How to Create the Most Effective Vanity Phone Numbers

calling vanity number
by: Shannon Givens , April 16, 2019

While the internet has undoubtedly made it simple for consumers to gather relevant information and weigh their purchase options, phone calls remain the most direct method of contacting a business’s sales and customer service representatives.

With over 95 percent of Americans owning a cellphone, according to the Pew Research Center, it’s never been more important for businesses to take advantage of easy-to-remember toll-free numbers as part of their core marketing strategies. But how can companies create a vanity phone number that will increase sales leads and drive productivity?

What is a vanity phone number?

A vanity number is a toll-free telephone number that spells out a specific brand name, word or acronym. They are typically used for customer service lines, but also carry a good deal of value for generating new sales leads. Vanity numbers are assigned by “Responsible Organizations” (or RespOrgs, for short) on a first-come, first-served basis, as the FCC prohibits the reservation and hoarding of toll-free numbers by these entities.

Securing a fitting vanity number has grown increasingly competitive, so companies have had to think creatively about which available phrases or words will suit their unique needs. Vanity numbers can benefit your business by:

  • Increasing response rates.
  • Boosting customer recognition.
  • Maximizing advertising ROI.
  • Expanding brand awareness.
  • Building credibility.

While most businesses opt for a word or phrase (such as 800-FLOWERS or 800-GoFedEx), simple (and memorable) number combinations can also be a useful option. Custom phone numbers that use repetitive digits or number sequences are easy to dial and often stick with people for longer periods of time –  patterns are easier to commit to memory than random number distributions. That being said, a clever word or acronym has a lot more potential to drive results than numbers alone.

What makes a good vanity number?

The best vanity numbers are simple, catchy and easy to recall. While the possibilities may seem endless, businesses are only given seven digits to work with, as all toll-free numbers start with uniform prefixes, including 800, 888, 877, 866, 855 or 844. If the vanity number you’re looking for isn’t available with the standard 800 prefix, be sure to check the other prefix options to avoid missing out.

The first step to securing the perfect vanity number for your business is to consider your purpose, audience and context. What specific outcomes are you trying to achieve? Who are you trying to appeal to? Where does your business excel compared to your competitors? Answering these questions can give you a better idea for which words or phrases will suit your business’s unique characteristics.

For example, a plumbing company that specializes in residential bathroom renovations would benefit from a vanity number that emphasizes its core strengths, rather than a general number like 1-800-PLUMBER. Effective toll-free vanity numbers highlight what is special about your business to attract the right type of customers. Some things you should avoid include:

  • Utilizing words that are difficult to spell.
  • Incorporating slang or uncommon phrases.
  • Employing possessive pronouns.
  • Using a vague company name.

Many business owners choose to weave the name of their company into their toll-free number, which can be counterproductive unless it’s evident what products or services they provide. This is especially true for businesses that have not yet established a strong presence within their industry. For example, a small business named “Al’s Carpet Cleaners” may confuse potential customers with a vanity number like 1-800-AL-CLEAN, as it is unclear what specific service the company offers.

Keep in mind, many of the most obvious vanity numbers are likely taken, so it may be beneficial to brainstorm a variety of possible combinations before contacting a RespOrg directly. Some organizations offer free vanity-number consulting, such as Custom Toll Free, which can help you narrow down your options until only the strongest remain.

Repetition and consistency

Once you’ve registered your creative vanity number, the next step is to work it into your marketing collateral with as much consistency as possible. All of your marketing materials should feature the vanity number prominently, whether its a print ad, radio spot, television commercial, business card or online landing page. This repetition will help foster a lasting connection between your unique brand and the toll-free number you’ve selected, making word-of-mouth and customer referral marketing much more effective.

A strong vanity number creates a clear image in the mind of your customers and acts as a focal point for those who wish to get in contact with you. Custom Toll Free can help you find the perfect vanity number or an easy-to-recall digit sequence to support your marketing efforts. We can also help you track your marketing success if you choose to roll out multiple toll-free numbers. To learn more about effective toll-free strategies and how vanity numbers can benefit your business, get in touch or request a free demo today.


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