Consider, if you will, the vanity number. Operating on the same principle as a car’s vanity license plate, a vanity number, once you get past that pesky “1-800” part, is a toll-free number that’s custom-designed by the owner to spell out a word or phrase. For instance, a bakery could have 1-800-HOT-BUNS as a vanity number. As a rule, businesses adopt vanity numbers as a means of having their phone number reflect the nature of their company.
No doubt you’ve seen those bumper stickers on company vehicles that say “Don’t like my driving? Call 1-800-BE-SAFER”, or words to that effect. Then of course there are always the joke stickers that suggest a different number like “1-800-GET-BENT”; always good for a cheap laugh, unless the person’s driving really does stink.
Anyways, back to the topic at hand: are vanity numbers still a thing today? Should you bother having one for your business?
Some Say No …
There are experts out there that insist that vanity numbers have gone the way of rotary dials and phone booths (remember those?). These critics say that the changed communications landscape, rife with cell phones and easily found information, eliminates the need for the kind of benefits that a vanity number offers.
… But They Are Wrong!
According to research cited in the article “How To Choose A Great Vanity Number”, ad responses are noticeably higher when a vanity numbers are used.
While it’s not absolutely mandatory for every type of business to have a vanity number, any company that relies on a lot of customer engagement should seriously consider adopting one.
The fact of the matter is, yes, there are a lot of ways to reach customers these days. It’s the communication age, and people are subject to a bombardment of messages from a variety of sources. But that is precisely why a vanity number is so important, even today.
The whole point of a vanity number is to give would-be customers an easy way of remembering a company’s phone number. Although wireless networks, websites, and smart phones are everywhere, sometimes circumstances arise where your access is limited if not outright unavailable.
The well-crafted vanity number sets your business apart from the blathering crowd. Put something out there that people can’t get out of their head and you’ll have succeeded in making a lasting impression.
But Be Careful
If you decide to go with a vanity number (and you should!), you need to choose the number wisely. For instance, consider the aforementioned 1-800-HOT-BUNS number. If you think about it, that number could open up the door to some potentially embarrassing misunderstandings.
Make sure that your choice of vanity number improves the chances of your business getting recognized and remembered, while at the same time lessening the chances of it being misconstrued. Then again, some businesses out there may go the “easily misunderstood” route in order to make the number stand out more; you pay your money and you take your chances, right?
Remember: just because an idea is old school doesn’t mean it’s no longer relevant or useful. A vanity number injects a sense of fun and cleverness, and helps create a lasting impression of your business.