Friday, February 4, 2011

by Kimberly Kohatsu

Not everyone realizes that there is a recently unveiled toll-free area code, 855, available.

An 855 phone number works exactly like any 800 number (800, 877, 866, 888). The benefit, however, is because these numbers are brand new, you can be assured no other business has ever owned or used this number in the past. Your business won't get any calls intended for a previous owner, which can sometimes happen when numbers get recycled.

Ready to try one? CallFire makes it easy. Toll-free numbers cost only $2/month. The initial charge of $6 will cover your first three months with that number, and after that, we bill your number on a month-to-month basis. So, if your marketing campaign ends and you no longer need that 855 number, you don't have to keep paying for it. But, if you want to hold on to it, you certainly can, and it continues to be only $2 per month.

When people call in to your 855 number, you can send them through one of your CallFire IVR menus, or you can simply forward them to a number you already use. Calls are billed at 5 cents per minute, rounded up to the nearest minute.

1) To get started, sign up for a CallFire account. It's free to sign up, and there are no minimums, no set-up fees, and no hidden charges.

2) Then, once you're logged in, navigate to the Numbers tab up top, and select "Buy Toll-Free or Local."

3) You'll then see a list of available 855 numbers. Choose any of them, or if you need more, choose a whole bunch. Then hit the green button. If you'd rather have a local number, write the area code you're interested in in the ( ) box and click "Find Area Code." The process is the same.

4) Your new number will be ready right away, but a common mistake made is forgetting to enable your number. To do that, go to the "My Numbers" page and click Enable. You should see your campaign's status will turn to "Running."