Growing a business is all about communicating the right message, to the right people, at the right time.
Whether you're talking to customers, staff, partners or investors when you use eye-catching imagery and engaging audio, your chances of making a memorable impression skyrocket.
Here at Voquent, our team are blown away by the projects our customers create using voice-over.
Sometimes, they invest a lot of time and money in a project destined to be seen by a tiny and exclusive audience. They do so because they know that when you want to make an impression, using a professional voice actor to set the tone and entertain the audience is highly effective.
Listening to a professional voice-over is like eating a delicious cake. It's fun, tasty, and you want more.
So, I've put this quick list of 13 effective ways to use voice-over right now in your marketing, internal communications, customer service and more. You probably already use some of the methods described, but there are sure to be a few surprises in here. At the very least, I hope it gives you some inspiration!
1. A memorable out-of-hours greeting.
You might think 'Mabel' on reception has a pleasant voice, but that's just your opinion. Ask yourself this: 'what do my customers want to hear?' When customers call your business and get an out-of-hours greeting, they need reassurance that their call is important and that someone will get back to them soon. When you choose a professional voice-over to provide this message in a clear, nurturing tone, you immediately tell customers your service is of high quality, which builds trust.
2. Directing callers to the right place.
Still, on the subject of people calling your business, Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems are a common way to route a caller to the correct person or department.
It's easier than ever for a small business to set up an IVR system using VoIP software. Long gone are the days where you needed a dedicated server box and a qualified IT technician! Using a professional voice artist on your IVR system is extremely important because you don't want customers to get frustrated and hang up. Make it delicious, and they will make it through the system, happier and more engaged with your business.
3. When you have to put callers on hold, keep them informed and entertained.
Everyone has experienced the dread of being put on hold. The awful music choice, only made worse by the occasional interruption to tell you that 'your call is important to us'. Lies.
But it doesn't have to be like this.
If you have to put a customer on hold, then at least make it fun. Give them an experience. Relaxing music, interspersed with genuinely helpful information about other products or services your business offers, will go a long way to improve their impression of your company. You may even have a new sale on your hands!
We recommend an on-hold marketing track that is at least 2 minutes long (so it doesn't become repetitive).
4. Go viral by making people laugh.
The TikTok and Instagram audiences are constantly looking for good content to share with their family, friends and followers.
Chadwick Martin Bailey and iModerate Research Technologies found that 63% of people mostly share news about funny videos. Posting a funny video loosely related to your product or service with a comedic voice-over is a great way to show that your brand doesn't always take itself too seriously.
5. Tell a niche audience something they don't know.
If you don't already advertise on podcasts, you're missing out. Podcasts are nearly always about one subject, making them brilliant for speaking to an audience interested in your business's niche.
A podcast exists for almost every topic imaginable, and sponsoring a podcast that appeals to your audience is cost-effective advertising. Podcasts with a big following will have a prescribed set of ad packages, but smaller niche podcasts may offer you more flexibility and more bang for your buck.
Start by researching podcasts that your audience may listen to already and then tailor your message for the audience. Whatever podcasts you choose to advertise on, get the commercial professionally narrated and produced for maximum return on your investment.
6. Create a promo for a micro audience.
In recent years, TV advertising has undergone a lot of change thanks to increased broadband speeds and the proliferation of on-demand services (like Netflix).
In the past, only big businesses could afford TV advertising. Still, with online competition from the likes of Facebook and YouTube, it is becoming a legitimately affordable option now because you can target micro-regions (one city, one state or county). Of course, if your business is online, location advertising may not be essential, but your micro-audience will probably have specific interests or be of a certain age and gender.
You can target your micro-audience using Facebook / Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest, Quora and more. A low-cost way to start is to create simple 6-15 second ads. Facebook has its inbuilt video maker for this, but if you want to get creative, there are loads of tools to make it yourself, such as Adobe Spark, which allow you to add your audio. Check out our list of the top 54 best video maker apps.
Make the post on your preferred platform and then boost it to your micro-audience. It can all be done on the same day! If you offer a solution that solves your audience's problems, you'll build an army of loyal customers.
7. Inspire people to take action.
Taking action is simply about doing something to achieve the desired outcome. If your product or service helps people achieve more, that's the story you want to focus on.
Here's an example: Imagine selling a finance software product that gives your customers an easy way to generate invoices and pay suppliers. Whilst the features and benefits of finance software are essential, inspiring customers to take action starts by telling them a story of how things can be better with your product. This is how you influence their decision.
A comparison video showing a stressed-out business owner drowning in paperwork versus a smiling business owner with time on his hands to do something extraordinary could work. It will immediately grab the interest of your target audience because it solves real problems, and people will want that solution for themselves.
8. Sell your ideas.
Selling your ideas to key staff, investors or partners is at the heart of growing any business. Most business owners will use PowerPoint slides to tell their story with key images or metrics. It can be a bit dull, though.
We're emotional animals, and to take your pitch up a level, you need to engage their emotions – get them excited! And a video opener can be a powerful way to achieve this.
The music and the voice can take people into your world, whetting their appetite for more. An opener is effective in almost any pitch setting. Whether at major conferences to motivate an entire workforce; or at private investor meetings—the pitch video is always about their needs—and your solution.
Choosing the right voiceover for your investment pitch video could be worth millions. Choose wisely.
9. Educate staff to improve ALL the numbers.
Educating staff is often overlooked by smaller and medium-sized businesses. Yes, it takes time to create digital training assets, and yes, it will need regular updating as technology or processes change, but it's worth it.
Think about this: how much time does it take to get one staff member up to speed on all your systems, health & safety, compliance, processes etc.? Do you know?
If you don't know, you should. My bet is probably weeks, maybe even months. But it's not just the time it takes for the new staff to learn everything they need to know; it's also the time it takes for the supervisor to teach and oversee their progress. Onboarding and training new staff is one of the biggest hurdles of any growing business.
Speed up their learning by investing in eLearning courses and walkthrough videos. You can easily create eLearning courses by starting in PowerPoint and then importing your slide deck to authoring tools like Articulate to add multimedia and testing. You can also use tools such as Adobe Captivate to screen capture software and processes, which will serve as a go-to reference.
Adding a neutral sounding eLearning narrator voice will make it easier for new starters to understand everything. If you plan to expand into other countries, then systems can, of course, be localised.
10. Explain 'how it works'.
An explainer video with a voice-over is perhaps one of the most common types of projects we get here at Voquent.
Explainers come in all shapes and sizes. From bespoke animations with sizeable budgets; to whiteboard animation products like Sparkol's VideoScribe, which offers a library of illustrations for a relatively low monthly fee. Any explainer is essentially an animated presentation, and the voice-over is extremely important to getting the message across.
If your 'how it works' video will be seen by thousands of potential customers, it's worth investing in a voice that fits your brand and gets the messaging on point.
11. Make the content more accessible.
2.2 billion people globally have a visual impairment or blindness. Most people with vision impairment are over the age of 50 years, so if your business targets this demographic, a more significant percentage of them will be vision-impaired.
But I'm not just talking here about the blind and visually impaired. Making content accessible to all is about providing more ways to interact with your content. More 'channels'.
An effective way to create a new channel is to convert your blogs into audio blogs. To do this, get a professional narrator to read and record the blog and then embed the audio into your blog post. I LOVE this because when I'm reading a blog and need to go out, I can download the audio to my phone and listen to it in the car. You can also turn your blogs into videos using a combination of voice-over and images for your YouTube channel or even break down the blog into several short video posts for Instagram.
Repurposing your blog content into other channels will broaden your reach and help to grow your business.
12. Convert e-mail newsletters into audio or video.
An e-mail newsletter is still an effective way to reach new and old customers, but most newsletters suck. They are crammed with boring text stories about non-essential things to the business, not the customer. Instead, as well as create a more eye-catching newsletter in MailChimp (or similar), convert it into an audio story, or even create individual stories for each piece of news you want to share. Linking to an engaging piece of audio or video content that benefits the customer will see your engagement soar.
13. Speak to the world!
Out of the world's population of 7.5 billion people, 1.5 billion speak English, but only around 360 million speak English natively. For the rest, it's a 2nd or 3rd language.
If you want your business to reach a global audience (and who doesn't?), translating your content is critical. After all, most people will search in their native tongue first. This isn't just about targeting 'countries'. It's about people. For example, did you know that in New York, the Japanese language is the 2nd highest language used in a search?
That means if you're advertising your business in New York, it's worth considering localising the ads and funnel (landing page/video content) to Japanese too! Going global is about speaking to everyone in your neighbourhood too.
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