Expanding your business internationally can seem like a daunting task. If you don’t speak the language of the countries where you’re looking to expand, or you don’t understand the cultures, the idea of attracting customers overseas may seem like insurmountable hurdles. But in reality, reaching out to overseas customers is as easy as going online, thanks to the availability of virtual phone numbers.
It can be helpful to understand what a virtual phone number is, and why virtual phone numbers provide the flexibility, ease, and affordability necessary to start marketing yourself anywhere you want to.
How Virtual Phone Lines Work
Virtual phone numbers don’t travel through phone lines. That means you don’t need to deal with local phone companies, or even have a physical office space in whatever region you get your phone number. You can have an office in New York (even a home office, if that’s what works for you), and have phone numbers in Oslo, Caracas, or Jerusalem, without ever stepping foot in those cities or countries.
Instead of phone lines, your calls are transferred as data, over the internet. They are coded and decoded on both sides of the conversation, to allow for voice communication between parties.
You can connect to an international country as easily as you access a website in that country.
Your calls come in through whatever number you designate, and you can always change the number that will receive your incoming calls. Calls can reach your computer, landline, or cell phone, and multiple lines can be assigned to call any single device if that is the most convenient arrangement for you.
Using virtual phone numbers becomes just like using any traditional phone line, no matter where you are or where you’re calling.
Features and Pricing
Features like call forwarding, call transferring, call failure forwarding, and call recording can all be added with many of the available service providers. Because calls are routed through the internet, they are integrated with your existing technology — for example, faxes and voicemails can be automatically transcribed and sent to your email address.
Because of affordability, bigger businesses can set up multiple phone numbers — for example, one for marketing, one for sales, one for customer support, etc. Businesses can set up different numbers to evaluate different marketing campaigns — for example, Number X for an ad run on one TV station, and Number Y for an ad run on another.
Benefits to Your Customers
International virtual phone numbers don’t just make your life easier, they make your customers’ lives easier as well. Numbers purchased are “local” calls to anybody who lives in the region associated with the phone number. So for example, if you purchase a virtual number in Buenos
Aires, your number will be a local call for people who live there.
In fact, your number will even have the same characteristics as the local area. It will have the same ringtone style and sound like local calls within the area.
This not only saves callers money in long distance charges, but also gives your business the impression of being local, reliable, and committed to the community. People are more inclined to call and do business with those they perceive as having familiarity with where they live.
Reach a Wider Population
International virtual phone numbers also allow you to reach out to less populated areas, or areas where the population is spread out over a wider geographic area. For example, the interior portions of Canada may have a lot of potential customers for your business, but they aren’t all located or concentrated in one region or city.
Because of the ease and affordability of virtual phone numbers, you could easily set up multiple numbers throughout the less populated interior regions of Canada, allowing you to consolidate a widely dispersed customer base.
You don’t need to be a technological genius to use international virtual phone numbers because they operate the same way that all phone numbers do, with the exception of allowing you flexibility at the touch of a button.
Jason Weaver is a business attorney who helps businesses stay legally compliant and grow their businesses safely and effectively. He is also a freelance writer who writes about topics of interest to growing businesses.