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By John Wechsler

Business owners and managers are always on the look-out for marketing strategies that will provide a solid return on investment. In recent years, the Internet has been the focus of most new strategies, with email marketing, banner advertising and search engine marketing becoming an important part of most marketing mixes.

However, a traditional marketing tactic—voice messaging—is gaining renewed attention, but with a fresh twist. Unlike unwanted telemarketing calls, companies today offer “permission-based voice messaging,” in which voice messages are sent only to customers and prospects who have asked to receive them.

Circle City Tickets, an Indianapolis-based ticket broker, recently started using permission-based voice messaging to sell last minute tickets to upcoming concerts and sporting events. Circle City buys blocks of tickets for events and resells them to a base of customers that exceeds 60,000.

For a recent Jimmy Buffett concert, CCT bought a block of 42 tickets at a discounted price, but only had two days to sell the tickets before the concert took place. Typically, CCT would search their customer database for previous purchasers of Jimmy Buffett tickets, send a direct mail piece to those customers then wait for orders to come in by phone.

Without the lead time to do a direct mail piece, CCT opted instead to record a call promoting the tickets and send the call to their customers. Within minutes the phone started ringing, and within an hour, the tickets were sold out. According to CCT President Mike Peduto, the calls produced a profit of $1,056 for an investment of just $75.

Permission-based voice mail is attractive to organizations for a number of reasons:

• It’s cheaper than direct mail. Direct mail costs include design, printing and postage, and can range from 50 cents to $1 or more per piece. A permission-based voice message call costs about 10 cents per minute.

• Voice messages are more timely than other types of communication. A permission-based voice message can be recorded and sent within minutes, once a database of recipients has been uploaded. Email is quick, however, not everyone has immediate access to email but most have access to a phone.

• Voice can convey emotion. No other marketing medium can convey emotion, energy, empathy, enthusiasm and urgency like voice.

What To Look For In A Voice Messaging Service

If you are considering adding voice messaging to your marketing mix, there are a few things to look for when choosing a voice messaging provider:

• Permission-based: Make sure that the provider requires “opt-in registration,” which ensures that recipients have an established relationship with your organization and satisfies regulatory and compliance restrictions.

• “Opt-out” enabled: Consumers want control of the messages they receive. Make sure that they are given the opportunity to opt-out of future message delivery.

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