Having an internet based telephone service is becoming the rule, instead of the exception for so many businesses.
Why? The money saved and features gained by having a VOIP telephone are often compelling enough for businesses to ditch traditional telephone lines.
David Dague, Vice president of marketing for Localeze, a company specializing in local search engine marketing sheds some light on the move from traditional telephone lines to VOIP.
By now, you have heard about the millions of consumers ridding their households of the Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS) landlines. In fact, Oklahoma leads the country with over 26-percent of households that rely solely on cell phones. Local businesses are also hopping on the band wagon and abandoning traditional land line carriers in favor of cheaper phone services like VoIP, a telco reseller (CLEC) or simply using their mobile number. While this may be great for their bottom line it could have an adverse affect – they may be sacrificing their online findability and ultimately sales.
According to recent research reports, consumers will soon conduct more than two billion online local searches every month. Given that more than 80 percent of consumers research online before they make an in-store purchase, that number is expected to continue to grow. And for consumers there are an expanding number of channels to find local businesses – PCs, smartphones, GPS devices, voice search, and yes, the yellow pages.
By cutting the cord on their traditional landlines, merchants are at risk of not being included in the white/yellow pages listings: currently a prime content source feeding local search engines like Google, Yahoo, Yelp and CitySearch and vertical engines like Edmunds, 1-800-Dentists and Driverside. Local telecommunications carriers are not obligated to provide the phone number listings for organizations that do not have a landline phone number or businesses migrating to Cable TV or VoIP services.
So if you have turned off your traditional phone service or moved over to VoIP, you need to ensure that supplying and managing your business listings information directly to these online and offline directory sources is part of your local search marketing strategy.
Today, your business information is probably listed on many of the local search engines however if you don’t claim and take control of it, its likely to disappear or a spammer will claim it for you.
David recommends that before you cut the cord on your traditional telephone service you ensure your local search engine listings are in place.
If you’re a local florist in Brooklyn, when someone types in flowers and your zip code or even the borough of Brooklyn, does your flower shop pop up? If not, and especially if you are thinking of doing away with your traditional telephone line you need to ensure your local online searches are optimized.
Doing this yourself is not impossible, but can be a challenge.
Hiring a company that specializes in local search, such as Localeze, OrangeSoda, Yodle or ReachLocal should be considered.