Get a toll-free
If you don't have a toll-free number, get one.
Plaster it at the top of every page on your Web site. At the very
least, place it prominently on your contact page with frequent links
to the page. There are plenty of people out there who still prefer
to pick up the phone and talk to a real live person. Out of this
group of people, a significant percentage will only call companies
that have toll-free numbers.
Reinforce the fact that your number
is toll-free, by putting the words "Toll Free" next to the
phone number. Yes, everyone knows that 800 numbers are toll-free,
but many people do not know about the new toll-free exchanges, such
as 888, 877, and 866. Also, include some copy that indicates that
they can call you to ask questions, not just to place an order. Many
people are reluctant to call a company. They're afraid of getting an
"order monkey" who is unable to answer any questions beyond whether
you accept MasterCard and Visa.
Use live chat: Consider offering live chat on your Web site
and put the live chat button right next to your toll-free number on
each page of your site. You may be a bit skeptical about the value
of this feature, but there are now millions of people who
communicate with chat services every day. In fact, it has become the
preferred method of communication for a great number of people. My
company has acquired many new clients via chat and every time one of
my clients has tried it on his site, they've been thrilled with the
results. We're using a new live chat service that allows people to
chat with you from your Web site via AOL, MSN, ICQ, or via a browser
Automate the lead collection process by placing an opt-in box on every page of your
Web site. Make sure the opt-in box is in a prominent position. An opt-in box is a mini-form that collects
peoples' email addresses and sometimes other information such as
name, address, and phone number.
"Opting In" means that the visitor agrees to receive email from
your company. There are very strict rules regarding unsolicited
email, so make sure your visitors understand what type of email you
will be sending them when they opt-in. Make it clear that their
e-mail and privacy will not be abused. Joining the BBB Privacy
Program is one way to help get this message across.