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The Case for a Toll-Free Number

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Most people who do radio
interviews for the first time seem to undervalue (if not totally disregard) the
power of having a toll-free number for ordering that they can announce during
their interviews. You must understand that well over half your listeners are
out of their homes, and that the single biggest chunk consists of people who
are listening in their cars.


During an interview, you need to
announce your toll-free order number frequently—about every 5 or 10 minutes,
depending on the length of the total interview—so that car listeners can call
in on their cell phones and order. Home listeners might call too, but they have
other ways to order, and it’s really the car listeners you are after.


The phone number must be announced
not only repeatedly but also clearly and slowly, and it must be easy to
remember, so that car listeners can call it. . Announcing the number only once
at the end of the interview, or worse, just posting it on the station’s Web site,
will almost guarantee that you will get no calls.So, you ask, how do you get
away with announcing your number so often? Won’t the host perceive that as too
pushy? No, not if you do two things: First, confidently and politely slide your
order number into your interview. This takes practice, and the technique can be
learned. Second, offer some sort of Top 10 list that listeners can call in and
arrange to get free via email. The Top 10 list offer not only allows you to
announce your order number more often because you are telling listeners how it
gives them something free; it also allows you to build a list of email
addresses of people who want to know more about your product after hearing you
talk about it. If that’s not a hot list of prospects, what is?


Things to think about if you don’t
have an 800, 888, or 877 number yet:


·      Make the number spell something
that’s clear when heard and easy to remember.

·      Avoid the letters S, T, V, B, C,
D, F, L, M, N, and P, if possible, since they are often misheard.

·      Get one of the phone company’s
voicemail services, so that more than one person can call the number at the
same time and get to leave a message (this works with most cell phone

·      Consider piggybacking your
toll-free number on top of your regular phone or cell phone number, so that
calls will come in normally and go to voicemail if you are already on your

·      Set up a Web page that matches
your toll-free number. For example, if your number is 800-BUY-BOOK, then create
a www.800buybook.com
site and have visitors to that page forwarded to the site where your product
can be ordered.


800 numbers are cheap—from $5 per
month down to free. And several toll-free vanity selection sites, such as <span
can help you choose one for your business.


Bryan Farrish heads Bryan
Farrish Radio Promotion, an independent radio publicity company. For more
information: 310/998-8305; www.radio-media.com.



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