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Web Audio: Powerful Weapon, Use with Caution

Have you noticed lately how many entrepreneurs are using audio clips on their websites to accentuate their message? It can be a low-cost way to spice up your existing content because it allows you to:

  • Personalize your message by putting a human touch on it.
  • Draw attention by appealing to the ears in an environment that is mostly visual.
  • Highlight features or benefits that you want to emphasize.
  • Offer valuable information that can attract new and repeat traffic to your site.

You'll notice I said audio "can" do all these things. Like everything else, there's a right way and a wrong way to use it. So by all means, take advantage of everything web audio can do for you and do it now, while it's still a fresh new thing... but use it wisely.

Wrong Way:

Just open the microphone and ad lib your message without preparation. One home page welcome message I recently heard was totally unscripted, punctuated with long pauses, frequent "ums", and even a throat clearing. The recording torpedoed every iota of professionalism the rest of the web site was striving to create.

Right Way:

Write a script or hire a professional copywriter to prepare one. Then rehearse it, record several versions and pick the best one.

Wrong Way:

Hire a deep-voiced professional announcer or DJ to voice your message.

Right Way:

Most websites benefit from a more personal, natural approach -- the guy/gal next door kind of voice. Announcers and DJs often come across as slick and pushy. This is where radio and the web differ; web users expect the sites they visit to communicate WITH them, not AT them. As long as you are sincere and rehearsed, you'll be great!

Wrong Way:

Upload the message and forget about it.

Right Way:

If your business appreciates repeat customers, you need to keep it fresh. Change your message regularly. Go beyond a simple sales message and considering using the medium to share useful information about something related to your line of work, say a tutorial.

When you have enough audio files you can compile them into an archive that people will want to refer to and tell others about. Then include this unique feature in your advertising to draw new prospects in.

Finally, don't forget the big finale. Every audio message should wind up with a call to action, just like your web copy does. You've got their attention -- now "bring it on home" with a strong finish!

Discuss this in our Forum

About the Author:

Heather Reimer is a former radio writer/broadcaster who now does search engine copywriting at

Copyright (c) 2004 Heather Reimer

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