The power of a phone number

I’ve been involved in Website design for 20 years and much has changed over this time, from technology to design trends – but I’ve found that some fundamentals have stayed the same. In the first of a series of articles I’m looking at why your phone number is important online.

People Do Want To Call You

There are a few exceptions to this but generally people want to speak to people and a website should make it easier for this to happen. We still see many websites that tuck the phone number away on a contact page, or put it very small in the footer, almost making it difficult for customers to call, but I’m not sure why businesses do this?
For many of our customers both B2B and B2C, getting a website visitor to call is often the best kind of conversion. Selling or signing up to a service online is good, but when the customer actually has a conversation with you, the potential to convert the visitor into a customer is normally much greater.
When we build websites for our customers, we insist that their phone number is very clearly shown at the top of every page with a distinct call to action. When viewing the website via a mobile the number should be clickable to enable it to connect immediately, ideally displaying a mobile friendly 033 number. Often the very reason the visitor is on the site, is to find your number and to call you. They want to speak to a human, so why make it hard for them to get in touch?

Does A Telephone Number Increase Conversions?

There are some businesses which may argue that they don’t want to offer telephone support to customers because their product or service is low cost, free or entirely digital and so they perhaps can’t justify the additional cost of manning the phones – they just want people to sign up online.
However, a recent study done by Kissmetrics found that having a phone number on your website, especially if you are a web based business, increases trust and conversion rates, but not necessarily the number of calls. We agree with this, having a phone number and even going to the extent of a local phone area code (if you are targeting local customers) helps build trust and ultimately means more people sign up to your service.

Track Calls As A Conversion

We also recommend to customers that they use a different phone number on their website with call tracking enabled. This can be done through Google Adwords using a call extensions if we are running a campaign for them. Alternatively you can sign up to a digital call forwarding service such as ttnc. This enables you to see how many people who visit your website actually go on to call you, allowing you to monitor the total number of calls in relation to email enquiries that you get. Once the tracking is set up you may be surprised just how many people want to speak to you.
So don’t be afraid of using your phone number boldly, customers want to know that you are accessible and there’s a human at the end of the line, even if they don’t actually call.