Buy local. In a world in constant turmoil, sometimes we circle the wagons, hunker down, and buy local. It can feel both dutiful and cathartic to narrow one’s scope from globally sourced to living off the land. That’s why there’s a certain romance to shopping your farmer’s market, patronizing the neighborhood kids’ lemonade stand for a sugary refreshment, and “made in the USA.” It’s also why many city folk enjoy retreating to the mountains, countryside, and national parks to pitch a tent and live the simple life, if only for a weekend. This innate instinct to turn inward is a vibe. Small businesses would do well to lean into it, particularly when it comes to their phone communications.

In this article, we cover:

So how do you “lean” into it? It’s all about accessibility.

Gain local credibility in target markets

Say you live in an area with multiple neighborhoods, towns, and area codes. If you need a service, say a beekeeper to rescue a pesky hive from your backyard, you’re more likely to get in touch first with the one in your neighborhood, town, and area code, rather than the one several miles away. But what if you’re a master beekeeper running a buzzing local business a few towns over and would like to expand? You’re starting behind the 8-ball if you’re limiting yourself to one area code. But by adding a free local phone number to your business, you can appear to be a local service, even if your headquarters is actually further down the road. With a free local phone number (or two or three), yours can be the business of choice for multiple local markets.

Make inbound viable

“Inbound” marketing isn’t as complicated as it may sound. It’s simply the art of leaving appetizing breadcrumbs for customers to follow that lead them to reach out to you, rather than you harassing them. For shoppers interested specifically in local small businesses, an 800 number can be a turn-off. No thanks, they may think. I’m not trying to dial into a call center where I’m routed through a system and put in touch with some operator a million miles away pretending to understand my needs. Local shoppers look for the phone number

with a familiar area code and maybe even a recognizable prefix. Present that local flair with your phone number, and your community will become way more willing to reach out to you.

Improve customer satisfaction

Similar to engendering inbound calls, a free local phone number also helps create positive customer sentiment. For small businesses, it’s important to show that while you may be hustling for profit, you’re still a fellow member of the community at the end of the day. A good neighbor wouldn’t ghost you if you had a follow-up question. It makes a lot of sense to have a local phone number to send the message: I’m here, I’m local, feel free to call! You may end up surprised how disarming it can be.

Track marketing efforts

Have you tried advertising your small business but couldn’t figure out how well it worked? You could use a free local phone number purely to track campaign results. Say you run an ad in a local newspaper or flyer. By using your extra free local phone number in the ad, you can track how many calls you receive on that line to get an idea of how effective the ad was, whether it was worth the cost, and if you should buy more ads in the future. You could even try comparing the effectiveness of ads from multiple publications, so you can put all your money toward the most effective one the next time around.

Be easier to remember

Not only can you choose the area code for your free local phone number, you can customize it into a vanity number. A vanity number is a super-memorable phone number that people won’t soon forget. Imagine the recallability of a vanity number like 310-BEE-KEEP or 202-WE-POL-N-8. There’s nothing more powerful than a phone number that doesn’t have to be written down or kept in an address book.

If you’re ready to give a free local phone number for your business a try, your first stop should be YouMail. To get yours, just go to YouMail, choose your phone number, and sign up for any YouMail Professional Plan. Depending on the plan you pick, you can keep up to 25 different phone numbers at no extra cost. Each number comes complete with calling, texting, and voicemail, as well as a state-of-the-art virtual receptionist that includes an auto attendant, menus, professional greetings, automatic replies, and much more.

YouMail premium plans have a 14-day risk-free guarantee. So if for any reason the service doesn’t work for you, you can cancel any time within the first 14 days, and get all your money back, no questions asked.

Get started today.

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