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Why Phone Leads Are the Most Important Leads for Businesses

If you’re a business owner, you probably spend money on marketing and advertising with the hope that you’ll do more than simply recoup your investment. Your goal is to make more money, after all, not to break even.

If your business is like many other companies, it’s likely that you spend money on print advertisements in publications such as your local newspaper to generate business leads. You might even pay for commercial spots on a local television or radio station to increase sales. You may use out-of-home advertisements like billboards to spread the word about your business as well. You probably also maintain a company website and use social media accounts to promote your business or pay for online ads that target Internet surfers located close to your geographic location.

Regardless of the tactics you use to market your business, you’ll get most of your high-quality leads by phone. You might be wondering why getting business leads by phone is so critical to your business’s success, but recent studies show that incoming calls are more likely to convert to sales than leads generated by any other source, including the Internet.

If you’re curious about why you should strive to get new customers by phone, consider the following statistics that demonstrate why the number of calls being placed to local businesses is expected to increase dramatically in the next few years:

  • From the introduction of the iPhone in 2007 through 2013, the smartphone took over 63 percent of the mobile subscriber market in the United States.
  • In its 2014 report, “Phone Calls Are the New Click: The True SMB Marketing Opportunity,” BIA/Kelsey reported that 25 percent of all Internet searches are conducted from mobile devices such as smartphones. Out of the total number of searches performed on mobile devices, 50 percent of them were conducted by consumers who had “local intent.” This means people who had a need they intended to satisfy close to their current location performed them. By comparison, only 20 percent of web searches conducted on desktop computers are performed by individuals with local intent.
  • According to research reported by Google, 73 percent of Internet searches on mobile devices lead consumers to take additional, proximity-based actions such as calling a business, with 55 percent of these conversions occurring within an hour of a person’s web search.
  • E-commerce is responsible for just 7 percent of retail spending in the United States with the rest generated predominately by sales in retail establishments located within 10-15 miles of a consumer’s home. E-commerce combined with offline retail sales influenced by Internet searches generates around $1.4 trillion in annual revenue.
  • Approximately 55 percent of consumers use their smartphones to find stores.
  • About 40 percent of retail sales are the result of people conducting research online and then purchasing products in brick-and-mortar retail establishments.

Due to the trends mentioned above, BIA/Kelsey predicts that local businesses can expect to field 65 billion telephone calls in 2016 alone. BIA/Kelsey further estimates that the number of calls to local businesses will increase at a 42 percent annual compound growth rate after 2016.

While increased call volume can translate into an increase in high-quality phone leads, figuring out how to get better business leads is easier when you fully understand how your source of leads impacts the likelihood that someone will call your business. Searches performed on mobile devices result in consumers calling a local business 57 percent of the time while only seven percent of Internet searches conducted on desktop computers motivate shoppers to reach out to a business over the phone, for instance. This is because mobile searchers are typically already on the move, they’re generally close to your business, and they’re using a device that was designed to make phone calls on the go.

In order for you to figure out how to get strong business leads, you also have to recognize that not all leads are of the same quality. The conversion rate for people calling a business is between 30-50 percent, for example, while the conversion rate for web leads is only about two percent. Recognizing where you get your highest-quality leads will help you channel your marketing and advertising resources appropriately.

The Benefits of Phone Leads

If you’re wondering how to get high-quality leads, consider the advantages that phone leads provide for your business — as well as consumers — compared to other modes of communication. These inherent advantages include:

  • Direct, Personal Contact: Other than a customer visiting your business location in person, talking on the phone gives you the chance to communicate directly with your clients on the most personal level possible. You can ask and answer questions, listen to their verbal cues such as a change in tone or volume to monitor how they react to what you’re saying, and solicit information from them, including their contact information. Since phone calls are an intimate form of communication that allow you to interact with your consumers, you will establish trust with shoppers faster over the phone than you’d be able to do using other forms of communication besides meeting with them face-to-face.
  • Increased Effectiveness: Inbound phone calls enable you to satisfy your clients’ needs immediately by answering their questions and providing the information they’re looking for. By engaging your customers in verbal conversations instead of communicating with them through contact forms or even live chat on the Internet, you reduce the likelihood that they’ll become distracted and increase the odds that you’ll convert a sale.
  • Reduced Lag Time: Because phone calls give you the opportunity to satisfy a need immediately, your clients don’t have to wait to have their questions answered, which makes it less likely that they’ll take the time to research your competitors. Phone calls also enable you to start interacting with consumers faster, with less lag time between exchanges. For example, shoppers don’t have to wait for a representative to type an answer to a question like they would in live chat and you don’t have to wait for someone to fill out a contact form on your website to start communicating with that person. When you get an inbound phone call, you can take action right then and there.

The Downside of Digital Advertising

In addition to converting leads at a significantly lower rate than inbound phone calls, digital advertising is susceptible to a threat that doesn’t jeopardize the quality of your phone conversations — ad blockers. Ad blockers make it difficult for you to generate sales or leads online, which decreases the effectiveness of your digital advertising campaign as a result.

Ad-blocking software enables consumers to remove advertisements from the websites they visit and prevent companies from monitoring their online activity, simply by downloading a plug-in for their Internet browsers. While a 2015 report compiled by Adobe and PageFair suggests that this type of software impacts gaming, social networking, and other tech-related websites the most, it affects retailers across all industries. Ad-blocking software is becoming increasingly popular and it’s estimated that it accounted for more than $22 billion in lost advertising revenue in 2015, according to the same report.

The report prepared by Adobe and PageFair estimates that 200 million people throughout the world use some type of ad-blocking software such as Adblock Plus. Approximately 45 million people in the United States use ad-blocking software with 15 percent of the individuals living in New York State and California using it. In Europe, about 77 million individuals use this kind of software with more than one-third of the population in Poland using it to stop advertisements from appearing on the web pages they visit.

While people predominantly use ad-blocking software on their laptops and desktop computers, developers are working on an increasing number of ad-blocking plug-ins aimed at people who search the Internet using their smartphones or tablets. Like their desktop counterparts, this software will be able to use to block ads and protect user browsing history. The New York Times reported that Sean Blanchfield, CEO of PageFair, said that as more ad-blocking software is made available to consumers over time, “It will unleash a huge growth spike in people using ad-blockers.”

Even though ad blockers can make it difficult to communicate your message to Internet users, there’s still a place for digital advertising in your overall marketing plan alongside of more traditional marketing techniques such as radio ads and billboard advertisements. When you use multiple channels in your advertising campaign instead of relying on digital advertising alone as some merchants do, you greatly increase the chances that you’ll generate high-quality phone leads and increase your revenue.

Using Vanity Phone Numbers for Better Business Leads

Believe it or not, one of the marketing tools that has the potential to be a meaningful part of your overall advertising strategy involves your company’s phone number. Many businesses are using vanity phone numbers to get high-quality leads, and 800response makes it easy for you to do the same.

Creating vanity numbers for high-quality leads is a good idea because this type of phone number gives you the chance to relay all (or part of) your company’s name, or describe the products or services you sell. Some examples of vanity phone numbers you may already be familiar with include the following:

  • 1-800-GO-FEDEX
  • 1-800-FLOWERS
  • 1-800-GO-TOYO
  • 1-800-CONTACTS
  • 1-800-NEW-CARS

In addition to enabling you to communicate something about your business, vanity phone numbers have the following advantages:

  • Easy to Recall: For most people, vanity phone numbers are easier to remember than numeric phone numbers are. In fact, 75.4 percent of the participants in one survey said they could recall a vanity phone number consisting of all letters more readily than they could remember a numeric telephone number.
  • Better Response Rate: Advertisements that include a vanity phone number have a response rate 20-25 percent higher than the rate for ads that have numeric phone numbers in them.
  • Call Tracking: Using vanity phone numbers to get high-quality leads enables you to track which of your ads inspired people to contact your business using the phone. This end-to-end tracking capability can help you measure the return on investment you’re getting from the different marketing techniques and ads that make up your overall advertising strategy.
  • Improved Call Routing: By using vanity phone numbers for better business leads, you have the chance to improve how your systems route inbound calls. Since vanity phone numbers make it possible for you to know which ad prompted someone to call your business, you can use that as a measure of which ads work and which need to be rethought. Additionally, the phone system can automatically send calls to the department that is best prepared to answer questions about the product or service promoted in the advertisement that motivated a consumer to call your business. This can prevent prospective customers from getting frustrated by having to be transferred multiple times or having to talk to someone who lacks the knowledge to answer their questions sufficiently.
  • Enhanced Customer Service: Utilizing vanity numbers for high-quality leads enables you to enhance the customer service you provide. Your phone system enables your employees to see critical data related to the callers they’re helping, such as which ad motivated them to call, and whether they’ve ever called your business before. Having access to personal information about the people they’re talking to can help your representatives interact with your prospects and repeat clients more effectively. Vanity phone systems also record data such as response time and call frequency, which can help you identify areas where you can improve the experience a customer has with your business.
  • Enriched Training: Having a vanity phone number gives you the chance to enrich your training for both new and seasoned employees. With a vanity telephone number, you can record the conversations your employees have with consumers, which gives you the chance to see how your top closers handle the calls they receive. You can identify the keywords and phrases that motivate people to buy your products or services as well as the ones that deter consumers from taking further action. You can train your employees to incorporate the words and phrases that move someone toward a purchase into their sales scripts and instruct them to avoid using the ones that don’t add to your sales volume.
  • Avoid Wasted Ad Space: Since vanity phone numbers typically communicate something about your particular business or the industry you compete in, they prevent you from wasting space in your marketing and advertising materials. Instead of reserving ad space for a non-descriptive numeric phone number, you can use that space to inform people about how they can contact your business and tell them a little bit about your company or industry at the same time.

Creating a Vanity Phone Number for Your Business

Vanity phone numbers have been available since the early 1990s, which means many highly desirable vanity numbers have already been taken. Fortunately, additional toll-free prefixes have been created throughout the years, which enable businesses to get the numbers they want. The toll-free prefixes that are currently available for vanity phone numbers include the following:

  • 1-800
  • 1-888
  • 1-877
  • 1-866
  • 1-855

While the addition of toll-free prefixes helps businesses to create the vanity telephone numbers they want, not all of the prefixes listed above are readily identified as toll-free by consumers. In a survey conducted in 2011, 97 percent of participants recognized the 1-800 prefix as toll-free, but a smaller number of participants realized that the following prefixes indicated a phone number was toll-free: 888, 866, and 855.

If you’re thinking about using vanity phone numbers to get high-quality leads, here are some tips you can use to ensure your custom phone numbers stand out in the minds of consumers:

  • Make Them Simple: In general, it’s easier to remember a simple mnemonic message than it is to recall a complex one. With this in mind, make your vanity phone number as simple as possible to increase the likelihood that someone will remember it. Avoid the temptation to use the letter “Z” instead of the letter “S” in your phone number if the plural of the word you want to use is already taken as well. This will make it simpler for someone to recall your number.
  • Use the 1-800 Prefix: Since fewer consumers realize that the other available prefixes are toll-free, use the 1-800 prefix for your vanity phone numbers.
  • Use Them to Extend Your Brand: Remember, vanity phone numbers give you the opportunity to share something about your business with shoppers. Use this opportunity to extend your brand by communicating something specific about your business, such as your area of expertise. Keep in mind that consumers are going to think about the message your phone number relays every time they dial your custom phone number.
  • Avoid Hybrid Custom Phone Numbers: Phone numbers that use a combination of numbers and letters after their prefix are more difficult for consumers to remember. With that in mind, stick to telephone numbers that consist of just letters that form a word or series of words. Remembering 1-800-NEW-CARS, for example, is much easier than remembering 1-800-576-CARS, because consumers only have to remember two words instead of three numbers and one word in addition to the telephone number’s prefix.

Why Work with 800response

For more than 25 years, 800response has worked with business owners to help them realize their dreams. We’ve provided unforgettable vanity telephone numbers for companies competing in many industries, including:

  • Automotive Sales
  • Auto Financing
  • Auto Glass and Repair
  • Home Improvement and Remodeling
  • Heating and Air Conditioning
  • Roofing
  • For-Profit Learning Centers
  • Post-Secondary Colleges
  • Technical Schools
  • Healthcare
  • Health Clubs
  • Finance and Insurance
  • Mortgage Lending

It doesn’t matter if you’re just starting out with one location and a handful of employees or if your business has grown to multiple locations and hundreds of employees. We have the proven experience and dynamic tools necessary for you to improve your ad response rates, increase your return on your investment in advertising, and track your cost per lead accurately. Our extended list of services includes an advanced call routing system, real-time call tracking reports, and sophisticated call monitoring, including call recording, CallFinder Speech Analytics, and a monitor for missed phone calls.

Using our vanity numbers for better business leads will help your company get more calls from consumers, increase your sales volume and generate greater profits. When you work with 800response, you work with people who are as committed to your business’ success as you are. We’ll get you a 1-800 vanity phone number that will help your business stand apart from its competitors and stay in the minds of consumers. We’ll also be available whenever you have questions or you develop an interest in adding another custom phone number to your marketing materials. Moreover, we have the track record to prove it.

One of our clients, a car dealership, saw its inbound call volume increase by 650 percent after it got a vanity phone number from us and incorporated the number into its marketing materials. The dealership’s general manager credited the business’ new vanity number with the increase in inbound calls and sales by commenting,

“We are shattering previous sales records by 50% and I attribute this success to our new advertising, which prominently features the vanity 800 number.”

A spokesperson for a children’s academy that runs 60 locations to educate 7,000 students, made the following observation about working with 800response:

“800response has been great to work with. Our account manager is very responsive. We activated our account quickly, and she gets back to me the same day I call with any questions. And, the attention and care we receive from our customer service rep is consistently helpful and timely.”

When you’re ready to see how we can help you grow your business, contact 800response. We’ll provide a free estimate for the services you’re interested in and we’ll work with you to achieve your dreams. To learn more, call 1-800-NEW-START today. We’ll look forward to hearing from you.

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