Marketing numbers are split into three different categories, and each has its own specific benefits:
Freephone numbers have an 0800 prefix and are free of charge to the caller. This means that your business pays the cost of all the calls.
An 0800 number gives your company a national image and can increase incoming calls by up to 300% more than a standard number. Research shows that 61% of UK consumers are more likely to call a company with a freephone number in preference to a comparable competitor without one.
If paying for your customers to call you means that you can develop a substantial number of sales leads and drive up your profits, then a freephone number is definitely worth the investment.
Offering a free call also inspires trust in your customers and offers an incentive to call more often, meaning that you can build a lasting relationship. It can also work well to establish your company as having caring after-sales services and can even save you money by replacing personal sales visits.
Lo-call, local rate or 0845 numbers enable the customer to pay a local rate charge, no matter where they are in the country, and you pay the difference.
As with freephone numbers, 0845 numbers are proven to generate three times the response from customers and enable you to attract customers from beyond your local area.
It also promotes a certain amount of professionalism and distinguishes you from your competitors. Most Internet service providers (ISPs) use 0845 numbers, as it allows them to offer lo-call costs to subscribers nationwide.
National rate numbers
National rate numbers (0870) can generate income for your company. Each minute can earn you extra income that can be off-set against other telephone costs.
Customers that call you are billed at a national rate, regardless of their location within the UK. Your business receives a payment for every call minute.
National rate numbers convey a professional, national image, although the cost can often act as a barrier to calling. They are used for a variety of different activities e.g. providing technical support or helplines, information services, weather and traffic reports, or even film times at cinemas.
0871 and 0844 numbers
Just to confuse matters, there are two marketing numbers - 0871 and 0844.
0844 numbers (similar to local) cost the caller between 1 and 5p per minute, at all times, whereas 0871 (similar to national rate) numbers cost the caller between 6 and 10p a minute.
The advantage of adopting one of these marketing numbers is that if, for example, your company receives a substantial proportion of customer calls out of normal office hours or at the weekend, you can generate a larger revenue from them than a national rate number. National rate calls cost much less out of office hours, because they are not fixed-rate, this means the profit margins are smaller.