No matter how small a business might be, it’s important to project a professional appearance to new customers and prospects. For example, an email address from your business domain has more impact than, say, a standard Gmail email address. The same is true with your phone number. If you really want your business to look…
Does Your Small Business need a Vanity Phone Number?
As a word, “vanity” may not be associated with an absolute ton of things which could be considered positive. To be vain is to wish to draw attention to oneself, and dictionary.com defines the word vanity as “excessive pride in one’s appearance, qualities, abilities, achievements, etc.; character or quality of being vain; conceit.” Who would want something vain?
Well, if you are a small business owner, you definitely would like a vanity phone number. They help you expand your business, both in terms of reach and in terms of customer base. This in turn increases customer purchases which in turn makes you money.
How? Why? Who?
(Just kidding on that one, there’s no who).
Anyway, here we are going to be delving in deep on everything you would want to possibly know—and everything you did not realize you needed to know—about vanity phone numbers. Specifically, we will be dealing with the what of vanity phone numbers, the why of vanity phone numbers, the reliability and trustworthiness of vanity phone numbers, how to get a vanity phone number, and, finally, where to get a vanity phone number, specifically which companies to purchase one from. When all is said and done, you’ll be a vanity phone number pro.
What is a Vanity Phone Number?
So, as we said above, let us start with the basics: what exactly IS a vanity phone number? So, obviously you know what a phone number is. You may even already know what a business phone number is. And, thanks to the above paragraphs, you know how to define vanity. Put it altogether, and you get…a phone number that expresses pride in qualities and abilities? An arrogant phone number?
Well, no, not really. Basically, a vanity phone number is something like this: 1-800-555-WIRE. Or 1-800-555-RING. You get the picture.
A vanity phone number is a number which uses letters, found on the keypad of a phone (and on cell phones, found on the part where you dial, since most phones do not really have “keypads” anymore), to create words. This is basically where the “vanity” part of vanity phone number comes in- it is supposed to draw (vain) attention to a specific part of your business. So if you ran a jewellery store, 1-800-555-RING would be pretty useful, as it draws attention to your business.
What a vanity phone number is NOT is something gimmicky in terms of how the number actually works. When you call a vanity phone number it does not do anything wonky or strange; the receiver picks up the phone, and you get chatting. That’s all.
Why go with a vanity phone number?
So there are a lot of reasons someone might want to go with a vanity phone number, especially if that someone is a small business owner. For one, vanity phone numbers are just…well, easy to remember.
Think of all of the commercial jingles you know (at least, the ones which involve numbers). A LOT of them are vanity numbers, and for good reason. If you run a dog training company, trying to get a customer to remember 1-757-364-7487 in the timespan of a fifteen second radio ad or a thirty second television spot might not be the easiest thing. But 1-757-DOG-SITS? That is a heck of a lot easier.
The fact of the matter is, the people you are trying to reach—potential clients—are going to see a lot of numbers throughout their day. On their way to work on the radio they may hear five different numbers each commercial break. They’ll see them printed on ads at bus stops, on the backs of trucks, on fliers being handed out on the streets. They are going to be surrounded by numbers.
And yours, which represents the hope of a new customer for your small business, will be right there in the thick of it with all the other numbers. To make yourself stick out, think about the sort of things which would attract YOUR attention (after all, you are probably someone else’s client): words. Cute, small words (like dog, or sits). Far easier to remember than a complex set of numbers.
It also helps so that you can build a theme around your business. Again, you usually only have precious seconds to get something into people’s heads- not a whole ton of time to drill in a particularly random set of digits. You want people to remember your business’ name, what it does, and the phone number. With a vanity number, you can basically hit two of those- and if you get luck and/or creative enough with your vanity number, you might even be able to actually hit all three. Thirty second advertisements? You will not even need five seconds.
Essentially, a vanity number is a perfect advertising package for your business- except you do not even have to pay any extra cash for one.
Are vanity phone numbers legitimate numbers though?
This often causes some understandable concern amongst small business folks. “If I can’t see the numbers, how do I know it’s a real phone number?” This concern happens a lot and it is completely understandable. After all, there’s a large segment of people who still prefer owning physical media, like Blu-ray, instead of owning a movie digitally. The principle is the same.
Well, let your worries cease: a vanity phone number is 100% legitimate, and just as real as any other phone number you may possess. Whether you buy it through a traditional phone company or an online phone number provider, a vanity phone number is going to work just as well as any other.
Technically, with a number like, say, 1-757-DOG-SITS, it’s just 1-757-364-7487. Which is just a normal phone number. However, here, the owner of the number has been able to pick out a specific set of numbers which spelled out the word (or words, in this case) which they wanted to be able to get across to whoever was viewing (or, from the perspective of the small business owner, hopefully calling) the number. Completely legitimate, tremendously useful.
How do vanity phone numbers work?
Well, because a vanity phone number is just a phone number with very specific digits, a vanity phone number works like any other phone number. Let’s say you are buying from an online phone provider, like MightyCall. When you go to select your number, on the selection screen you can chose all sorts of variables which you would like your number to focus on (like the city it is to be located in or the area code or specific digits). But instead of digits, you can also search for letters.
It is that easy. With other providers it may be a tad more difficult, but by and large it works just like when you buy any other online phone number. Sometimes when you want to buy a vanity phone number you can get special deals for them, but it varies from company to company.
When is a good time to use a vanity phone number?
A lot of business, like anything else really, is strategy. Strategy is key to a successful business. You have oh so many silver bullets, the key is to know when to fire them and where to fire them at.
One of those important silver bullets is advertising strategies, and as we discussed before, your phone number can be a part of that with vanity phone numbers. Really try to revolutionize your business strategy- times are constantly changing, and you can too. Heck, minimalism is currently all the rage- and all you will really need, if you can score the right vanity phone number, is your business name and your phone number.
We recommend you start right from the get-go. If you base your entire operation around it, you’ll have a solid constant at your core—after all, there is no reason for your phone number to change—and it will help solidify your business as a local institution, the kind of thing where people around town all know your jingle and have your number on mental speed dial.
Who should I get a vanity phone number from?
Okay, so we lied, there is a who. But it’s not a person- it’s a company. Once you have decided to go with a vanity number (and we hope that you have!) you have to then decide on which company you are going to get your vanity phone number from.
And there are a TON to choose from. We would generally recommend going with an online phone company, simply due to the ease that online phone numbers provide. We linked to it earlier, but here again is our guide to online phone numbers, if you are interested in perusing.
Even once you have decided to go with an online phone number, then you have to pick through all sorts of online phone number companies. Which can be daunting- after all, it isn’t like a store where you can walk in and physically feel the products. But that shouldn’t stop you from investigating!
MightyCall, also mentioned previously, is one of the premier online phone number VoIP (voice over internet protocol- basically, it means talking online) companies for small businesses. They offer a ton of numbers and fair, competitive price plans. On top of all this, they offer a ton of features which you can actually use- all which come in the plans, without you having to pay a ton of extra hidden fees.
So you now know the who, what, where, why, and how of vanity phone numbers. They are just kicking, and they’ll kick your business into high gear. With a vanity phone number from MightyCall and a well-executed strategy, your small business will be getting people’s attention on the way to work, and you’ll be getting their money in your pocket.
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