Over the past few years, a new form of marketing has been quietly emerging as a favorite of business leaders for a few reasons: It’s highly effective; it’s cost-efficient; and it generates little to no complaints from customers.
Known as ringless voicemail, or direct-to-voicemail, the tool allows marketers to send a personalized voicemail message directly to the voicemail box of a prospective customer without ever causing their phone to ring.
As a result, this new approach is less intrusive and more effective than other more traditional forms of outbound marketing like billboards or television ads. Around 60-85% of ringless voicemail calls are delivered without issue, and the user only pays when they are.
But there’s a whole lot more to it than just that. How does it work? Is it legal? Is it right for your brand? We’ll answer those questions and more. Let’s dive in.
How does ringless voicemail work?
Before we dig into the benefits and drawbacks, let’s talk about how ringless voicemail works.
You, the salesperson, record and upload a message to a ringless voicemail technology system. That system integrates with your CRM, and via landline, it delivers that message to the contacts of your choosing without ever causing their phone to ring.
It’s a little like email via telephone. Because the phone never rings, the level of intrusiveness of this channel is far lower than traditional telemarketing methods. Instead of interrupting their day, RVM allows visitors to return your call at their convenience if they’re interested in learning more about your offer.
Obviously, a traditional sales call involves manually dialing a phone number and attempting to convince them to claim your offer. And if the client DOES answer, they may well be at work, in the middle of cooking dinner, or napping. The highly intrusive nature of these calls and low answer rates make them ineffective.
Since using automated systems is prohibited by the TCPA, these calls have to be done by real people to be compliant, using up valuable resources.
Ringless voicemail avoids interrupting your prospect by discreetly delivering a voice message directly into their voicemail box, without ever ringing the phone. The process can be automated, which makes it easy to scale.
To be clear:
- No actual phone call is ever made to the targeted contact.
The only connection made during the session is between your ringless voicemail system and the voicemail server.
The contact is not charged for the call.
The contact’s phone never rings.
The phone network does not establish an active call.
Ringless voicemail is simple, effective, and discrete.
The benefits of using ringless voicemail software
At LeadPath, we’ve found that using ringless voicemail can turn dead leads into recurring revenue. Specifically, at a cost of $5 per lead, we recently purchased a list that was 40% reachable. The other 60%, though, wouldn’t pick up the phone to speak to our sales team.
So, we used ringless voicemail drops to get in touch with them. And the results speak for themselves:
The benefits of using ringless voicemail are plenty. Here are just a few:
More effective: Ringless voicemail is more effective than other more traditional forms of marketing, boasting a 85% - 96% listen rate.
Cost-effective: Since you don’t need to train a phone operator to make hundreds of thousands of calls and because the of the high ROI, ringless is one of the most effective forms of marketing.
100% Legal: Ringless voicemail never touches the wireless network, meaning this approach is not regulated by the TCPA, so you are protected from prosecution.
More personal: You can create multiple messages to create highly personalized messages for your current audience.
Less intrusive: Because the phone never rings, your audience is not pulled away from their friends and family to listen to you. Instead, they can choose when to listen, which decreases negative feelings about your brand.
The drawbacks to using ringless voicemail drops
Of course, with any technology, there are drawbacks. In this case, most agree that the benefits outweigh them by far. Others say this:
- Ringless voicemail only works with mobile phone numbers. This is because the technology works by connecting directly with the voicemail server of the mobile phone from a landline.
Rarely, the phone rings, which ruins one of the main benefits of ringless (not interrupting the customer). Ring rates can vary by provider.
May become TCPA noncompliant in the future.
It is most effective when you already have a list of consumers.
Some brands use it for spam, polluting the medium for others.
Does the phone ever ring for ringless voicemail?
In the majority of cases, a ringless voicemail call will not cause the consumer’s phone to ring. And that’s because, as stated previously, the system calls the voicemail server associated with the mobile phone instead of the mobile phone number itself.
Still, in some cases the phone will ring. Before you choose a provider, make sure you ask them about their success rate. Some ringless voicemail providers boast nearly no rings, while others cause rings at least half the time. It’s important to do your research before committing to any service.
Is ringless voicemail TCPA compliant?
The answer to this question is a little complicated. The short answer is “yes.” Because ringless voicemail does not cause a prospect’s phone to ring, it does not charge the client. Also, the technology used in ringless voicemail connects directly to the voicemail server, bypassing the wireless connection entirely.
For these reasons, the TCPA (telephone consumer protection act) does not apply to ringless voicemails. Currently, there have been no court cases related to ringless voicemail and the FCC has not indicated it is interested in pursuing ringless voicemail users.
Can you drop ringless voicemails on Do-Not-Call (DNC) consumers?
The DNC list protects consumers from being harassed by sales people and bill collectors who call over and over again, often hanging up and redialing.
Since ringless voicemail drops an unobtrusive message into their voicemail box without ringing the phone, the practice is not regulated by the TCPA or subject to DNC compliance.
What industries is ringless voicemail most effective in?
The most common industries using ringless voicemail were financial institutions and debt collectors. But, the practice is gaining popularity for a variety of industries, including:
Solar panel installers
When used correctly, ringless voicemail can be highly effective for most industries. It’s simply a matter of figuring out how to fit the channel into your marketing strategy.
How much does ringless voicemail cost?
The cost to use ringless voicemail technology can vary based on provider. When dropping ringless voicemails using your own lead list, the cost usually ranges from 1.5 cents to 3 cents per successfully deployed message. If you’re purchasing a lead list, it’s an additional cost associated with the software.
However, when you consider the high contact rate, this is an extremely cost effective form of marketing. That’s especially true when you consider that you only pay when your voicemails are delivered.
Is ringless voicemail right for my brand?
Now that you understand what ringless voicemail is and how it works, it is time to determine if it is the right choice for your brand. The answer will depend upon your industry, niche, and future plans.
The following section will cover a few examples of how brands can use ringless voicemail successfully and what questions you need to ask to determine if it is the correct choice for your brand.
Ringless voicemail examples
Thinking about implementing ringless voicemail but aren’t sure of the applications. Here are examples of three very different brands and how they could implement ringless voicemail to drive sales and increase payments.
An add-on to call center contract
Let’s say you have an automotive dealership and contract with a call center to have them call consumers in your area to let them know about your Memorial Day sale. The average contact rate for a call center is around 40%. And let’s say you are paying $10 a lead, what’s another 3 cents to drop a ringless voicemail on the leads they aren’t able to get a hold of?
Follow up for medical billing
The recent and pending changes in the healthcare industry have made it more important than ever for medical professionals to maintain a positive relationship with their patients, calling for payment is an awkward and sometimes less-than pleasant experience. Using ringless voicemail allows you to discreetly remind patients of past due bills without creating an embarrassing situation.
Draw customers into your new business
Imagine you’ve just opened a pizza joint. You’ve poured your heart and soul into getting the ingredients just right; but, you’re missing the main ingredient: customers!
Ringless voicemail allows you to contact prospects in a specific geographical area and deliver a personalized message inviting them to try your product.
You could include a special code, tell them about your Friday night specials, or even give a phone number to call for delivery.
Should I use ringless voicemail software? Questions to ask
Considering ringless voicemail? Ask the following questions about your brand:
- Does my brand have a current list of customer phone numbers that I am underutilizing?
Do we have a current relationship with those contacts? Ringless works bests for brand who already have a business relationship versus for cold calling. (Though some brands are successful with cold calling.)
Do my customers communicate by cell phone regularly and are they some what technologically savvy? You target market needs to use their phone regularly and check their voicemail for ringless to be effective.
Are most other forms of marketing ineffective for my target client?
Does my brand have an offer to entice the consumer to call back?
If you answered yes to 2 or more of the questions above, it may be a good choice for your brand. Ready to get started with ringless voicemail?