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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's AI-powered collaboration platform! 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 good virtual phone system or customer engagement platform, 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.

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Vanity numbers make you globally accessible

If you’re using a VoIP phone system provider, a vanity number can make your business accessible all over the world. Your customers will be able to call your toll-free vanity number, or you can make yourself country-specific with a regional or international number. All of this comes with affordable and transparent pricing.

👉 Dialpad tip:

Dialpad's plans start at $15 per user per month, and they all come with toll-free number support and unlimited calling within the United States, and Canada (plus a whole lot more).

Vanity numbers help build long-term marketing campaigns

Marketing campaigns typically have a short shelf life, but if you know that your prospects or customers do prefer to reach out to you through phone calls, then you might want to make your vanity number a staple in your marketing campaigns.

Remember 1-800-FLOWERS? When the company began in the mid-80s, it constructed its brand around its vanity number. Jim McCann even changed his shop name to match his phone number. It allows you to create marketing material that stays relevant through time.

Vanity numbers can expedite your service ROI

In 2020, the number of smartphone users has reached over 294 million people in the US alone. This means that your customers are walking around with a device they can use to call your company 24/7.

Having a vanity phone number allows your customers to easily switch between your mobile app, website, and phone customer service center. They don’t have to even search for your contact information to do it. This will allow you to provide better service, and better service will increase your ROI.

How do I manage a toll-free vanity phone number?

You might wonder what happens when someone calls outside your hours of operation. Years ago, call centers handled most toll-free numbers. Today, you can manage toll-free numbers the same way you manage any of your other phone numbers. With Dialpad, for instance, you’ve got options for how calls to your vanity number get routed:

  • To a contact center agent

  • To voicemail if no one’s there

  • To an answering service

  • To an IVR

You can also set up call forwarding so that your business never misses call again—calls can be forwarded to other teams, other individuals, even to your cell phone.

Need a vanity number?

Dialpad's AI-powered collaboration and customer engagement platform has a built-in phone system that gives you local number, toll-free number, and yes, vanity number support. See how it works by booking a demo or, take a self-guided interactive tour of the app!

Features that come with every Dialpad vanity phone number

Dialpad is so much more than just a vanity phone number provider.

To get a vanity number, you just have to sign up with any one of Dialpad’s plans. (The least expensive one starts at $15 per user per month and includes toll-free number support, unlimited calling, and robust call handling features.)

And if you already have a vanity number but just want a new business phone system, Dialpad has a porting service that’ll take care of it for you.

Call forwarding

With your new vanity number, you don’t even have to be in the office to answer incoming calls. Actually, you could be using pretty much any device, from anywhere in the world. This type of call routing feature allows you to send calls in Dialpad to up to five different external phone numbers.

Some other benefits of call forwarding:

  • The perception that your business is always “on”: Because you never miss a call

  • Access from anywhere, 24/7: Free yourself from having to be in an office. With call forwarding, you can work from anywhere

You can add a call forwarding number in Dialpad yourself, right in your online account—it takes just a few clicks:

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Oh, and when you make outgoing calls in Dialpad, you can also choose which business number to display on your caller ID.

Call transfer

When a customer makes a call to your vanity phone number, you can easily transfer the call or even send it to voicemail with one easy click.

Businesses used to need a secretary or receptionist whose job was literally just to transfer calls all day. Not anymore.

A call transfer is when you move a call from its original recipient to another team member. There are two types of call transfers:

Warm transfer: This is when you give the person you’re transferring the call to a heads up so that they can expect the transfer.

Cold transfer: This is when you just transfer your caller to someone else without letting them know first. Cold transfers aren’t great for the customer experience because your customer or caller might end up getting sent to voicemail because you didn’t check first to see if your teammate was available to take the call.

In Dialpad, you can easily do warm transfers during your call right in the app:

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Real-time transcription

One unique thing about Dialpad is its proprietary artificial intelligence, Dialpad Ai, which gives you a real-time transcription of both phone calls and video conferencing meetings (more accurately than almost all leading competitors):

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Call recordings

Yep, all Dialpad plans come with call recordings (again, for both phone calls and video meetings). No limits.

Multi-level auto-attendant

With an auto-attendant or virtual receptionist, you can make sure that anyone who calls your business gets a professional greeting and immediately has options for routing themselves to the right person or team.

Not only does this free up the time of your staff, but it also reduces wait times where the customer is on hold or the phone is ringing. Here’s how it works. Your auto-attendant (basically your virtual receptionist) picks up the call when someone calls your vanity number. It then proceeds to:

  • greet them,

  • present them with a standard or customized message,

  • provide them with menu options, then

  • direct them based on the option chosen

A virtual receptionist can also give your callers useful information. If you know what your FAQs (most frequently asked questions) are, you can provide that information up front in a prerecorded message.

Data and analytics

If you have a larger contact center or customer support team and need to have more detailed analytics, Dialpad has contact center platform features that help you track metrics in real time like:

  • missed and abandoned calls

  • call duration

  • call volumes

  • average speed to answer

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Things to consider before buying a vanity phone number

It can be tricky coming up with the perfect vanity number for your business. Here are a few tips that can help:

Think about your brand image

Try brainstorming short words and phrases that bring your mission or purpose to mind. Answer the question, “How do you want potential customers to perceive your brand?”—here are a few brainstorming ideas:

  1. Start with a single word or phrase that strongly correlates with your brand.

  2. List as many related words as you can, even words you think you won’t use.

  3. Circle your favorites. Do any have seven letters? These may be good choices to check for availability.

  4. Try again with a different word or phrase if you don’t find a good contender.

Make a list of backup names

Your preferred number may not be available. To find out if a number is available, you can use an online availability checker or contact your phone provider. You may have some luck searching potential numbers in a search engine, though this can be time-consuming if you have a long list of possible names.

You’re more likely to have luck with two short words, like 1-800-GOT-MAIL.

Consider other prefixes / toll-free exchanges

You might immediately shoot for a 1-800 number. However, toll-free numbers can also start with prefixes like 833, 844, 855, 866, 877, and 888. While 1-800 numbers are the most recognizable, newer toll-free exchanges will become more commonplace over time. The 888 exchange, for example, has become quite common.

The other thing is that many customers will click or tap your number on a website to call. The exchange won’t matter too much in these cases.

Think beyond words

A vanity phone number with easy-to-remember numerical patterns can work just as well—if not better!—than words if you’re running low on options.

The Super 8 Motel uses 1-800-800-8000, for example. You might’ve also seen ads for Pizza Hut or other fast food delivery chains that include a phone number with memorable number combinations or repeating digits (such as 1111), which can be both eye-catching and easy to remember.

How to use vanity phone numbers for marketing

As we’ve mentioned earlier, vanity numbers can be a valuable resource for your marketing campaigns. But to really benefit from using them, you need to understand the best way to use them for your business. Whether you go all-in, like 1-800-FLOWERS, or just feature it in a seasonal marketing campaign, there are a few things you should keep in mind:

Include the digits (when it doesn’t detract from the message)

Since not everyone will dial by the letter, it is a good idea to also include the digits when it doesn’t attract from your message.

Embrace print marketing

Vanity numbers are great for print marketing. Think about using more print or out-of-home ads to fully take advantage of your new number. This is particularly helpful for local businesses as it can also go on bumper stickers, company vehicles, or in a local newspaper in order to attract the widest audience.

Don’t forget to update your content

Even if you continue using your old business number alongside the new one, make sure you update to your new vanity number on your existing content. This will give your brand consistency across your channels.

How to get more calls to your vanity phone number

Now that you have your fancy vanity number, the next step is to get people to call it. Luckily, the phone is still one of people’s preferred channels. Let’s take a look at some strategies you can use to increase your customers’ and prospects’ use of that channel.

Add a click-to-call number at the top and bottom of every page of your website

More and more people are browsing on their smartphones instead of just on the computer. It’s worth looking into ways to make it easier for them to call your business. One simple way to do that is by adding a click-to-call number on your website.

Make sure you add them to the top and bottom. This means that your customers see it before having to scroll down, but don’t have to scroll back up if they’re engaging with your content.

Put the number in your resources

From print materials like brochures to electronic materials like eBooks and whitepapers, your vanity number should be wherever your logo is. (If it’s a number that’s just for a seasonal campaign, maybe not.)

But if someone is interested enough to take or download any resources from you, why not make it easy for them to connect with you to ask questions about your products or services?

Run an ad campaign

There are a ton of different channels you could run a campaign on to spread awareness of your vanity number. Radio is cheap, and depending on your audiences, YouTube and print ads can be too. The key here is to look at which channels your customers are likely to be on. (If they don’t actually listen to the radio, then definitely don’t waste your money on a 15-second ad.)

Set up your toll-free vanity number now!

Dialpad offers a full range of modern business communication options, including toll-free phone number support, which comes with every plan.

If you’re looking for a vanity number and also a unified communications platform that lets you make phone calls, send text messages, and have video meetings all from one app, reach out to our friendly team to learn more about how to get set up.

Need a vanity number for your business?

Try Dialpad for free with a 14-day trial, or take a self-guided interactive tour of the app first!

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?