With a title like “Picking Numbers”, it sounds like this blog post should be about winning the lottery… but it’s actually about setting up your telephone services for maximum marketing potential, an important concept for all freelancers (photographers included).
Given the rich feature list available in VoIP services such as Skype these days, I can’t fathom why anybody still bothers with traditional landlines, particularly in lieu of the advent of naked DSL Internet connections. While I was setting up a new Skype account for my freelance photography services and adding a SkypeIn number a few minutes ago, I was impressed with a new SkypeIn feature: the ability to search for available phone numbers containing a preferred string of digits.
I searched for strings of digits based on certain letter combinations (for example, 746867 for PHOTOS, 527664 for JASONG and 547336 for JGREEN) to no avail. If you can find a string of digits that match up with letters that are meaningful and memorable for your business, lock it in and secure as soon as possible! Potential clients will remember a word much more easily than a string of seemingly random numbers, opening up a whole new world of telephone leads and conversions to you.
As I said previously though, I was unable to find a suitable number using the method above. So I got to thinking about what makes certain phone numbers more memorable than others, and I realised that repetition and sequences are the two key elements that help us remember otherwise random numbers. Fortunately, I was able to combine both of these elements by searching for the sequence “123”, which returned the result +61 3 9005 8123 in my area code! Hopefully the fact that I was able to memorise this number instantly indicates that others will be able to as well.
Having selected a memorable phone number, setting up an effective VoiceMail message was the next thing that needed to be done. Given that this phone number was going to be used only for my freelance photography business, I decided that the message needed to be a little more in-depth than the kinds of messages we hear on personal answering machines. I considered that there were three key elements that needed to be included: my identity, a tag line and a call to action. The identity was simple, and the call to action was obvious. The tag line took a little more work, and I had fun wrapping it into the reasoning for not answering the phone. In the end, I came up with the following:
“Thank you for calling Jason Green Photography! Jason’s out and about taking the next perfect picture at the moment. Please leave your name, number and a brief message so that he can call you back as soon as possible.”
Notice how it remains short, succinct and to-the-point, but packs so much more marketing potential than the typical “I’m not here, leave your name and number after the beep” style of message!