Virtual Local Presence with VoIP or SIP

Chances are, if you’re like most business owners or managers, you’d love to get a better return on your investment for your advertising and marketing dollars.  For example, if you place an ad in a newspaper or on television, a few extra responses can significantly improve your sales.

As you’ve heard me say before, “there is a telecom solution for every problem.”  This is no different!

Converting voice services to VoIP or SIP can allow you to expand your geographic footprint virtually.  No “bricks and mortar” required.

Sure, this has been done in the past with a local phone number in a market where you’d like to have a presence.  The telephone company configures the number with remote call forwarding so that all calls ring to a number that is answered by the appropriate department.  The problem is – every one of those calls incurs long distance charges.

Not so in the world of VoIP or SIP.

With the right telecommunications company as your “partner”, you can establish a local number in just about any location – in the world!  And, the calls that come into that number will ring into your telephone system just like all the other local calls you receive.  No long distance charges!

It has been proven that advertising is more effective when it’s localized.  So, if you’re based in Atlanta (or any other city for that matter), but advertise in markets far and wide, you can advertise a local number for people to call.

This goes beyond the convenience of eliminating long distance charges for the caller – that can be accomplished with an 800 number.  Rather, it’s a psychological advantage.  People are much more likely to do business with a company that is perceived to be “right down the street”.  And, while we know perception is not necessarily reality, it can be used to our advantage.

Now, there is a bit of additional management required.  You will have to design your advertising to easily allow the phone number to be changed.  And, the person in charge of coordinating this effort will need to be “on their toes”.  While putting a local number into an ad that you’re running will likely increase response rates, accidentally running an ad that includes a phone number that requires a long distance call will do just the opposite.

A couple of other things to consider –

You may want to publish a local number along with an 800 number.  Yes, it would be nice to eliminate your long distance charges, but your main objective is to improve response rates.  Since many areas have access to media that is not local, you want to make sure everyone has a way to easily respond.  While someone may see that your local number has a NPA/NXX (the first 6 digits of your phone number) that they recognize, it may still be a long distance call for them.  The 800 number eliminates this problem.

If you’re spending money on advertising, what would a small increase in your response rates do to your sales?  The answer to this question is likely to have you using local virtual numbers soon!

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