.

Here are three basic things you can do to improve your website’s reputation with customers and search engines.


One: Secure all the URLs of your website.

This may super technical, but it doesn’t have to be. You can enlist the help of your web hosting company to assist you with this.

Remember that little lock icon in the browser? Have you ever visited a site that says “not secure” in the top corner of the browser? If your site is one of them, that is not a good look. As technology has continued to upgrade, especially on the computer and browser level, security standards have just become stricter. It doesn’t matter if you don’t sell anything directly on your site; you need security even if you do not have an e-commerce catalog.

The goal here is to get the nice little “secure” indicator to glow for your site, no matter which page in the site people visit. To do this, you need SSL installed on the hosting server. Most of the time, the hosting company you use provides this service. Just contact them to order an SSL certificate and get the process started.

The other half of the process is to ensure the configuration of your website is actually recognizing the new SSL security certificate and making your primary URL for the site begin with https:// in front. That little “s” is very important. With URLs that only begin with http://, the site is lacking security encryption and will not be detected as “secure” by any browser. If your website software doesn’t have a settings area to automatically change to the secure URL, you might need to request the help of your web developer to tweak it.

The result is well-worth it: customers will be able to visit your site without errors, and search engines will favor the site over non-secure sites.


Two: Customize Your Homepage Meta Tags

To search engine optimization professionals, this is a basic step. But it is very common to see thousands of websites that still have poorly written meta tags on their homepage. That’s not surprising to me, because many content management systems for websites have a simple template approach to auto-generate these tags. The result – the homepage title is just “Home” or “Home – Business Name”. And the meta description will be similar or missing entirely.

The meta title and meta description tags influence what you see in the search engine listing for a page. The title impacts search engine rankings and visitor conversion. Think about it: Would you be compelled to click on a link that just says “Home”?

If you are using a self-manageable content platform like WordPress or Shopify, edit these meta tags ASAP.

Customize the meta title to include a solid description of your business with a good keyword for your service or product. Nix the word “Home” completely. Based on current standards, I recommend keeping the length of this title to 70 characters.

Make sure the meta description field is not blank, and fill it out with a unique description of the web page. This size of this description can aim for about 150 to 160 characters.

As you grow and acquire help from an SEO specialist, they can help you rewrite quality meta tags for all of your pages.


Three: Audit Your Content and Delete the Duplicates

There are some nifty tools available that help you scan the Internet for any content that is copied from your site. One example tool is Copyscape. The scanning results will show you if there is any content from your site considered “duplicate” to another website. Sometimes it is just a business directory that has an exact template of your bio pasted into it. Other times it is a site you are not familiar with (maybe even a competitor) that has copied your blog content.

Duplicate content is very frowned upon. Search engines like Google want to see that your website contains unique content that is relevant to the people you serve. Therefore, you need to regularly check up on this and prune your website as necessary.

If the sites that have copied content are editable by you, such as a Linkedin profile or a directory, you may choose to edit the information on those sources and leave your original website unedited.

But if there are third party sites that you cannot control with duplicated articles on them, it may be best to unpublish them from your site and start a new revised version.

With these three goals achieved, your website will have a stronger foundation for your online reputation.  Learn more about these areas of technology and marketing from our digital agency, WEBii.