Contrary to what many young entrepreneurs say, the phone number is not dead. The phone number remains the most important communication tool for businesses today. You’ll find it on websites, social media, and in any local marketing materials.
That’s because most consumers still prefer to speak to a real person over the phone. But that brings us to the question: which type of number is best to use, a toll-free number or a local phone number?
What’s the Difference Between Toll Free and Local Numbers?
There are a few differences between these two types of numbers.
First, a toll-free number is completely free for a customer to call. You can spot one of these numbers as they’re formatted differently. They use a toll-free area code, such as 1-888 or the much desired 1-800 area code. You’ll often see businesses using these numbers on TV ads, for example.
A local number is assigned by your landline provider. These are usually not customizable and it’s difficult for businesses to choose a specific number.
It’s common for most companies to stick with whatever number their landline provider gives them.
Why Do People Prefer Calling Toll Free Numbers?
Believe it or not, your choice of phone number can send different messages to your customer.
A toll-free line is better for dealing with a wide customer base. When a customer doesn’t yet trust your brand they don’t want to risk wasting money by calling you. This can convince people to call your number and give you a shot.
Your toll-free line is also an excellent way of branding your company. These are highly customizable and there’s a lot of competition for the best numbers.
The downside is toll free numbers are often expensive to buy. The level of competition means it can be a big investment to get the number you want.
Why a Number Tied to Your Location isn’t Always a Bad Thing
It’s easy to dismiss the local phone number as a thing of the past. But a local number also says something about your business.
These days consumers love to support local businesses. If you’re the kind of business intending to do business primarily on a local level, a local number says to consumers that you’re just down the road from them.
This is especially the case if your business happens to be located in a town or village where everyone knows everybody.
Since local numbers are assigned, you usually don’t need to pay extra for your number. For entrepreneurs who are on a tight budget, the local option can be the better option.
So, What’s the Superior Option for Your Business?
It all depends on whom your business serves and its location. Not every business has a use for a more expensive toll-free line.
Local businesses and entrepreneurs with smaller budgets may want to choose the standard local line to begin with. They may have no need for a specialized number if their operations are over a small area.
On the other hand, businesses looking for a highly professional look may want to consider the toll-free option. If you’re primarily driving traffic to your phone lines, the toll-free number will give you much better results.
Either way, once you make a decision, you’re not stuck with it for the rest of your life. Plenty of local businesses have purchased a toll-free line when they decided it was the right investment for them.
What type of business number do you need to take your company to the next level?