Hold the phone! Why your number could be putting customers off

Have you ever needed an emergency plumber, searched on Google, then scrolled down the list of results until you’ve found one that has the same local area code as you? Or needed to contact a business, seen that they use an 0870 number and tried to find a different number for them?

If you have, you’re not alone. Phone numbers spark certain reactions without us even realising. What’s more, these notions could be the reason why your prospects aren’t getting in touch.

Why phone numbers are important to your marketing response

Phone numbers are a crucial – but frequently overlooked – call-to-action of your campaigns.

The right type of phone number gives your prospects a sense of confidence and security in your business and can increase your conversion rates.

Which type of number should you use for your business?

You already know that targeted campaigns generate better quality leads and perform much better than non-targeted campaigns. Using phone numbers in a targeted way also improves lead quality.

National rate and freephone (or toll-free) numbers give your business a national presence. Large businesses, or companies that want to appeal to a wider audience, use these numbers as they tend to be recognised as bigger. What’s more, they’re not going to cost a lot for your customers to call.

If you’re a local business – or want to give your business a local feel – then local area (or geographic) numbers are a good choice. These are great for trades, for instance, as they’re more appealing for someone looking for that emergency plumber. They build a level of trust, which leads to increases in ad engagement, calls, lead quality, and conversion rates.

Portman Dental Care – one of our clients – use local numbers for their branches. When they’re planning a new practice opening, they can start their marketing activity well in advance to ensure they build a solid customer base in each new location.

In the same way that national numbers give you a national presence, international numbers will give that same confidence to a much wider audience. If you’re targeting specific regions, using numbers familiar to prospects in those areas will improve your conversion rates.

The benefits of different phone number types

03 – National rate numbers

These were introduced for businesses as an alternative to the more expensive 084 and 087 numbers, giving them the national presence at a lower cost to their customers.

Calls to these numbers cost no more than calls to a local area number, regardless of whether you’re calling from a landline or a mobile. These numbers also count towards any inclusive minutes that your phone plan allows.

080 – Freephone (toll-free) numbers

These are completely free for customers to call from both mobiles and landlines. Businesses using these numbers bear the entire costs of these calls.

01, 02 – Local area or geographic numbers

Numbers beginning with these prefixes are also known as STD (Subscriber Trunk Dialling) codes. The safe option. We know where we are with these. Our friends and family have them. Calling from a mobile, we know that these are included in our free minutes. We also know that we’re not going to be hit with an enormous phone bill if we call them.

If a company uses a local number, it gives us a sense of security that they have a physical presence, as numbers starting with these prefixes are commonly referred to as ‘landlines’. We associate these numbers with local businesses, so when we’re looking for a service or business near us, these give us a sense of familiarity and reliability.

084, 087, 09 – Premium rate numbers

We’re generally wary of calling these types of numbers as the call charges can be very high. These numbers tend to be used for services such as chat lines, competitions, and adult entertainment.

Businesses used to use 084 or 087 numbers for their information lines. Some still do. If you’ve come across these numbers as a way of getting in touch, you’ve probably looked for an alternative way of contacting that business.

Get better insight into the success of your marketing activity

For unrivalled insight into the success of your marketing activity, using a range of number types aligned to your campaigns and objectives is best.

For example, if you’re a business operating multiple units or locations (such as a car dealership, or a care home group), you’ll benefit from using:

  • A national rate dynamic phone number on your corporate website
  • Static national rate numbers on your social media profiles
  • Static local area numbers on your Google My Business listings for each location, and
  • Static local numbers on your in-branch printed collateral.

As well as giving customers confidence in your business and boosting your conversion rates, by tracking calls from your advertising you’ll also benefit from a really granular level of detail on the performance of your activities. Mediahawk’s detailed and easy-to-understand reports reveal the sources of your most successful campaigns, including keywords, with the full visitor journey, the caller’s number, the impact of your email and offline marketing efforts, and much, much more.

More than just phone numbers

Call tracking software gives you the ability you to make better decisions about where to invest your marketing budget. It’s not limited to phone calls though. You can also track your online conversions (including form submissions and live chat) and see how your marketing touchpoints influence customer interactions right through from source to sale and beyond.

Real-time reports give you instant analysis into which marketing channels are producing a better return on investment, and those that aren’t working as well as you expect. This means that you can confidently make data-backed decisions on where to allocate your marketing budget to further improve conversion rates.

Do you think your phone number could be limiting your conversion rate?

Get in touch with us for a no-obligation, personalised demo. We’ll review your current phone number strategy and calls-to-action, and provide detailed recommendations to optimise your conversions using the right phone number types.

About the author

Author: Natalia Selby

Marketing coordinator at Mediahawk, with over 10 years experience in analytics, content management and eCommerce.

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