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Virtual phone numbers for SMS are a must-have for any business that wants to connect to their customers via SMS communication, regardless of where they may be in the world. Unlike traditional phone numbers, virtual numbers don't need a physical hardware to function; you only need an internet connection to use them.
A virtual phone number works in the same way as your regular existing phone number. They allow you to send and receive SMS online, receive phone calls from your customers, process SMS messages, and even set up toll-free calls with users and receive voice mails online no matter the countries in which they may be living.
One thing that makes virtual phone services so attractive is that they tend to be cheaper than conventional phone service providers. In fact, you can use it without having to pay anything. You don't even have to link it to your real phone number to use. Virtual phone numbers have many benefits, which we shall be exploring shortly. But first, what are virtual numbers, and why should you use them for your business?
What Are Virtual Phone Numbers?
Also known as cloud telephony or direct inward dialing (DID), virtual phone numbers are disposable phone numbers that allow you to receive calls and text messages anywhere in the world. Unlike traditional personal phone numbers, virtual phone numbers are not tied to a particular device; you can use them on whatever device you want and discard them anytime.
Since these numbers live in the cloud, you can use them wherever you want; USA, Canada, UK, South Africa, etc., without worrying about porting or roaming your line. Using these numbers allows you to stay connected with your customers while on the move.
How Do Virtual Phone Numbers Work?
Virtual numbers run on a technology known as Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP). The same technology enables you to make and receive calls via WhatsApp, iMessage, and Google Voice. These numbers are location independent and don't require you to have an SMS.
You can do literally everything your regular phone number allows with a virtual SMS number. Receive calls, set up toll-free numbers, send free SMS, and many more. And if you want to link the number to your real phone number, you can always do that. When you receive a message or a call to your virtual number, it will be automatically forwarded to your real phone number.
Why Do You Need a Virtual Phone Line
One of the instant benefits of using virtual numbers is unlimited privacy, as it allows you to mask your personal phone line while conducting business with anyone anywhere in the world.
If you have ever called an international number using your regular phone line, you will agree that such calls can be expensive. You could spend up to $3 a minute when you call someone in a foreign country.
But it's an entirely different story when using a virtual phone line, as they are cost-effective. You only have to spend money on an internet subscription, which doesn't cost much. Virtual phone lines make your best bet if you run a small business and want to save money on communication. That's not to say larger enterprises can't also benefit from using these lines. Other reasons why you need a virtual phone line are as follows:
Supports Remote Work
One major lesson that the COVID 19 pandemic taught us is that remote work is not just here to stay but also in the future. Running your business remotely lets you reach customers on other continents of the world. Plus, you are not constrained to any physical location.
But to run a business remotely and efficiently, you need to maintain effective communication with your clients without breaking the bank. This is where virtual phone lines come into play.
Advanced Phone Service
There is only much you can do with your regular phone line. However, with a virtual phone, you can do so much more. For instance, most virtual phone services come with 3-way calling feature, support ring groups, allow you to transfer your calls, and many more.
Virtual telephones let you stay in sync with your employees, suppliers, and other relevant stakeholders in your company. Why so? Since users can access virtual communication using any device, you can easily sync your communication across multiple channels.
Zero Maintenance Cost
Repairing damaged landlines and replacing dysfunctional mobile phones can cost your business a lot of money in maintenance fees. However, using a dedicated virtual telephone can save your business a lot of money. Not like you need physical devices in the first place.
People are always wary of receiving calls from numbers with area codes they don't recognize. So, you might get a lot of bounced calls if you are trying to connect with prospective customers in a foreign country.
A virtual phone line allows you to use localized numbers to reach customers in different countries without buying and registering multiple phone lines.
How to Choose a Virtual Phone Number for SMS
Now you've seen why you need a virtual phone number, the next step is choosing the right phone number type and service provider. Choosing the wrong number can adversely affect your business, and you wouldn't want that. With that said, here are the steps to choose a virtual phone number for SMS.
Find the Best Virtual Service Provider
You need a dependable, reliable, and affordable virtual telephony service provider. But how do you tell if a service provider is dependable? Simply by checking the reviews of other users. Also, check their pricing to know if it fits your budget or if you should look elsewhere. You will find pricing information on the website of the provider you are looking to work with. Most service providers allow you to make payments via PayPal or any other payment gateway of your choice. If you are worried about overspending and not getting the ROI, our Pay as You Go service may just be the right fit for your business.
Create an Account
After determining the right service provider to work with, the next step is creating an account. Some providers allow you to create multiple accounts and add your team members. Texback offers Free Trials and Demo Sessions for your business to try before committing.
Verify Your Account
After creating your account, the next step would be to verify your account using your phone number. You can do that in less than a minute. Keep in mind that you might also be required to verify your credit card details by inputting a code sent to the number connected to the card.
Make Payment and Get Your Number
Once you've completed verified your account and completed your payment, your virtual number will be automatically generated, and you can start using it from the get-go. There is no need for further identity verification. After getting your number and activating it, you can start to use it however you want, including sending SMS, making calls, and many more.
How Much Does a Virtual Phone Line Cost?
The cost of a virtual phone line varies greatly, and it depends mainly on the features and services that come with it. But how much do these lines cost, and are there hidden fees you should know about? Generally, virtual phone service providers charge between $5 to $10 a month per user. This plan allows you to get as much as 500 minutes of talk time and unlimited free messages.
However, you'd have to opt for higher plans if you want to add multiple users to your line. Some plans come with several disposable numbers and a complete range of features your business needs. As you would expect, the more people you add to your line, the more you spend. Keep in mind that some service providers charge a one-time setup fee.
Virtual Phone Numbers vs. Traditional Phone Numbers
You might be wondering how exactly virtual phone numbers differ from your regular phone number?
To begin with, virtual lines are location-independent, as we have already stated. This means you can use them in any country without worrying about switching between network carriers. Traditional lines, on the other hand, are location-dependent. Although you can take your line to another country, you'd have to switch to another network provider to make calls and receive messages.
Another major difference is that you need to have a sim for your traditional line to function. The problem with this setup is that receiving SMS and making calls would be impossible should you lose your sim. But for virtual lines, it's an entirely different story; you don't need to have a sim. In fact, you can receive text messages and call people on a regular basis using any device of your choice.
Lastly, regular phone lines work using the PBX(Private Branch Exchange) technology, whereas virtual phones are powered by VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) systems.
That said, there are different virtual phone number types. Here are the common ones:
Vanity virtual numbers are fancy numbers that usually blend numbers together with letters. A typical example is:
Texts are included to make the number easy for users to remember and memorize.
A local number enables you to route your calls and communication via a particular geographical location. Usually, these numbers have area codes attached to them. Using this type of number makes it easy to add a personal, localized touch to your phone communication with customers.
As the name suggests, a toll-free number is a number people can call for free. You can think of them as a free phone number. This number is ideal for you if you want to make it easy for your customers to call you. They will gladly do so since there are no fees or charges involved.
Which Businesses Can Use Virtual Phone Numbers
Are virtual phone numbers ideal for every business, or do they favor certain types of businesses? The truth is that literally, anyone can use these numbers, regardless of the type of nature of business. Nonetheless, virtual numbers are best suited for the following types of business:
If you own or manage an insurance company, you certainly agree that prospecting for new customers is integral to your marketing. And effective prospecting can only happen when you have outbound call software in place.
This software makes it easy for your marketing executives to reach out to potential customers to buy your insurance product. And since using a personal line won't make much sense, you are better off using a virtual line, saving you the trouble of worrying about privacy issues.
Your hotel business will thrive if potential customers have a way of booking rooms over a phone call. A virtual phone line makes this possible, allowing potential customers to place booking orders on the phone no matter the part of the world they may be in. You can even set up automated call scheduling with customers, calling them when you both agreed to talk.
Are you looking to launch a real estate business, or do you run one already? Then you need new virtual phone numbers. With these numbers, you can send and receive messages from your tenants, property managers, and prospective renters via SMS - receiving messages at cheap rates wouldn't be a problem anymore. Since these are disposable numbers, you can always switch them for another number whenever the need arises.
You can also benefit greatly from virtual phone numbers if your run a retail business. The reason is that using them enables you to create a system that makes it easy for customers to place others for your products. And the best part is they won't have to pay any fee for calls, as you can easily set up a toll-free line your customers can call at any time of the day.
Recruitment agencies are not left out of the virtual number euphoria. Virtual phone numbers make it easy for you and your recruiting team to send SMS to potential hires, inviting them for an interview. You can also use them to update applicants about the status of their applications and send interview reminders. The best part is that you can do all these from anywhere in the world.
Political campaigns can be costly due to the heavy mass communication involved. If you are looking to launch a political campaign in the nearest future, you are better off using virtual numbers as it will help save you money. Run your campaign from any corner of the world without any hitch.
Running a nonprofit successfully is not an easy feat. For one thing, it requires a lot of funding, and most of that funding will come from freewill donations. To keep those freewill donations coming in, you need a way of broadcasting donation requests en masse. This is also where virtual numbers come into play; they are cheap and efficient.
The Most Important Benefits of Virtual Phone Numbers for SMS
What are the core benefits of using virtual phone numbers for SMS, and are they worth investing money into? Let's find out!
Do you want to expand your business to new countries and win more customers? Using localized numbers unique to your target country is the way to go. As we earlier said, people are aversed to answering calls from numbers with area codes they don't recognize. Using a virtual line allows you to add local area codes to your numbers, hence helping to boost your credibility.
Tracking your marketing campaign is key to measuring how effective your strategy is. When you can track how frequently prospect answers their calls and open the SMS messages you send out, you will find it easy to optimize your marketing campaigns for better performance and, in turn, increase your sales.
Luckily, virtual numbers are easy to track, thanks to the call tracking numbers that come with them. This software allows you to measure your campaign performance with pinpoint precision. In fact, if you own a dedicated virtual SMS number, you can measure your SMS messaging open, click-through, and bounce rates.
One of the major benefits of using virtual phone numbers is that they cost very little and are way cheaper than traditional lines. As a matter of fact, most virtual telephony providers offer free SMS service, allowing you to send text messages online at no cost.
One of the beauties of virtual lines is that they are not connected to a specific device or person, making call routing a breeze. For example, if a customer calls in to request product support, that call will be automatically routed to the right sales representative. This translates to lowered bottlenecks and improved workflow for your business.
If you have a sales team that works remotely, you wouldn't want them to use their personal numbers for prospecting, as doing so would give away their identity and put them at risk. This is where virtual phone lines come in handy again. These lines can mask the real number of your sales rep, even if they decide to use their private lines to reach out to customers.
Most virtual service providers allow you to send unlimited SMS messages to your customers at no additional cost. In fact, there is no cap on the number of SMS you can send in a month. However, try to verify if your service provider offers free SMS services before signing up. You can find out by checking their websites or Facebook page.
Pros and Cons Sending SMS through Virtual Phone Numbers
As much as sending SMS through virtual phone numbers has many benefits, there are also many drawbacks. To help you understand these drawbacks, let's see some of the pros and cons of virtual phone technology.
- There are no limits to the number of phone numbers you can have
- Numbers are disposable, so you can always discard them whenever the need arises
- Unmatched privacy
- Cheaper, as some service providers allow you to send unlimited SMS for free
- It depends on the strength of your internet connection. You may not get the best service if you live in an area with weak connectivity.
- Some lines come with restrictions, such as only permitting a temporary message.
What is a virtual phone number?
Virtual phone numbers are cloud-based phone numbers that are neither device-specific nor location-specific. These numbers allow you to receive and make calls, including SMS messages, from anywhere in the world and from any device. Unlike your regular landlines, virtual phone numbers are powered by an internet technology called Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP). This is to say, you only need an internet connection, not a sim, to use these numbers.
Are virtual phone numbers safe?
One of the major upsides of using virtual phone numbers is that they can help mask your true phone number, making them an ideal choice if you want to stay safe and anonymous while transacting business over the phone. The long and short of it is that virtual phone numbers are safe.
Are virtual phone numbers and VoIP the same?
Although sometimes used interchangeably, virtual phone numbers and VoIP are not exactly the same. While the former is an internet-based routing number that enables you to make and receive calls and SMS, the latter is a system that allows you to make voice communication over the internet in real-time.
Can I get a free virtual phone number?
Yes, you can. While there are several methods you can use to get a free virtual number, the best method is by applying to a virtual service provider. Many providers offer free numbers that stay free forever, whereas others only allow free trials.