A vanity number, otherwise known as a phoneword, is a number that a business chooses that spells a particular word or phrase, usually a word or phrase that is associated with that business’ product or service. For instance, Stanley Steamer, a carpet cleaning company, uses 1-800-STEAMER as its vanity number. While the letters actually spell out a word, they only do so because the numbers used to spell out the word hold the letters that correspond to each number. Look at the dial pad on a telephone: each number corresponds to a few letters. Therefore, when you’re creating a vanity number for your business, you can literally spell out a word by using the numbers.
But why are vanity numbers so popular? To put it simply: vanity numbers help people remember a business’ number. Let’s look at the Stanley Steamer example:
- 1-800-STEAMER contains part of the company’s name, which also tells the customer what the business does.
- This vanity number is a simple word; therefore, if someone is looking at a dial pad and trying to spell it, it will be a relatively simple task.
- Potential customers don’t need to worry about memorizing a random string of numbers if they want to easily learn Stanley Steamer’s number.
- Having part of the company’s name in the phone number indicates professionalism. If a company has branded everything down to its own phone number, then its customers will know that it means business.
There is also a luxurious element that comes with vanity phone numbers. People have not always had the option of choosing a phone number that spells out a word; furthermore, only companies who are willing to spend the money on these vanity numbers are the the ones who will get them. Therefore, vanity phone numbers are also popular because of their “classy” aspect. If everyone could easily get a vanity phone number, then it would not be nearly as valuable. Vanity phone numbers are as popular as they are today because they indicate professionalism, help customers remember your business’ phone number, and are signs of class.
You’ve probably heard, “Call us at 1-800-XXX-XXXX Toll Free!” in television commercials before. But what exactly is a toll free number? See, the American consumer is trained to think positively when he or she hears “free;” it means there is no cost to the buyer. Therefore, if something is free, it is good; if you are advertising something free, then people will want to use it. As their name suggests, toll free numbers allow people to call a business without being charged; rather, the called party (the business) is billed for the call. So while it’s all well and good that Your Company Inc. will be billed for a call instead of a consumer, how does that help you market your business?
It’s simple: If people know what toll free numbers are, then they will see the obvious advantage to calling your business as opposed to one of your competitors. If I’m looking to buy flowers for my wife’s birthday, do I want to spend money on the actual phone call while I am making the order? I love my wife, but I’d rather not spend money on a phone call in addition to the money I’m spending on the order. Therefore, toll free numbers are advantageous because they are the cheaper, easier way to lure the consumer in to calling your business and, eventually, purchasing your product.
But wait: Isn’t the called party, such as your business, the one billed for the call? Doesn’t that mean that you’ll have to pay for the call, even if it doesn’t result in a sale? The answer to both of these questions is “yes,” but this doesn’t mean that a toll free number is a negative for a new business. On the contrary, if you’re advertisement budget is slim to none, then you’ll want to use a toll free number because the number of successful customers you get from the promise of a toll free number outweighs the amount of money you’ll need to spend on these toll free calls. So, if you don’t have much money to put towards advertising, then save your money and focus on advertising the toll free number; it’s simple, easy, and will probably result in more business for you!
If you’re a work at home mother, then you will absolutely need to use an 800 number; there’s no doubt about it. You see, if you’re running your business through your home, then your home phone number simply will not do while you are trying to advertise your business because your home phone number is most likely not an 800 number. But if you don’t want to pay for the extra 800 number, then why get it?
- An 800 number allows you to do business with people who are farther away, so you won’t have to worry about incurring long distance charges for your customers.
- 800 numbers are professional. Whenever you think of “1 800 numbers”, you most likely think of a company or corporation. The bottom line: an 800 number is professional, and it will make your business that much more attractive if you advertise it.
- An 800 number allows you to easily compartmentalize your business and personal calls.
This works in a few ways:
If you have an 800 number, you don’t have to give your home phone number to all of your clients. This is good for your privacy and convenience, as you will know that anyone who calls your home phone number isn’t doing it for the sake of your business.
If you have an 800 number, you will specifically know that people are calling it to talk to you as a business, not as a personal individual.
800 numbers can be personalized to specifically suit your business. For instance, Stanley Steamer uses 1-800-STEAMER as its vanity 800 number. This will make it easier for people to remember your business’ number if they happen to not have it written down.
Additionally, your 800 number does not need to be a new line for your home. Therefore, if you wish, you can save the expense of installing an additional phone line and simply have your 800 number tied to a virtual phone system like iTeleCenter. Due to its convenience, professionalism, and ability to expand your business, 800 numbers are essential for work at home mothers.
What is “call forwarding?” You may have heard of the term from your phone carrier, telemarketers, or on television. It may sound like a difficult, fancy term that only technologically-savvy people would understand, but call forwarding is actually a very simple concept. Let’s take a look at the following example:
- Sarah is a mother who runs a floral business from her home. Though her young son, Luke, is at school during the week, she also works on Saturdays, as her floral shop is open six days a week. However, Luke plays soccer in the local recreation league, and Sarah has promised her son she will go to every game. What can Sarah do to make sure she can run her business while watching her son?
- Sarah can activate call forwarding to her cell phone. If Sarah is using iTeleCenter’s virtual phone system, she can very easily forward her business calls to her cell phone number just like that! Calls will ring right to her cell phone.
Call forwarding allows you to be away from your business and living your life without entirely being disconnected from your business. If you’re waiting on an important call or a large order, then you should activate call forwarding to ensure that you won’t be missing anything important while you’re supporting your child or spending quality time with your friends. Call forwarding is simple to activate and can make your life incredibly convenient.
While it is important to spend time with the ones you love, you also have a responsibility to stay in touch with potential business contacts. After all, if someone calls your business and does not receive a timely response, then that person may lose interest in your business and decide to use another service instead of yours. So, call forwarding is an essential tool that you can use to make sure that you stay on top of your business while staying on top of your life!
Are you a realtor? Trying to get your property listings in front of the right audience?
Potential home buyers want to learn as much as possible about a property before sitting down and talking to a realtor about it. Here’s where iTeleCenter’s toll free numbers come in.
Here it is in a nutshell:
- Create an extension for each of your property listings.
- Record information for each property listing that includes as much information as you think a potential buyer would want to know before contacting you.
- Advertise your toll free number and extension where you list each property – on signs at the property, in real estate guides, in classifieds, etc.
Your potential buyers will be happy to have all of the information they want before they speak to you. Plus, it will save you the time and effort of speaking to callers who aren’t interested after hearing the details of the home.
Want your existing and potential customers to remember your number? Get a Vanity Number!
You’ve seen the ads for companies like 1800FLOWERS and 1800MATTRESS. I bet these numbers have stuck with you. Imagine doing the same for YOUR business. You can get a vanity number that will stick with YOUR customers.
A virtual phone system like iTeleCenter allows you to search for the vanity number of your choice. Although most 800 numbers are no longer available, there are plenty of 888, 877, 866 and 855 toll free numbers left in circulation to choose from.
When you search, use the 8xx option rather than specifically searching for 855 or 888 to maximize your results.
Think of a name or phrase that best describes your business. Are you a realtor in West Long Branch? How about searching for 8xx WLB HOME? Own a salon on Long Beach Island? How about 8xx LBI HAIR? If you are lucky, the exact match you are looking for will be found. You may need to try a few different options before settling on the best choice.
Keep in mind that there is a feature called Over-dial – where more than the normal 10 digits can be dialed but still result in the call going to the assigned number… in other words, if 855 TAX FORM is not available, you may opt for something like 855 2TAXFORM.
Vanity numbers spell something easy to remember – but they translate to regular numbers – 2=ABC, 3=DEF, etc. In the case of 855 2TAX FORM, the caller would dial 855-282-93676. Note the extra digit 6 at the end. This is the use of over-dial – the caller can enter it, but it is ignored in the dialing sequence.
Sure, your toll free number makes it easy for people to call without long distance charges, but have you ever thought about what a great marketing tool your virtual phone system is?
The first step in marketing is to have a way for people to reach you! If you are using your toll free number with a virtual phone system, you can advertise just one number as your business and fax line.
Promote your products and services. Record information about your products and services for listeners to hear either when they are placed on hold or when they access a specific extension on your toll free number.
Lead Capture! Prompt your callers to leave their information or simply use your virtual phone system’s unblockable caller ID to capture the caller’s phone number.
Ad Tracker – advertise a different numeric code along with your toll free number in different advertisements and prompt callers to enter the code when they call in – this tool helps you see where your ad money is best spent.
We all have our reasons for using iTeleCenter but some of us rely on certain features on a daily basis to help run a business. So the question is, what is YOUR favorite feature?
Is it Call Forwarding?
Do you love being able to forward calls from your iTeleCenter number directly to your home or mobile phone? Do you treasure the ability to publish just one number for phone calls and faxing and keep your personal numbers private? I know I do! I frequently work from home and prefer not to hand out my home number to everyone I do business with.
Tell us about your favorite feature – we’d love to hear from you!
When you are starting out in your business, you may ask yourself whether you truly need a 1 800 number. After all, in the early days of your entrepreneurship, the last thing you want to do is spend money on things that don’t seem as though they will provide you any advantage over the competition. So you dismiss the idea of 1 800 numbers.
What you may be missing out on, though, is the fact that while most phone service providers no longer charge their customers for long distance calls, so they aren’t concerned whether you live in state or across the country, there is a prestige that is associated with toll free numbers that you simply don’t get with any other exchange.
When customers seek out businesses and find an area code they are not familiar with, there is a sense of distrust. It’s not that the customer immediately assumes that the business is not going to be there for them, or that there will be issues with service. It’s that a business that dissociates itself from their customer base, through something as simple as a phone number, it doesn’t instill the confidence that consumers need to click the ‘buy’ button in their web browser.
However, there is a power and presence associated with 1 800 numbers that tells the consumer that you are a serious business, that customer service matters to you, and that you are professional from top to bottom. When you are working hard and striving to build your business, every advantage is going to make a decided difference. When you are ready to take your business to a higher level, ask yourself again whether you really need a 1 800 number. When your business matters to you, then you should consider a one.
If you think that toll free numbers are a thing of the past, think again. Though some think that toll free numbers are outdated because of the availability of cell phones and low cost home phone service, a toll free number can instill trust from your clients as well as help you appear more professional. Many times, people may not answer a number they do not know, but if the number that appears on their caller ID is toll free, they may decide to answer it. Toll free numbers are those numbers beginning with 800, 888, 877, 866 or 855 and cost nothing to call.
Toll free numbers can also make your business telephone number more appealing and easy to remember. By having what is known as a “vanity” toll free number, your business can find a catchy number such as 1-800-CALLNOW or something to do with your business. This has proven to be very affective for small businesses looking to spread the word about their work. If you are interested in getting a toll free number, you simply have to request one from a provider such as iTeleCenter. Your toll free number will be charged to you in a small fee, but it will allow your clients to contact you at no cost to them.
Once you have a toll free number in place, your calls can be directed to where they need to go. This method will allow your clients to be worry free. Whether the toll free number leads directly to you, or is forwarded to a call center, your caller will appreciate the peace of mind knowing that their phone call is free to them.