Using VoIP Applications In Marketing
Spreading the word about your products and services is a key element of marketing, and word-of-mouth communication has a major role in this.
But spending hours on the phones, cold-calling potential clients – or worse, annoying your prospective customers with robotic and impersonal telemarketing scripts – may be counter-productive.
It’s better if you can find a way to make your telecommunications channels work for you. And if you’re using a VoIP system, there are several ways that you can do this.
Speak To Your Target Audience
With the emphasis on “speak”. As in, engage your demographic (home buyers, Millennials, working parents, whatever it is) in an actual dialog, rather than talking at them with endless and unshakable sales drivel, or talking down to them from a lofty position as a market leader who’s doing them a favor by actually allowing them to buy things.
Use the one-on-one intimacy of a phone conversation to speak to your customers about the benefits of your product or service in terms that they can relate to, and using examples and applications which have relevance to their lives and personal circumstances.
Grip Them On Hold
Unless music or muzak has some significance to your marketing campaign, you’re wasting an opportunity if you just pipe some tunes down the line as your customers are waiting on hold. Better to use this time constructively, by filling the wait with custom messages about your organization and what it has to offer. Interesting anecdotes about your recent activities, snippets of information about new product releases, details on special promotions or upcoming events: Any or all of these could be the basis for a quick sound-bite that enlivens the on hold experience.
Your VoIP service provider may offer integrated Music/Messaging On Hold features in their subscription plans, or your VoIP software may include a suite of simple tools for creating and customizing your own messages or music selections from scratch.
Use Toll-Free To Extend Your Reach
The growing popularity of VoIP has brought the price of telecoms down to the extent that even start-ups and small businesses can afford to acquire toll-free phone numbers, and use them to project a “big business” image.
By making toll-free numbers available to people outside your immediate sphere of operations, you can greatly extend the reach of your business, without burdening
your customers with heavy charges for long-distance or even international calls. Toll-free numbers may be incorporated into your promotional materials (you might think of using a “Vanity plate” number that includes your product or brand name), and used to bolster your advertising campaigns.
Let Them Click-To-Call
Voice over Internet Protocol brings with it the vast extended reach of the internet, itself. So VoIP may be integrated with your web pages, e-commerce portals, email signatures, and online advertising.
One effective way is to include a button on each of your web resources that site visitors or email corresponds can simply click on to automatically dial through to your VoIP telephone numbers. It’s a simple and convenient strategy that eliminates the need for prospective or existing customers to search through their contacts lists for you and punch a sequence of digits. With only a few clicks, they can contact you for product information, technical assistance, or the follow-through on a purchase transaction.
Enhance Your Auto-Attendant
Remember that injunction against robotic and impersonal sales pitches? Your Auto-Attendant (a kind of automated receptionist service) has the potential to deliver these – but you should resist the temptation to let it do so. This “virtual receptionist” may be the first point of contact between a prospective buyer and your organization – and as in all human relations, first impressions matter.
So instead of using it as a drone to rattle off corporate jargon and lengthy ads, put your Auto-Attendant to the service of the customer. Configure it to quickly and politely re-route callers to the specific individual or department they need to speak to. Have a simple and user-friendly menu selection, and deliver clear and concise greetings. You may include some promotional pitching, as long as it’s short and to the point, and helps enliven the communication.
Integrate Your Software
The VoIP platform extends beyond simple telephony to include a full range of digital office productivity and communications tools like email, voicemail, Instant Messaging, video, document sharing and collaboration. Each of these functions can have an associated desktop or mobile application – and all of these programs may be co-ordinated and managed through the one VoIP platform.
So it’s a straightforward process to design marketing messages and content that’s consistent and able to be ported out in a format appropriate to whichever digital media channels you choose.
Combine With Social Media
Having a presence on leading social media channels like Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn is a must for digital marketing today. But managing your content, comments, and conversations across a range of these platforms can be a real chore.
By assigning a specific toll-free number to each social media platform you’re involved with, it becomes easier for you to delegate responsibility for managing your presence there to specific members of your team. This approach also extends an additional level of service to your customers, who’ll have the option of clicking through to a real live phone call with a representative of your organization, directly from social media.
This kind of personal engagement can help your company stand out from an otherwise distant set of competitors whose web presence may lack that level of immediacy and responsiveness to the clientèle.