Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 4 seconds

Old-fashioned Faxes and Phones Still Work

Mary Shaw owns and operates The Every Day Group, a twenty-person health care consulting firm. These aren't her or her organization's real names. And that's because she has a secret in the way she conducts business. In this modern age, the way she conducts businesses is by sending letters and faxes and making phones calls to customers and prospects. This may sound very old-fashioned in the age of social media, mobile devices and email. But it works.

However, she does these things in a new manner and does them better her competition. No, she doesn't avoid the Internet. But she utilizes it to send letters and faxes and make calls quickly and inexpensively.

Mary uses two Web based mailing services, Snailmailr (www.snailmailr.com) and The Mail Monster (www.themailmonster.com) to send letters. These companies send out individual letters; they are not mass mailing marketing services. She logs in, uploads a graphic of her letterhead, types the recipient's address, copies and pastes in her message and pays.

The services then print out the letter, and stuffs and mails it  Snailmailr charges ninety-nine cents for each letter, including postage. The Mailmonster is free. Both services advertise themselves on their envelopes. The Mailmonster includes other ads too which is why they’re free.

For faxes, Mary uses three Web-based faxing services – efax (www.efax.com), FaxZERO (www.faxzero.com) and TPC Fax (http://www.tpc.int/faxbyemail.html). They’re different. eFax lets Mary upload a Word document and then sends it as a fax to her recipient’s fax machine. It costs $14 per month which allows 30 pages to be faxed. After that it’s ten cents per page. And faxes can be received too.

FaxZERO is a free service through which she can send up to two faxes a day (maximum three pages) at no charge or pay $1.99 for each additional fax (maximum 15 pages). TPC converts an email into a fax. No uploading. No attachments. Using this service is a bit trickier as you use a special format for the “send” line of the email. Not all fax machines can receive from this service. But for those that do it’s a simple and effective way to fax.

For calls? Mary uses Voiceshot (www.voiceshot.com) and DialMyCalls (www.dialmycalls.com). These let her record a message and then blasts out the message to a pre-defined list of people. Voiceshot charges twelve cents per successful call. DialMyCalls uses a credit system in which each credit can be as low as four-and-a-half cents per call, but you are charged whether the call successful or not.

Mary's point is that even in the world of social media people get their information from all sorts of different places, including mail and fax machines. So, she keeps sending letters and faxes and making phone calls. And it saves her money

Gene Marks
Gene Marks, a columnist, author, and business owner, writes monthly online management and technology columns for Forbes and Business Week and a bi-weekly column that appears nationally in American City Business Journals. His books include Gene\'s books include the #1 Amazon Small Business Best Seller The Streetwise Small Business Book of Lists (Adams Media), The Small Business Desk Reference (Alpha Books, 2004), Outfoxing The Small Business Owner - Crafty Techniques for Creating a Profitable Relationship (Adams Media, 2005) and The Complete Idiot\'s Guide To Successful Outsourcing (Alpha Books, 2005).

He owns and operates the Marks Group PC, a ten-person firm that provides technology and consulting services to small and medium-sized businesses. Before starting the Marks Group, Marks spent nine years in the entrepreneurial services arm of the international consulting firm KPMG in
Philadelphia where he was a senior manager.
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