Choosing a phone number is a surprisingly important decision for any business. Your phone number is a crucial part of your brand identity and it will impact how you interact with clients. Fortunately, you have options available depending on your business goals.
Local Phone Numbers
There are several excellent reasons to consider choosing a local phone number. The first is that it is usually the lowest cost option. If you sign up for a modern virtual business phone service, it will probably include a local phone number in your monthly cost. Another reason to consider a local phone number is that it shows to customers that you are part of their community. Many people like doing business with companies that are located in their area even if they don’t need to visit the business in person. For this reason, you may even consider getting numbers in each of the communities that you serve. Doing so connects you with your clients and also amplifies your brand by creating the impression that you have multiple locations. The last enormous advantage of a local number is that people are more likely to answer an incoming call if it is coming from an area code that they recognize.
Toll-free numbers were once popular because the caller did not have to pay per-minute long-distance charges. Of course, this is not as big of a concern these days because most people have unlimited long-distance telephone service. However, there are still reasons to consider a toll-free number for your business. Numbers that start with 800, 888, 877, 866, 855, or 844, imply that your company has a nationwide presence. They lend credibility and can make your business appear larger than it is. To a significant number of people, bigger means safer, so they may be more willing to do business with an organization they think is a big enterprise. The cost for a toll-free number depends on your phone service provider and the number itself. (More on that in the section about custom phone numbers.) Some providers, including Phone.com, don’t charge extra for a standard toll-free number.
Custom Phone Numbers
Custom phone numbers, also known as vanity phone numbers, are those that contain a word, phrase, or string of easily remembered numbers. An outstanding example is 1-800-Flowers. It’s such a perfect phone number that it is also the name of the business. Custom phone numbers are popular because they are easy to remember, and they reveal something about the brand. A custom number can be either toll-free or local. 916-698-BEDS might be the perfect number for your mattress store in Sacrament. If you don’t want to use a word in your number, using a string of easy to remember numbers like 1-800-705-1234 is a great way to make your number easy for customers to remember and share. The price for a custom phone number depends on how much demand there is for numbers in that area code or with that set of digits. For example, 888-698-TACO is available (at the time of this publication) for $49. The easy to remember, New York number, 914-220-0000 is valued at $2,500. You get to decide how much you want to invest in your custom phone number.
The bottom line is that you get to decide how your business sounds. If you want to stick close to your customers, choose a local number. If you want to have a more widespread appeal, toll-free is the way to go. For easy to remember, brand identity, custom numbers are ideal. In any case, it’s important to think about how you want to invite your customers to connect.