Customers frequently ask us about best practices for voicemail messages and some best practices are consistent whether voicemail is being used for sales or marketing purposes. Creating a message that sounds like it is only for one person is a consistently critical best practice, as is keeping messages close to 30 seconds long and keeping your content focused on your customer.
Even though sales and marketing voicemails can often have very different goals they both share an extremely important element that, in our opinion should never be skipped. Every message needs a call to action.
Without a call to action there is no way to measure the effectiveness of your program. Marketing programs and sales initiatives that can’t demonstrate a measureable ROI are a great way to get your budgets (and maybe department) slashed in the next round of cuts.
What has changed in the last several years are the types of call to action that are most often used and the number of times it’s necessary to ask for them. Yes, that’s perfectly correct- you have to ask more than once. Just as sales people know that they need to make several (like usually over a dozen) attempts to connect with a contact on the phone, and marketers have always understood the importance of frequency when applied to traditional advertising and media, you need to reinforce your call to action with different multiple requests over time.
Attention spans are fleeting and priorities are a moving target so a situation or a benefit that might not be compelling enough to drive a prospect to your landing page today, could easily motivate them in a month or two. it all depends on what situations they are working with at the time. And even the offer of benefit that would be immediately valuable might not be enough to motivate immediate action if other priorities push your message out of mind.
Make your call to action, fast, simple and easy to execute and rewarding. Think about your call to action on two different levels. Level one is what you want your contacts to actually do. How easy will it be? How much time will it take? What’s the potential downside of the action? (I really hate to point this out, but one of the biggest downsides in responding to a sales or marketing CTA is the possibility that a sales person will start to take up your limited time.) Level two, is the reward for taking the action. Unless it’s clearly evident that the reward exceeds the time and work, you won’t get a response.
Don’t ask for more than you need at any one time. Take sales cold calls as an example of what not to do. Every sales rep seems to ask for an immediate call back, to the point that I don’t know if anyone even hears the request anymore. What’s worse, is that too many sales callers use “phone me” as their only call to action, usually without giving their contact anything even remotely close to a compelling reason or warm up that justifies a major action step. And they wonder why no one ever seems to call them back. It would be far more effective to provide a super-easy to remember online resource and push contacts to have a look. The trend lately is for buyers to try and self-source as much information as possible before they engage with sales. So, if contacts don’t want to talk with sales (yet), you can find another way to engage them and influence the material they’re looking at. A patient sales person can circle back to the visitors later, armed with the knowledge that whatever they offered was compelling enough to deliver that first call to action.
The next time you find yourself crafting a voicemail message for a prospect or customer (or stranger), don’t waste your time -and theirs- with any pointless banter. Use your very precious 30 seconds to “sell” them on the right call to action.