So wait a minute: toll free vanity numbers are local, too? That’s right. A small business can purchase a toll free number from David Ashley and reap all of the benefits of a custom vanity nummer on a local level. What’s your holdup, then? Perhaps you’re afraid that vanity numbers are a come-and-gone, outdated marketing tool. Perhaps you believe the cell phone revolution makes the toll free number obsolete. If that’s your belief, then read over this brief history of custom phone numbers, why they’ve been around so long, why they’re relevant today, and why businesses will continue to use these powerful marketing devices far into the future.
What Do 800 Numbers Do?
What is it exactly that custom 800 numbers do? When you purchase a vanity nummer, your business contact information is transformed from a complicated local phone number to a custom set of seven letters and numbers preceded with 800.
So let’s say your business resides in Baltimore, Maryland, area code 410. Your business phone number is some random collection of digits. When you purchase a toll free vanity number from David Ashley, it’ll be truly customized, say 1-800-LAW-YERS or 1-800-ADOPT-NOW. Memorable, simple and marketable, these numbers are true small business boosters.
Where Did 800 Numbers Start?
AT & T instituted the toll free phone number in the very early 1960s. They started in the UK, but were quickly adapted in the United States. The travel industry took hold of them first. Businesses around the nation immediately saw the value of a custom phone number that saved the expense of a long distance phone call when booking hotels, rental cars, airplane tickets, etc.
The use of toll free numbers remained fairly marginal until the late 70s, and suddently exploded when a young businessman named Jim McCann purchased a failing business called 1-800-FLOWERS. He purchased ads on an emerging cable channel called CNN… and the rest is business history. The use of vanity nummers soon skyrocketed.
Why Have 800 Numbers Been Around So Long?
Marketing gimmicks come and go, but toll free vanity numbers have endured for over half a century. They’re a relatively cost effective tool that provides incredible marketing value. Custom phone numbers simplify contact information, taking that incomprehensible set of digits and turning them into one or two easy to remember words. And if it’s easy to remember, it’s easy to market: based on the success of 1-800-FLOWERS, 1-800-GOT-JUNK and countless other toll free vanity success stories, the marketing power of these numbers shows no signs of slowing down.
Are 800 Numbers Still Relevant?
You may be thinking, in the back of your mind, that the emergence of cell phones as the primary audio communication tool of choice worldwide might remove a little luster from the marketing power of the vanity nummer. However, the statistics indicate otherwise: several years ago, the FCC feared that 1-800 numbers would soon run out, and instituted a second toll free prefix, 1-888. After that came 1-877, 1-866 and recently 1-855. The popularity of these telephone contact numbers has been steadily exploding for decades. They’re still easy to remember, turning a business debit (a hard to remember phone number) to a business credit (an easy to remember number optimized for marketing purposes).
A Simplicity That Endures
If you want to build a product that will stand the test of time, then make it simple and make it functional. When the vanity nummer innovation was introduced in the early 1960s, it solved a business problem in simple, functional terms. Fifty years later, they’re doing the same thing. The toll free vanity solution has been available to businesses large and small, national and local, facilitating phenomenal growth.