A Simple Simple Short Shot

What’s in a business name... for internet marketing?

How choosing a name can limit or widen your digital advertising, SEO and web design opportunities

In Victoria I caught a fantastic band at a local watering hole. I listened carefully for their band name so I could follow them on social media to make sure I caught their show if they were ever in Alberta. After considerable searching with no results I flagged down the bassist and even he couldn’t find his own band on Facebook. He eventually added me with his personal account and suggested his band page to me. Not an ideal move, inspiring the musician to lament “I guess our name is terrible.” I didn’t dispute.

From the very start you have to assume your business is going to become a big deal. You’ll be advertising on the radio and billboards, you’ll run AdWords and Google Display Ads, and you’ll be all over Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and any other potential networks that fit your vertical. You’ll need a name that benefits all these platforms and represents your company. Not an easy task, but it carries long term advantages that far outweigh the frustration of picking a terrible name that needs to be changed a few years into your run.

So how do you pick a name that works well in your future advertising?

Your competition will always be there, but you can stand out with a distinct business name. I recently helped pick the name for an audio engineer’s studio. I suggested that he may want to use the term ‘audio’ rather than ‘studio’ as there was already a great deal of yoga studios on the internet with similar names, and one with that exact same name. Now, if you even recall half his business’s name you’ll be greeted with his recording studio from an organic search engine result.

Having a name that is too long (or too short) is difficult on a lot of levels. “Mikayla’s House of Hamster Hats and Mammoth Mittens” is 51 characters making it too long for any headline of AdWords, almost one third of a tweet without a photo, over half the characters allowed in a Facebook display ad and just plain tricky to remember. Plus it’s inarticulate. Is it tiny hats and big mittens? Do they actually sell hats for hamsters? But they couldn’t possibly sell mittens for mammoths?

A short name makes writing Google AdWords easy, but causes sneaky issues along the way. A name like Peacock might be very well suited to a fancy milner, but search results will yield as many results for the bird as it will your hats. Additionally, any research you attempt to do to find out through organic conversations had about your business on social media become extremely complicated to suss out.

Few things are more irritating than hearing a really good radio spot and not being able to understand the business name, or seeing a fantastic billboard for a product you’re definitely interested in but not being able to pronounce (and therefore remember) the name. Having a comprehensible name is key to people recollecting your business, and sharing it’s existence with friends and colleagues.

After all these considerations it still needs to reflect what you do, and be a name with which you identify – and that’s entirely up to you. As long as you weigh your choices against the above suggestions you will have more opportunity with advertising and organic results.