Superior audio services since 1986

7 Steps to an Effective Message On Hold Script

What kind of responses and results are you getting from your Messages-on-Hold?  Want to make sure you’re getting your most vital points across to callers?  Effective copywriting is key and it takes the right approach to make sure people are listening.  Advertising written for the ear is much different than most other forms of copywriting, especially when that completed copy plays on-hold.


Whether your hold time is 15 seconds or 3 minutes, there are some crucial elements to consider if you want to grab caller attention and make sure your message stays with them.  Most media is geared for the eye in print advertising from phone books and billboards to TV and websites.  The major difference?  The human eye can absorb images and words easier than the ear.  If you read “0% financing for 36 months on select 2013 models,” your eyes can review that phrase multiple times in just a few seconds.  But to the ear?  That same phrase is heard and absorbed the first time or else it follows the proverbial path: “in one ear and out the other.”


Of course, with Illinois Audio Productions (IAP) handling your scriptwriting, you have a great deal of capable experience available, well-versed at copy development specifically for the ear.  But it is important for end-users to know the most effective ways to grab a caller’s attention so we’re all on the same page when it comes to expressing the day’s most pertinent points in a concise but interesting way.  We can take vital details about you and create the copy, or you’re welcome to supply your own.  Either way, here are a few things to keep in mind to make those messages stick!


1-   Avoid the laundry list!  Detailing a string of products can be a primary example of the difference between visual and audible copy.  It might look fine in print, but to callers-on-hold, nothing makes them tune out faster and absorb less.  Instead of trying to relay everything you have to offer, try focusing on just one or two items and make key points memorable.  If you have a lot to say, it’s better to update your productions more frequently rather than trying to cram every detail in an overly worded screenplay.


2-   Be concise.  When reviewing your Messages-on-Hold script, keep in mind that the messages play in a loop and where callers land on the merry-go-round is pretty arbitrary.  Since it’s hard to determine exactly where a caller might land once that script is produced and playing on-hold, it’s crucial that no time is wasted.  If there are words not entirely necessary to convey a thought, leave ‘em out!  They just take up space, whether in audio form or on the script.


3-   Avoid numbers and lengthy directions.  Another area where print copy can become muddled in audio form.  Expecting callers to remember extraneous numbers or a long list of directions to your facility is a tall task.  A common mistake is including phone numbers.  First, they force listeners to try and memorize digits and potentially distract them from the rest of your message.  Second, they’ve already called, right?  Lengthy directions that involve more than a couple of turns and/or street names have the same effect.


4-   Remember who’s listening.  Are your callers-on-hold engineers and technical personnel?  Retailers?  Medical patients…or other physicians/ specialists?  Or does your business appeal directly to buying customers?  This may seem academic, but JUST IN CASE you’re not sure, it is worth checking into.  Messages-on-Hold are especially effective when written for a specific target.  They’ve punched the digits -now you have a captive audience that’s already interested in what you have to offer.  This is the opportunity to seize and take to the next level.


5-   Read your copy aloud!  If you want to make sure your copy SOUNDS right, read it aloud to yourself or maybe a colleague.  If something doesn’t sound right to YOUR ear, chances are it won’t sound right to anyone else, either.


6-   KISS, otherwise known as the “Keep It Simple Stupid” method.  Frankly, a great deal of print copy reads like a contract…way too wordy and not-so-interesting.  Using simple wording and phrasing in audio copy doesn’t mean your prospects and customers aren’t intelligent, and it’s by no means insulting.  It can still be colorful and enticing…it just doesn’t need to be over-explained.


7-   Taming the on-hold beast!  No matter what, never forget that your messages-on-hold script will be heard by the very people who can help your operation succeed – or falter.  Plus, they’re on-hold and quite possibly anxious to not be.  So courtesy is important!


IAP is here to help with your wording and we’ll gladly take the ball and run if you want to minimize your involvement.  No problem!  But we do welcome your input on the creativity side and will work as closely with you as you’d like.  Hope these tidbits help…now let’s get to work and make your MOH an integral part of your marketing efforts!