One hundred years ago – branding meant heating an iron rod and scarring the flesh of the animals you owned with your “mark”. Not so long ago – that term was picked up by advertising and PR professionals to describe the process of creating a unique “footprint” for your business.
When marketing people use the term “branding” they use it to refer to the way your business presents itself to the world. It was not so long ago that branding activities centered around visual design elements such as logos, images, colors and fonts. Forward thinking entrepreneurs would begin the process of “branding” their businesses by carefully choosing a business name which would support the developing “brand”.
Creating a “brand” for a business – especially a brand for a new small business – has never been easy. You can work for years to build a brand for yourself based on a unique combination of words only to find someone else comes along and tries to steal your branding which is surprisingly easy to do if you haven’t “established” your brand with your own business blog. However, until recently – you could rely upon your own “senses” so to speak for guidance in the journey of branding your small business. Many a branding decision has been made on “gut” instinct and when the business owner has a real feel for his/her target audience – those gut decisions are usually right on the mark.
In the words of Bob Dylan – the times they are a changin.
I’ve been working with a client who has a great blueprint in place for her new business. She knows the GDP (Goals, Desires, Problems) of her target audience and she’s developing packages with the GDP in mind which is really the true foundation of any”branding” campaign.
Our first step is to determine the “right” domain name for her new business blog. The “right” domain name can give your business blog an unfair advantage with the search engines if you are crystal clear on your target audience’s GDP. (I have a client who chose the “right” domain name about 4 years ago who has tapped into a keyword term which continues to effortlessly deliver quality traffic to her business blog – even though she is not consistently blogging for her business. ) With this in mind, I always try to start with a great domain name for clients who haven’t already registered one.
In this case, my client is focusing on helping aging baby boomers stay productive, alert, active and creative as they age and she was in love with the term “ageless” to describe the process. Naturally, she really wanted to incorporate that word into her domain name and had already created a Facebook page under that word for her new business.
Because I’m a digital dinosaur – I still remember the days when branding meant looking into the “human mind” and creating a human eye pleasing display. Today – there’s another dimension to the branding process; discovering what a mindless robot thinks of your “branding” statement.
A little keyword research revealed that the Googlebot already has its own “idea” about what the term “ageless” means. It thinks the term “ageless” applies to bio-identical hormones, beauty creams and other items promoted by the consummate practitioner of “big ol batch of crazy” – Suzanne Somers.
My client quickly abandoned her love affair with the term ageless and is now happily focusing on the term “successful aging” – which from the search engine’s point of view is more in line with her products and services.
Could we have made the “ageless” term work? Of course, but had we stuck with the “ageless” keyword focus -my client would find her site appearing in searches where people were looking to change their outward appearance instead of their inner self. Are those people who are searching for “ageless beauty” interested in changing the inside too? Maybe – but why not position her business blog directly in the path of people who are searching for EXACTLY what she’s providing by choosing the “right” keywords in the beginning?
Keyword research- it’s not just for SEO anymore and is becoming an essential branding tool as well.