A positive look at 0800 and 0844 numbers

Telecoms /

A lot of the time we're saying negative things about 08 numbers. But they do have a place in your advertising. We also say this a lot: it's all about picking the appropriate number for your business or the service you provide.

What's good about 0800 numbers?

In the days before mobiles (or at least when they weren't so dominant), this was the number range to use in your advertising. Because they're free to call from a UK landline, it would boost response rates, repeat callers and customer loyalty.

So, does any of this still apply? The answer is yes.

People do still make phone calls from their landline. The key thing is to establish whether the demographic of people that do use landlines are the ones you’re targeting.

If I was thinking about using a 0800 number, I'd be thinking:

  • Do I provide a product or service to people that are more likely to call me from home, or an office? In which case they’re potentially going to be using a landline.
  • What sort of age demographic am I targeting? Again, potentially if I'm providing a product or service to an older demographic they're more likely to have a landline, and use it, then the 16 to 25 age group, for example.
  • Do I want to appear without a specific geographic location? Is that going to benefit me or hinder me in selling my product or service? For companies with national distribution networks, being able to promote nationally with the same number will work to strengthen their brand as a national company.

There are real positives to using just one number, but back in the summer I wrote about using numbers in combination to meet the needs of your callers, so I won’t go into that again right now.

What's good about 0844 numbers?

This number range is very simple. It's about simplicity for you and for your callers. Here's an example:

My business is based in an office, so I can receive my calls on my landline. I sell Software as a Service (SaaS), so I can sell to anyone in the country, but I can’t take too many calls because there's only me and my business partner. The 0844 range works for me because:

  • I don't pay anything to receive the calls.
  • It's simple to explain to customers how much they'll pay to call me (fixed rate at 5p/min) from their landline.
  • Most of my customers use landlines because they're normally at their computer in an office when calling.
  • The cost to call helps me manage the volume of calls I get. It sounds backward, but by providing a number that isn’t particularly mobile friendly and isn’t free from a landline, I'm kind of "restricting" the calls to those that are really appropriate.

This is just one example, but the principals are there. There's also the opportunity to earn revenue from your calls, if you're getting a fair bit of traffic.

Are they better than Local Numbers?

I think the point is coming across that with any number range, whether that is an 08 number or Local Number, it's about how that number range benefits you and your caller. For all the negative things that are said about the 08 ranges, they still have a place and everything goes in cycles so no doubt with changes in mobile communication they’ll probably find a new place.

David Orrell