Here are some recommended services and advanced testimonial-gathering strategies to help you set up a toll-free audio line for just a few dollars a month.
Audio Resources for Your Site
Audio Acrobat is a one-stop shop for making your website talk, sing, and boogie. It includes several easy ways to get your audios recorded and distributed.
Telephone – Direct Dial: Just dial the phone number, choose your extension and start talking. You can set up unlimited guest lines so your customers can give testimonials, your prospects can ask questions, and your mother can tell the world how wonderful you are (except for that time you left her at the restaurant by mistake).
- Telephone – Conferencing: Record conversations or 100-line teleseminars by using 3-way calling and patching together the lines. Excellent sound quality, much better than recording at just one end of the call because the voice volumes are more or less equalized.
- Your Computer: Plug in a microphone or use the built-in mic and record right off the web.
- File uploads: If you have an audio file in .mp3 or .wav format (two of the most common), you can upload it via a web form.
- Professional Voice Talent: choose a pro whose voice you like and send in your script.
Once uploaded, the audios can be shared with your website visitors in several ways:
- Streaming: they can listen, but can’t save, download or copy the audio
- Download: they can download the file to their computer or iPod, turn it into a CD, and use it for a coaster – I mean, share it with their friends and family.
- Email Popup: embed code in your HTML email or just include a short link in your text email.
Here’s a video tutorial on using Audio Acrobat.
This free service turns your phone or cellphone into a web-enabled dictaphone. Set up your account and you can send email notes to yourself by speaking and letting Jott transcribe them. You can also blog directly if you use WordPress, Blogger, or Moveable Type blogging platforms.
Audio Editing Software
For PC: Sony Soundforge Audio Studio makes creating and editing audios easier than word processing. Powerful functions you’ll never use will tempt you to turn into an audio engineer. It can handle a wide variety of audio file types.
For Mac: Fission, from the wonderfully named company Rogue Amoeba, does a few things very well. Luckily, these are the only things you’ll probably ever need to do with audio: cut, fade, and divide into tracks and files. Since it handles just a few audio file types, you’ll want to supplement it with Switch Sound File Converter for Mac.
I’m not totally up on all this stuff, so let me know if you’ve found something easier/better/cheaper.
Olympus DM-20 Voice Recorder
This has been my workhorse for a few years. It’s small, so it fits in a suit pocket when I want to use a lav mic and record a public talk. I set in on the table with no external mic if I want to record a lunch conversation. My friend Greg-Lynn Weaver of the PeaceWeavers uses his to record medtation CDs and spiritual talks. It’s getting hard to find, so if you can’t locate one, see what’s replaced it at Olympus or try this…
Sanyo ICR S700RM Voice Recorder
This goody, recommended to me by Perry Marshall, has two advantages over the Olympus. First, it records directly into mp3 format, which makes uploading and editing much quicker. Second, it has a USB doohickey built right in, so you don’t need cables to connect it to your computer. Google it to find a good deal.
This inexpensive little device splits your phone’s handset line in two, and provides an 1/8″ jack that feeds right into whatever you’re using to record – one of the voice recorders I just mentioned, your computer, a Tandy cassette recorder from the late 1970s, whatever. Google it to buy.
The Internet Audio Guy’s Teleseminar Packages
Mike Stewart, whom you meet in Chapter 17, has made a living turning spoken word and music into money. He’s a marketer, a nice guy, and a audio-genius. He’s actually the first person who publicly stated that it was possible to stream audio-only through a flash video player, thus making streaming audio a reality on the web. When (not if) you realize that you should be conducting teleseminars as part of your business, you may want a high-qualilty (think radio talk show) sound. To achieve that, you need the right equipment.
I don’t know what that equipment is, but Mike does. Check out his gear here.
How to Get Great Testimonials – 4 tips
1. Ask for them. When you get a compliment, your knee-jerk reaction should be, “Can I quote you on that?”
2. Make it easy for busy people to give you testimonials. Give them an audioacrobat phone number, and tell them you’ll transcribe it and edit it and show it to them for their approval.
3. Give clear instructions. If you want name and city, say so. Tell people what to talk about, and who to talk to. I like to tell my testimonial givers to talk to someone on the fence about purchasing: “If you were standing in the bookstore next to someone holding a copy of AdWords For Dummies and coudn’t decide whether to buy it or not, what would you say to them?”
4. Systematize testimonial collection. If part of your product or service always meets with delight, include a request for testimonial at that stage. I offer a 15-minute “surprise” consultation to people who buy my Leads into Gold direct marketing home-study course. I schedule 30 minutes in my calendar, and frequently give all 30 minutes. At the end, I ask if this has been helpful. When the customer says yes, I launch into my request for testimonial. Figure out how to turn testimonial collection into a repeatable, predictable part of your business operations.