How to Choose Your Own Phone Number

These days, people are very accustomed to building their personal and professional brands through the choices they make in public. Whether it be your social media handles, your personalized LinkedIn URL, your business website domain name, your logo, your color palette - you can pick what suits you and what best promotes your message and mission. But most people don't realize that they can also pick their own custom phone number, or vanity number, to reflect their brand identity and stay at the top of the customer's mind.

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Visit our vanity number explainer to learn more about what a vanity number is, how you can use one, and customer success stories.

Advice for choosing your own phone number

Why aren't vanity numbers more popular, or are they?

While some companies, like 1-800-flowers, are well aware of the value of a customer phone number, many professionals and business owners don't realize they too can pick their own memorable toll-free number or local phone number that's easy for callers to remember and dial.

Why?

  1. You weren't always able to buy custom phone numbers. Traditional phone carriers were built on the business model of charging users per minute. There is a complicated system of infrastructure to route calls - and each stop along the way gets a cut. Carriers need to maximize the minutes billed to be profitable. The phone number doesn't factor into this, so it is largely ignored and most account reps don't have access to a library of phone numbers. They don't have the technology to search for numbers - it's too hard, and too time consuming; they just to get to the activation as quickly as possible and start billing those minutes.
  2. Lack of media coverage. Let's face it, as fun as vanity phone numbers are, they are not topping the headlines on a regular basis. Phone calls are an underappreciated tool for growth. A main reason for that is because the technology isn't changing much. However, that is also the beauty of a custom phone number: it just works. People understand what they are supposed to do and what the phone number does for them. Newfangled technology like chat bots and AI may get more coverage, but they require configuration, management, and serve a different purpose from an easy-dial number. Phone numbers, on the other hand, couldn't be easier to obtain, implement, and see results from. You don't need expert advice and complex instruction manuals to make it work and make it easier for a caller or customers to reach you.
  3. Perception of limited selection. Some newer phone service providers, like VOIP, mobile phone, Google Voice, and virtual phone number companies will give you a limited selection of numbers to choose from. However, the numbers are typically not special, memorable, brand-relevant, or customized to your business. When you sign up for a Google Voice number, they will give you a selection of six phone numbers to choose from in your area code. You can opt to "show more" but there is no way to filter to find a type of pattern or one that spells a specific word or phrase. They all look relatively generic, so one isn't that much better than the next. If you've gone through this process of picking from a limited selection, you haven't been fully exposed to the full range of possibilities.

Advice for Choosing Your Own Phone Number

If you understand the key benefits of a custom phone number, no doubt you'll be ready to get your own. It's an easy process to secure your personalized phone number for incoming calls.

Here's how to do it:

  1. Decide on your phone number strategy. We've covered this in a previous post about how to build a brand with a phone number - but you should decide whether you want a local or toll free number, whether you want a pattern or a vanity, and, if you desire a phone-word, whether you want to create something benefits-driven or descriptive. While a specific phone number might not be available, you can avoid being talked into a phone number that doesn't meet your needs by being clear on what those needs are.
  2. Ask your current carrier. Even though most carriers have limited ability to search and choose custom cell phone numbers, it doesn't hurt to ask.
  3. Work with a phone-number service provider. Find a specialist like RingBoost who focuses solely on phone numbers. Phone number providers are typically agnostic to how you want your phone to ring. If you need help, you can contact our Sales team via email, phone, or chat. We have more resources for phone numbers than carriers do and have access to millions of new phone numbers based on our own inventory and relationships with two-dozen providers across the country. We can help you find one that isn't just satisfactory, but is completely electrifying.
  4. Decide how you want to activate it. Toll-free numbers require a ring-to number whereas local phone numbers can be ported out, signed up for a call-forwarding plan, or parked until you're ready to use it.

Not all cell phone phone numbers are available - some have not been released yet and some may already be spoken for. If you have a very specific number in mind, but it is unavailable through both your carrier and a phone number provider, we recommend calling it. Whoever answers it might find less value in the number and be willing to part with it. Choosing your own phone number – whether it's a business phone number, a second phone number, or a cell phone number - is a powerful way to signal to the world that you are professional, thoughtful, and friendly. Follow the steps above, or start searching the RingBoost inventory to get yours today!

So, What Are You Waiting For?

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