A vanity number is a telephone number whose corresponding letters on the alpha-numeric keypad spell the name of a business, an acronym or a service. They have proven to be easier for customers to remember, especially on highway billboards and radio ads, when they are not in a position to write a number down.
A vanity number can be a toll-free number, a local number or an international number. These kinds of numbers are not only good for customer recollection and branding, but they help to give the impression that your business is a professional and established enterprise. A vanity number can be used as a virtual number, which isn’t associated with a specific line, but instead is routed anywhere in the world that your business is located.
A vanity number is a local or toll-free telephone number for which a subscriber requests an easily remembered sequence of numbers for marketing purposes. While many of these are phonewords (such as 1-800-Flowers, 313-DETROIT, 1-800-Taxicab or 1-800-Battery), occasionally all-numeric vanity phone numbers are used. Numbers ending with repeated digits (such as -1111) are heavily advertised by taxi and food delivery companies; the Pizza Pizza chain has trademarked 967-1111, a Toronto local number.
The easiest way to explain what a vanity number is, is by giving you some examples. Supermarket giant Lidl uses vanity number 0900-LIDLINFO for its customer service in the Netherlands. Another example would be 1-800-FLOWERS for the U.S.-based flower delivery service. Vanity numbers work because a word is easier to remember than the number combination it replaces. How that works is what we’ll show next.
Take a look at the dial screen of your mobile phone or the dial pad of the telephone on your desk. You’ll notice how below each of the numbers 2 through to 9 there are three letters printed. Dialing a vanity number is as simple as pressing – letter by letter – the corresponding keys. So to dial 1-800-FLOWERS, you would type 1 800 3569377. You can see how “FLOWERS” is much easier to remember than “3569377”. Replacing the numbers in your telephone number with a word makes your number instantly memorable.
The length of a vanity number depends on the length of telephone numbers in a given country. Prefixes are never included in the vanity word. Vanity words do not, however, have to exactly match the length of the telephone number. They can be several characters longer. The extra characters will simply be ignored by the telephone network.
Australian research has shown that the use of vanity numbers results in a significantly higher conversion rate for businesses. According to the research, incoming phone-calls can go up by as much as 290% when a vanity number is used, as compared to using a regular telephone number. Vanity numbers offer unique opportunities for those who wish to market and promote their businesses in an original way. In a separate article we will talk using vanity numbers for marketing and branding.
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