One day I got home from work to discover I had a personal message on my answering machine from a politician seeking my vote. A few days later while checking my answering machine I noticed that my doctor had made a call reminding me of an appointment. I knew that in both instances, there was some technology used to make these calls and it got me thinking.
How could a jeweler put this technology called “Voice Broadcasting” or “Voice Blast” to use in the marketing of their store? After checking state and local laws, I found out that as long as you are using your in-store customer contacts who’ve given you permission to market to them, there would be no problem in using this (I recommend you check state and local laws in your area as well). This is an easy way to reach out and touch thousands of people for pennies on the dollar!
Since we had a private event coming up in our store, I felt now was a good time to experiment. We were mailing postcard invitations to 800 of our best clients so I decided to try a voice broadcast call to these folks a few days after the postcards hit their mailbox. The next few steps weren’t really all that hard.
Using our Edge POS system, I pulled up the same listing of 800 customers that received the postcard and I saved a listing of their phone numbers which I uploaded to the service I had decided to use (you can Google Voice Broadcast and hundreds of companies will come up).
The next part was to call in to the service I used and record a message in my own voice which the service would then use to call each of my 800 customers. I recommend setting the time of the call to take place between 11 am and 2 pm so as to hit your clients’ answering machines while they are not at home (some services will let you program your call to only hit an answering machine instead of a “Live” voice.)
Devising a script to read, I recorded the following:
“Hi, it’s Bill Warren at the Gold Mine Jewelry Store in Hudson and I hate I missed you, but I just wanted to make sure you received the invitation I sent you about Friday night’s Private Event at my store. You’re going to love the new jewelry lines we’ve brought in just for our best clients like you to see. We’ll have finger foods, drinks, music and keep the atmosphere light. Of course as one of our best clients, you’ll get the best pricing and best selection ahead of the general public. I look forward to seeing you this Friday night starting at 6 pm. Bye-bye!”
After this step, I programmed the call to go out and set it on autopilot, and then…..
The results were simply amazing! The night of our event, we had a huge turnout and one of the most frequent comments from our clients was, “I appreciate the postcard, but I really thank you for taking the time to call me!” Yes, I was smiling as they said this and who was I to spoil it that I hadn’t personally called, but at least they thought I had! It’s the thought that counts, right?
Another benefit of the phone calls was that I noticed it seemed to double the effectiveness of just doing a postcard/letter invitation alone. Did I mention the cost? Each successful voice blast call only costs 8 cents. That’s right, only 8 cents! Where else will you find this kind of return on investment?
After this, we’ve made voice broadcast a regular part of our integrated marketing mix. We’ve even tried it as a stand alone, where we did a private event or sale only using this and yes, it works well. My word of caution to you is - don’t overdo a good thing! Don’t keep voice blasting the same list of clients. Use different segments of your in-house client list and do this no more than 4 or 5 times a year.
What service do I use? Of course, there are several to choose from, and I suggest you do a Google search of them. Currently, I’m using two different services: www.voiceshot.com and www.postcalls.com My friend and colleague James Porte uses a service called Orange Point that he says has been very effective. Ultimately, you need to research the positives and negatives of each service and make your decision from there.
By the way, we had a great crowd during my seminar at the Atlanta Jewelry Show on “How To Find The Riches In The Niches of Your Store’s Mailing List.” I thank each of you who came out and for all of the great questions and info shared! I’m also glad that you enjoyed hearing a “Bald Headed Hillbilly” from Western North Carolina play his banjo - it was fun!