Today's companies have more ways than ever to connect and engage with potential buyers, and that connectivity is fueling demand for marketing services. In fact, a study last year found that total communications spending, including marketing, advertising, and communications, was expected to grow 5.6% and reach nearly $1.2 trillion in 2012.

The ever-expanding presence of mobile devices and social media among customers and in the workplace has added marketing communications channels, dramatically affecting the marketing industry. The resulting demand for responsive communications makes it critical to find both efficient and cost-effective ways to quickly respond to customers, clients, and staff, especially while on the go.

One solution, particularly for smaller businesses, is a virtual phone system. With it, marketing professionals can have peace of mind that a client can always reach them, whether they're in the office or not.

Consider that a recent eVoice study (PDF) of small business communication strategies found that 68% of business owners say having the right area code or a toll-free 800 number gives them a competitive edge, because customers can more easily find and contact them. In addition, more than half of survey respondents said the best part of having an 800 number is that their business appears larger and more established.

Marketing professionals can use their mobile phones to maintain efficiency on the go and professionally manage day-to-day communication demands by applying the following tips and features:

1. Office in the Cloud

The modern office is no longer defined by walls and cubicles. Your business and your customers are on the move, and mobile phones are even more important than ever.

A cloud-based phone system can turn your smartphone into a complete mobile office with features such as call routing, call screening, multiple extensions, personalized greetings, voice to text, and more.

With professional greetings and menus, callers are handled proficiently, and your calls are routed to wherever you are—cell phone, home, or office—24/7.

2. Voicemail—a Terrible Thing to Waste

Whether you're in a meeting or driving back to the office, juggling the busy demands of the day can make it difficult to answer every call.

Get "voice to text" so voicemails are transcribed to a text message or email, allowing you to read them as they roll in rather than dialing into a cumbersome voicemail system.

Being able to discreetly peek at voice messages while in a meeting can help you stay connected to the needs of customers and team members in real time.

3. A Faster Response to Campaigns

Using unique phone numbers to track advertising campaigns is an established tactic of big-budget marketers. Access to an endless supply of new phone numbers, paired with the ability to easily forward those calls and generate campaign reports, is now possible for smaller companies. Marketers can now quickly and affordably identify the best sources of traffic and use that data to drive more ROI from their campaigns.

4. Real-time Collaboration

Motivate teams, customers, and vendors to action with Web conferencing. Using easy-to-initiate online meetings, you can collaborate with remote team members, give sales pitches, or meet with clients without the extra time or cost of lengthy travel.

Web conferencing allows you to turn your desktop or laptop into a mobile conference room, enabling you to maintain clear and efficient communication regardless of your location.

5. Brand Enhancement

Your phone system makes a strong statement about your brand. Whether you are a business of one or of many, a professionally recorded greeting message and an auto attendant can maximize the impression of professionalism with customers and further the credibility of your brand.

Make it easier for people to find you by providing one central toll-free phone number that can route to multiple devices. Even better, an 800 number makes your business seem even bigger than it may be, as well as highly professional, even if you happen to be working from home or the road.

6. Extending Your Reach

Technology has eliminated the barriers of geographic location. A toll-free business phone number gives your marketing business a nationwide presence and the credibility associated with large, well-established companies. Meanwhile, using local phone numbers across the country can help marketers reach new customers in targeted markets with easily recognizable prefixes.

7. Going VoIP and Saving Money

A mobile VoIP app can automatically transfer calls from your network carrier to the Internet whenever WiFi is available. With this feature, you can save precious mobile minutes and not have to worry about data charges. It can also help you stay connected in dead service zones or very rural areas, so you don't miss a call.

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Seven Tips for Managing Communications on the Go

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image of Mike Pugh

Mike Pugh is a small business expert and the VP of marketing for j2 Global, which offers cloud services for business in six primary business sectors: eVoice (virtual voice services), eFax (online fax), Onebox (unified communications), Fusemail (hosted email), Campaigner (email marketing and CRM), and KeepItSafe (online backup).