Great Ideas for your Small Business: Make Your 800 Line Ring
An 800 line is a great way to boost sales, especially if you serve customers in a wide area. If you can’t get an 800 number, try 888 or 877, which are also toll-free for callers.
Here are five tips to generate more calls:
- Put your 800 number on every document customers see. A printer can put your number on existing stationery at a fraction of the cost of reprinting. Or order a brightly colored sticker or stamp that says, “We’re pleased to announce a new convenience for customers. Now you can call us toll-free at . . .” Make sure the sticker or stamp goes on all printed materials—business cards, brochures, catalogs, fax cover sheets, billing statements, and packing materials. Add your 800 number to building or vehicle signs.
- Notify your customers of your 800 number. Call key accounts personally and follow up with a letter and updated Rolodex card. If you time your calls to match your customers’ purchasing cycle, you also might end up with a reorder. If you have too many customers to call personally, send brightly colored postcards featuring the 800 number. If postage is a concern, include the card in another mailing, such as a monthly statement or newsletter. Add your 800 number to voice mail greetings. The message could say, “Please make a note of our new toll-free 800 number …” Say the number twice slowly so listeners have time to write it down.
- Add your 800 number to print, radio, and television ads as soon as possible. Make a list of all the directories you’re in and find out the closing date for next year’s ads. Then have your yellow page ads redesigned to feature your 800 number prominently. Do this now so it’s ready when you need it. 4 Notify all your employees. They should know who’s authorized to use the 800 number and what you want it to accomplish. Your employees can’t help you if they don’t know the game plan.
- Appoint someone as 800 project manager. Tell them their charter is to make the number start ringing today. Challenge them to be creative but cost-conscious. Consider giving awards or bonuses for increasing 800 calls. Ask for weekly progress reports. Get every employee involved in publicizing the number by sponsoring a contest to see who can come up with the most creative way to use it to get new business. Then award prizes for ideas you use.