What is a Vanity Number? | Toll-Free & 1-800 Phone Numbers

Back to Basics: What’s a Vanity Number?

We recently received an inquiry from someone asking for a vanity number that “uses letters.”

In our world, vanity numbers ONLY use letters. So, this got us thinking, is there some confusion around what vanity numbers are? Or, what we classify as a vanity number versus what some of our competitors and other toll-free number providers are calling vanity numbers?

Here, we will shed some light on how we classify a vanity number, and how we think others do. Hopefully we’ll provide some clarification, education, and at the same time help some folks realize that what others call a vanity number may actually be a hybrid, or watered down version of a true vanity number!

What Exactly is a True Vanity Number?800response 800-Next-Care Vanity Phone Number

Vanity phone numbers as we consider them to be, are toll-free numbers that transpose 100% into words when you look at the phone keypad. So, numbers like 800-NEW-RIDE or 800-NEW-LOOK. Other than the toll-free prefix of ‘800’, these phone numbers are memorable letter combinations that make up words. These true vanity numbers are proven in study after study to improve consumer recall rates of a business’s phone number and how to get in contact. And, they simultaneously increase inbound phone call rates, or inbound lead activity, for the advertising business.

This is what the person who inquired about our service is looking for.  A toll-free number that is made up of letters and words, not digits.

And, in most cases a true vanity number can be found – one that matches your product, service, company image, or other aspects of what you’d like to convey in your messaging.


What is a Hybrid Vanity Number?hybrid image for vanity numbers

Hybrid vanity phone numbers are exactly that, a hybrid mix of numbers and letters. An example would be 800-411-SOLAR. You can see how this number is not nearly as easy to remember as 800-NEW-ENERGY.

And, other than cars (and this image is not meant to pick on this lovely hybrid vehicle, which is a wonderful thing), hybrids are a mix up, or a mash up. And, they’re less expensive. But, they won’t resonate as well with your customers and they won’t be easy to remember, and they won’t generate the inbound leads you’re looking for. When you’re advertising your business, you don’t want to lend any element of confusion or chance of mis-dialing if you don’t have to. Right?


Last Best Option in the Toll-free World

Then, there’s the straight up toll-free numeric phone number, which is what the majority of toll-free providers can offer. They are not at all memorable, and they don’t align in any sensical way with your brand or business – unless your company name is just numbers (possible, but also not memorable). But, we don’t want to over-look that toll-free numerics have a place in the advertising world. They can come in handy if you’re using a ton of direct mail tactics to reach your audience and you want to track every single piece of that DM campaign, test the CTAs, or various creative elements, and so on.


Confused? Leave it to the Experts

If you’re searching for a phone number for your business, and you’re not quite sure what to do – and you’ve just read this – hopefully it’s a bit more clear on which is the best option. BUT, if it’s not clear and you’d like more clarification, please do contact us and we’ll help determine if you should be working with a true vanity number provider, someone that has hybrids, or a company that has numeric toll-frees. We’ll be honest – after all, we have 25 years of experience in this business and by now, we’re certainly adept at helping business improve advertising response rates, connect with their customers, and be more successful in their inbound lead generation efforts.