What’s the best phone number for your business?

Have you ever wandered whether it’d be better to promote your mobile number, a landline, or maybe a 1300 or 1800 number, as the “face phone number” for your business?

If not, it’s time you did.

Your choice of phone number can make a HUGE difference to your bottom line. The wrong phone number (and what it secretly says about you) can stand in the way of attracting the “right” type of clients, and can hold your business back.

So what’s the best phone number for your business?

Click play on the video below and I’ll take you through the options… what numbers are available, the costs involved, and how to decide which number is right for you.

 

 

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My name is Laura de Lacy… and welcome to the very first, inaugural episode of Cyberstart Tradie TV. What this is, is a monthly video that I’ll be using to answer questions that I get from real life trade service business owners. Questions about marketing and the internet, and just business generally, that I get all the time, and I thought this would be a fantastic forum to answer them, share them with you and you can watch whichever ones are relevant to you.

Ok, so… This month I had a question from Travis who runs a plumbing business in the north of Adelaide. He said “I’ve been thinking about getting a 1300 number for my plumbing business for a while now. What are your thoughts on 1300 numbers, and do you think it’s worth doing, or should I just stick with my landline number?” I thought this was a really excellent question because it’s one of those things that we often think about every now and then, but then put it on the back-burner, and don’t actually do anything about it.

13, 1300 & 1800 numbers

So, the first thing you need to know about 13, 1300 or 1800 numbers is that they are known as inbound numbers. What they are is a special phone number that you rent, and then promote to potential customers as the “face” phone number for your business. What’s cool about it, is that it’s not tied to any one particular phone line, so you can direct it to your office landline number or your mobile number, and change it as you need to. You can also do things like directing the number to your office line, for example, during business hours, and a mobile or answering service after hours, so you’re never going to miss a call from a customer.

The pros of having an inbound number…

  1. You get to choose your own number (so you can make sure it’s nice and memorable) and then you keep it for the life of your business, no matter what. So you can take it with you when you move, or as your business grows to multiple states.
  2. It is also you to take control over where and how you answer your calls (which is excellent for you and your customers, because as I said, you won’t miss a call again).
  3. Creates this impression of size and professionalism. There’s a perception that goes along with it, that if you have a really professional phone number like that, you must be doing something right… you must be good at what you do.

6-digit ‘13’ numbers

These are really good for large franchises looking for a way to cut through, in competitive markets. So you’ll find them a lot in fast-moving consumer service type industries – like pizza delivery and taxi services. They’re often tied to a jingle to make them even very memorable, forming the cornerstone for a marketing strategy.

But this doesn’t come cheap… There’s actually a massive government surcharge that’s applicable for 13 numbers. Almost $8000 every year, excluding your number rental and call charges and everything else. So, it pretty much renders it unattainable for most small to medium businesses.

The next best thing to a ’13′ number, is a 1300 or 1800 number.

1300 & 1800 numbers

There is absolutely no government surcharge with these, which makes them surprisingly affordable. There’s a few little setup fees, but nothing major, and then just an ongoing rental/facility fee, which is usually in the ballpark of about $14 – $39. 

The difference between 1300 and 1800 numbers is that when a customer calls a 1300 number from a landline, they’re charged the cost of a local call, no matter where they are in Australia… And that’s good, but… when they call a 1800 number, the call is completely free.

So 1800 numbers can be a really powerful tool, and provide a great competitive advantage. That’s because you can promote ‘Free call’ on all your marketing and advertising, so it can dramatically increase the number of leads that you get. It’s surprising – just those couple of words, ‘Free call’ can make all the difference, in somebody choosing to call you, or choosing to call your competitor.

But 1300 and 1800 numbers aren’t ALWAYS the best option.

If your focus, for example, is on commercial customers (say, building contractors), then having a 1300 or 1800 number might actually deter them from contacting you. That’s because with the phone number (and that perception of being big), they might assume that you’re a larger business, and not contact you based on the fact that they want to work with smaller, cheaper subcontractors with less overheads. So that’s something to just bare in mind.

Another option, in terms of the phone number to use for your business, is just your standard landline number.

Standard landline numbers

What you need to know about that, is that potential clients from distant areas or interstate might be put off from calling you (depending on what your product or service is), either because of the ‘expense’ of the call or because you’re just not local (which they can tell by just seeing that area code and knowing that it’s not the same as their’s).

Mobile phone numbers

The final option is to use your mobile number for business. What you need to be aware of about that, is that some people (such as the elderly, for example, without a mobile phone) can be put off by mobile numbers, due to the expense of calling a mobile from their landline. So that’s something to take into consideration.

Also, having a mobile number as the main number for your business can actually make you look like a ‘one man band’. That can be a good thing or bad thing, depending on what you’re going for.

How to choose the best phone number for your business

When it comes to choosing the best phone number for your business, the main considerations should be 3 things:

  1. Who are your best customers, and what would ‘put them off’ calling you? Start by thinking about what your phone number says/implies about you?
  2. Where is your target market? If it’s small and local, then mobile or landline can be the better choice.
  3. Lastly, what are the intentions for your business? Do you want to stay small, or do you want to grow to become a national company (in which case, a 1300 or 1800 number might be the best choice for you).

Wrap up

So Travis, hopefully that helped clarify it for you. And everyone else, I’d love to hear your experiences with different phone number options or what you’re thinking after watching this video. So, please come on over to www.cyberstart.com.au (if you’re not hear already), and leave a comment in the box below the video.

And if you liked this video, it would be excellent if you could share it. Cyberstart Tradie is on Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn, so we’d love to see you look us up and connect with us there.

Lastly, if you have any burning questions about marketing, the web or business that you’d like me to answer in a future episode, please contact me via the website, send it through, and I’ll do my best to schedule it for a future one.

I’m Laura de Lacy. Thank you very much for watching this very first episode, and I’ll see you next month for a brand new edition of Cyberstart Tradie TV.

 

All done? Now, it’s over to you. In the comment box below, tell us your experiences with different phone number options, or what you’re planning to do after seeing this video…

And thanks for watching!

 

  • Christine – Checklist Security

    Hi Laura, good job and congrats on your first information session. It was informative and interesting. As per some of the other comments, it would have been good to let people know that 1300 & 1800 do have a cost to the business attached to them. Other than that, I found the green in-between bits and the little drop down subject ‘tag’ fine. Broke it up a bit rather than just talk all the way through. Also, delineated between the options so that was good. Cheers, Christine

    • http://www.cyberstart.com.au/ Laura de Lacy

      Hi Christine. Great feedback, thank you. You’re right, the green screens were designed to break it up, so we’ll keep them, but make them a little more subtle in upcoming videos. :)

  • Natalia

    Hi Laura, thank you that was really interesting, I am convinced now that we should get one for our GT High Performance website, thanks again for sharing!

    • http://www.cyberstart.com.au/ Laura de Lacy

      My pleasure, Natalia! Great to hear.

  • KevinWoods

    Laura
    One thing you forgot ( i think) is usually although the call is a local call (1300)for the customer, for the called business it usually only covers the first 10-15 minutes of the call for local/national (but not mobile), after that the called business pays a per minute fee
    And i have to agree the flash screen did become annoying after a while……
    Kevin

    • http://www.cyberstart.com.au/ Laura de Lacy

      Thanks very much for your input Kevin. A really good point – It is important to compare the details of plans, no matter which number you opt for. Little quirks like this can mean that you pay a little more than you might be expecting, so it’s important to enter any contracts with your eyes open to the finer details.

  • Peter Windows

    Hi Laura, Well done, very informative. Unless it has changed since we got a 1300 number, you only get a choice of number if you are willing to pay for it. Otherwise, you are just assigned a number, which hopefully doesn’t spell anything offensive! Better go and check mine now :) Also, I see some very weird configurations of mobile, 1300 & 1800 numbers.on vehicles, websites etc. Should be: 4 numbers – 3 numbers – 3 numbers right? Cheers, Peter. We Clean Windows 1300 655 912

    • http://www.cyberstart.com.au/ Laura de Lacy

      Hi Peter,
      Yes, you are exactly right. You can pay extra to choose a number, be it a little more to pick a number with lots of double/triple digits for ease of memory, or quite a bit more for a configuration such as 1300 WINDOW. And yes – you’d better check that!

      You’re right – they should be presented as 4 numbers, 3 numbers, 3 numbers, but sometimes business owners think it will be more memorable if they group certain digits together (this is not my cup of tea though – I prefer to see the number in the correct configuration).

  • Peter

    Laura,
    The video content is informative and overall the editing and presentation is fine.
    One complaint would be the continual use of the Cyberstart green flash screen and sound clip between points. It is very annoying IMHO and spoils what otherwise appears to be a great presentation.
    Good luck.
    Regards
    Peter

    • http://www.cyberstart.com.au/ Laura de Lacy

      Thanks for the feedback, Peter. Will bare that in mind for future videos.