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  • Internet Marketing: Toll-free Numbers

    Is it necessary to include a toll-free telephone number on your website? Many business owners are finding that having a toll-free number means the difference between getting orders and not getting them. Toll-free numbers are considered by many retailers an important part of customer service.

    A toll-free number on your website allows you to tap into the spontaneity market — those people who buy on impulse because it's easy. Internet browsers are used to quick service and comparative shopping. A long distance call might be enough to dissuade them from making a purchase.

    Practically all long distance companies offer toll-free numbers with no set-up fees or monthly charges. A shop owner can provide toll-free numbers to customers and pay nothing except for the cost of each call, making them a marketing bargain.

    The down side to toll-free numbers is that you'll get more calls, but not all of them will be fruitful. Because it's easy to pick up the phone and dial free of charge, some people will call with questions or for advice, but not to place orders. However, you can certainly add them to your database as future customers.

    Don't assume that toll-free number callers will be hundreds of miles away from your location. In both metropolitan and rural areas, businesses have customers outside the standard calling area. Check your existing customer list to see how many of your customers are outside your area code.

    A toll-free number is likely to expand your customer base because you'll be offering another service to potential customers by allowing them to call you without adding to their own telephone bills.

    You might even find that you'll get more done in less time on your toll-free line because you're aware of the cost. As with a cellular phone, each call is charged to you, so you won't tarry on the line. You'll also instruct your employees to get down to business when the toll-free line rings.

    If you're serious about selling on the Internet, the advantages of a toll-free number probably outweigh the disadvantages.



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