vanity number decision makingIf you’ve worked with a graphic designer to create your logo, you’re familiar with the creative process. Logo creation isn’t a matter of simply selecting an image that appeals to you aesthetically. It’s about fully understanding your business, your goals and your customers, along with effectively expressing the essence of your company’s identity.

Choosing vanity 800 numbers requires the same knowledge and thought process. While selecting a memorable combination is critical to success, it’s also important to do the work beforehand to fully know your audience and your message. Regardless of your company’s size, your corporate identity is vital in communicating to customers exactly what you do and what sets you apart. Here are steps you can take to ensure that your 800 number integrates with your overall corporate identity and gets your phone ringing.

Understand the goal

Creating an effective brand for your business involves differentiating yourself from competitors. If you’re providing the same product or service, how is yours different? What is it about you, your staff, your facilities, your product or your service that sets you apart and makes an impression? To be effective, your overall brand must connect to what your customers care about and reinforce your credibility. Your 800 number should be part of your overall brand message.

Do your homeworkMaking marketing decisions

If you don’t have a corporate identity or haven’t thought about it before, going through the process will be helpful in choosing your vanity 800 number.

To begin the thought process for creating your corporate identity — and accompanying 800 tollfree numbers — consider your company’s mission and history. Review your business plan, values statement and other documents for insight. In addition, get input from others — employees, customers and vendors — on what’s most important to communicate about your business.

Research similar businesses to find out what they say about themselves. Based on their language, what do your competitors believe is their differentiating characteristic? Tailor your message appropriate to ensure that you stand out.

Finally, think about your plans for the future. Where do you want your company to be in 5 years? What about 20 years? As you craft your business identity and consider an 800 number, consider how the message might change over time.

Use the creative process

Graphic designers and other creative professionals typically don’t generate great ideas out of thin air. They employ a trusted process that gets the creative juices flowing.

First, brainstorm. Make a list of every word or phrase you can think of that relates to your business. No connection is too much of a stretch at this point. What you’re going for here is quantity; don’t worry, quality will come later. Consider having business partners, clients and vendors also brainstorm on their own.

Once you have dozens — or, preferably, hundreds — of relevant words and phrases, begin winnowing your list. Cut out anything your competitors are using, along with anything that could be considered offensive or unprofessional. Look for ambiguity: Will a word or phrase confuse people? You want your 800 number to be clear and memorable.

Check availability

Now the real work begins: finding an 800 number that’s not only memorable, relevant and professional but that’s also available! Fortunately, there are tools that make this process simple and easy. With all the brainstorming work you and your colleagues have done at this point, it’s likely that you’ll find a seven-letter word that works.

Determine alternatives

If, after brainstorming and research, you haven’t found a suitable letter combination that’s available, the next step is a group brainstorming session. Gather everyone who contributed ideas in your first round and provide everyone with a list of what’s taken and what’s still available. From there, work on thinking outside the box to find a combination that fits your goals and is available. You can also get additional ideas, advice and guidance with expert resources.

Choosing an effective vanity 800 number for your business is critical for reinforcing your corporate identity, differentiating your company from competitors and getting your phone ringing. Doing your homework and engaging in the creative process should get you started with some great ideas.