Remember when people memorized phone numbers?
When I was in seventh grade, I knew about fifteen by heart (Mom, Dad, Mom's work, Dad's work, school, Molly, Jackie, etc.).
But now, I rely on my phone to store my numbers. I have the local pizza delivery guy on speed dial. If my phone dies, I'm in trouble.
That's why it's crucial for businesses to consider local and tollfree vanity numbers (numbers that substitute numbers for letters, like 1-844-EMMA-FAYE).
A memorable phone number sticks in your customers' brains, helping them remember you when they're ready to buy, or simply need support.
Why We Remember Words, Not Numbers
You might think you can remember a 10-digit telephone number just as well as you can remember a vanity number, but that's probably not the case.
According to 800Response, there's actually a 75% higher recall rate of vanity 1 800 numbers over numeric tollfree numbers. Consumers can even remember these numbers 58% better than a website's URL.
Why does this happen?
The answer is association. We remember things by associating them with things we already know.
'A great example is that old trick where people would tie a string around their finger when they needed to remember something,' says Craig Borowski, VoIP and Telecom Researcher at Software Advice. 'At first glance, it seems like a strange thing to do. After all, there doesn't seem to be any obvious association between the string and whatever it is you're trying to remember. But really, there is.'
Craig goes on to explain that when you're tying that string on your finger (which, not coincidentally, does require a little concentration) you're also thinking about that thing you're using the string to remember.
'That same principle is at work whenever we remember things, whether they're to-do lists, people's names or phone numbers,' says Craig.
Why is this good for business?
Despite new fancy-shmancy productivity and communication tools, people continue to use phone and email for the majority of their business communication.
You want to be ahead of the game, equipped to answer calls no matter who they're from.
There are several reasons why vanity numbers are good for business:
Easy to remember for yourself, customers, and other callers.
You appear more professional. Your phone number matches the classy way that you do business.
You can choose a local or tollfree number, depending on whether you serve a very large area or a smaller city or county.
If it's tollfree, support calls are always free to your callers.
How to Choose a Number That's Right For You
You've decided you want a vanity number, but now you need to figure out what to choose. Here are a few tips for getting the perfect number:
Make it easy to remember.
It is all about the letters, so avoiding numbers at all costs is your best bet.
Communicate what your business does.
- They are an extension of your brand. Use your number to tell people what you do like 1-800-Contacts does. There's no confusion over what they sell there!
Avoid unique spellings.
- One of the big benefits is that it's easy to remember. Don't make it hard to remember by getting creative using a 'Z' instead of an 'S.' For example: Using 'catz' when 'cats' isn't available.
Avoid hybrid numbers.
- It's a lot easier to remember 1-800-GoFedEx than 1-800-876-Ship because people still have to remember the 876.
See if the number you want is available.
The hard part is finding available number . These numbers have been around since the early '90s so a lot of common numbers have been taken and used.
Luckily, there are 6 toll free prefixes to work with, 1-800, 1-888, 1-877, 1-866, 1-855, and the newest, 1-844. You also use your local area code with a vanity number if you serve a small area.
Sharing Your Number With The World
What good is a vanity number if no one knows about it? Here are a few places where businesses routinely place their numbers:
In your email signature
On your business cards
On your website
In a radio or television jingle
Billboards, print mailings, subway ads
On a sign at your storefront or business office
On your packaging (if you sell physical products)
Does Your Phone Number Already Spell Something?
If you already have a phone number and are unwilling to get a new one, see if your phone number already spells something. It's highly unlikely the words will have to do with your business, but it's a fun exercise.
Visit PhoneSpell and plug in your number, then sit back and wait for the results:
A Phone Number People Can Remember
A memorable phone number is just one aspect of running a business, but having the right one can improve your website conversion rates, increase customer trust, and help further brand your business.
Your Turn: Do you have a vanity number? How did you choose it? If not, why did you go with a standard number?