Posted on April 27, 2018 by Charlie Galaviz
The modern business landscape is global, operates at a breakneck pace, and finds customers expecting more service in less time than ever before. That means that each channel a business interfaces with its customers and partners over needs to be optimized for all of those factors. One of the most critical channels that often gets overlooked in the light of improving web page design and enhanced connection speed is the business telephone number. In fact, almost 60% of all callers to a business want to discuss pricing on the first contact. And considering that pricing questions are one of the strongest buying signals, it doesn’t take Gordon Gekko to realize that the opportunity to get a call right is critical. To do get the right interactions on a telephone call, businesses need to have the right telephone numbers, first. But getting the right business telephone numbers is more than just signing up for a business phone service. That’s why we’ve put together the following infographic with examples of the different types of numbers you can have and how they can benefit your business. Plus, with hundreds of thousands of numbers from over 140 countries and true 800 toll-free numbers to choose from, VirtualPBX has exactly the right business telephone number for your business.
Posted on April 25, 2018 by Dan Quick
If you’re one of our regular readers, you know that we like to take our holidays seriously around here. Whether it’s having a blast with April Fool’s Day or enjoying an entire month of Halloween, we enjoy properly celebrating certain points on the calendar. Which is why it should come as no surprise that we’re especially excited to recognize National Telephone Day. Naturally, we’re sure you’ve already been planning your National Telephone Day picnics well in advance of today, right? Absolutely you have! But, in the event that you have a few missing arraignments yet to be attended to, we thought we’d cover one of the more commonly asked about topics today, specifically those surrounding the SIP phone.
SIP Phone, IP Phone, VoIP Phone, What’s the Difference?
To determine the difference between a SIP phone, an IP phone, and a VoIP phone, it’s important to first understand the terms themselves. VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) phones and IP (Internet Protocol) phones are essentially interchangeable in use. VoIP refers to the use of a cloud-based PBX (Private Branch Exchange) to access the PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network). Basically, that’s a cumbersome way to say that VoIP gets your phones connected to other telephone lines without the use of wires. Also, a VoIP phone and an IP phone are effectively the same things in that they are each physical handset that a person would use to place a VoIP or IP telephone call. A SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) phone is very similar in that it’s also a phone that connects to the PSTN with the aid of data-enabled connections (versus the traditional copper-wire only approach) but it does so slightly differently. SIP Trunks or SIP Channels are cloud connections to on-site PBX hardware. This hybrid of cloud and physical technologies allows companies that have invested in an on-site PBX telephone switch to maximize the functionality of their physical technology. Typical physical connections to on-site PBX hardware have limitations in cost, traffic, customization, speed of installation, and more, and leveraging the power of the cloud by replacing them with SIP trunks is the best way to get more out of existing on-site PBXs.
National Telephone Day Welcomes ALL Phones
It’s easy to see following this quick explanation about what separates a SIP phone from a VoIP phone and an IP phone that there are plenty of options out there for businesses to consider. What we didn’t even mention yet, though, is that the category of VoIP-enabled telephone options includes softphones, Web Phones, and the ever-present mobile phone and that they all play an important roll in business communications, as well. There’s only one place to find all of the best options on the market for business phones, though, and that’s on the VirtualPBX Recommended VoIP Phones and Devices list that is painstakingly curated to ensue that your business has the right options on National Telephone Day and every other day of the year.
Also, you can learn more about what exactly a SIP phone is by reading our What You Need to Know Blogs that cover SIP Calling and SIP Trunking v PRI, respectively. Or, you can also reference our SIP Trunking FAQ’s as well, as compiled by our award-winning Customer Support Team. And that being said, let us know how you’re celebrating National Telephone Day by sharing pictures of your favorite phones and devices with us on Facebook or Twitter!
Posted on April 19, 2018 by Dan Quick
For our Partner Blog Series we like to highlight the relationships we have with our peers and business partners from across all areas of the telecommunications industry. We know that when it comes to relationships, the whole really is greater than the sum of the parts. That’s why we want to share with you the wisdom, experience, and perspective of the companies we work with.
This edition of the Partner Blog Series comes to us from Grant Polachek of Squadhelp.com, the online community crowdsource solution for branding challenges. Here he covers some of the key considerations for identifying, naming, and positioning your brand.
A strong brand name is the cornerstone of any business. When launching a new business, a strong name can help you attract and connect with customers. It can lead to buzz, increase recall, and encourage referrals, as a name that is hard to say, spell, or recall is also hard to share. A great business name helps you across many key communication and marketing goals. Moreover, a superior name serves as the foundation of your brand and can have exponential effects throughout the lifetime of your business.
When the owners of a small business use a great name, they are likely to attract more customers from their marketing and advertising than their competition who is using a flat, uninteresting name. And no one wants to be the business that causes this awkward situation:
“Your business is doing great. What did you do?” – “Oh, there’s a local agency that helped me with our marketing … but I can’t remember the name of the firm right now.”
With this in mind, follow these guidelines to develop your owner amazing consulting name ideas and finding a great name that will help you succeed.
OnPoint is a great example of a pragmatic, easy-to-remember name. It demonstrates one of the key principles of the firm, helping clients build strong strategies and stay ‘on point.’ The name easy super easy to remember, and you’ll immediately know the essential principle of their consulting strategy.
Where Do You Want to Go?
Honing creative process – think about the brand that you’re trying to build, and determine some core concepts essential to your success. Ask yourself, What do I want people to know about my business immediately? Here are some common answers:
- It is High-End
- It is Modern
- It is Unique
- It is Fun
Build On What You Need
Now that you’ve decided on a central direction, create a one or two sentence statement to keep your naming efforts laser focused. Here are some examples:
- We’re looking for a modern name that helps to guide our key needs – connectivity, reach and growth.
- We need a name that’s descriptive and captures the values of the company – that we can offer excellent business-building services.
- We want to create a name that evokes strength and makes us the best option for even more experienced standards.
- We need a stylish and timeless name that will immediately make someone think of improving their business.
A lot of people dive into their naming project head first without taking the appropriate time to set the stage for success, hoping that “creativity” and “inspiration” will swoop in and provide an amazing outcome. This is a big mistake. A systemic and strategic approach will result in a much more effective outcome.
Here is an example of a brand name that really evokes feelings of being popular, vibrant, and well known. It’s a memorable name, a hip name, and definitely something that will get people talking.
Why Do You Do It?
Now it’s time to put pen to paper (fingers to keyboard … stylus to tablet). However you like to work, it’s time to brainstorm ideas.
- Research your competition – Understanding the companies you’re competing against is an important aspect of developing effective name ideas. One of the major decisions you’ll want to make when naming your company is, Do I want to fit in or stand out from my industry?
- Develop an Inspiration Deck – You can find inspiration for your business name ideas in so many places. Take a drive around town writing down your favorite names that you find, get a list of successful brands across any industry you can imagine using your go-to search engine, or explore winning brand names ideas from crowdsourced branding contests. Building a list of inspiration is a well respected copywriting technique, and it will certainly help you develop great business name ideas as well.
What Your Name Needs
From a technical naming standpoint there are some important principles that you want to keep in mind:
- Is it easy to say? Unfortunately, you may have to pass on a meaningful name if it’s difficult to say.
- Is it easy to hear? Try this thought experiment. If you’re standing in loud bar and told someone your name, would they be able to understand you?
- Is it easy to spell? Simple misspellings such as Lyft, Flickr, Xero can work really well for a brand. But names that are very hard to spell will hinder your marketing and communication efforts.
- Is it appealing? Is your name pleasant to see and hear? Many times, in a quest to be unique or edgy, companies will select a name that lacks appeal with the target market. Consumers should like how your name looks and sounds. If they do, it’s much more likely that they’ll want to learn more about your business and talk to friends about your brand.
Also make sure you never use obscure names: Can your name only be understood by a few people? Don’t go for an obscure name that only a handful of your target audience will be able to recall quickly. While a small number of your customers may appreciate an obscure name that only they understand, the rest will be confused and move on.
When searching through business name ideas, you might be surprised and inspired by an outside the box approach like When searching through business name ideas, you might be surprised and inspired by an outside the box approach like Fifth & Flow. This modern, high-end naming convention for a yoga studio is wonderfully unexpected.
What is Your Brand?
A great business name will always be less appealing than your competition’s mediocre brand. It’s very hard to look at a list of names and get excited about them. One, two, or three words on a page can often feel flat.
The ability to bring a name to life in your mind is critical to the naming process. Imagine the story. Visualize the logo. See it on your products and packaging. Without envisioning your brand, you’ll have trouble getting behind any of the business name ideas that you’ve generated.
The Hard Stuff
Developing business name ideas is only the beginning of the process. There are important name validation steps that you’ll definitely want to complete before deciding on your business name.
Running into legal issues after finally deciding on a business name can be devastating to your business. In order to reduce your risk of run-ins with another company’s legal teams or issues with Trademark filing, it is important to check for Trademark Risk before making a final decision on your name. consider that you may be infringing on someone else’s trademark. Depending on your experience with the Trademark process, you can perform this due diligence of your own. However, it’s often best, especially when the consequence could be a receiving a cease-and-desist letter, to have your potential business name ideas checked out by a licensed professional.
It’s All For You
Though you may be eager to begin marketing and operating your business, taking the time to ideate an effective name is an important component of developing your brand’s image. By using these straightforward tips you will have a much easier time coming up with a name that is capable of helping you succeed!
Grant Polachek is the Director of Marketing at Squadhelp.com, helping entrepreneurs and marketers develop brand name ideas, create strong brands, and grow faster through a disruptive crowdsourcing process.
Posted on April 17, 2018 by Dan Quick
What is SIP calling is as easily answered as most of the advanced telecommunications topics we cover in that, once you break down the acronyms into meaningful definitions, everything makes a bit more sense. What is SIP calling is one of the many different SIP Trunking topics that is addressed in brief our SIP Trunking FAQ’s, but we’ll dive a bit more in depth, here. First, SIP calling stands for Session Initiation Protocol calling and refers to voice calls transmitted over a SIP Trunk or SIP Channel. Often confused with VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol), SIP calls aren’t the same technology, but work very much in accordance with one another. SIP can also connect information like video, instant messaging, and other data, but we’ll get into how that works a bit later. And like many of the topics we’ve discussed in previous What You Need to Know Blogs about various telecommunications issues, SIP Trunking is one of those things that may seem daunting at first but is actually pretty clear once you have a broader understanding of the issue.
So Really, What is SIP Calling?
SIP Calls are voice conversations that use a specific route to connect parties. First, let’s address how telephone calls were traditionally made. The two basic components of a traditional business telephone system include accessing the PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) and managing the calls and their routing/voicemail/etc. over a PBX (Private Branch Exchange). This already would indicate that SIP calling is something that is traditionally reserved for similar situations, specifically in that it’s more for businesses only. Spoiler alert: that is mostly the case. Some consumer SIP calling capabilities exist on open source platforms like the Android mobile phone operating system, but for the vast majority of SIP Trunk clients and customers, SIP calling is primarily for businesses. Moving on, a business with an on-site PBX used to connect to the PSTN exclusively over copper wires connected by the legacy telephone carriers, but in the advent of the digital and internet ages, that system changed dramatically.
SIP Calling Wasn’t the First Option
To begin handling the increased connections and complexity that initially came with having both landlines and internet connections running through the same on-site PBX hardware that was designed for voice only, PRI lines were created. PRI (Primary Rate Interface) Lines were an early solution to begin managing these new connections and have since been outdated by the more capable SIP Trunking option. We go into great detail on the SIP Trunking vs PRI in another post, but it boils down to SIP Trunking being faster to implement, more capable of handling the needs of voice-only data traffic, and an overall reduction in operating and installation costs. SIP calling via a SIP Trunk accomplishes all of this by eliminating the need to have a traditional, physical connection to a legacy phone company. This simplifies things on the site of the PBX by also eliminating the need for multiple phone lines because SIP Trunks leverage some of the flexibility that comes from cloud-based communications and can expand and contract to accommodate the needs of any business as its call activity spikes.
SIP Calling Is Just One Facet of Cloud Communications
What is SIP calling is just one of those questions that arises now that telecommunications have more than one route (specifically, a single copper wire) to connect people across a vast array of distances and devices. As we mentioned earlier, though, SIP connections can transmit a variety of data beyond just voice connections and that makes it more inherently “cloud” than anything else. By this we mean the majority of the benefits of cloud-based communications come from the infinite number of customizations and modifications that can be made for free to advanced telephone systems with a press of a button versus for a fee with the eventual visit by a telephone company engineer. This also means that SIP Calls are operated over connections that are optimized for the prioritization of voice over data, meaning that if traffic is at a peak the voice connections remain crystal clear and upload/download speeds of your favorite cat video may be constricted until the surge is over. Also, and possibly most importantly in light of the pace of business in the modern era, speed of implementation of SIP Trunking, like all cloud communications, is lightning fast in comparison to PRI lines. What traditionally takes PRI lines upwards of 45 business days to accomplish can be done with a SIP Trunk in as little as a 15 minutes or less.
With all of this under consideration, the next time someone asks what is SIP calling, perhaps the best answer is to simply say, “A really good idea.” If that’s the case, feel free to learn more about SIP Trunking for business and our other hosted VoIP business phone plans by reading more. Also, remember to let us know of other topics you’d like to learn more about in future What You Need to Know blogs by sending us suggestions over Facebook or Twitter.
Posted on April 12, 2018 by Dan Quick
If you don’t know by now, you should probably read more of our blogs, but we’ve recently launched our first 4G LTG nationwide Mobile for Business feature, and it’s awesome. Not only can you use the latest phones with all of their bells and whistles for your business line, but unlike simply having a mobile carrier handle your business accounts, this is all metered, billed, and managed from your VirtualPBX business telephone service plan. That means that you won’t ever have to worry about expense reports clogging up your accounting department again, plus it means that the full host of advanced features that you expect from your VoIP business phone are also all available and compatible on your business mobile phones, too. But there’s one more aspect of Mobile for Business that’s worth noting, and that’s the ability to leverage traditional mobile features as part of your overall business communications strategy. That’s why we wanted to review some of our own favorite reasons to use texting for work on VirtualPBX Mobile for Business.
Texting for Work on VirtualPBX Mobile for Business
Before we begin with our top situations where texting for work is so great, we want to acknowledge the obvious elephant in the room of, of course, there are about a million different reasons to use texting. But to distill that reality down into a handful of relatable use cases, we’re sticking with just three today. You can feel free to tell us which ones we should have included on Facebook and Twitter, though, so keep them in mind and we can possibly add them to another list down the way. But without further ado, here are the best times to use texting for business.
- Appointment Information Texting updates to existing events is a valuable way to quickly disseminate vital information. Airlines can let travelers know about a gate change for connections, and as a business owner, you can send text messages to attendees of a meeting about room changes just as easily. Also, just simple reminders to clients about their appointments with you is a personable and effective way to stay engaged and front of mind, as well. The point is that never missing an appointment is just good business, and staying on top of that is easy with texting for business with VirtualPBX.
- Micro Conversations Just like we use texting in our personal lives to augment the communications between people, Mobile for Business can accomplish the same with texting for business. Whenever you need to send a quick update on a project or client or just offer a quick insight on any topic when a phone call may be too much, a quick text is the best way to go. This is because, unlike email, people tend to have a shorter response time to texting than email so these micro convos are ideally had over texting when they can also happen in a timely fashion.
- Under the RADAR Okay, this one can initially sound a little unscrupulous at first, but it doesn’t have to be done in a deceitful way. But, having the ability to quickly and discretely send a colleague a small note without interrupting a presentation or client meeting is actually invaluable. If there is new information that arises in a meeting that you have insight on but didn’t get to cover beforehand, if there is a discrepancy that needs to be noted or anything else that would be an inappropriate interruption to discuss but that still warrants a mention to your team is a candidate for using texting for business when you need to stay under the RADAR.
Getting Started Texting for Work on Dash
Even though Mobile for Business is one of the latest and most anticipated business telephone features we’ve rolled out in a while, it’s just the proverbial tip of the iceberg. All Dash Business Phone Plans include a cadre of advanced features and functions that far exceed whatever you’d be able to get from an on-site telephone option and they all come included with every plan from Basic to Unlimited. So what are you doing still having multiple telephone providers for your single business? It’s time you consolidated and saved at the same time all while boosting the performance of your business telephone with VirtualPBX, texting for business, and the unlimited flexibility and power of business VoIP!