Many of my clients make the same mistakes when starting their business unaware of how crucial branding is to their new venture. While most business owners I know hate when I bring up the importance of social media, it is a huge part of branding and a company’s visibility.
In 2019, social media isn’t an option, it’s a basic necessity, but a brand goes well beyond just slapping content across Facebook and Instagram. Let me break down the most common faux pas in business marketing and branding.
Naming Your Business Something Unoriginal
It’s incredibly hard to be original these days with so many entrepreneurs popping up and with technology making it incredibly easy to start a new project. When picking a business name, you need to think about 3 things:
1. Is the website domain for that business taken?
If the domain name is not available, that doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t use the business name you want. Sometimes that domain can just be parked and you might have to pay some extra money to the domain owner to get them to hand it over to you. Or if it is actually being used, look around the site and see what it is.
For instance, when I wanted to revive StarShine Magazine, I wanted to get my old .com address back, but it was in use by an Asian clothing store. My StarShine brand was more important to me than to let that deter me — especially since the Asian clothing store was not using my old domain as a magazine. Now, I own StarShineMag.net instead and am trying to broker a deal with the .com address to own both, so there is no confusion to my readers. Either way, when StarShine Magazine is searched, it’s easier to find thanks to consistency in branding, proper SEO, and consistent content.
*Also, you don’t want your domain to be too long or confusing with too many special characters like hyphens and extra periods. Pick something easy to remember.
2. What happens when I Google my selected business name?
This step is very important. I would even dare to expand on this and search your potential business name on Facebook as well. Why is this important? Again, you don’t want any brand confusion when people are looking for your business.
If your business was named “Good Eats Catering” and I searched that, would a million other businesses come up making it harder for your business or brand to gain any momentum? This is also where branding plays a big part — there’s bound to be some company with a similar name to yours at some point with all of the billions of people in this world. That’s why it’s important for your logo to be easy to read and recognize. It needs to be visible across your website and all of your social media pages, products, etc. More on that later…
3. Does the name represent my industry well?
Usually, my clients are in the correct wheelhouse with their business name, thankfully. I sometimes come across this problem for my own projects though. While I’m a fiction author, I’m also a food/wellness/lifestyle blogger, but my website: SandyLo.com houses both of those businesses for me. But SandyLo.com doesn’t sound like anything but a person, which was its initial intention — it serves as my author website to post news and information about my books.
I didn’t want to deter brands from partnering with me on my blog when all they saw was information about novels on the home page, so I created a subdomain on SandyLo.com and made it look like a different website called Nutrish + Dish by Sandy Lo. Now, I can benefit from the SEO from both businesses on one website. Even better is I can feel better about using my @AuthorSandyLo social media accounts by branding the logo with “by Sandy Lo”.
Before buying the NutrishandDish.com domain, I followed my own advice and Googled the name to make sure there was nothing else called that. The only thing slightly similar was Rachael Ray’s dog food brand called Nutrish. There wouldn’t be any real confusion between a dog food brand and a food/wellness blog, so I was good to go.
Please Upload a Digital Logo File!
This makes me cringe! Have you ever gone to a business’ Facebook page or even their website and their logo is a PHOTO of their logo? Or an off-centered photo of their storefront awning? I’m sorry if you’re one of those people, but please take my advice and upload a high-resolution digital file of your logo across ALL of your pages. Your brand should be recognizable and uniform across your website and social media accounts. The profile photo should be your logo! (Unless your a public figure like a music artist or actor, then it should be a professional photo of your face.)
Keep your website simple and easy to read!
Don’t use flash. Flash is outdated and annoying. Don’t use busy backgrounds or a million moving images that are too large or too small or too blurry. Use stock photos when appropriate. If you have photos representing your business, but they aren’t of professional quality, stick them in a photo gallery where they will look more appealing in a smaller format. Open space is good — don’t try to clutter the site. Don’t use dark backgrounds — they’re unappealing to the eye and make text harder to read.
I hope these tips help you with your next project/business or help you improve your online presence. For more tips, like my page on Facebook! If you have any questions or would like me to evaluate your brand, send me an email.