As we’ve seen through this mini-series, Local Numbers have been a part of the telephone number landscape for a long time. Although it might be the case that people are using them less now to make calls, there still seems to be a desire from people to make calls to them.
I was working with a customer the other day who was preparing a large number of Local Numbers and looking at how they broke down according to county and post code. During this, it piqued his interest into whether there was any supporting evidence to why local numbers are more popular than ever now for businesses.
Research into people’s perceptions of Local Numbers
Although this bit of research is getting a little old, and it is actually looking to establish the response to changes to Local Numbers, there are still some really valid points brought out that support the current trend.
- Mobiles have become the main method of telephony
In the space of 10 years, from 2001 to 2011, mobile phones went from being the main method of telephony for 15% of those surveyed to 46%.
In the last 2 years since the survey, this shift has continued. Recent research from Ofcom has found that during April to June 2013, 32.5 billion minutes of calls were generated by mobiles; 7.7 billion more minutes than landlines.
- Geographic numbering is still highly valued by consumers and businesses
It seems that for both businesses and consumers there’s a mix of emotional and practical reasons that people value Local Numbers. That’s why in this research it shows that, if Ofcom were to change them dramatically, it would be met with resistance from many people.
So is it important that your business has a Local Number?
There are number of reasons why a Local Number is hugely beneficial to a business:
- Up until 2015, it will still be the case that it isn’t free for mobiles to call 08 numbers. So the choice of number range to get around this boils down to either 03 numbers or Local Numbers. Based on the familiarity with Local Numbers they would seem to be the go to choice.
- But necessity isn’t the only reason, if you’re a local business, you want to be clearly associated with that local area. So a Local Number is one way to do that. In particular a virtual Local Number will mean that you can continue to use your mobile phone, but get the calls made to a Local Number on that mobile.
- You can then extend this point further. There are many people who live between area codes. Virtual Local Numbers introduce further flexibility by allowing you to buy numbers in other local areas and you can promote your business there. You won’t miss out by having the “wrong” area code at the start of your number.
- But what if your business isn’t just a local business? You may find that people respond better to your advertising if it was targeted to them locally. Sometimes people are more wary of dealing with larger companies. Using Local Numbers can you bring you closer to them.