A vanity number is a combination of alphanumeric characters and numbers, such as 1-800-FLOWERS. This customized combo takes the place of a traditional phone number and is often utilized to make your business’ phone number instantly recognizable and memorable. While a vanity number could be locally based, 555-CARS for instance, it is often built on the toll-free platform where there are seven customizable digits, instead of just four.
1. The Benefits of a Vanity Number
Vanity numbers can enhance your company’s image with current and prospective customers. The image boost is often due to the association of toll-free numbers with more reputable businesses, since the burden of payment is on the company and never the caller. The use of a toll-free number leads customers to believe that your business goes beyond the local market and that you have the stability of a larger company.
Vanity numbers can also enhance industry recognition by promoting a product or service, such as legal services (ex. 1-800-INJURY). Vanity numbers can even directly advertise your brand, with a number such as 1-800-GO-FEDEX.
When used with mass advertising outlets, such as billboards or direct mailings, having an easy to remember phone number can help customers take action. For example, with an easy to remember vanity number, callers do not need to write down a number seen on a billboard while driving. The ease of recall helps convert this prospect into a customer.
2. The Drawbacks of a Vanity Number
While vanity numbers can help promote business image and branding, unique combinations are now sometimes hard to find and secure. The toll-free industry has expanded beyond the 800 realm into 888, 877, 866, and 855 prefixes. However, even though there are more options, the unique combinations are in high demand and rarely become available.
If a combination is available, but is also associated with one of the other prefixes, confusion can ensue. You will likely not be reaching the same company if you dial 1-800-FLOWERS instead of 1-877-FLOWERS. This can cause confusion and customers might not receive the service they’ve come to expect from your organization.
Due to the scarcity of vanity numbers, your organization may also be tempted to use unique spelling to obtain a number. However, this often backfires, as your customers reach other companies with the correct spelling.
3. Gain Competitive Advantage with Your Vanity Number
If you have a vanity number that reflects your organization, it’s important to incorporate it cleverly into your marketing and branding. With the right vanity number, your customers are far more likely to remember your number when they need it. Using slogans and phrases that incorporate your vanity number engagingly into advertising campaigns will help customer recall as well. When your vanity number is paired with effective marketing campaigns and excellent customer service, your organization can build and sustain a distinct competitive advantage.