Finding a telemarketing service
Telemarketing is a method of direct marketing in which a customer service representative contacts customers using the telephone or a pre-scheduled Internet conferencing appointment. While telemarketing normally takes the form of live cold-calling—representatives calling customers who haven't asked to be contacted—some companies use an automatic dialer with a recorded message that can be played to customers over the phone, as well. Customers can also arrange a call or other meeting.
Companies hire a telemarketing service to craft a script and call people in their database. This may seem like a great way to market, but telemarketing has come under fire for being extremely annoying and breaching customers' privacy. While this marketing method can work, regulations set in place by many countries prohibit telemarketers from calling people who have asked to be placed on a do-not-call list.
Types of Telemarketing
There are two general types of telemarketing: inbound telemarketing and outbound telemarketing. Outbound telemarketing is the practice of calling customers; inbound telemarketing takes place when the customer calls the business in need of service or information and also receives recorded messages or live scripts from an agent regarding current offers.
Telemarketing can be done from home or from a call center. Telemarketing lists are created using lead generation techniques—often, contact information is collected at trade shows or events, although many companies have also been known to engage in the controversial practice of sharing customer information with their affiliates. Then customer service representatives are asked to call a certain number of people a day and meet a quota of sales leads. Gathering telemarketing leads can be extremely tough; this is why many telemarketers are aggressive, calling two and three times a day and causing the practice to be looked down upon.
Many scams and frauds have been carried out via telemarketing, so if you choose this marketing strategy for your small business, you may notice that it is largely ignored. However, telemarketing works really well when companies contact customers who have given them permission to do so—by respecting your customers' right to privacy, you can use telemarketing to your advantage and let your customers know about products and services that you have to offer.
Many countries severely limit or outright prohibit telemarketing. Make sure to check the regulations in your area before creating a telemarketing plan. One such regulation is the practice of adding customers to a do-not-call list; some companies will do this and then sell the lists to other telemarketing companies. This is illegal.
Telemarketing can be a good form of direct marketing if done correctly. Ensure you are aware of the pros and cons of telemarketing before you use this technique to market your business.