What Are the Different Types of Business Phone Numbers?

Would you rather a prospect picked up the phone to call or navigated to your website to complete an online form? If you’re like most business owners, you prefer an initial phone call because it allows you to efficiently assess the situation, answer questions, and open opportunities for up-selling. After all, phone calls convert to revenue at 10-15x the rate of web leads. And, studies show that two thirds of consumers prefer to contact a business by phone – nearly three times the rate of those who prefer to complete an online form.

The challenge is, for most businesses, prospects don’t need you until they need you. And when they do, they often have a sense of urgency to reach someone (or a sense of laziness) and will go to the first option that comes to mind. To capture the opportunity, you must be the first one they think of when the time is right, having built trust through repeated exposure to your brand. A great call-to-action is critical to maximizing advertising response rates, and a memorable phone number is the CTA that can’t be beat.

When picking the right number for your company, you should consider your target audience, opportunities for competitive differentiation, your brand strategy, and, of course, your budget. There are five broad categories of custom phone numbers, each with its own set of benefits.

Five Types of Business Phone Numbers

Here are the 5 types of business phone numbers

Toll-Free Vanity

Vanity numbers are phone numbers that contain memorable words or phrases. What you choose will depend on your brand strategy. You can pick one that describes your customers, calls out your name, or perhaps hints at your firm’s personality. Some of the most well-known vanity numbers become the center point of a business’s brand, including 1-800-FLOWERS or 1-800-CONTACTS.  Toll-free vanity numbers include nationwide coverage and can use sophisticated logic to route the calls to the appropriate destination. These are great options for businesses that are geographically dispersed or who want to project a large brand presence.

 

Toll-Free Shared Use

Shared Use numbers are similar to toll-free vanity but licensed exclusively by market area. This option gives you access to a super-memorable number at an affordable price, a great option for small businesses who want to get a leg up. Calls are routed based on the location of the caller at the time of call. Shared Use numbers are typically premium phrases such as 1-800-HOMECARE or 1-800-CABLE-TV, and you will pick from an extensive list of plan options that are available under this model.

1-800-HOMECARE logo

Local Vanity

If projecting a connection with your community is important, a local vanity might be the most appealing. The use of a word or phrase can emphasize your industry and the use of an area code speaks to the audience you are serving. It’s more likely that you’ll find an available four-digit phrase, like ones ending in -ROOF, -CASH, and -HURT but lots of 7-digit phrases exist such as LAW-FIRM, PAINTER, or BUY-SELL. In some cases, businesses care most about getting an original area code instead of an overlay for well-populated areas. For example, a new restaurant in New York City might prefer a 212 number than the latest 332 area code to extend a feeling of being long-established and trustworthy. When you purchase a local number, you gain instant ownership and can port it to a carrier of your choice or have it forwarded to a line that makes the most sense for your business.

Easy Dial

Sometimes you don’t want to be locked into a phrase. Either it doesn’t fit the tone of your business or you just can’t decide on the right keywords. Numeric patterns can be just as easy to remember and often bring with them a speaking cadence that can be very appealing in radio or TV advertising. They can be local or toll-free easy-dials, and pricing depends on the rarity of the pattern. Millions, repeaters, and quads are the most premium, and there are plenty of other sequences to choose from including thousands, -XYXY or -XX00.

Real Estate Million Number

Tracking Numbers

Tracking numbers improve your advertising response rates in a different way. Instead of taking advantage of memorable phrases or patterns, tracking numbers help you get the metrics you need to understand which advertising channels are most effective. You secure a block of numbers and then use a different one for different media channels, advertising messages, and even time of days. Analyzing the data can help you understand where your message resonates best and where you can get the most bang for your buck. Tracking numbers can be extremely helpful in honing your marketing strategy and are often used on a temporary basis until your creative impact is understood and you can shift to adding the boosting power of a memorable number.

No matter which category you choose from, if advertising is a method you use to reach potential clients, having a great phone number will improve the return on your marketing dollars.

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Written by: on May 13, 2019

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