The Marketing Tool that is Sweeping Small Business America

Small business owners are often bombarded with the buzz-word-sounding catch phrases of our times. They are told they should tap into the power of social network marketing. They should search engine optimize their web sites. They should run pay-per-click campaigns. Perhaps they should blog.

There are so many options for a small business owner that it is easy to lose track of the big picture and fritter away resources on scatter shot marketing, advertising, and communications approaches.

While many new-fangled, wiz-bang tactics win praise in the media, more and more small business owners are using a proven technique that, until recently, was out of reach for them because of high fixed and variable costs.

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Yes, the toll free telephone number may seem mundane and even dated, but economic and technical changes have given it new life and rapidly growing popularity among small businesses who look for the cachet and customer convenience that comes with a toll free number.

It is easy to understand why small businesses opt to add the old toll free number to their arsenal as prices are coming down and technology improves. In fact, getting a toll free number has never been easier or more affordable thanks to web sites like where you can search available numbers and sign up for service.

The most important reason for a toll free number is, of course, that the toll free number can drive sales. Whether used as part of a direct response marketing campaign or as a complement to a web site or other sales channels, a toll free number can help move goods and services.

Since toll free numbers traditionally have been the domain of corporations, having one can make a small business seem much bigger than it actually is, which is often reassuring to both customers, vendors and suppliers. Says Darlisa Crawford, founder and CEO of PoshAir, maker of a high-end travel blanket, “The toll free number is such a wonderful asset and benefit. It gives the appearance of being larger than you are. It gives you accessibility to a nationwide potential customer base.”
While the phrase “toll free number” may conjure up visions of a drab call center with barely motivated sales representatives, reality can be quite a bit more interesting.

Donna Rae Smith is the Owner of the Shippers on the Go, an agent for a freight broker company. Recently on a trip, she forwarded her toll free number to her cell phone so she wouldn’t miss a call. “Nobody knew that I was sitting on the beach talking on my cell phone rather than sitting in my office talking on the phone,” she said.

A toll free number can also help a service company move into markets where non-toll-free and out-of-area numbers often are insurmountable obstacles to doing business. Such was the case for Joseph Abreu of Abreu Realty LLC in Connecticut. Abreu was doing well in the state’s 203 area code, where his office is located, but he had no traction in the neighboring 860 area code. After considering opening a second office to serve the 860 area code, he instead signed up for a toll free number. That move – which obviously was far cheaper than getting an extra office – opened up the 860 market to him. Abreu is planning on using the same toll free number strategy to break into other area codes as well.

Small businesses can also take advantage of vanity numbers, toll-free numbers that form a word or phrase that help convey a company’s marketing message. You have probably heard of 1-800-FLOWERS, but what about 1-877-EXIT-210? The latter number is used by Angel of the Winds Casino, a tribal casino in Washington state that wanted an easy and memorable way to communicate its location to gamers in the Pacific Northwest. The toll free number that tells prospective gamers which to exit to take off of I-5 has successfully helped the casino attract new visitors.

Credibility, convenience, reach, marketing, and sales are all reasons for why toll free numbers have become small business owners’ new best friend.

Toll Free Numbers can be obtained from:
or for 800 area codes:
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