Five Reasons You Should Optimise Your Business Name
In the 2016 F8 conference, Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook Messenger would be opening up the platform to brands. The example used in his demo was 1-800-Flowers.com. He said, I love this one, It’s pretty ironic: To order from 1-800-Flowers, you never have to call 1-800-Flowers again.”
1-800-Flowers was the first company with a phone name – this was 1986 and by 1999 they had renamed for ecommerce to 1-800-Flowers.com. Zuckerberg, 17 years after their last name optimisation, highlighted the possibility for future change.
It is important to note here how things like alphabetical order, call to action, keywords and even personalities have been used in naming for optimised discovery, recall and responsiveness since the phone book.
Phone Book Discovery
Pre-internet, people used paper telephone directories to find businesses. Free listings in the white pages were categorised by business type and ordered alphabetically. Many companies ended their name with a keyword that described their category and started it with something like "AAA" “AA”, “AA1” and “A AAA” to be one of the first listings in their category. You will still find thousands of these business names in different locations by typing “AAA” into yellow pages.
Increasing Phone Calls from Ads and Word-of-mouth
Phone names spell a business name on your dial pad. They’re easier to remember than a phone number because a customer simply dials the name of the company using the letters on their dial pad, for instance,1-800 Flowers, instead of 1-800-356-9377.
With a business name being more memorable and a call-to-action in and of itself, companies using phone names have experienced higher call rates, recall, and word of mouth.
Phone names can be 1-300 or 1-800 followed by 13 numbers. And, just like a domain name, they're prime real estate. For example, (now) 1-800-Flowers in 1986 paid a cool $2 million to acquire the company that owned that phone number just so 1-800-Flowers could use it.
Prior to 2012, search engines trusted sites that included keywords in their domain, otherwise known as exact-match domains. Their complex algorithms ranked those sites according to each one’s relevance as determined by keyword logic and how closely those keywords matched users’ search queries.
So, Google was more likely to rank “accountantsmelbourne-dot-com” higher than “abc-partners-dot-com” if a user searched for “Accountants Melbourne” because the keywords matched the search with similar words in its domain.
Over time, domain names and business names alike grew longer. Many were purposefully packed with every major keyword applicable to their niche.
Direct Website Traffic
Rather than guess at a business’s domain name, people use search engines like Google to find brands. Prime Google real-estate is the top paid-search ads. Any competitor brand can advertise on Google ads for any brand search term (the only restriction is you can’t put into the ad a trademarked brand-word).
Companies successfully lure business away from competitors by designating the competitors’ brand-names as keywords in Google search campaigns. Not only do those competitors lose business because of this strategy, but they also find themselves compelled to pay to advertise for their own brand terms to ensure their ads appear above those of the companies doing the name-borrowing.
However, companies that wisely add a “.com” to their business name bypass the friction of a search engine and the competition within. They also create a new way to lead consumers direct to their website and, at the same time, transform their name into a call to action.
Direct To Automated Conversations
There is also this. With the rise of messaging and voice comes the birth of the bots—online helpers for conversational commerce in the form of chatbots and voice assistants.
Bots can be your business’s first point of contact or your business entirely and it’s more natural to start a memorable human-computer relationship with a name. All it takes for a voice bot to begin building that relationship is for your users’ voices to greet it with a name. A messaging bot activates when a visitor arrives and introduces itself with a greeting.
A name that effectively gets you more business is one that’s shaped to the way you’re doing business.