Painting is an important task that immediately improves the value of a property. If you know what you’re doing, it’s not a particularly difficult task. If you don’t have any experience, or you don’t have the time, you’ll probably head down to your local Bunnings for some advice, ask a friend, or get online.
Educate customers to win business
Transparency is an important way to build trust with customers. Giving customers honest information about painting their home won’t ever do you out of business — it’ll probably win you some and that’s why Mark created some basic videos with tips on how to do certain aspects of the paint preparation work which he normally performs.
The fact is that no one likes doing it but when people are getting painting done and they realise how time consuming and messy this task is, they’d rather get someone else to do it!
Derek Farmer, a real estate agent on Sydney’s Lower North Shore, used educational videos to help sellers (and buyers, too) understand the sales process. This helped him attract new listings because people trusted that he would be open and honest about the real estate process.
Explain your process
It also made Derek’s job a little easier, because vendors knew what to expect when they were selling their home. That meant the process would proceed relatively stress free because Derek had been upfront about the process — before he’d even met the seller — and usually resulted in a quick sale.
Vendors who had good experiences with Derek recommended him to their friends, relatives, colleagues and neighbours — at one point, Derek had multiple listings, one after the other, in the same street, all due to good recommendations from previous clients.
What tips can you share?
Tradies, whether they’re painters or plumbers or gardeners, can use educational videos and blogs to demystify the work that they do for customers, and also help stand out from their competitors online and in their local community.
To learn more about using educational content as a marketing strategy for your business, sign up for our digital marketing management services or enrol in our digital and social media marketing training course if you’d like to DIY.
Commander and VoIP
It’s pretty easy to spot a small business or one-man-band these days, just by looking at their contact details. It’s even easier to tell which ones use remote workers, too. You know how? They only give out a mobile number. Even if they tell you otherwise on their website, and give the appearance of being a professional medium-sized business, the mobile phone number always gives them away.
Maybe you’re one of those businesses; you started out small, but as you grew you needed to hire more people. Now you have a sizeable team of remote workers, each trying to communicate with your clients and customers using a mobile phone. Aside from being impractical (how do you transfer an external call to a member of your team from a mobile?), it’s also not very professional.
The Commander of business telephone systems
The problem has always been that for most small businesses, the go-to phone system was the Commander business phone system, which was originally manufactured by Nitsuko Corporation in Japan, until Nitsuko was bought by NEC. They stopped producing Commander phones not long after that, although you’d have hardly realised; they were so hugely popular in Australia that, even to this very day, you can still buy secondhand Commander telephone systems and spare parts for them – and quite cheaply, too.
If you’re looking for a business phone system, picking up a secondhand Commander telephone system might be the way to go, and for as little as $50 in some cases at sites like Gumtree and Ebay.
These old analogue phone systems can be set up in your office but you’ll need someone with the technical skills and you’ll also need analog lines which you’ll need to organise with someone like Telstra. Keep in mind, also, that if you only have four phone lines and each one is in use when someone calls, they might get the engaged tone – pretty bad for business. If you’re looking for some advanced call handling features like call waiting, auto-attendants, and so forth, you may need to get a more modern, more sophisticated business telephone system from Cisco or Yealink.
These cheap analog telephone systems might solve the problem for small businesses looking for a cheap phone system that their staff can use in their office, but what about those remote or teleworkers? If they deal with external stakeholders on your business’s behalf, you’d still want to be able to assign a business number for them.
The Commander’s modern mate: an ATA adapter
Some virion customers have an old Commander business phone system but connect it to an analogue telephone adapter, like one of Cisco’s ATA adapters. By connecting a Commander phone system to a Cisco ATA adapter, ideally Cisco’s Linksys PAP2 device, you’ll be able to add two extra VoIP services, so you can extend the functionality of your phone system AND enable all your outbound calls to travel via VoIP (at a largely discounted call rate).
For less than $100 you can pick up a complete Commander phone system and a Cisco Linksys PAP2 adapter, and then configure if for a VoIP service, making it a low-cost option for small businesses. If you anticipate your business to grow – and quickly – you might consider the benefits of a new VoIP phone system for cheaper than you think.
Commander – Cheap to buy, expensive to setup
Because you’re using old technology, however, there isn’t a lot of assistance available in terms of set-up or troubleshooting if problems occur (you may need to consult the Internet in such instances), and although it might seem like a cheap phone system you’ll then need to find a local technician who’ll need to come to your office and connect to your expensive Telstra PSTN phone lines.
New VoIP business telephone systems may be cheaper
If you’re thinking of switching your business phones to a VoIP service, browse our website to compare our different services or contact us to request a quote for a VoIP system for your business. To learn more about VoIP for business, continue reading our blog.
When you move from one phone carrier to another and decide to keep the same telephone number, this is called a port or porting a number. As phone plans have become more competitive, with many companies bundling services together, many people are choosing to move away from expensive phone plans with providers, like Telstra.
Generally speaking, porting a number is a fairly simple exercise. You’ve probably changed mobile phone carriers in the past and managed to keep the same phone number with relative ease. This is known as a simple port.
The more services you have added to a number, however, can make porting slightly more difficult. If you have services like voicemail, line hunting (distributing telephone calls from one phone number to a group of several phone lines), call groups (similar to conference calls), the internet, EFTPOS or ISDN, porting your telephone number becomes known as a complex port.
Some carriers don’t offer a complex porting service, and for those that do a complex port is significantly more expensive than a simple port—sometimes costing upwards of three times that of a simple port, depending on your carrier.
It’s also called a complex port for a reason: because it’s not without its complications. Most of the time a complex port can take longer to go through, and even then a complex port can fail. Most carriers charge a porting fee, so a complex port can become quite expensive if it should fail in the first instance—or the second or the third!
Instead of paying for an expensive complex port that could prove to be problematic, anyway, you’re better off cancelling those services with your current phone carrier and paying for a simple port. Once the number has been ported, you can then resume those services with your new carrier. This also allows you to get rid of any services that you were paying for but didn’t really need or use.
If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative to your current phone plan, and you want to port your number, Virion has a number of competitive VoIP plans to suit any business. Contact us today.
Want to Port Away from Telstra?
If you are looking to save money, get more features and take your phone number with you? Visit our VoIP Partners website and learn how you can get a VoIP Phone System for only $1 per month.
We recently spoke to Angela, a freelance writer, to share her experiences working with some of the largest publishing and advertising businesses in Australia. If you are interested in media and more importantly how large and well known companies measure the success of their advertising dollar, you’ll find this quite interesting.
For a spell, I left the media industry to work as a research analyst where I analysed the efficiency of various advertising and marketing strategies for a host of clients, such as Qantas, Westpac, Coca Cola, the NSW Government, and so on.
Though my chief objective was to determine things like whether a thirty second spot in Packed to the Rafters would deliver a client’s TARP goals, time and again, I was asked how a client could tell if that thirty-second spot had resulted in more sales; something I was unqualified to speculate on.
To isolate this information, marketers would often suggest that clients advertise different products or special offers in each different medium they used, and then analyse sales data to see which medium outperformed the other. But becoming more popular is the use of a Voice Over Internet Protocol service (VoIP).
Unlike the former, which cannot control for natural selection—a person going into a supermarket and selecting Arnotts Tim Tams over another Arnotts product due merely to product placement, impulse or pre-existing bias—a VoIP rules out the possibility of natural selection.
Using different telephone numbers in different advertising mediums, VoIP allows you to efficiently and accurately track what marketing messages your enquiries are originating from; and importantly, a VoIP also isolates which advertising medium delivers more call-to-action.
You may use a variety of mediums—television, print, online, radio, outdoor—but of those mediums, which one actually drives a person to pick up the phone? What was the strongest marketing message? VoIP answers all of those questions with a simple text file detailing every phone call and the marketing number they originated from.
VoIP delivers something that as a research analyst I could never definitively answer: accountability. It’s true that VoIP is no substitute for a good marketing campaign, but when used in conjunction with your marketing strategies it offers a kind of clarity that TARPs and circulation numbers simply cannot.
To include Virion’s VoIP service in your next marketing campaign, sign up here.