If you’ve never heard of virtual numbers, you’re probably missing out on THE most important element of Internet marketing for small businesses.
They’re local or toll-free phone numbers, separate from your main business line, used for special purposes such as setting up special sales campaigns. Larger companies have long employed them successfully in their marketing efforts, often paying through the nose to do so.
Today, though, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) has slashed the cost of these special numbers—AND cut the time to get them, to almost instantaneous. This has made them affordable for small, medium and even micro businesses, and made them a business-on-a-shoestring weapon for guerrilla marketers—essentially a poor man’s alternative to fancy, expensive online marketing programs.
For example, let’s look at Google AdWords—which provides a well-known way to buy exposure. But let’s say you run a great campaign, and lots of people clicked on your ads. That’s success, right?
What to Do When Nothing Happens
But after potential customers click on your ad and go to your website, what happens next? Most of the time: nothing.
So, to recap, you’ve just spent hundreds (or thousands) of dollars, and the only real benefit that you—and most small businesses—get from this expensive exercise is the ability to track which words were the most popular. Now, that is useful information, especially to Google, but it’s not nearly as useful as an actual sale.
Virtual Numbers Put You in Customer Contact
But business VoIP services such as virtual numbers also run over the Internet, and can be used to forward calls to the right people, voicemail boxes, or extensions. Just like Google Adwords, you can use virtual numbers
to track and measure advertisements—with one major difference: When virtual numbers work, you actually talk to someone on the phone, and the sales process can really begin. I’m sure you’ll agree that’s worth a lot more than a simple “impression” on your web page.