1300-VANITY: How to get a custom phone number for your brand

Back in 2008, Pizza Hut spent an estimated $2 million on a major marketing strategy: changing their phone number. The pizza chain dropped the old and by then familiar 9481 1111 number to adopt the one they still use today: 1300-PIZZA-HUT.

Is a phone number worth that much? It certainly can be. Custom phone numbers like this, often called vanity numbers, can have huge benefits for a brand’s marketing—especially when integrated into wider marketing efforts.

So while they’re often called ‘vanity numbers,’ using one isn’t in vain. Their proper term, ‘smartnumber,’ is more appropriate. Investing in these numbers can be a great strategic move for your business.

You can read more about 1300 smartnumbers here. But if you’re more interested in the practical aspects of getting a smartnumber or vanity number for your business, then keep on going.

Looking Up Available Vanity Numbers

The first step is, naturally, finding a number that suits your business.

All Australian smartnumbers are regulated by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). You can check if a particular vanity number is available by using their Numbering System database.

You can search their database by number (i.e. using numerals) or by phoneword (i.e. using digits). Their lookup tool will return the number’s status. If a number is “allocated,” that means it has been purchased and is in use; an “assigned,” it’s been purchased but is not in use.

“Available” phone numbers are the only ones you can purchase. By paying the price listed in the next column, you can secure the exclusive right of use (EROU) of that number. As long as you hold a smartnumber’s EROU, no one else can use it.

Technically, though, all smartnumbers are owned by ACMA, no matter who holds the EROU. If a smartnumber remains inactive for three years, the EROU expires and the number is available for purchase again—so yes, even if a number’s not “available” now, there’s still a chance you can get it, though it could take a few years.

Brainstorming a Great Phone Number

Chances are, the first phoneword you look up—or first few—won’t be available. Maybe someone had the same idea as you. Or maybe they just chanced upon the digits and liked them. Either way, if you need a number now, how do you go about choosing an alternative?

If you don’t have a backup choice in mind, here are a few tips to brainstorm a few ideas:

  • Choose what your audience is looking for. Your product (e.g. SLACKS, NUMBER, FLOWERS) would be more memorable than your brand—unless you’re already a leader in your field (e.g. PIZZA-HUT)
  • Don’t let a few digits stop you. You might have noticed that 1300-PIZZA-HUT, among other numbers, has more than six digits after the prefix. Going a bit over the limit is fine. Digits after the sixth are disregarded, so calls will complete as they normally would.
  • Avoid words that sound like other words but are spelled different. Otherwise, you could end up with customers dialling the wrong number. Look up a list of words with homophones to see if your potential phoneword poses a risk.
  • Use numbers as words. The digits 2 and 4 are often used instead of “to” and “for,” in order to come up with a wider range of phoneword possibilities. You can also use other digits in this way if they fit your brand.
  • Consider patterns. Repeated digits can be just as memorable as phonewords. Better yet, callers don’t need to look up letters on their keypads.

Keeping these in mind, you should be able to find a smartnumber that suits your needs. All that’s left is to make it yours.

Setting It Up

Once you’ve found an available number you like, you can purchase it directly through ACMA’s website. As soon as the transaction’s complete, you’ll have the numbers rights of use. In order to use it, though, you’ll need to activate the number with a specialist telco.

When it comes to activating your number, your choice of telco can have weighty consequences. The telco you choose will determine your call rates, as well as the additional functions and services that can be integrated into your smartnumber. They’ll also be in charge of maintenance, troubleshooting and upgrades, so you’ll want to find a telco with a good record of customer service.

Act Fast

While businesses and customers alike have more options to communicate, phone calls remain a widely-used channel. Smartnumbers go fast, so if you want one, don’t put off your purchase.

If you’re looking for advice on getting a smartnumber—or a telco to activate it—1300 Numbers Australia can help. We have over a decade of experience helping businesses of all sizes find the telephone solutions that suit them best. To get started, give us a call at 1300 50 10 50  or visit the official 1300 Numbers Australia website at www.1300numbersaustralia.com.au.