You might think faxing is a technological relic of the past, but many businesses still employ faxing services. Granted, people are no longer simply sending hard copies of documents through a fax machine.
As technology has moved to the cloud, faxing, for the most part, has adapted by moving online. This transition has simplified an already reliable way for businesses to transmit sensitive information.
Why Fax at All?
There are several reasons why companies still fax. One is that with faxing, there are no file size limitations as there are with emails. Another complication of emailing can be that the layout of an emailed document might look different when it is printed. For marketing purposes, control of the layout can be very important.
Faxing is also less cumbersome than it used to be since it is something people can do from any device wherever they can access the internet. And unlike email, sending to a physical fax machine may generate more immediate attention than yet another email message.
If your prospects are busy, there is more of a chance that they will read a fax message before deleting it. Generally, one sends a fax message only to people one already knows – it’s the law! – so they will feel compelled to read the message. In fact, you will know who your good prospects are by their continued approval to receive faxes.
The main reason faxing is still around is simple: businesses are used to it. And perhaps equally as important, faxing allows companies to send and receive sensitive documents safely…which goes way beyond marketing and price quotes.
In general, these online faxing services tend to be cost-effective, don’t require an actual fax machine, provide easy access through Wi-Fi, and offer free online maintenance. When using online faxing services, you are assigned a local or toll-free number and anytime someone sends a fax to that number – whether from another online fax service or a physical fax machine – the fax is forwarded to your email and in some services, stored online for you. Because of this, some refer to these services as fax-to-mail.
Choosing from the Multitudes of Faxing Services
Surprisingly, there are dozens of companies that offer online faxing services. To narrow down the choices, one fax comparison service looked at 36 online faxing plans to find out which were the best. Their site can be used to compare up to five choices head-to-head to find the one that best suits your business.
None of the top five service providers has any hidden or startup fees. All allow the users to send faxes by email, and all offer a free 30-day trial period.
How Do You Choose an Online Fax Service?
When choosing an online fax service for your business, you should consider which plans best fit your company. Certain plans might offer the following features:
- security enhancements
- ability to send faxes to multiple people
- customizable options
- mobile alerts
- a toll-free or local fax number
- long distance or international faxing
- a free trial period
Keep in mind that some plans have restrictions, such as how many faxes you can either send or receive or how long you get to archive your faxes. Pricing is obviously important, as is the quality of the provider’s customer service. And definitely make security a high priority.
Faxing Could Be Here for a While
According to Steven Melendez in Why Fax Won’t Die on Fast Company, many businesses do not see faxing “as some ‘80s anachronism but as an efficient, reliable, and mostly secure way to communicate.” When companies require signatures for contracts, signatures sent via fax have an established legal validity that digital signatures do not currently have.
A recent circumstance in which faxing proved indispensable was when hackers broke into Sony’s private information, which included emails. From that point on, CEO Michael Lynton decided to send certain pieces of sensitive information only via fax.
As one expert interviewed by Melendez observes, faxing could be here for a while because it is how the majority of people in certain industries do business: “‘In order for that underlying business practice to change, all the participants in that underlying process would have to agree that they want to change.’”
- So fax your marketing messages for a better chance of being read.
- Fax the price quote through to protect sensitive information.
- And fax the contract through for a legally acceptable signature.
Whether or not faxing eventually dies away remains to be seen; for now, it is an integral part of the way many companies conduct their affairs.