Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Vanity Numbers for Small Businesses

What's in a number? If it's the phone number of your business, a lot may be at stake. Your business presence depends on people being able to reach you. If they can't remember your number, maybe they'll call one they can remember. Like the number of your direct competitor. That's the problem vanity numbers can help you solve.

So what is a vanity number? It's a special telephone number. It has the same quantity and sequence of digits as any other phone number. But these numbers are special. They're organized to be easier to remember.

There are two types of vanity numbers to be aware of. The most popular are the numbers that spell out a word or phrase. This is similar to vanity license plates that spell out someone's name or a phrase. You can be just as creative with phone numbers as you can with license plates.

So how do you spell out something when all you have to work with are numbers? Ah, that's the secret of the dialpad. The dialpad is the matrix of 12 buttons on every modern telephone. They arranged 3 across and 4 down. These buttons are also called the touchpad or touch tone pad, after the name "Touch Tones" which are the electronic tones that replaced the rotary dial. If you are old enough to remember rotary phones, you know that the dial had both letters and numbers for each finger hole. The hole for the number 1 contained only the number 1. The hold for number two contained the number 2 plus the letters A, B, C. You probably also remember that some of the first phone numbers used letters to indicate the phone exchange, such as AD for Adams. It was just an easier to way to remember numbers.

Well, guess what? The modern dial pad is also labeled with both letters and numbers and we can still use them to make phone numbers easier to remember. Number 1 is the only number to have only a number assigned to it. Number 2 has A, B, and C. The number 3 includes D, E, and F. The number 4 has G, H, I. Number 5 includes J, K, L. Number 6 has M, N, O. Number 7 includes P, Q, R, S. Number 8 has T, U, V with it. Number 9 wraps up the alphabet with W, X, Y and Z. The operator digit is the number 0, not the letter O. That accounts for 10 of the 12 buttons. The other 2 buttons are the star * and the pound sign # which have special uses and are not part of your telephone number.

Now, which is easier to remember: The numerical toll free number 1-877-327-4325 or 1-877-3-BRIDAL? If you're running a bridal shop, which do you think would be easier to associate with your business? Some other examples are 1-866-89-BIBLE, 1-866-6-BEEPER, and 1-866-684-DEAL. I didn't just make these up. They're actual toll free numbers available for use as of this writing. You'll find a list of available low cost toll free numbers here. If these examples are taken by the time you read this, rest assured there are plenty more to choose from.

The other type of vanity number is easier to remember because of its numerical arrangement. These are sometimes called repeaters or premium numbers. How about 1-866-262-1500? It's easier to remember than just any collection of numbers because it ends in two zeros. Here's one where there's an easy to remember pattern: 1-800-301-1010. Yes, these are also real numbers that are on the market right now, at least as of this writing. As you might guess, there are a limited number of phone numbers with these special patterns and they command a premium price.

I'm using toll free numbers as examples of vanity numbers because they have a special value for small businesses. It's another case of encouraging customers and prospects to call you instead of your competitors. A local call is a local call for everyone. But as soon as you get to the next town or state, a call becomes a long distance call. If your prospect or client has to pay for the call, are they just as likely to call you? Or will they pick someone nearby where the call is free to them? If you're running a mail order service, you know how important toll free numbers are to customers. For consultants, travel agents, Realtors, financial advisors, and even bridal shops, a toll free number can also spell the difference between sale and no sale.

Fortunately, vanity numbers for small businesses are still a bargain unless you want one of those exotic premium numbers. At Agile800.com, you'll find a collection of vanity number available for immediate assignment to your business at fees of just $15 or $20 each. That includes numbers like 1-877-7-ALUMNI, 1-866-84-BOATS, and 1-866-329-DEBT, plus dozens of others. Remember, these particular numbers may or may not still be available when you read this. Good ones tend to go fast.

Ready to pick your perfect vanity number or at least check out the selection? You can learn more about making toll free numbers work for your business, plus all the service features that can help you capture and retain more customers, when you visit Agile800.com now.

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