Archive for October 31, 2013

Feature Thursday: How to use Voice Studio

Often the first interaction a potential customer will have with your business is when they call your toll free (or local) business number. It is important to make your greetings sound professional. Only a perfectly crafted message can have the right influence on your callers. You can hire professionals to make your messages sound smarter and your business bigger. But hiring a professional voice-over artist can be expensive. iTeleCenter offers a better way to make your messages sound professional while staying within your budget.

Using the Voice Studio, entrepreneurs can choose a professional voice-over artist at a very low price. You just need to supply the script and choose the artist. Your message will be recorded by a professional.

How to use Voice Studio:

Step 1

Step 2

You can see the list of voice-over artist on the left and can also listen to a sample before choosing one.  Select a Talent from the dropdown.

 Step 3

You can also Select an Alternate Talent from the dropdown in case your first choice is not available. You can choose the same talent as your second choice if you do not want to use an alternate. You may have to wait a bit longer if your talent choice is very busy.

Step 4

Click Next to go to the next step.

Step 5

Select the corresponding check box of the type of message you want to record. Type (or paste) your greeting script in the text box. You can also see the total number of characters.

Step 6

Click Next to go to the next step

Step 7

You can also add special instructions with guidance to the voice talent about how you want the script to be read as well as any unique pronunciation.

Step 8

Click Next to go to the next step

 Step 9

You can review your greeting and then click submit.

Your new greeting will be placed on your iTeleCenter as soon as it is ready.

Would you hire a professional voice-over artist to record your greeting? Tell us on Facebook and @Twitter.

Keep following us every Thursday to learn about more interesting iTeleCenter features.

5 Reasons Solopreneurs should use a Virtual Phone System

Are you worried because you are the only owner of your business? You are tense because you have to look after every aspect of your business? Maintaining constant connectivity with customers is probably the most important aspect. You need to be accessible to your customers 24/7 to entice new customers, retain existing customers and develop your brand. Being a solopreneur is a challenge. A virtual phone system is the right partner for you in this journey.  How can solopreneurs use a virtual phone system?

Maintaining Constant Connection

A solopreneur can use a virtual phone system to address his most crucial challenge – maintaining connectivity with customers. A virtual phone can be used with an existing cell phone, home phone or office phone allowing you to answer customers and callers even when you are travelling or on vacation. In other words, you can be accessible to your customers 24×7.

Makes a Business Look Professional

The auto attendant of a virtual phone system greets callers and forward calls 24/7. Auto attendant greetings are customizable and you can have a separate standard, unavailable, or after-hours greeting. Greetings can be customized according to season, festival or to promote new products or services. The auto attendant can also forward calls to voicemail box. Features like an auto attendant with voicemail make a business look bigger and more professional.

Call Screening and Voicemail

Using a virtual phone, you can screen a call before answering it. Answer it only if you feel it’s important or forward it to the voicemail box. You can provide more than one phone number and the phone system will forward calls according to priority you set for each number.  You are informed immediately about every voicemail via text to your cell phone or email. Voicemail messages can be read in email or can be listened to. This makes your communication system more organized and effective.

Increases Sales

It is an acknowledged fact that people wish to have business relationships only with businesses that are credible and professional. Since your business looks bigger by using a virtual phone, it will obviously improve sales and attract more customers.

Virtual Fax

Faxing is an important mode of business communication. Using a virtual phone, you can enjoy the benefits of faxing anywhere and at anytime. You do not need a fax machine or a telephone line for sending or receiving fax. Faxes can be sent via an online interface.

 

What are your suggestions for a solopreneur?  Tell us on Facebook or @Twitter.

Feature Thursday: How to Record Your After-Hours Greeting

An after-hours greeting keeps you connected with your customers after your regular business operations are over.  You can create an after-hour message for weekends informing your customers when you will be available to them.  A good after-hours message should not only be informative but also professional. This will make your business sound larger and more reliable.

Recording an after-hours greeting is easy. You can record it on the phone, with a microphone o your computer or you can upload a WAV file. iTeleCenter subscribers can record their own after-hour greeting or they can take advantage of our special Voice Studio to have their greetings professionally recorded for a small fee.

How to record your after-hours greeting:

Step 1

Select After-hours from the Greetings tab in the iTeleCenter back office.

Step 2

Choose your business schedule. If you want your customers to hear the same greeting no matter what day or time they call, you can leave the setting at the 24/7 default.

If you want the system to play a different greeting when your business is closed, set ‘My Business is Open 24/7’ to No and select the days and times your business is open.

Step 3

You can create your own greeting using any of the options provided: record on the phone, upload WAV/MP3 file, record with Mic or Voice Studio.

The Record on the phone option will display a list of instructions that you have to follow to record your greeting on the phone.

You can upload a pre-recorded MP3 or WAV file. Click the Upload WAV/MP3 File tab. A list of instructions will display to help you upload your file.

You can also record your message using a microphone attached to your computer. Click the Record with Mic tab. Due to background noise, we do not recommend using your computer’s internal microphone.

Alternatively, you can also use Voice Studio to professionally record your greetings. Click the Voice Studio tab. Instructions will guide you through placing an order for a professionally recorded greeting.

Don’t miss calls just because nobody is available to answer the call. Create your after-hours greeting and keep your customers updated.

 

What more can you do to keep your customers updated? Tell us on Facebook or @Twitter.

How to Create Winning Mobile Content?

According to Bluetrain mobile, by 2014 50% of website traffic is expected to come using mobile. Google also predicted this year that mobile use will surpass desktop use within 3 years. The rise of mobile workers is also actively contributing to the rise of traffic using mobile phones.  The increased use of smart phone is also related to this trend. Toll free numbers and virtual phone systems are also actively encouraging the use of smart phones and cell phones for business. Both toll free numbers and virtual phones can be used with smart phones to leverage business benefits.  Hence it is important to create a content strategy that is compatible with mobile phones.

Different Customer Behavior

On a closer look, it can be easily concluded, that a mobile phone is no longer limited to being a communication device. It is in fact, a combination of many devices. For the success of your business, it is important that your content looks great across different brands of tablets and smart phones. When designing the content for mobile phones, it is important that you consider the behavior of the users. Unlike a desktop or laptop user, a mobile phone user will never spend a long time on a website. So a mobile website should be very attractive and information should be available easily.

Adopting a Strategy

Small and mid-sized businesses that are using toll free numbers and virtual phone systems with their smart phones do not have a long time to spend searching for a piece of information on their smart phone. Important information should be placed in places that attract attention easily. Use larger font size and color that stands out to attract attention easily.

There’s also no place for long, elaborate content in a mobile friendly website. Remember, entrepreneurs seldom use their smart phone for reading purposes.  A good mobile-friendly website should also provide location based content.

A mobile friendly website should be easy to navigate. If a user cannot navigate a website easily on his mobile or cannot find information, you will lose customers. You should also have easy navigation to social networking sites. A simple “like” or “share” button can help your content reach millions of users.

The chances of reaching a greater audience are higher using mobile content. But before you actually start developing content especially for mobile phones, it is important to consider mobile content strategy and its differences from a normal desktop content.

 

What more would you like to add to make your mobile content more effective? What is your mobile content strategy? Tell us on Facebook and @Twitter.

3 Important Trends in Digital Marketing

 

One cannot deny the fact that this world is quickly changing to digital. People now prefer to read online using their laptops, desktops or mobile apps; they search for businesses online and also check for products and services online. Businesses need to adapt with this changing market and adjust their marketing strategies; otherwise they have a chance of getting neglected, overruled, lost and ultimately perishing.

Digital marketing is the latest trend in marketing. It is regarded as one of the best forms of marketing today. Digital communications are faster and more streamlined and hence can deliver the right message to your customers and prospects faster. The internet, of course, plays the most important role in digital marketing but there are others as well. Today we will try to understand some of those trends to understand how they work.

Assimilation and Differentiation

Assimilation and differentiation – these are the two most important trends in digital marketing that one should be very careful about. Though the internet plays the most important role in digital marketing, it is not the only player. There is other electronic media including television and radio. While determining your target audience you should assimilate figures from all these sources. According to the Edison report, there are 256 million users on TV, 243 million on radio, 177 million connected via Wi-Fi and 139 million via smart phones.

For success, you need to distribute content across all these platforms. But you need to adopt a different content marketing strategy for each of the platforms.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is very important for successful digital marketing. Content marketing is quite different from copywriting. It is also different from writing ad copy. Content marketing is creating informative content that can be shared online and also on social sites to educate visitors about a product or a service, its features, its USP and also direct visitors to the right place where they can make a purchase. Good content marketing should also cater to the standards of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and SMO (Social Media Optimization). In digital marketing, content marketing is even more important than advertising.

Smart Phone Users Need Special Attention

According to Nielsen, almost half (49.7%) of US mobile subscribers own a smart phone, as of February 2012. A report by eMarketer shows a mobile-friendly website increases the chance of buying by 67%. The same report also states a shift from desktop to smart phones in content consumption and commerce. This is proof enough to show that marketers need to adapt a mobile-first strategy. To optimize sales, your website must be mobile-friendly.

 

What would you add as the fourth trend in digital marketing?  We would love to hear back from you @Facebook and Twitter.

Feature Thursday: How to Record Unavailable Message for your Customers and Prospects

You might not be available 24/7 to answer your customers and prospects.  Record an unavailable message on your virtual phone system requesting customers and prospects to leave a message or their contact information in your voicemail box.  iTeleCenter subscribers can record their own greetings or can take advantage of our special Voice Studio to have their greetings professionally recorded for a small fee.

How to record your iTeleCenter unavailable greeting:

Note: Please disregard the optional Introduction and Closing greetings unless you have a specific need for them. These are typically used along with a main standard greeting that contains testimonials or other recorded information that requires an introduction and/or afterword.

Step 1

Select the Unavailable option from Greetings tab in the iTeleCenter back office.

Step 2

Select how you want to create your unavailable greeting

You can create your own greeting using any of the options provided: record on the phone, upload WAV/MP3 file, record with Mic and Voice Studio.

 

 

Record on the phone

This option displays a step-by-step list of instructions to follow to record your greeting on the phone.

Upload WAV/MP3

You can upload an existing MP3 file or a .WAV file. Click Upload WAV/MP3 File. A list of instructions will display to help you upload your file.

Record with Mic

You can record your message using your computer’s internal microphone, but due to excessive noise, we recommend using an external microphone. A set of instructions will guide through recording your greeting.

Voice Studio     

Alternately, you can use our Voice Studio to have your greetings professionally recorded for a small fee. You can select from a variety of male and female voices. Simply type (or copy/paste) the content for your greeting and add any special instructions. You will be charged for your order and the greeting will be available on your number within a couple of days.

The unavailable greetings let you stay connected with your customers even when you are not able to answer their calls. How else can you maintain constant connectivity with customers and prospects? Share with us on Facebook and @Twitter.

Keep following us every Thursday to learn more about other iTeleCenter features.

Feature Thursday: How to Record a Greeting to Make Your Business Look Bigger and More Professional

When someone calls your iTeleCenter number, the caller will first interact with the auto attendant. It is crucial to make the auto attendant’s greeting and instructions sound clear, professional and smart. The first thing they will hear is your custom greeting once you’ve set it up. The auto attendant either connects your customer to the right person or department or forwards the call to a voicemail box. In other words, the auto attendant manages your business calls while making your company look big and professional!

The auto attendant can greet callers with your standard greeting during business hours, your after-hours greeting during off hours, or your unavailable greeting when you are unable to pick up a call. iTeleCenter subscribers can record their own greetings or can take advantage of our special Voice Studio to have their greetings professionally recorded for a small fee.

How to record your iTeleCenter greeting:

Note: Please disregard the optional Introduction and Closing greetings unless you have a specific need for them. These are typically used along with a main standard greeting that contains testimonials or other recorded information that requires an introduction and/or afterword.

Step 1

Select the Standard option from Greetings tab in the iTeleCenter back office.

 

Step 2

Select how you want to create your Greeting.

You can create your own greeting using any of the options provided: record on the phone, upload WAV/MP3 file, record with Mic, Voice Studio or you can assign a greeting from another account.

 

Record on the phone

This option displays a step-by-step list of instructions to follow to record your greeting on the phone.

 

Upload WAV/MP3

You can upload an existing MP3 file or a .WAV file. Click Upload WAV/MP3 File. A list of instructions will display to help you upload your file.

  

Record With Mic

You can record your message using your computer’s internal microphone, but due to excessive noise, we recommend using an external microphone. A set of instructions will guide through recording your greeting.

 

Voice Studio     

Alternately, you can use our Voice Studio to have your greetings professionally recorded for a small fee. You can select from a variety of male and female voices. Simply type (or copy/paste) the content for your greeting and add any special instructions. You will be charged for your order and the greeting will be available on your number within a couple of days.

 

Assign a Greeting

iTeleCenter also allows you to assign a greeting from another iTeleCenter subscriber’s number.  This option is typically used when a company wants one branded greeting for all of its associates but prefers for them to each have their own number.  To use this feature:

 

Enter the iTeleCenter number for the Greeting you want to use.

 

Sounding smart and professional is easy. What more have you done to make your business sound more professional? Let us know on Facebook and @Twitter.

Keep following us every Thursday to learn more about other iTeleCenter features.

855 Numbers are your New Business Partners

It’s been over three decades since toll free numbers became a staple for all businesses – especially small and medium sized businesses and home based businesses.  Toll free numbers are not only an important communication device, but also play a significant role in marketing, branding and sales. With the rise in demand for these numbers, the existing stock of toll free prefixes was almost depleted when the FCC released 855 numbers to replenish the stock.

Works like Any Other Toll Free Number

The FCC released its new stock of 855 numbers in October 2010. It quickly became a coveted possession for those businesses that were looking for its own customized toll free numbers and vanity numbers. The “855” toll free prefix has the same benefits of a normal 800 toll free number. Like any other toll free prefix, it also allows customers and prospects from across the US and Canada to call a business for free.

Other than the prefix, there’s technically no difference between an 855 number, an 800 number or other toll free numbers. These numbers also act as an effective communication tool helping customers across the country reach companies and their customer service departments at no charge. In other words, it helps to develop a national presence for any business.

Offers Business Class Phone Features

When used with a virtual phone system, it helps a company leverage all of the benefits of a business class phone system along with a business phone number. The auto attendant answers phone calls, forwards calls and guides callers to leave voicemail in the voicemail box when a call cannot be answered. A virtual phone system can be used to send and receive fax and can have multiple extensions thereby making a business look bigger and more professional.

Custom 855 numbers or vanity numbers can help marketing campaigns be more successful. 855 vanity numbers can generate more response than any simple numeric phone number.

Here are some of the salient features of 855 numbers used with a virtual phone system:

  • Multiple extensions – can be assigned to employees or departments
  • Voicemail and voicemail box for every extension
  • Auto attendant
  • Customized vanity numbers and sequential numbers may be available

 

Are you still looking for toll free numbers for your business? Try using 855 numbers and let us know on Facebook and @Twitter how they work for you.

Feature Thursday: Create Multiple Extensions to Make Your Business Look Bigger and Professional

You may have a small business operating out of the basement of your house, but that does not mean you have to sound small. On the contrary, you should sound big and professional to give your business a more credible presence and attract more customers.  It is important to make your business look big because people wish to have business relationships with companies that are big and professional looking.

One of the many ways of giving your callers the impression that they are calling a big organization is to direct calls to the respective department or person, even though you answer all of them yourself. This will create the impression of a big business operating with many employees and departments.

iTeleCenter allows you to create up to 9,999 programmable extensions! You can record your own message for each of these extensions or can also use iTeleCenter’s Voice Studio to create a professional impression.

Here’s what you have to do to set up programmable extensions on iTeleCenter:

Step 1:

Select Extensions from the menu

Step 2:

Click Add New Extension

 

Step 3:

Enter the number in Extension Number field

Step 4:

Select the extension type you want to create from the dropdown list

Step 5:

You can also enter a brief extension description

Step 6:

And finally click Save and your new extension is created!

Why look small? Create separate extensions for every department of your business and start attracting customers today.

You also need to create a greeting that will play when a caller tries to reach you on one of the extensions. We will discuss more about greetings in our future post.

 

What more can you do to make your business look big and credible? Tell us on Facebook and Twitter.

Keep following us on every Thursday to learn more about iTeleCenter features.