Virtual telephone numbers serve a number of different purposes.
To start, it's improving your image. Say you're a "One Van Man" and only have a mobile. Getting yourself a Local Number means you establish a base for your business without actually having one. People will be more confident in calling you, and you still get all your calls into your mobile.
You could use this number for everything to do with your business. Put it on your van, your website, your business cards and in all your advertising.
But what if you could be smarter and really find out which of these things is bringing you the most business? Is it the van? Or the business cards? Or is it the advertising you're paying for?
This is where you can take the next step with virtual numbers.
If you put a unique telephone number in each of these places, you could then know exactly how many calls you were getting from them individually.
You can still get all your calls into your mobile, for example, regardless of how many unique numbers you actually have.
The next time you're speaking to a certain advertiser and they're asking you to commit money to advertising with them, having put a unique number in the advert, you’ll know whether it’s worth the money. You could find you save money going somewhere else.
Using Local Numbers as an example again, you can even test out new areas. Place a specific Local Number for that area in an advert and see what business comes in. Using a specific area code number for the new area will put you in a stronger position than just using the same number everywhere.
Whenever you're thinking about what numbers to use, it's also worth thinking about whose calling you. Are they calling mainly from mobiles or landlines? This will often guide you to using a particular range of number.
For example, if most of your callers are calling from landlines you may want to plump for an 0800 Number or even an 0844 Number. 0800 Numbers are free to call from a UK landline so they sit really well in your advertising and are proven to get a good response.
0844 Numbers are 5p/min to call from a UK landline so you could use these as part of your support service if you have one. Having a simple charge, can add value to the perception of the service.
If you're mainly getting calls from people on their mobiles, present Local Numbers or 03 Numbers. These can then be included in callers free minutes from their provider (if they get them).
You can find information about all the number ranges on this website and you can always get in touch if you want some help deciding between them.