“Name, Address and Phone Number, oh if you have a website or social media page you can add that two, but we don’t care” the Internet!
Phone Numbers are Crucial to Success!!! They are more important than domains!
It used to be you used a fancy 800 number to look impressive or to develop branding, take 1-800-FLOWERS for example. 1-800 Flowers was a great branding campaign that generated massive brand recognition for a referral service.
Google really brought the attention back to local when it launched Google places. Google used both the local phone number and the address to enhance its search results to bring business back to local merchants and while it sent SEO professionals scrambling, local business owners were thirsty to learn more.
Take any listing service or data set and you’ll find three consistent elements to how it organizes its data, first is the name, second the phone number and third is the address. Website domains and social media are nowhere to be found now, nor will they in the future. In fact, when Patch Media launched its local directory for Merchants and Business Owners the AOL local sensation had one problem, no address no listing… Google places needed that three digit identifier to decide if the address matched phone number, and Yelp listed businesses by name, phone numbers and address.
Branding Trend: It’s All Local!
In a time when people are being frugal with their money, they’re a lot quicker to call a local number then an 800 number. The fact is people actually avoid 800 numbers because they prefer to have someone local and hesitate at the thought that the number will be routed to India. Local is the big Brand in the United States right now, take a look in both Traditional and Digital Media and you’re bound to see the word Local at just about every other turn.
Phone Numbers: How Do I Get Them, Use them, Keep them?
There are a few tricks that can help local business owners stretch their influence and presence. Take MagicJack, a nifty little device that sells for $20 and provides phone service for $20 a year! After Google Places launched black hat SEO professionals started buying these as fast as they could. You see they take the MajicJack, register the phone number and then connect a local name to the local number and give it a local address through something like a UPS Store.
i.e. The Actual business is a plumber in Parkland, Florida with a 954 area code number. The blackhat SEO Pro would buy (5) five MagicJacks with local phone numbers, then open a UPS Box in towns around Parkland that the plumber served. Five Splash Pages later, that plumber looked local in six locations but really only existed in one.
If you’re a digital or virtual business, then the issue is the same. The phone number is crucial to looking local and you may be in NYC, but with the right number you now appear to be in LA, Moscow, Paris, Chicago, Miami etc. If your using a service like Regus and their Virtual Office, you can set the Magic Jack or Vanity number to forward to that location until you have an office or employee to forward it to later.
Port a number! Always Port a number, I inherited a phone number 4 years ago and I still get calls for children’s clothing from some company that had it before I did. If I sold children’s clothes I be rolling in free leads.
KEEP YOUR NUMBER!!!! The Android and Mr. Number Effect
Want to know what’s really pissing off telemarketers and collection agencies?
Android and Mr. Number! Android phones from version 1.5 have had a feature that allows people to save a contact and set the contact to forward directly to voicemail. Mr. Number is an application on all devices that blocks suspected spam (set by community feedback), unknown numbers and numbers you blacklist! So before you give up your number and get a new one, better think twice. If you do get a new number check it against the Mr. Number database, if its listed as a spam, credit collection or telemarketer get rid of it!
(Part 2 – Using Phone Numbers to Track Marketing Success)
- Why Your Phone Number Is A Crucial Search Marketing Component
- Google Tests Phone Numbers In AdWords Ads
- Google Makes All AdWords Phone Numbers Clickable for Mobile
- Get a Virtual Phone Number for Better Time Management
About Basil Puglisi
@BasilPuglisi is a Content Contributor and the Chairman of the Board for Digital Ethos. Basil C. Puglisi is also the Digital Marketing Manager for PMG Interactive. As the Digital Marketing Manager he provides oversight and support to Digital Campaigns, from Website Development to Search and Social Reach.