Responsive Advertising Blog

Why Toll-free Numbers Can Ruin Your DR Campaign

2 minute read

Take a look at this toll-free phone number: 866-741-6258.

OK, now don’t look at it again. Instead look away and repeat it, saying it out loud. How did you do? Didn’t cheat, I hope. Most people will have a hard time remembering this number. Without a rhythm or cadence, it is very difficult to a recall a seemingly random series of numbers.

While radio is just one media channel that can drive effective results in your DR campaign, its success often depends on an important factor: the toll-free number cadence and how you use the number. That’s where the art of numbers comes into play.

There are three basic principles about toll-free numbers that you must account for in your DR radio campaigns:

1. Use premium toll-free numbers. At Marketing Architects, we only use premium toll-free numbers—simple, repeatable numbers—in our radio campaigns, like 800-500-1212. What are premium numbers worth? Does a 100-percent improvement in response seem significant?

2. Prepare the listener for the number. Besides the number itself, the other component to the art of numbers is when to say the number and how often to say it. Radio is a linear medium, so it matters when you give the listener the number. They can only act when you tell them to act or have prepared them to act. So there is a time to provide them a number to prep them for action, and when to drive it home when you want them to act.

Remember the radio listener is also trying to hear your message, form an opinion and emotionally connect to the offer. Until they have reached that point they are not ready to act. Pushing the number too many times, or too early, could result in a shutdown of that process.

3. Eliminate any doubt from the equation. Finally, don’t use any toll-free number if it doesn’t start with 1-800. Don’t use 1-866. Don’t use 1-877. Consumers hesitate when they hear these prefixes. They still don’t think of them as toll free. That hesitation causes them to not recall the number, or refuse to call it altogether. That translates to wasted media spending.

On the surface, the art of numbers may seem like a small component of your overall DR campaign, but it represents free moves that translate into dramatic results.  Especially now that 4:1 of your responses drive to the web.  

The proof is in the numbers, and Marketing Architects can help you see it. Give us a call at 800-700-7726 and we’d be happy to schedule a time to learn more about your campaign and help you create the most effective media strategy, whether it involves radio, TV or web. 

Chuck Hengel

By Chuck Hengel

Founder & CEO

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