Fax by email and web, and fax broadcasting services
fax to email services
Fax is still the essential businessman's tool; it's cheap, fast and efficient and almost every company in the world has a fax machine. But with the advance of new technology you can now receive faxes via the Internet straight to your email and send faxes from your email account in reply. So, no more waiting around by the fax machine as messages are delivered straight to your screen, no more interrupted faxes, no more running out of or poor quality paper and no additional line rental charges. You can even send out multiple faxes at once with email to fax services.
How does it work?
Your fax to email provider will give you a National rate (0870), a Local rate (0845), or a Free phone number (0800) as your fax number. When this number is dialed, it will sound like a fax machine but will actually be answered by a fax server. When a fax is sent, the server answers the call and saves the fax as a 'Tiff' file. This file is sent to your email address as an attachment and can be picked up wherever you pick up your emails.
What's the difference between a National, Local and Free phone number?
If you have a National fax number, customers fax you at a BT standard National rate - like calling outside your local area. With a Local fax number, customers fax you at a BT standard Local rate - like calling the house next door no matter where they are in the country. With a National and a Local rate fax number you would pay nothing in call charges while if you have a Free fax number (0800), you would pay for the call as your customers fax you for free.
How can I see and print out my faxes?
Windows Imaging, which is standard on your PC, can be used to view your Tiff faxes although you are sometimes required to download special software from the Internet (usually free of charge). Mac users often have to download software that can open multi-page Tiff files. Faxes can be forwarded on to colleagues and clients with no loss of quality and can be printed out as often as you like. They can be saved on your PC and digitally archived for future reference.
Ideal for small businesses and the travelling salesman:
Small businesses can save money as you don't have the added expense of a fax machine (toner, paper etc) or have to have a separate line to receive faxes. Faxes come through at the same time as your email. If your business relies on travelling salesmen, who find it hard to locate a fax machine in every hotel, they can simply download their faxes when they pick up their email. They can be anywhere in the country or even abroad.
If your business receives hundreds of orders every day by fax, often customers are frustrated when they constantly hear the engaged signal. With a fax to email service they would get through every time as the fax server can handle multiple calls at the same time.
What are the advantages of fax to email?
* A traceable audit trail of faxes - allows electronic storage of information by date and time
* Information is sent direct to an individual's email account
* Services can be used as a second line to back up or divert from 'busy' existing fax machines
* Flexibility to receive information on any computer to any email account you can collect email from. This means you can still receive faxes on the move
* No problems of engaged lines or running out of paper
* The ability to receive multiple faxes at the same time - no engaged tone. Ideal for the busy office with orders coming in simultaneously
* No loss of fax quality from transmission
* Quick and user friendly. No specialist equipment or plug-ins needed
* Provides a virtual fax with no extra telephone lines required or extra usage costs incurred
* Have individual or department efax numbers
* Use as a specific number for specific promotions
* Have the security of the fax in your email box and not lying around on the fax machine for all to see
What is the cost?
Many of the 'so-called' free fax to email providers are no longer in business while those who always charged for their services are still operating. If you want a service you can rely on and one that works when you need it, you are better off paying for it. Ensure that you deal with a firm that publishes its phone number and has someone to speak to you at end of the phone. A National rate fax to email number costs as little as GBP30 a year plus VAT while a Local rate number costs around GBP80 for the year.
email to fax
Fed up of standing by the fax machine feeding in page after page? There is an alternative that is both quick and convenient - email to fax. Need to send the same fax to more than one person? Multiple faxes can be sent at the click of a button and you can reply to incoming faxes by simply hitting reply. And by sending your faxes via email, your phone lines and resources sending faxes are no longer tied up.
How does email to fax work?
Different Internet fax providers use differing methods to send faxes. You can send faxes direct from your email box or you are asked log on to the provider's website and send faxes from there. To send a fax from your email is really simple once you've signed up; you just fill in your email as if you were writing a fax. In the 'To' box of your email, you put in your fax number followed by a special email address given to you by your provider. You can send multiple faxes by clicking the cc box and typing in a new fax number and documents can be attached to the email and faxed out as well. Click send and the email is sent to the server where it is then converted into a fax and sent straight to your recipient's fax machine. And to prove that the fax was sent, you receive an email back with confirmation.
Advantages of the email to fax service
* Send faxes without the need for a fax machine
* Free up telephone lines for other uses
* Manage your faxes in the same way that you manage your email
* Avoid time wasting printing and faxing documents
* Increase security/confidentiality as faxes are sent directly from your desktop to the recipient not via the office fax machine
* Forward faxes to other people without the need to print them out
* Send faxes to multiple destinations in one email
* Attach documents to be printed as fax pages
* No need to disconnect from the web in order to send a fax
* No special equipment required
Ideal for salesmen on the move
The email to fax service is perfect for the travelling salesman who needs to send faxes when out of the office. He simply uses his email account to fax out documents wherever he is in the country. And if he is staying in a hotel with no printing facilities, he simply faxes the document to the hotel's fax machine and receives a hard copy.
What is the cost?
With most providers, you are charged a rate per fax, depending on how many you send. Faxes to UK Local/National numbers can be as little as 2.5p plus VAT per 30-second fax page.
Web to fax
When you fill out a form on the web, have you always assumed that it comes out the other end as an email? Well, more often than not it comes out as a fax. For example, if you book a hotel on the internet, your reservation is likely to be both emailed to the hotel and faxed to them for added security. This is achieved via web to fax technology and is similar in its use to email to fax. The web to fax service is ideal for businesses who would like to take orders on the Internet but who may not have email or not be 'on' all the time. Hard copies of orders and bookings can be sent straight to your fax machine or faxed confirmation to clients. This technology is used to book restaurants, hotels, B&Bs, car test drives, even pizzas...
From product launches and promotions to reports and press releases, fax gets your message out to thousands. And, as almost every business in the world has a fax machine no other medium can match its reach and immediacy. But rather than waste time faxing to individual clients, you can now hand over your fax and your list of numbers to a fax broadcast provider as a convenient and cost-effective alternative. Any while you have handed over your fax job to someone else, your own fax machine is free to take incoming calls.
Ensure that your provider
* Can tell you when your fax shot will be run - you don't want fax machines ringing in the middle of the night
* Can stagger the broadcast to target a few hundred companies per day if necessary
* Can perform mail merges
* Ensures that the fax retries when busy
* Gives you a report at the end of the run to let you know how it went
Note from partner:
Email to SMS
Email to sms services work like email to fax and allow you send sms via email. It allows you to send the same text to multiple recipients at once and using your pc for this is more convenient than using a phone.
Reviewed January 2011
last updated : 15/06/2011
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