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Just Like Netflix Changed TV, VoIP Is Disrupting Phone Service

By Dennis Peng|Tuesday August 14, 2018

Businesses that have previously had a stronghold on an industry are increasingly being edged out by technological innovators, or as they’re commonly called, disruptors.

technology innovators

For example, take how Airbnb has affected the hotel business, with 150 million travelers opting to not stay at hotels. Consider how Uber has affected the taxicab industry, especially in New York City where there are about 4.5 times as many cars affiliated with Uber as there are licensed yellow cabs.

Yet, these have not been the only companies to disrupt the marketplace, nor were they the first.

How Many Industries Has Netflix Disrupted?

Netflix has dramatically changed the landscape of the at-home video viewing market.

Initially, the DVD-by-mail service was an alternative to brick-and-mortar rental options such as Blockbuster, which eventually went bankrupt in 2010. Then, Netflix’s streaming service became an alternative to cable TV, and the latest numbers from PricewaterhouseCoopers has put the two services neck and neck with about the same number of subscribers each.

streaming media services

It’s also positioning itself to disrupt traditional Hollywood models of movie-making by investing in the production of its own movies and TV shows. In 2018, the company plans to spend a shocking $8 billion on programming including the release of 80 original movies, taking further strides toward its next industry disruption.

These innovations in the streaming media industry have changed the way we consume the media, as we binge-watch multiple episodes in a single sitting. It’s also changed the language we use with phrases such as “cut the cord” referring to the trend of high-tech and lightweight solutions that are often less expensive.

Can Technological Disruption Affect Every Industry?

In 2018, Accenture analyzed 3,600 companies with annual revenues more than $100M and found that 63 percent of companies are currently facing high levels of disruption. Additionally, 44 percent of companies show signs of being highly susceptible to future disruption.

As part of its “disruptability index,” group chief executive Mike Sutcliff said, “We found that the lower an industry’s digital performance, the more susceptible it is to future disruption.”

VoIP Takes on Big Telecom

The biggest force in an industry disruption, according to Accenture, is “new innovations enabled by technology.”

Despite the Ma Bell legacy of large telephone companies having an apparent stronghold on the telephone industry, there’s a groundswell of consumers who are opting for alternative phone providers that transmit calls over the internet rather than through traditional phone lines or cellular voice services.

These internet-based phone services, collectively called Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), are providing a low-cost and high-tech alternative, and their positioning as a tech disruptor is on par with how Netflix challenged traditional media companies.

VoIP vs. Landline Calling

VoIP’s disruption of traditional landline phone service has been ongoing. In 2010, there were 21 million U.S. subscribers to VoIP. A 2018 FCC report says that as of December 2016, there were 63 million VoIP residential subscribers in the U.S. That’s a 300 percent growth rate in just six years!

VoIP over traditional landlines

Among households choosing VoIP instead of a landline, consumers using Ooma Telo noted benefits such as the service’s access to advanced 911 safety features, increased call quality, customizable blocking of spam callers, and so much more. Additionally, residential customers report an average of $1,167 in savings on phone service over three years, excluding taxes and fees.

For businesses choosing VoIP instead of a landline, companies get an advanced phone service that’s affordable, flexible, and scalable. With Oooma’s small business phone, businesses benefit from high-quality, professional phone service with extension dialing, music on hold, conference bridge, and many other features that can incur add-on costs elsewhere. After making the switch, a small business with three users could save $6,185 over three years, excluding hardware, taxes, and fees. That’s a nice financial boost for using a phone service that’s won the PC Magazine Business Choice Award for seven consecutive years.

VoIP vs. Cellular Phone Calls

VoIP is also positioning itself as an alternative to high-cost cellular phone service.

Just as Netflix’s mobile app made it possible to watch a TV show while you were away from home, the mobile VoIP market is providing consumers with low-cost phone service that’s accessible wherever there’s internet.

In particular, Ooma’s free calling app has provided residential customers with a way to make calls through their home phone services. Customers value the app as a way to place affordable phone calls via Wi-Fi, as a solution for international calls while traveling, or as a remote 911 tool.

In turn, business customers using Ooma business phone app appreciate how a mobile device can be used as part of a networked business phone system. For managers catching up on work off-site, delivery drivers needing to be in-sync with HQ, or the growing force of telecommuters, the app lets users answer incoming calls to their work line and place outgoing calls using their work number. It doesn’t get any more streamlined than that.

These are some of the reasons why the mobile VoIP market in North America is currently $9 billion and expected to grow to $23.5 billion by 2024.

Learn why some VoIP services have clearer calls than others do, and check out the features that are included in Ooma internet phone service.

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Ooma Business Starter Pack

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Should you use paid ads or SEO to boost your business’s revenue? Even professional marketers find it difficult to choose. A 2020 survey of 1,000 marketers found that 90% favored SEM while 87% considered SEO to be effective. Find out how to put these strategies into place. Let’s take a closer look at how search engine marketing (SEM), local SEO and content marketing can bring you more customers.

How do search engines like Google boost your revenue?

If you could knock on a customer’s door at the exact moment they thought “I need a plumber,” you would have a very high chance of earning a sale. When you use SEO, you have the ability to appear when customers have a need for your service. For example, if your website is well optimized for a keyword such as “Atlanta plumber,” you could get a steady stream of hot leads coming to your small business from organic search results. That’s good news! Unfortunately, there is also some bad news. Many other companies know the value of SEO, paid ads and local searches. They have invested in creating great websites and have an ad campaign in place. As a result, it is not easy to attract new customers from search engines. Fortunately, there are a few simple tips you can use to get better results.

What are the benefits of pay-per-click ads in mobile search results?

If you need more customers this week, local SEO is not the right strategy. Instead, you should use a pay-per-click (PPC) ad. Whether you use Google Ads or Bing Ads, the process is the same. You only pay when somebody clicks on your ads. Search ads are useful because they only appear when somebody enters a relevant search. For instance, you can place ads for “landscaping service” and only appear in front of people who are within 20 miles of your business. Your customer might be looking at his lawn right now and want a quote from a landscaper. By having a PPC ad, you can get a call from that lead right away. The best part about search ads on Google and Bing Ads is that you can be up and running in less than 24 hours. The trade-off is that you can end up spending a lot of money while you learn the ropes. If you do not have the time to develop these skills, you may decide to outsource search ads and PPC advertising to specialized consultants and agencies. Tip: Once you start running PPC ads, you might get a lot of calls. If you don’t manage those calls effectively, you will miss sales. Use a phone system with extensions (e.g. dial 1 to request a quote, dial 2 for customer service) to make sure you never miss a sales opportunity.

Use landing pages to make life easier for your customers

To get more leads, create landing pages that make it easy for customers to take the next action. A landing page is the webpage you see after clicking a link or an ad. For the best results, your landing page should match your ad. When an ad offers a coupon for $10 off, that coupon code should be featured on the landing page. If you want people to call you, put your phone number front and center in an easy-to-read font. If you need them to fill in a contact form, make that form easy to read and ask for minimal information (e.g. name, phone and email address). There are plenty of landing page tools on the market, such as Unbounce, Instapage and Leadpages that make it easy to create landing pages.

Content marketing: the best way to get long-term traffic to your website

Relying exclusively on search ads is not a wise strategy. After all, you may need to pause your campaigns if you run out of advertising budget. When you pause those campaigns, your ads will stop appearing. With local SEO, you can run a campaign this year and continue to receive leads for years into the future. To achieve those long term results, we recommend using content marketing. Content marketing is the practice of creating content that answers questions. For example, if you run a car dealership, you might create a video or article that explains how to rotate tires quickly. If you create high-quality content, you could be rewarded with traffic to your website when people search for tips in a search engine.

SEM vs. PPC: Each has a role to play in your digital marketing

You can bring more traffic to your website with great content and optimizing your landing pages. However, that is just scratching the surface. For better results, you need an SEM strategy. SEM (i.e. search engine marketing) is a way to organize all of your digital marketing tactics into a coherent strategy. Let’s walk through a simple example. You run a dental office and focus on cosmetic procedures to help your patients look great. Your goal: attract more cosmetic dental patients because they are the most profitable. You put yourself in the shoes of a potential dental patient. What are their questions and concerns about your small business? They may be worried about cost, pain and whether you have a convenient schedule for their needs. Now that you have defined your goal and who you want to attract, create your search ads and local SEO.

Start your search ads campaign: Start your SEM campaign

Using Google Ads, you decide to create ads based on keywords like “cosmetic dentist” and “cosmetic dentist New York.” In your ads, you mention that you offer procedures on Saturday and Sunday. That’s a great way to appeal to patients who have a full schedule.

Local SEO

From an SEO perspective, you decide to start small by answering the top 10 most common questions new patients ask you. In each article, you make sure to use a few relevant keywords. For example, a yoga studio in Chicago might focus on the following keywords: yoga classes Chicago, yoga Chicago and hot yoga Chicago. Once these articles are published, ask your friends to link to your company. If your business sponsors local charities and clubs, ask those companies to link to your website. That is an easy win to get more traffic to your website.

Get started today by choosing one strategy

When you join the ranks of digital marketers, it is tough to get started. There are so many different tools and strategies you can use. To avoid becoming overwhelmed, we recommend choosing either local SEO or search ads as your first focus. After you work on that focus for two to three months, you can evaluate your results and decide whether you want to expand to other strategies.