By Jerry Bader (c) 2006
1. Limited Screen Real Estate
Computer screens have increased in size over the years but website designers still have to deal with the problem of how to get all a client’s information presented ‘above the fold’ so visitors don’t have to scroll too much.
It’s hard enough to get prospects to read anything, let alone copy that drones on. This problem isn’t being helped by SEO tacticians promoting inflated text presentations often amounting to exercises in key-phrase diarrhea.
If you have a lot to say, turn some of it into audio, so prospects can sit back, listen and absorb what you have to say, rather than hunt desperately for the information they’re looking for. The single most important thing that effects a user’s Web-experience is how fast they find what they came to learn and what could be easier and faster than pressing an audio button.
2. Computer Screen Readability
We have all been raised with the eight and half by eleven format permanently implanted in our heads. Unfortunately computer monitors’ four by three aspect ratio is horizontal and the new breed wide-screen monitors use a sixteen by nine format – great for timeline editing and spread sheets, not so great for reading.
Computer monitors have nevÃ«r been all that easy on the eyes and the new flat screen LCDs are brighter and display more contrast which is great for graphics but again not so great for reading. So instead of giving your potential clients eyestrain and a headache, deliver the information using audio, a much more user-friendly experience.
3. Skip, Scan and Skim Searching
We have learned from usability studies that seventy percent of Web-users scan and skip Web-copy paying attention only to captions and bulleted points. If your information is the least bit complicated or sophisticated, your Web-visitors are probably not getting a complete or accurate story. Ignoring the fact that prospects misread your copy and scan for highlights can be a costly mistake in miscommunication.
Burying your message in reams of text leads to confusion and misunderstandings that will ultimately cost you monÃ«y in lost salÃ«s and disgruntled clients. If your web-logs show a lot of visitors are opting out of your site shortly after entering, it is probably because they can’t find what they’re looking for, buried in your SEO-friendly jungle of text. If you’ve invested a significant amount of monÃ«y attracting visitors to your site, you owe it to yourself to deliver the information they came to find.
Allowing visitors to clÃck an audio button to receive your core marketing message in sixty seconds of professionally delivered voice-over will do more to turn prospect into customers than a thousand words of boring, hard to read text.
4. Consistency of Message Delivery
Anyone who has run a salÃ«s department knows that different people deliver the same message differently. Some sales people have a greater grasp of your marketing message, and others are just going through the motions ‘taking orders’ rather than ‘selling.’
Even good salÃ«s people often find that key information gets left out or ignored because the client asks questÃons, gets interrupted, or just plain isn’t concentrating. When clients are left on their own to browse your website, you nevÃ«r know how much of your copy they actually read and how much of that they really understand. It’s called ‘browsing’ for a reason – not ‘studying.’
By presenting information in audio, you deliver a consistent, error-free message without anything left out. The human voice cuts through the concentration barrier and leaves an indelible impression of who you are and why prospects should be customers. When you deliver your reason-for-buying in audio, everyone hears the same message, in the same way. If content is king, consistency is the kingmaker.
Today’s modern work environment is hectic. It would be nice if we could all act like doctors and lawyers with secretaries to screen our calls and organize our days so we can concentrate on what we are doing. Unfortunately, that’s a pipedream for most modern day business people, especially the entrepreneur.
Most of us are answering the telephone, writing emails, surfing the Web and dealing with colleagues and clients in an ever-dizzying whirl of activity. Asking a multitasking businessperson to stop and concentrate on your beautiful prose is not exactly realistic. People want it short, quick, and precise. If TV advertisers can deliver their marketing messages in fifteen- and thirty-second spots, imagine what you can deliver in sixty seconds of finely crafted audio delivered by a professional announcer who knows how to grab your prospects attention and make an impression.
6. Memory Retention
Years ago commercials were sixty seconds, kids played board games for hours; life was simpler. Today commercials are fifteen seconds, kids play video games with incessant audio and visual stimulation, and we are perpetually on-call with our cell phones and Blackberrys. Our ability to retain information is severely compromised by a new world order of constant contact. Instant messaging has even created a whole new short-form language that brings sophisticated communication down to a new low – where is John Simon when you need him.
If you want to be heard, there is no better way than with the sound of the human voice. The human voice penetrates the clutter and embeds itself in your prospect’s consciousness.
7. Branding – Creating a Corporate Personality
Successful businesses all have personalities and there is no better way to transmit that personality to your prospective clients than with audio. You spend thousands of dollars on how logos, print material, emails ads, and websites look and so you should, but giving your business a personality is more than deciding that everything on your website should be blue.
Differentiating your company from the competition is about creating a memorable business persona. One of the best illustrations of this is the J. Peterman story. Anyone who watched the Seinfeld show remembers John O’Hurley’s J. Peterman character. O’Hurley’s interpretation of Peterman was so strong, so memorable, and powerful that when the real J. Peterman company went under, it was the actor, John O’Hurley, who was able to get it back in business based on his fictional presentation of the real J. Peterman. That is the power of voice and it’s ability to create personality.
8. Persuasive, Provocative, Compelling
Competition is fierce and getting noticed in a crowded marketplace is difficult. We cannot afford to let any opportunity to communicate effectively with prospects get by. You are not the only one with a website, blog, or product that meets your prospects needs, You must do more than just state your offering or even provide some me-too promotion, you must be persuasive, provocative, compelling, and concise.
It only takes 136 words to write sixty seconds of audio. With the right 136 well-written words, delivered by a carefully chosen, professional voice-over artist, you can deliver more than just a pitch: you can deliver your entire marketing message, corporate personality, and brand image.
9. Cost Effectiveness
Many business people are scared-off by an assumption that multimedia solutions like audio are expensive – but that is just not the case. Audio is far more cost-effective than video, animations, and other labor intense rich media creative. If you hire the right people who know what they are doing, you can have an audio presentation professionally produced and incorporated into your website for a budget within the reach of any serious marketer.
About The Author
Jerry Bader is Senior Partner at MRPwebmedia, a Thornhill, Ontario based website design firm that specializes in delivering their North American clients’ marketing messages using the latest audio, video, and interactive Flash presentation techniques to create compelling, informative and memorable Web-experiences that enhance brand personality and increase salÃ«s and profÃts. Visit MRPwebmedia.com, 136Words.com, SonicPersonality.com. Contact at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone (905) 764-1246.