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Ready to Start the Campaign?

TMCnews Featured Article

May 15, 2006

Ready to Start the Campaign?

By Special Guest
C. Sorensn, Marketing Manager, OPC-Marketing

Ready to Start the Campaign? The most important skill may just be, relaxing.
Everyone who has ever owned a phone answering machine knows that practice makes perfect. And SpitFire from OPC has built-in tools that make the recording process fairly straight forward and simple. For example, recording your sales message for use with your Predictive Dialer is a lot like doing a PodCast. The difference being that PodCasting is distributed when a user connects with a computer, your message is received whenever someone picks up the telephone.
Predictive Dialer voice broadcasting has been around a lot longer than any PodCast. Your Predictive Dialer will report your call statistics to you. Though your web server may tell you how many people downloaded your PodCast, you’ll never know how many people actually listened to it. Sort of like the sign at Mickey D’s--- "18 Billion served"-- but how many were actually eaten?
If you’re using OPC’s SpitFire Predictive Dialer, it has ListMaker’s built-in recording software code “WaveMaker” or if you prefer another type of high-end sound recording software, you may use SoundForge either way the basics will still be the same. You will record a message then move it into the Predictive Dialer.
A microphone is the very first device in the recording or sound reinforcement chain.
Its role in the capture of real-world, acoustic sounds are critical - without a properly placed and suitably chosen mic, no amount of professional equipment hanging off the back of it can improve an inadequate sound file. It is also important to remember that microphone design approaches vary widely, so the sound produced can also vary.
Purchase a microphone suited to the type of recording you will be doing, or get a combination microphone headset probably worn by agents in your call center.
Polar response patterns, a microphone's sensitivity to sound approaching the microphone from various angles, varies as well-- so selection and placement of a microphone for the desired sound becomes both an art and a technical exercise.
And don’t forget to add a good quality microphone stand, one that won’t shake and transfer noise through the stand from your desk--Best to talk to your musician friends for advice on a microphone or see if you can pick somebody’s brain at the local guitar shop or Starbuck’s for a solution.
It doesn’t have to be expensive to sound great. So before purchasing a microphone it is worth trying out several types.
A mic that makes one agent sound great can make another flat, distorted and in a tunnel, it can also be due to the microphone response. Most music stores carry several microphones to cater to all types of voices and room types' asking for advice may solve a few clarity problems and even provide an opportunity to try some out.
The local electronics chain may have a few, but they are usually in plastic formed containers and you may have to settle for one or go back and forth until you find a good one---Stay away from the $5 special, when dialing thousands of numbers.
Make sure the microphone has a durable Gold Plated 1/8 inch (3.5 mm) mini-stereo plug; this will make it easy to connect to SpitFire’s sound card. USB microphone headsets are also compatible with SpitFire.
You don’t need a $40,000 sound recording setup; SpitFire uses the most basic .wav file format, one that’s been around for some time.
The most important objective of your sound recording process is 'you'.
If you are selling to someone in California, do a little research on the type of vocabulary and accents being used there. Calling people within your own community is the best place to start. There is nothing worse than a robotic coined pitch, you should record as though you’re talking to your best friend, that sincerity will shine through and you will notice much higher response rates.
Observe TV Commercials, take notes, fire up the TiVo or the old VHS player and record a few commercials to see how others produce their audio. Make a few different versions of your message; test it out on co-workers, the spouse and the neighbors. There is no right or no wrong way to do it. I use a personal handheld recorder to take notes with, when ever I’m somewhere and hear a great audio recording of a sales message I whip out the recorder and take audio notes, or dictate my thoughts into it.
Some models of the Apple (News - Alert) iPod allow you to attach a microphone to the top and do voice notes or interviews like Griffin's iTalk iPod Voice Recorder. In my opinon it’s ok as a note taker, background noise could be less but some people are getting by with it doing podcasts.
Soon you will become addicted to doing your own recordings.
Save some of those great email sales messages you get online and use it for ideas on how to improve your sales message.
There will never be any perfect place to do the recordings, just software to help you correct it. When ever you are going to record make sure you can keep distracting ambient noise from affecting your recordings. SoundForge does an excellent job by having many tools to clean out the background noises like air conditioners, heaters, phones ringing and doors opening.
Test your campaigns messages by having SpitFire practice call your own numbers both on your regular land lines and cell phones. You may need to adjust your recording by using a technique called “Normalization”. This smoothes out the loudest and the softest parts of the recording so that when it’s broadcasted through the telephone line there is little or no distortion. Otherwise it may sound a little like its coming out of a can. You’ll know what to do once you practice a few times.
Sound recording programs allow you to cut and paste wave files together. You may need to record just one sentence at a time. It maybe easier to breathe, swallow and get ready to pronounce the next sentence using this method. Once you have assembled the individual recordings make sure you use your pro software to clip the sentences with no long gaps in between them. Also, you can adjust the sound to zero volume at the beginning and end making it easier to assemble, no one will know but you that you recorded the sentences separately.
If you’re too chicken to do the recording yourself, get someone else to do it. You may also do a formal written script for your voice over actor, or just jot some notes down and have him or her ad-lib it.
The great thing about software like WaveMaker is just have fun with it, take as many takes as needed to get it right. Save as many as you need-- cut out the bad stuff-- lower the volume on fumbles, and then test out the campaign. The best campaigns will sound like your best friend is leaving you a friendly warm message.
You will need to produce several other messages besides the main campaign one. Luckily most of these other recordings can be reused over for other Campaigns in the future.
Ready to Start the Campaign? Remember the most important skill may just be, relaxing.
If you have ever owned a phone answering machine you know that practice makes perfect when making a sound recording. I doubt anyone has ever got a perfect recording on the first try.
SpitFire's built-in tools make the recording process fairly straight forward and simple. The WaveMaker Software package includes software that makes it simple to record and edit basic audio content, then save it to .wav files for loading into your Predictive Dialer or AutoDialer.
OPC-Marketing also has professional in house recording and scripting. You may want to hire a professional voice talent to get started. This way you’ll see the length of the messages, the number of messages for a campaign, the type of Voice used and inflections (alterations in pitch or tone of the voice).
Lastly, relax and talk to me like I’m your best friend.

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