Why Optimized Phone Numbers Hold the Key to Marketing Your Home-based Business
by Phone.com CEO, Ari Rabban
We all have one phone number that sort of sticks in our heads. Think about jingles like 1-877 Kars-4-Kids, or 1800 m-a-t-t-res (the second s is for savings!) While the songs may be annoying, they’re also marketing genius. If you ever feel the need to buy a mattress or donate your car, you know exactly which number to call.
So, why is a vanity number like 1-877 Kars-4-Kids a key marketing asset for home-based businesses?
For budget-conscious entrepreneurs, vanity business numbers help potential customers find your business; it’s inexpensive branding that is easy for people to remember.
The ubiquity of smartphones, phablets, tablets and other devices that store and sync phone numbers in contact lists has eliminated the need to memorize phone numbers.
Over the years, studies have shown that people’s increasing reliance on digital devices is not only natural, but, according to Kaspersky, that when we store information externally, we subconsciously encourage our mind to erase it.
Collectively, Americans receive about 26 billion spam calls per year, a number that increased by 18% in 2019. Spam calls are so pervasive that they make it much less likely that Americans will pick up the phone if it rings with a number they don’t recognize. Using a recognizable vanity number is one of the best ways to overcome this problem.
Apart from making your business more memorable, it will also help ensure that your customers answer when the phone rings.
Why Does a Vanity Phone Number Make Sense?
Even before the spam problem, the perceived utility of phone calls in sales and marketing was depreciated—or so goes the conventional wisdom. With a conversion rate of around 2%, it’s true that cold-calling customers directly involves a lot of effort for a little reward. With that said, vanity numbers can both optimize your cold calls and—much more importantly—incentivize consumers to call you instead.
People, it turns out, enjoy doing business with other real people over the phone. They don’t necessarily enjoy being called out of the blue, but they do appreciate being able to easily connect with people to place orders, ask questions and resolve issues.
Calling & COVID-19
During the COVID-era, in which people can’t interact in person, these preferences have become more profound—in April 2020, Verizon processed an average of 800 million calls per day, which is double the volume of calls they experience on the busiest day of a normal year.
In these circumstances, having a memorable phone number could be the difference between staying in the black and going out of business. If people want to order takeout, buy a new car, refinance their home, or perform any number of slightly complex everyday tasks, they’re likely to call a business and talk to a representative. If there’s a phone number that sticks in their head, they’re likely to call the business that owns it before calling anyone else.
How to Optimize Your Vanity Phone Strategy
After making the decision to acquire a vanity number, your next difficult choice is which vanity number to get. Not every business has a name or service that lends itself well to a radio or TV ad—and many businesses no longer go that route in terms of advertising. Instead of trying to compose the next catchy jingle, your best bet may be to go the simple route—choose the name or your company or your most distinctive service as encapsulated in a single seven-letter word.
One thing you might find is that the vanity number you want is taken. This isn’t immediate cause for alarm. First, if the organization currently using your chosen vanity number is using a 1 (800) area code, you have the option to purchase the same number using a 1 (833) prefix. To avoid confusion, it may be best only to do this if the other party’s business is smaller or in a different region.
Secondly, you may need to optimize your telephony. If you’re home-based business grows, you’ll probably want every “branch,”—which includes other employees working from their home office—or user extension to use the same phone number.
Otherwise what’s the point of those vanity digits?
Unfortunately, things might not be that simple for you. If you’re using TDM phones in one area and IP phones in another, then ensuring that all of your branches are using the same number can turn into a chore. For any business, this is often the most complex and frustrating problem to deal with.
Companies run into these problems when they don’t keep complete records of their business phone numbers and telephone architecture. As a result, efforts to streamline telephony can turn into a complex, lengthy and expensive project.