The Portland economy, and free advertising on Google Maps

~ This was posted on - November 14, 2010

The Portland Economy: The word on the street:

So, every where I go I’m asking “What’s happening out there?” I got the best insight for longtime friend Jim Southwick, owner of Southwick Specialty Advertising.

“Patrick the promotional service industry is always the first in, and first out. ”

He explained that in the promotional items industry, the Great Recession really hit in early 2008, a few months in advance of the total seizure that we all saw in the last quarter of that year. Although the industry suffered being “first in” the economic downtown, the 2nd half of 2010 has been good all around…. hopefully this means the general uptrend we’re seeing will soon spread to all industries.

For Hold Time, the last two months have been very positive, lagging about three months behind Promotional Items… a good indicator to remember for the next cycle the music on hold industry goes through.  You might ask yourself, what external indicators is your business tied to?

Thanks everyone!

Patrick Bolan

M.A., M.B.A.

Can Customers Find You on Google Maps?

Dear (Contact First Name),

A friend and long-time client at Printsync asked me last week if I had registered my business on Google Maps.  Angela said that in the last six months, Printsync had picked up seven new customers from people searching for printers through Google Maps… and it’s free.  Hey, that’s worth trying!

Registering your business listing with Google Maps:

1.  Shows customers where you are, your phone number, and basic bio.

2.  Increases you web hits (a precious commodity in the marketing world)

3.  Increases your website’s organic ranking on Google.

4.  Let’s customers write reviews about you, which you should not fear if

your business is a good one.

4.  Why pass up free advertising?

keyword:portland music on hold
It’s free advertising, you might as well register!

So I registered two days ago, and Google Analytics tells me that 15 local queries have seen the Hold Time Music listing through this free Google Service.  Free free free!

Click here to get Google Maps registry started for your business.

Vancouver Chamber Promotion – Free set up and Equipment!

Filed under: free hold music,Promotions — admin @ 7:37 am

~ This was posted on - October 1, 2010

We’re a small commercial studio in the Portland – Vancouver area, and we want to make it easy for you to get quality on-hold messaging on your phone system. We’ll be speaking to your best customers… the one’s who are calling you!

For a limited time, Hold Time will waive all setup fees, including equipment and installation charges, for members of the Vancouver Chamber of Commerce that commit our smallest package: a one year subscription with two productions. It runs about $50/mo. Other options are available, from two to twelve changes per year.  Get the deal now, at 503-740-0121, email me at

You don’t have pay for:

- a digital remote-controlled player ($400)

- installation ($125)

- any custom analog adapters for small 2 to 4 line systems ($200-300)

What does this sound like?  Hear lots of samples here!

Don’t have business grade phone system?

No problem, Hold Time uses custom analog units to play messaging on phones that don’t have on-hold messaging capability. They run about $200-$300, depending on your phone system… but for members of the Vancouver Chamber of Commerce – no charge. Read more about these adapters here.

Who else is using Hold Time in the Chamber? Lots!

Battleground Dental

Beacock Music

Clark County Fire District

Cascade Flooring America

Pritchard Orthodontics

Phillips Chiropractic

Pioneer Pest Management

Salmon Creek Oral Surgery and Periodontics

Team Logic IT

And then give Patrick a call so he can see your phone system and a your free custom sample to you! 503-740-0121. Patrick is the owner, and can answer all the questions!

Watch a short video about how it works:

Telephone Hold Music – The Psychological Impact

Filed under: free hold music — admin @ 3:19 pm

~ This was posted on - August 22, 2009

Telephone hold music – We’ve been discussing the importance of appealing to the range of people and personality types calling your business or organization. We’ll now zero in on some of the specific factors that play into your choice of telephone hold music – and its emotional and psychological impact on your callers. This is important for the simple reason that your telephone hold music may actually have an influence on your bottom line!

What criteria should you consider in choosing your telephone hold music? Your own personal preference may or may not be the best point of reference. Of course, you may want to be guided in part by the tastes of your clientele who are calling, however, that may or may not be the best way to pick your on-hold music either. The effects of various types of music, from classical to country to rock to rap, on humans, animals, and even plants have been studied for years and become subjects of popular discussion. While researching for this blog I came across an article (at “Suite101”, a library of online articles on a range of topics) describing one such study in which one group of mice listened to classical music twenty-four hours a day while a second group listened to heavy metal. The researcher then timed the mice as they ran through mazes to see if the music affected their speed of learning. According to the article, the researcher unfortunately had to terminate the experiment prematurely as the mice exposed to the heavy metal music all killed one another. Could there be a lesson here to learn for you in picking your telephone hold music?

Statistically, it appears that music types such as classical, soft jazz, piano, and harp may be the optimum choice for engendering a positive mindset in your callers as they wait on hold. It seems that, as a general rule, the harder-edged the music the more negative the emotional and psychological impact on those exposed to it. (By the way, violent and negative lyrics can also have adverse effects on listeners, and this would tend to compound the problems with music such as hard rock, however, for telephone hold music it is generally better to use instrumental music anyway. More on this topic in a future post.)

Real estate agents are known to employ the positive psychological and emotional affect of the smell of fresh-baked bread or chocolate chip cookies wafting through the air to help create positive feelings about a house they are showing. Perhaps the right choice in your telephone hold music could have a similar impact on your callers’ ears! It may be only a subtle effect, but if it favorably disposes them toward doing business with you, even if only slightly, it would be worth it.

Two Words to the Wise About Free Music On Hold

Filed under: free hold music — admin @ 2:03 pm

~ This was posted on - July 11, 2009

Free Music On Hold”. No, I’m not talking about some kind of civil rights cause. I’m talking about your wise decision to put yourself in your customer’s shoes and to try to enhance their calling and on-hold experiences. A couple of words of caution, however.

First, make sure you cover yourself legally by using only music that you are licensed to use.
Do some web searches for “music on hold copyright”, etc. There are strict laws governing use of virtually any material – music or otherwise – which has been written, recorded, or produced by someone else. These laws are actively enforced, and substantial fines are levied against violators.

Second, if you don’t have the budget for a professionally produced on-hold music and message production, “free” hold music is a good first step, but do your best to make it sound as professional as possible. Find the best quality music you can and play it on the highest quality player that you can afford. Take a hard look at your phone system. Is the sound quality of calls clear – both for callers on hold and when connected to an extension on the phone system (i.e., when talking to someone in your office)? Call in to your business from several different outside telephone numbers and listen to the quality of the sound of the phones when someone answers the call as well as the quality of the on-hold sound. It shouldn’t be noticeably scratchy or “tinny” sounding. It should be reasonably clear and you shouldn’t have to strain to hear. Nothing about the experience should be distracting or annoying. If it is, go through the system piece by piece and identify and upgrade the offending elements. I.e., if there is bad sound quality the problem may be in the music player or in the phone system – or it could be in the phone line or the wiring between the “demarc” (point of demarcation) and your phone system. That is, it could be somewhere between the phone lines out “on the street” and your building or it could be somewhere in the building.

Make the calling and on-hold experience a pleasant one, and make it as easy as possible for your customers to be impressed with your professionalism. Just make sure you cover your legal bases in the process.

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