Skype is already changing the way we do we do business, even as you're reading this. A little piece of software that uses VoIP (Voice Over IP) and P2P (Peer-to-Peer) technology, it created waves after waves of excitement, anticipation and even frustration since its launch.
Skype (sometimes pronounced as Skaip or Skypee) is a softphone application that allows you to make phone calls from your PC direct to another Skype user, or any regular fixed or mobile telephone. The cost is extremely cheap, and the quality has seen massive leaps of continuous improvement since it's launch in 2003. Everyone knows all that.
Here's what most people don't know: Skype can be used as powerful and effective marketing tool for any small business. If you want to reach an international market, get telephone inquiries and leads from China, or even if you just want to use it to communicate with your business buddies, you should explore the hidden potential of Skype.
The latest phenomenon to be related to Skype is "Skypecasting" which is basically having teleconferences using Skype. In fact Skpecasting itself is a term coined from "Podcasting". With Skypecasting you can have online teleconferences for free. The latest version of Skype should support more than 100 users simultaneously so numbers should not be a problem.
However, there are more basic Skype applications that can also be used to get your sales and marketing efforts across to your target market quickly.
SkypeIn, a feature of Skype still in beta, allows you to create virtual numbers in many different countries. If you maximize on this fact, you can literally have "virtual offices" all around the world, even if you're a home based business entrepreneur with no staff, an embarrassing budget and limited time.
There are many third party applications that enhance the basic software. If you know the correct ones to use, you can literally build a "virtual call center" from your desktop that has all the feature of a real call center: your own personal secretary, day-and-time manager, call routing and call waiting, conditional call forwarding, language translations and much more.
If the "off-the-shelf" version just doesn't cut it for your business needs, then you can customize and adapt Skype into your own proprietary systems and software. You can choose to do this in-house, or outsource it to experts all over the world. If you know where and how to do this, you can create a powerful telemarketing application that cost pennies a day compared to the traditional solutions. It will be much more time-efficient, too.
Of course, there are more third-party applications being developed as you're reading this. In fact, much like the iPod, there's an entire sub-industry built around Skype, including USB phones, lead generators, Skype "call centers" and much more. All in all, it's an exciting time for telecommunications over the web.
G. Krishnan is the author of "Internet Telephony Secrets", one of the first guides to marketing with VoIP and Skype. For more information please visit http://www.voipandme.com
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Gobala_Krishnan
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