Monday 17 November 2014

Do 08 numbers have a place in today's market?

Here at Brayford Numbers we frequently get asked what type of non-geographic number should a company go for: an 08 or an 03. 

There is no cookie-cutter answer for this question unfortunately, as no two businesses operate identically - but here are our thoughts:

Many companies come to us initially with an 08 number in mind as they, just like most consumers, are really familiar with the range. We all know 0800s are free to call from landlines. 

Although we like to take the time to get to know each business by asking a lot of questions, the most important one we always ask in today's market is: How many of your customers are using a mobile phone when browsing your website? 

I can definitely say that, like the majority of the UK, I use my mobile for everything: shopping, googling, calling my friends and family, sat nav, finding recipes, reading blogs... the list goes on. I don't even know my landline number at home. It's just the thing that comes with broadband. 

Google Analytics is the best place to look at your customer's age demographics and the device they are using to browse your site. The lower the age of your average customer, the higher the chances are that they are using a mobile. If that percentage of mobile users is relatively high (20-30%) then you should definitely consider an 03 number.

Why? Simple. 03 numbers cost the same as calling an 01/02 UK local number from a landline and a mobile, which means they are inclusive in mobile minute packages. 

If a customer is confronted with an 08 number on a website chances are they will not click to call it on a mobile phone because they know it will be really costly (in some cases it can cost up to 35ppm!). 

You do need to consider though that 03 numbers are a newer range and therefore your potential customers may be unaware of their costs. That's why we suggest making it really easy by specifying the cost to call the number right below it (in any case, really). 

All of this consider, do 08 numbers still hold more value because of their familiarity? We aren't so sure. 

Tuesday 28 October 2014

How a small business loses potential customers

On my list of things to do this morning in the office was to find a company who cleaned ovens in my area.

OK - I Google "oven cleaning" in my area. Great start - plenty to choose from. 

I start from the top of the natural listings.  No need to read all the content on a website. A picture of a dirty oven and then a clean one was enough for me. 

First company: not a great looking website. The only contact number is a mobile number. What are the chances that my call will be answered? I bet none. The call rang and then I was welcomed to a Tesco mobile voicemail. Didn't leave a message as my confidence in the company had eroded to zero. 

Second company: my confidence had improved - website, local number and mobile number. I call the local number, I get a get voicemail but this time it has a recorded message telling me that the guy is on holiday so I should leave a message and he will get back to me on his return. No chance. 

Third company: after my previous two experiences my confidence was at rock bottom, but this one's website had a mission statement and a local number which made them appear way more trustworthy. I call, but all I get is a voicemail. Out of desperation I leave my name, number and a message to call me. Five hours have elapsed and no return call. 

All three companies instantly lost a big customer. I have two ovens, a microwave and a six ring gas hob. If they had done a good job I would have kept their details and got them to come again in 3-6 months. I will never know though and neither will they.  

4 Easy Solutions to the above: 

1.     Never ever advertise anywhere with a mobile number only. You can get a virtual local landline number for around £5 per month (plus call charges). This can be pointed directly to your existing mobile allowing you to answer calls wherever you are.
2.     Use a professional recorded voicemail which is sent straight to your email, which you can pick up on your phone. If you don’t have a smartphone, get one.
3.     If you go on holiday get a virtual local number which can be switched to someone who can
 answer your calls and manage your diary, so you can come back and service your existing or new customers right away.
4.     If you are asking someone to leave a message say how long it will be before they get a call back e.g. 1 hour. Never lie about this. 

Monday 27 October 2014

There is nothing scary about ghost numbers

Ghost numbers are more commonly known as virtual local numbers.

With a choice of over 500 UK STD codes to choose from you don’t need to be scared that there won’t be a number for your particular need. 

The cost of a virtual local number is minimal so nothing to be frightened of when the bill arrives.

You can be advertising and providing your services to a vast audience without the cost of a fixed landline requiring expensive call forwarding or a physical address.

No need to be spooked that you can only receive calls during regular business hours as your number works 24/7 365 days a year and can be redirected at a moment’s notice so you can receive the call on any landline number or mobile number.

During the London Business Show 2014 for small businesses and startups 100 people were asked
which they would prefer to call a business displaying only a local number or a business displaying only a mobile number. A resounding 97% said they would call a business with a local number before
calling a business showing only a mobile number. So no “jitters” calling a virtual local number.

So - now you know there’s nothing scary about “ghost numbers”.

Thursday 2 October 2014

Twitter Competition Winners!

We would just like to say a big thanks to the iamstartacus team for running our twitter competition a few weeks back.

The lovely winners of 6 months free rental on any of our number ranges were:

Kicks Theatre Arts - a Sheffield based theatre group for kids run by the lovely Karl Newsam
Lepus Marketing - a Bristol based marketing company run by Paula Luke
Stir Up Media - a Cambridge based social media company, run by the fantastic blogger Jo Christy, that aims to help you increase your web presence through social media

If you are start up or smaller business make sure to follow @iamstartacus for business tips, competitions and all round helpful content.

...And whilst you are there follow us too @brayfordnumbers

Monday 18 August 2014

0333 numbers

93% of the UK uses/owns a mobile phone and 4/10 households have a tablet.

Your company has probably realised the necessity for a responsive web design - a website that changes according to the resolution of the user's screen, i.e. mobile, tablet or desktop.

If you have a responsive web design make it easier for mobile clients to get hold of you as well as desktop or tablet users with an 0333 number.

0333 numbers are the same cost as a local 01/02 call from a landline or mobile and are more importantly inclusive in mobile minute packages - unlike 08 numbers, which cost mobile users considerably more.

Call us on 0207 458 4456 to discuss the 03 number range in relation to your business needs.

Monday 21 July 2014

5 Quick Ways To Save Money In Business

1. Paperless billing
2. Have one mobile phone for both personal and business by using virtual numbers
3. If you have a phone system always make sure you don’t rent more lines than you need
4. Use a laptop rather than a PC - less expensive to run and easily transported
5. When you purchase a printer make sure you are not buying one with the most expensive    consumables (could you even receive money back if you recycled the empty toner cartridges?)    

Monday 23 June 2014

Virtual numbers on vans

Whether you are an electrician, plumber, pest controller, removal man, painter or plasterer it is likely that you use a van. 

This van becomes a great way to market yourself, whether you are driving through town or parked outside a customer's house. 

Have you ever thought about the number that you have displayed on that van and how it is perceived by potential customers?

Take a look at the picture - who would you call and why? What impression do they give? 

Over 97% of people asked at The Business Show, ExCel London said that they would not call a business that solely advertised with a mobile phone number. Yes, your business might be very mobile, but that doesn't mean that you are not a professional - so you should want to display a professional image. 

You can rent a number with any UK prefix and point it to your existing mobile phone (no additional equipment necessary) so you can answer calls on the road without having to compromise your business' image by advertising solely with a mobile number. You could even have an 08 number, i.e. 0800 or 0845, which give an established feel. 

What's even better? It isn't as expensive as you may think. 

Call us today on 0207 458 4456 or 0800 433 4833 to discuss our number ranges in relation to your business needs 

Thursday 19 June 2014

Some advice for those in the beauty business...

Working for yourself in the beauty industry can be highly lucrative, but it is a tough game. You are competing for clients with other sole-traders as well as salons with a huge client pool.

How do you make yourself stand out from the crowd?

Your website design is crucial as well as your presence on social media, i.e. Facebook and Twitter. You have probably spent a lot of your marketing budget on all of these, right? Not even Facebook is really that free any more with the introduction of Facebook Ads! 

What most in the beauty industry do is then go and put their mobile phone number as their business contact. 

You have to ask yourself: when you see a business advertising solely with a mobile number on an ad or website what do you immediately think about that company? It's ok to be a sole-trader - in fact we love you guys! But, you are professionals and you should want to display a professional, established and trustworthy image.

Did you know you could have a business landline number that points to your mobile or existing home landline? So, if you are in Manchester you can have an 0161 number that points to your mobile. You don't need any extra equipment and if you lose your mobile you can just redirect the number instantly. 

Virtual landline numbers attract customers and immediately instil trust in your business practice. They are also more affordable than you think!

Call us today to chat to us about our number options on 0800 433 4838 or 0207 458 4456.

Tuesday 17 June 2014

Are you a cupcake decorator, cake pop baker or edible bouquet maker?

Here at Brayford Numbers we love hearing about how you have turned your passion for baking or making into a business. 

Cupcake making and cake baking has become a really competitive market in the past few years, especially with the rise of Facebook business pages and television trends. 

However, we have a secret that will help you grow your business, with damage limitation - virtual numbers. 

Did you know that you could choose any UK prefix, i.e. 020 or 0161, and have that number pointed to your mobile or existing home landline? It is a really affordable way of having a dedicated business line, without having to install any new equipment. 

A lot of small home-based businesses advertise with a mobile, but you risk looking less professional than a business with a landline or worst case scenario: you lose your mobile. Losing your mobile would result in customers losing contact with you and will set you back a penny or two when you have to reprint your business cards with your new number.

Call us today on 0800 433 4838 // 0207 458 4456 to chat to us about your business and how we can help you grow with a virtual number. 

Friday 13 June 2014

Who says you have to be inside to take business calls?

Just because your business doesn't have a traditional office, that doesn't mean you can't have a professional looking number.

From landscapers to tree surgeons, to pest controllers and sports instructors, we can offer you a landline number that points directly to your mobile, so you can take calls in the great outdoors.

Did you know that you are 195-300% more likely to get a call on a landline or 08 number than if you just advertised with a mobile number?

Call us on 0800 433 4838 // 0207 458 4456 to discuss a professional number solution just for you.

Thursday 29 May 2014

The Business Show 2014, ExCel London

This year we were proud to announce our presence at The Business Show 2014 at ExCel London. 

The team had a fantastic time and we got to meet a lot of great people with fantastic business ideas.

Emma also held a seminar on "Virtual Numbers and Your Business". We had a lot of positive feedback about the information we delivered. Many of those that attended hadn't thought about using different virtual numbers for different marketing campaigns, but thought it a really simple and cost-effective way to gauge each one's success. Also, the idea of going 'global' became more tangible for some when they realised they could easily afford a international/toll free number. 

We also conducted a quick survey amongst patrons: 

Over 97% of people asked over the two days said that they would not call a company that advertised solely with a UK mobile number on their business card. 

Out of the hundreds of business cards we collected at least a third that only had a mobile number on them. 

It would seem that if you don't have a landline or NGN number on your business literature you aren't going to get that call. 

We would like to thank The Business Show for all their hard work and those who dropped by our stand. We wish you a prosperous rest of the year. 

Monday 28 April 2014

5 things your business can gain by using UK virtual local numbers

1.     Credibility - displaying a local number rather than a mobile number adds professionalism
2.     Flexibility – expand your service area without having the expense of actual premises
3.     Testing - great way to test the market place for a minimal cost
4.     Looking local – most people prefer to shop locally before going further afield
5.     Tracking - monitor the response of the number by reading the call stats every month

What is a non-geographic number (NGN’S)?

The clue is in the name. Non-geographic numbers are not attached to geographic locations.

The purpose of non-geographic numbers is to give flexibility that fixed landline numbers don’t. These numbers can be forwarded to a mobile, landline or international destination.

In the past, when a fixed landline was the only telephone number available for both business and homes, when you moved unfortunately your number didn’t. However, there was an option “remote call forwarding”. This meant you kept your number and all calls were forwarded to your new number. The cost was expensive as it entailed paying for two number landline rentals and a high cost per pence in minutes.

The introduction of non-geographic numbers was by far a cheaper option with immense flexibility – when you moved, your number moved with you.

The first really memorable 08 range of numbers was introduced by BT is of course the Freephone 0800 number. This was perfect for businesses who wished to make a number available to their customers and potential customers calling from a landline number. Customer support lines used 0800 numbers. Although being kept on hold might annoy customers at least they weren’t doubly annoyed by having to pay for the inconvenience.

After the birth of the 0800 number it was followed by 0842, 0843, 0844, 0845, 0870, 0871, 0872, 0873 and 0808. With so many 08 number ranges now it would appear that the consumer has become confused as to what they will be charged calling from a landline and even more so from a mobile.

If in doubt always call a 08 number from a landline it is invariably cheaper than making the call from a mobile. If you have the time check out Ofcom and Wikipedia for tariffs or better still invest the time in checking with your own mobile or landline carrier to explain the rates to you. Avoid receiving a bill from your carrier which is similar to the cost of the last time you filled up your car with petrol.

The 08 non-geographical number ranges were a great introduction to flexible telephone numbers.

For more information contact Brayford Numbers on 0800 433 4838 or 0207 548 4456.

Friday 25 April 2014

5 Tips To Finding The Right Virtual Telecoms Provider

1. Contracts
Is the provider asking you to sign a 12-24 month contract? You don't need to commit yourself - look for providers that give you a 30 day rolling contract, especially if you are a start-up business. Nothing stings more than paying for a service that you no longer have a need for.

2. Package deals
Be wary. Work out  roughly what you think your call volume will be, especially when starting a business, before taking a package deal. If you are paying £15 for your number and unlimited minutes and you get 15 calls at 2 minute you will be paying 50ppm - 15 x 2mins = 30mins / £15 = 50ppm.

3. Are you being charged to call the provider's customer service line when using a mobile
Chances are that if you have a virtual number you are pointing it to a mobile. So, what happens if you have a problem on the go? You shouldn't have to shell out to call an 08 number to get your problem sorted.

4. Account manager
Look for companies that have a dedicated account manager for your account. It can be problematic being passed from department to department and not to mention costly if you are calling an 08 number from your mobile.

5. Cost
In a highly competitive market it pays to shop around and look for the best deal. If you are wanting multiple numbers you should be eligible for a discount.

Tuesday 22 April 2014

5 0800 Number Myths Busted

1.  You have to pay for another fixed telephone line to receive the call
No - you do not need another designated line to receive calls on your 0800 number. The number can be pointed to your existing mobile or landline number.

2. I will need to buy an additional mobile as I want to differentiate between business and personal calls
No - need to buy an additional mobile just add “call announcement” which lets you know “this is a business call”. See: 

3. Companies get a rebate when an 0800 number is called
No - certain numbers do receive a rebate or make money, but not 0800s. 

4. An 0800 number cannot be called from outside the UK
No - you can call from abroad by just dropping the first 0 so the number becomes 800 xxx xxxx and putting the country code 44 in front of the number so it becomes 44 800 xxx xxxx. The call may be charged so it is always a good idea to check costing with your carrier.

5. 0800s are free to call from mobiles
No - but by July 2015 they will be!