The turn of the 21st century marked the beginning of the end of cold-call telemarketing. Until then, many companies gained a healthy amount of customers by simply calling them and making them aware of their offers. After a while, telemarketing got so saturated that customers were tired of receiving endless calls on their phones. Congress replied to this issue by passing the “Do-Not-Call Implementation Act,” and the FTC (News - Alert) created a registry that telephone users can subscribe to so that they do not receive calls from these advertisers anymore.
The political pressure against aggressive telemarketing has dried up the possibility of continuing this practice. Whether this was a good move by the government or not isn't what we're discussing, though. Instead, let's look at one way in which companies are starting to adapt to the change in the market through a method known as reverse, or inbound, telemarketing.
The goal of reverse telemarketing is to have prospects call you instead of bothering them on their personal line. It works by using other methods of marketing to entice someone into dialing up your call center.
The most common method used for doing this is placing an Internet, radio, or television ad while making it clear that the person viewing the ad can win a prize. It's that simple. Perhaps the most feasible way of doing it is through cost-per-click Internet advertising, although you should take into account what kinds of media your potential customer base responds to the best.
Also, the more valuable a prize is, the more likely it is that a conversion will happen. In this case, “value” shouldn't only account for price. The prize should also be something very relevant to what your typical customer really wants. If you're selling toasters, perhaps a limited-edition toaster oven would be a better prize than a set of curtains. When in doubt, just resort to cash prizes.
When using multiple types of media for inbound marketing, consider using a unique phone number for each channel. This way, you can easily keep track of which media type is generating the largest return on investment and fostering a high conversion rate.
With a little bit of creativity, you can turn telemarketing on its head and do it in a way that doesn't unnerve people.
Edited by Rory J. Thompson