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Should you or should you not put your personal number on your website? This is an on going discussion I have with my husband, so I am here to lay out both sides of our arguments, and you can make the final call. And honestly, the entire reason I am doing this episode is because I had a (sort of) client email me telling me to call them. They were a family member that was at a photoshoot I did a few weeks ago. And they couldn’t find one of the images they were looking for in the gallery. Long story short it was just a misunderstanding and was easily resolved. But when she first had called me, she made the comment “thank you for getting back to me, there is no phone number on your website”.
Now I don’t think there was any ill intent in her remark, and it was in fact true. I do not list my phone number on my website or any public platforms. I am sure however, that she was slightly annoyed. This whole exchange really got me thinking about this decision. If you have struggled with not knowing what information you should put on your website, then keep on listening. Because we are diving into all of it.
A Two Sided Argument
Every now and again, my husband and I get into this discussion on whether or not a business owner, myself specifically… should have their phone number on their website and accessible to the public. He stands on the side of yes. Now let me tell you a little about my husband. He is a very black and white kind of guy. He is very direct and runs his own trucking company outside of his regular demanding job. Tyler spends A LOT of time on the phone. People are always calling him day and night and he makes calls too. To him, phone calls are much more efficient in his fast paces world where things need to get done ASAP and answers need to be received swiftly. It makes sense to me that he would lean on the side of phone calls because his whole world is phone calls. And his job is very fast paced.
He is not the guy to send an email if there is a phone number available. And I am sure there are other people like him out there. Tyler’s point of view is that by having a phone number on your website, people can call to book you instead of filling out a form, waiting for a response, etc. etc. It is a much quicker turnaround time and decreases all that white noise in between emails. And I get his point. I really do.
I am not a phone call person. Maybe it’s the millennial in me, but I am team text or email all day long. Unless I am causally talking to a friend. Then I do love phone calls and Facetime. Business phone calls are something I dread. The “client” that seem flustered about me not having a public number had every reason to feel that way. Again, I think this was a case of generational differences. But when she made that statement, all I said was “yep – I do that intentionally”. Not because I have a fear of people calling me, but because I have set some pretty strict boundaries for myself. Honestly, I am working on making them stricter. I purposely do not include my number on anything because my personal phone, is my business phone. There is no separation, I do not have 2 different phones, and by giving out my number I am giving access to something very personal. My time. When you have someone’s personal number, you have access to them at any time of day or any day of the week.
There was a time when I first started out in business where my number was public and clients would text me at all hours of the day. It would be 10pm and they are asking me business related questions about their weddings. Sure, could I have just not responded and waited until the next morning? Yep. And many times I did. But at that point, why not just give out my email instead and keep everything in one place. Because that was the other thing. My phone number gave them another line of communication besides email, and social media. To which I would have brides randomly message me on all 3 and it was hard to keep track of information.
Businesses That Should Include Their Phone Number
Since I am able to see both sides of the argument here, I do want to state some businesses that I do believe should include their phone number on their website and publicly. Generally speaking, any kind of big corporation or large company would benefit from having their number available. There will likely be an office or receptionist answering and screening calls and typically the phone number would be attached to an office phone. Not someone’s personal cell phone.
Most service based small businesses could also probably benefit from this. Which might sound contradicting because as a photographer that is literally what I am. But I will explain this further in a minute. Now, this is not a must. But it would have made plenty of sense to have a public number as a photographer. Though annoying. Food establishments, law firms, and healthcare locations are all places you would expect to be able to call at any given time.
Businesses That Should NOT Share Their Phone Number
- Online-Only Businesses: Purely digital businesses, mobile app developers, or e-commerce stores that operate exclusively online, may prioritize other forms of communication, such as email or live chat.
- Privacy and Security Concerns: Some businesses may avoid displaying their phone numbers due to privacy concerns, especially if they deal with sensitive or confidential information. Instead, they might rely on secure contact forms or encrypted communication channels.
Other Business Boundaries I Have Set
While we are out here sharing boundaries and such, I thought I would list off some of the other business boundaries I am setting in my life besides just my phone number.
- Keeping my workspace clean and chaos free
- Default answer = no… convince me to turn it into a yes
- Planning & communicating my plans
To Wrap It Up
I refuse to exchange my personal information for more business. Money is not worth getting up from a snuggle session on my couch with my family. Since having a baby, I have come to value my time so much more and choose to say no to things such as bookings, or other opportunities that mean time away from my husband and kiddos. Weekend work is becoming a thing of the past for me, slowly but surely. Where do you stand on this topic? Are you team phone number or no? Head over to the branded cowgirl podcast IG and let me know your stance!
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GET IN TOUCH: Podcast@SarahElrod.com
I'm Sarah Elrod
I'm a Cowgirl turned serial entrepreneur.
I'm a horse trainer, western wedding photographer, business coach and ranch wife.
I help women in the western industry grow thriving businesses from rural America.
When I am not strategizing new marketing tactics, you will find me riding my horses, cuddling my cattle dog, or kissing my hot husband.
There is also a good chance I am buying way too many outfits from western boutiques.
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