Do you think about sound much? If you love your music you certainly do but when it comes to running your business is it the first thing on your mind? Chances are it’s not going to be a priority; unless you are a DJ or running a new music label, but I think it should be. Let me explain.

How you and your business sounds impacts your bottom line. How people answer the phone in your business matters, the sound and tone of the voice on hold matters or your automated phone system counts, the voice overs on your videos makes a difference. It is really an expression of your business and in terms of your brand, which is certainly something you care about. But as a small business how do you ensure you sound your best?

Let’s start with your customers, existing and target. Think about the role that voice plays in interacting with them, be it your receptionist, answering service, the assets on your website, how you train your employees to speak when dealing with customers. You know what you want them to say and how they should say it; be it caring, efficient, familiar, probing. And from your own experiences you also know of many a bad experience where an unfriendly voice made you decide to take your custom elsewhere.

With that in mind, the next task is to make a list of the items that are going to require a voice for; an explainer video, automated phone response, an e-book, a PowerPoint for potential clients etc. Next you need to think about what sort of emotions and languages you need, if you are selling globally or even regionally accents matter so that needs to be on the check list. Once you have that clear the next thing is to look at is the wording and draft a script.

I appreciate while the above summarise neatly into a few lines the time and ease to do it gets longer as we go down the list but as the old adage goes ‘do it right or don’t do it at all’. As you know many a business flounders on poor execution and yes we all know you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.

But what do you do if you want to produce a voice over for an ebook but don’t have a massive budget or six months to plan it? I run a voice over portal company and I help businesses of all sizes to find the right voice for adverts, videos, ebooks and presentations so posting a job is quick and simple.

Today technology has transformed this process in ways which are almost unimaginable. Ten years ago to record a three minute voice over in two languages using a studio and agency would have cost you north of £3000 and taken weeks; today you are looking at £500 in two days from drafting the job to receiving the completed sound file.

If you are working with an external marketing resource do make sure that you ask them to look at voice portal tools and keep an eye out on the costs of producing these assets. The beauty of these tools is that pricing is normally very clear and they have been designed with ease of use in mind.

When looking at the effectiveness of voice in your marketing it’s a bit of an open ended issue. As by now you have gathered voice is an essential element in the marketing assets you are creating so the best way to approach this is to compare specific marketing campaigns that do and don’t use voice. Or better still use the same piece of collateral with voice e.g. a PowerPoint with a voice over and then without and compare what the outcomes are. As the aim of all of your marketing is to drive traffic to your website or generate inbound demand you will quickly be able to build up a picture of how effective voice is.

Ultimately it’s time to start thinking about voice in your marketing be in terms of how you want your brand to be represented, or how you want to engage with your target customers. The tools are out there and the costs are less than you might think. Go ahead and get creative with voice as you will ultimately generate increasing revenues and happier customers a sound that you will definitely like to listen to.

By Armin Hierstetter, founder of bodalgo