A 1800 number is an asset to large enterprises and small businesses alike. In addition to providing your customers with a way to contact you free of charge, an 800 number can help you establish a nationwide presence for your company. To help you get started, we’ll discuss how to get a 1-800 number, and what to expect from a provider.
What is a 1800 Number?
Before we talk about how to get a 1800 number, let’s review the basics. (If you’re already familiar with the essentials of 800 numbers, you can skip this part.)
A 1800 number is a toll free number that allows you to receive calls from customers within the United States and North America as a whole. Calls made to these numbers, as well as numbers with 888, 877, 866, 855, and 844 prefixes, are free of charge for your U.S. customers.
Because 1800 numbers are free to dial, customers are more likely to contact you, increasing potential sales opportunities. Plus, 800 numbers can help even the smallest businesses project a polished, professional image.
How to Get a 1800 Number: A Checklist
Now that you know the basics of 800 numbers, let’s dive into how to get a 1800 number for your business.
Step 1: Choose an 800 Number Provider
If you’ve started shopping for a 1800 number, you know that there are a lot of providers on the market to choose from. Almost all service providers offer a good feature set and a wide range of toll free numbers, so your choice should really depend on your business’s particular communications needs.
Today, your business might only serve customers in the United States; but as you grow and expand, you might find that you need toll free numbers in other countries as well. In order to prepare for future expansion, it’s important to choose a provider that can offer you an 800 number as well as any other numbers you might need down the road.
Step 2: Choose Your Ring-To Number
Before you purchase a toll free 1800 number, you’ll need to know the number to where your calls will be forwarded. In order to purchase your 1800 number, you’ll just need one primary number. Later on, you can add extensions, or even program your 1800 number to forward to a series of numbers or devices.
Step 3: Choose Your Toll Free Number
As you choose your 1800 number, be sure to consider which number combinations are easiest to remember and pass along from person to person. You may also want to think about purchasing a vanity number that highlights your business’s service or product.
For example, you may want to pick a number like 1-800-Flowers or 1-800-Microsoft. For more vanity number inspiration, check out our nominees for the Vanity Numbers Hall of Fame.
Step 4: Pick Your Calling Plan
Although every toll free provider is a little different, most offer one (or both) of these two types of calling plans:
- Metered calling plans, or pay as you go
- Bundled calling plans, or blocks of minutes provided at a set monthly fee
Before you choose a calling plan, it is important to know how many minutes you expect to use each month. This will help you decide if a metered or bundled calling plan makes sense for your business.
Most calling plans are billed month-to-month, which means that you can always choose a calling plan when you first sign up, and then change it later. However, many providers offer a discount for annual contracts, so this is something that you’ll also want to consider.
Once you have purchased your 1800 number and chosen a calling plan, your provider should send you login credentials, which you can use to configure your features, such as your IVR greeting and call forwarding settings.
Promoting Your 1800 Number
Now that you know how to get a 1800 number for your business, it’s time to talk about the most important step: promotion. After all, customers and potential leads can’t dial a number that they don’t know about!
Your 1800 number should be clearly displayed on all of your marketing and sales materials, including all digital properties. Make it your business to ensure that every campaign, from email blasts to social media advertising, offers your 1800 number along with a clear call to action.
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