Last Updated on 11 October 2020 by Lukasz Zelezny
How many calls does your local business receive from prospective customers in a typical day? While you can expect some fluctuation in calls, consistently low call volume is a need for concern. If few or no prospective customers call your local business, you’ll struggle to sell your products or services. By making a few adjustments to your marketing strategy, though, you can keep your local business’s phone ringing off the hook.
Use a Local Area Code
Make sure the phone number with which you advertise your local business has a local area code. It’s not uncommon for local businesses to use a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service rather than a traditional landline phone. The problem with VoIP services is that many of them use area codes outside of the business’s location. As a result, prospective customers are less likely to remember them. You can still use a VoIP service, but you should check to make sure the service offers at least one area code within your business’s location.
Display Phone Number on Website
A properly designed website can attract more calls to your local business. According to a BrightLocal survey, over nine in 10 consumers use the internet to search for local businesses. Maybe a prospective customer wants to know if your local business sells a specific product, or perhaps he or she wants to know your local business’s address. Regardless, displaying a phone number on your website allows prospective customers to easily contact your local business.
Create Local Search Ads on Google
Google offers several highly effective ad formats for local businesses, one of which is local search ads. Available to purchase through Google Ads, local search ads allow you to project your Google My Business listing at the top of the search results for relevant local searches.
Local search ads are particularly effective at driving calls because of their click-to-call functionality when viewed on a mobile device. If a mobile user wants to call your local business, he or she can click the phone icon in the local search ad. Desktop users, on the other hand, will still see your local business’s phone number, but they won’t be able to click it.
Create Traditional Search Ads With Call Extensions
In addition to local search ads, you can attract more calls using traditional search ads with call extensions. Google prohibits the use of phone numbers in the ad copy of traditional search ads. The good news, however, is that you can still include your local business’s phone number in traditional search ads using call extensions.
Call extensions are similar to local search ads. Both ad formats show a click-to-call button for mobile users and a text phone number for desktop users. The difference is that local search ads are essentially sponsored Google My Business listings, whereas call extensions are used with traditional search ads.
When a prospective customer performs a Google search for one of your selected keywords or a variation thereof, he or she may see your search ad. Assuming you’ve enabled call extensions, the prospective customer will also see your local business’s phone number.
Add Phone Number to Social Media Profiles
Updating your local business’s social media profiles with your phone number can result in more calls to your local business. Not all consumers use Google to find information about local businesses. Some consumers prefer using social media networks, the most popular being Facebook.
To attract more calls, update your local business’s Facebook Page with your phone number by clicking the “About” tab, followed by the link titled “Enter phone number.” Once saved, prospective customers will see your local business’s phone number when visiting your Facebook Page. In addition to Facebook, consider adding your local business’s phone number to your Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn profiles.
Distribute Business Cards
Contrary to popular belief, business cards are still relevant. According to Adobe, the number of sales a business will generate increases by 1.25 percent for every 1,000 cards it distributes. If you distribute 9,000 cards, that’s over an 11 percent increase in sales.
When you encounter a prospective customer, use this opportunity to distribute to one of your business cards. If the prospective customer wants to learn more about your local business, or if he or she is ready to make a purchase, they can reference the business card to find your phone number.
Avoid Using an Automated Response System
As a local business owner, you might be tempted to use an automated response system so that you don’t have to manually answer each call. After all, talking to dozens of prospective customers can consume a significant chunk of your workday. While using an automated response system will undoubtedly save you time, you’ll experience better results by manually answering and responding to calls.
According to Think With Google, the leading reason consumers contact businesses via phone rather than other methods is because they want to talk to a real person. If a prospective customer encounters an automated response system, he or she probably won’t call back.
Explore Traditional Advertising Channels
Don’t limit your local business’s marketing strategy to modern advertising channels like Google Ads and social media. When used correctly, traditional advertising channels can be just as effective at attracting calls. Local TV and radio commercials, for example, can yield a high return on investment (ROI) for your local business’s advertising expenditure.
Alternatively, direct mail can help you reach more prospective customers and, therefore, drive more calls to your local business. Available to purchase from the USPS, as well as private companies, it allows you to target households in specific locations. Regardless of which advertising channels you use, remember to use narrow targeting. In other words, only consumers who are likely to purchase your local business’s products or services should see your ads.
For over a century, local businesses in all industries have relied on calls from prospective customers to sell their products or services. Even with the advent of the internet in the late 20th century, countless local businesses still recognize the importance of calls. Each call offers a new opportunity for local businesses to nurture a prospective customer into a paying customer.