Choosing a phone number for your business may seem like another one of the many tedious steps standing in the way of you and your dreams. Your phone number, much like your business name and website URL, are calling cards that will most likely stay with your business indefinitely. Although not a deal breaker, an easy to remember phone number is one that will help make it that much more convenient for your customers to reach you.
As my regular readers already know, I recently set-up VoIP phone service for my computer consulting business. I learned there are a few things that should be considered in order to get the most value out of your number.
Toll Free or Local? – The first thing you’ll need to decide is what category of phone number you’ll be choosing. Do you want to do business with customers in different area codes? Will they have to call long distance in order to reach you on your local number?
Not only will a toll free number allow customers to call you from any location without incurring long distance charges, but it also gives your business a professional boost, making it appear on par with the national chains. That may or may not be the reputation you want to project.
I’m starting my business out with a local number for two reasons. One, I want my business to have a local “neighborhood computer guy” feel to it. Two, I don’t plan on doing business outside of my local county for the foreseeable future. If I ever plan on taking on customers from other areas, I may consider adding a toll-free number to compliment, not replace, my local number.
To Spell or Not to Spell – One of the easiest ways to make your phone number memorable is to make it spell something, like 1800flowers. This costs extra and the word you want to spell may not be available in number form. This becomes important when you’re trying to build a national brand with your business.
It may be fun and tempting, but I’d argue that this isn’t entirely necessary for local or small business. Unless your business name is one that’s well known to your potential customers, they’ll probably forget your number, even if it DOES spell something, since they’re not familiar with your business name to begin with. If you do go with a number that spells something, at least include the number by itself as well to avoid confusion. There have been a few businesses that I’ve avoided calling in the past because I wasn’t able to see the letters on the tiny number buttons on my cell phone.
Patterns and Rhymes – An alternative to the number that spells something is the number that includes patterns that make it easy to remember. Repeating numbers can be very helpful, like 443-4443 or 444-5555. Also, repeating patterns like 123-1231 or 121-2121 are good to consider.
Another thing to look for is the possibility of the number rhyming with your business name. As a ficticious example, I could use the number 868-5463 in a slogan for my business, Jiffy-PC. It would go like this: “Call Jiffy-PC at eight-six-eight fifty-four sixty-THREE”. “Three” rhymes with PC. Mother Goose would be proud!
Although I’m not going to publish my number here, I did employ a few of these tactics in my own number, specifically repeating, in order to help it “stick” in the minds of my customers.
Now go forth and choose a number that’s memorable!