Getting Customers to Call: Small Business Marketing Matters

Getting customers to call is a primary step in many small businesses’ sales processes. Telling them, “Call for information,” “Call Now!” or “Call to order!” are not enough. You need to give customers a reason to call you.

Offering a coupon or a free quote isn’t that reason. Those incentives may offer motivation to buy, but you need to provide a motivation to call. Whether you are selling all-inclusive vacations or car insurance, if you have high success rates on the phone, your best bet of making a sale is getting a customer to call you.

How do you motivate customers to call you?

Customers must perceive some benefit to calling. This benefit could be monetary, entertainment or satisfying curiosity. Here are some ideas for how to motivate customers to call:

  • Offer a gift card or other “free gift” to the first hundred callers.
  • Ask a compelling question to which they can only learn the answer if they call.
  • Make the call fun by promoting a trivia game for callers. Ensure the trivia is relevant to your customer base, such as asking local sports questions.
  • Make the need to call more urgent. Have a deadline for receiving a special offer, or let customers know when you plan on raising your prices.
  • Spread the word. Use your other forms of marketing and advertising to sell the benefits of calling- not necessarily the benefits of buying.

Malcolm Gladwell provides a great example of the last tip in The Tipping Point. He tells of a cheesy ad campaign for the Columbia Record Club that was successful beyond anyone’s dreams, because it made a game out of the most profitable action customers could take. TV ads encouraged customers to find the “gold box” in their TV Guides to win a free record of their choice. Customers felt like they were solving a puzzle, but really, Gladwell writes, “It created a connection between the Columbia message viewers saw on television and the message they read in a magazine.” And this message was a call to action, showing remarkable results: “Every magazine on the schedule made a profit, an unprecedented turnaround.”

(You’ve read The Tipping Point, right? If not, go buy it!)

Today’s article about getting customers to call is fairly general, but every business is unique. Call me at 513.833.4203 with the questions you have about getting your customers to call your business. I’d be glad to brainstorm some ideas with you. It will be fun… and free!

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