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Business Communications: It's a Numbers Game

What's in a business phone number?

Do you want a local phone number because you reach out and touch your local community? How about a national presence that invites toll-free callers? Of course, there's always getting the easy-to-remember phone number such as 1-800-GOT-JUNK? You may be surprised, but there's a science behind choosing the right business phone number.



Learning Series: Small Business Communication



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Call Me Local, Toll-Free, or Memorable

There are many different factors to consider when starting a business. One of the most important - yet often overlooked - is how easy you make it for your customers to contact you. This includes choosing a business name they can remember, setting up a web presence that's engaging, and choosing the right phone number. Think about it. Unless you're the type of business that discourages contact from the outside world (that would be the spy business), you want customers to call you.

Calling you requires a phone and a phone number. With a virtual phone system, your phone can be your cell phone, your home phone, your computer, and - at different times - a combination of all three. As for your phone number, it can be a local number, an 800 number and even a vanity number. So what number would work best for your business?

  • Call Me Locally | People support local businesses. "Buy local" is a huge trend across America. If your target market includes selling products and services throughout your local community, a local phone numberis a good way to get found in the local directory. It's also a way to promote that you operate locally by advertising your number in different media venues that serve your community.
  • Pick a Number and Call Me | Would you like to track communications by having multiple different numbers to represent multiple different sales divisions or business focuses? Multiple local numbers also offer a multi-community appearance.
  • Call Me Toll-Free | An 800 number, or 888, 877, 866, 855, and the new 844, tells your target audience that your geographic reach is big and you invite callers to call free of charge. Prior to unlimited long distance cell phone and home phone plans, toll free calling offered a nice incentive. Today, it's more about customer service and access to help lines, as well as creating a memorable vanity number.
  • Call Me Memorable | Want a number people can easily remember and pass on to friends? Get a vanity number. Come up with something catchy that relates to and/or promotes your business. Pick something easily recognizable and that will be associated with your business. For example, if you run a dog walking business, something like 855-DOG-WALK may be a good choice. Vanity numbers are also good for driving increased call volumes and sales conversions.
  • Call Me as You Always Have | Already have an established business and want to keep your number? No problem. A virtual phone service makes number portability easy for both toll-free or local numbers. Benefits include keeping a number that customers already know and not having to change your business stationery, marketing collateral, and advertising campaigns.
Why should you care?

There are pros and cons to choosing between a local number and a toll free number. One of the main factors is knowing who your target audience is and making it as convenient as possible for them to call you. Your business phone number is an integral component of your overall image. You want to promote something professional, not something kluged together at the kitchen table. An 800 number, particular a vanity number, can go a long way toward enhancing your brand, your image, and your name recognition.

Did you know?

...that Grasshopper specializes in helping start-ups, micro- and small businesses to communicate professionally and stay connected? By leveraging the power of the cloud for your business phone system, you can choose 800 numbers, local numbers, or keep your current phone number. Grasshopper is so committed to helping small businesses to succeed that they even have Webpreneur Awards to recognize successful start-ups. There's even a scholarship for college students starting their entrepreneurial journey."



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Other Small Business Learning Topics:
Stay Connected | Going Virtual | Go Where Your Business Grows | Think BIG, Sound BIG | It's a Numbers Game

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Note: This information has been compiled by the Knowledge Institute for Small Business Development (KISBD) for educational purposes only in order to convey a general overview of the options and related services available to small businesses in the subject areas introduced. Content is provided on an "as is" basis and is not intended to be an exhaustive representation, nor does it provide advice or create a customer relationship between KISBD and its sponsors, buzgate.org, its affiliates and any other organization named herein, and any reader.

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