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Vanity numbers for businesses

Want to gain brand visibility with just a phone number? See how easy it is to get set up with a vanity number using Dialpad! Book a product tour to learn more.


If you’ve ever thought about getting a customized telephone number for your business but didn’t know how to go about it, this guide is for you.

From choosing a number that your customers will never forget (like 1-800-FLOWERS or 1-800-Go-FedEx) to setting up that number for your business, we’ll walk you through the whole process below.

What is a vanity number?

A vanity phone number is a custom number that is meaningful to your brand. The numbers typically spell out something on your telephone keypad. For example, 1-800-FLOWERS translates to (the much less memorable) 1-800-356-9377.

In the past, vanity phone numbers were pricey and required special equipment. But today, with Voice Over IP (VoIP) and modern service providers, it’s easier than ever, even for small business owners, to get a vanity number.

Usually, vanity numbers are toll-free, simply because customers are far more likely to call you if they don’t have to pay for it! (But that does mean you’ll have to pay a small fee on your end.)

For smaller businesses or those that are based in a particular area, local phone numbers may be a better option if you’re concerned about price. Your audience, your brand, and your industry are all factors to consider when you’re deciding whether to go with an easy-to-remember vanity number or a local number.

Why do businesses use vanity phone numbers?

Think about just how many jingles come back to haunt you—and how many include a number you still know by heart. This alone is a huge testament to vanity numbers. These numbers get stored in our long-term memory, and give a sense of permanence and authority to your brand.

Beyond this impact, however, there are a few other benefits.

Vanity numbers are memorable

Most of us probably don’t remember our best friend’s number, but if you have a catchy phrase or word as your business phone number, we just might remember yours by heart. (1-800-FLOWERS, anyone?)

Let’s face it. Life is busy and if people can immediately recall you and your number, it makes dialing automatic—and makes potential customers more likely to pick up their cell phone and call you.

Vanity numbers give you a credibility boost

Using a vanity number tells your potential customers that your business is well-established and trustworthy. Your potential customers will assume you are a big brand (even if you’re just a small business), because it’s reasonable to assume that only large corporations can afford such a luxury.

And from a messaging standpoint, your vanity number can also let people know right away what your brand is about and helps you stand out from your competition.

Vanity numbers underscore your responsiveness

On a related note, having a vanity number can give the impression that your customers will always be able to reach you. Whether you choose a toll-free vanity phone number or a number with a local area code, your customers know that you have a line that’s just for business calls.

Fun fact: With a virtual phone system, you can easily manage the influx of inbound calls that will come with your new vanity number. For example, you can use an auto-attendant and custom greetings to help callers route themselves to the right person or department with less manual call handling work on your end.

FAQs about vanity phone numbers

Are free vanity phone numbers reliable?

It depends on your phone service provider. There's a reason that there are paid versions for almost any telephony functionality, and free vanity phone numbers are no exception. Because they're free, there's often no guarantee that they'll be 100% reliable when customers try to call you. In some cases, the number may even be disconnected or reassigned to someone else without your knowledge.

Paid vanity phone numbers, on the other hand, are generally much more reliable. This is because they're owned and operated by professional telecoms companies who have a vested interest in keeping their customers happy. Plus, paid vanity numbers come with additional features and benefits that free numbers generally can't match.

Are vanity phone numbers and toll-free numbers the same thing?

How long does it take to activate a vanity phone number?