The Best Call is a Local One

A study just released by CRM Associates shows that consumers prefer local telephone numbers over 800 numbers, and the study provides some suggestions for why that’s the case.

Ads with local phone numbers receive twice as many calls as ads with just an 800 or toll-free number. I wrote about these findings in a column today at Search Engine Land.

It’s worth noting that these results – local numbers beating 800 numbers – occurred across the board, regardless of the type of advertising. Whether it was display, in column, trade, leader ads or white pages, local numbers generated more calls every time.

Due to the local nature of shopping and use of Yellow Pages, advertisers who replace the local number(s) with an 800 number put themselves in a disadvantageous position. Consumers prefer businesses that show a local, personal focus through use of local numbers, even from well known nationally branded companies.

Should advertisers ditch their 800 numbers entirely then? Not quite. When used in conjunction with local numbers, an 800 number actually can be quite effective. Those ads draw the most calls. It’s when the 800 number is used to replace the local number that businesses experience a decline in calls.

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