Branding their business is something fortune 500 companies have become very proficient at. Whether it is done in-house or they pay millions to a marketing firm to do it for them, they know it’s important and make it a priority. Spending tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars on designing just the right logo, coming up with a clever tagline and effective ad copy is most likely “chump change” for the company with a Madison Avenue address and CEO’s with seven-digit incomes, but what about the small business owner? What about the mom-and-pop shop where the President of the company also takes out the trash himself and his spouse does the bookkeeping and taxes? What are some effective strategies for “us common folk” who run small companies? (And I’m talking about myself here, too!) This series will explore practical and affordable ways to brand your small business without breaking the bank.
Frequently the most overlooked methods of branding your business are often the most mundane, and we’re going to show you a few simple but very important things you can do for your company to create a memorable brand. Whether your company is still in the planning or startup stages – or even if you have been in business for a while – it’s never too early or too late to begin building your brand. Going beyond your choice of a company name – which you have probably already done at this point – we’re going to cover three basic ways to help brand your business through your choice of a domain name (or multiple domain names). This will build a foundation which will make promoting your brand much easier down the road.
Domain Branding by Company Name:
Having a domain name that matches your company name is frequently the best way to begin to assert your brand identity on the web. Here’s an example:
Let’s say that your company name is “The Wright Brothers Airplane Company LTD.” and you make rubber-band driven toy airplanes. Choosing a domain name which reflects your company name is the simplest way to “get your name out there” so choose a domain name with great care. In this example domain names which make good branding sense based on a company name could be wrightbrothers.com (Oops! Already taken!) or thewrightbrothers.com (OOPS again!) or how about wrightbrothersltd.com or thewrightbrothersltd.com? (BINGO! Both are available – at least as of March 2018, that is). Usually at least one variation of your company name is available unless it’s something really common. If all permutations are already taken, then going with a different top-level domain like .net, .us, .info or .co may be necessary.
Domain Branding by the Products You Sell:
Now let’s look at domain names for your company which provide the potential customer more insight into what you make and sell: a product-type domain name. The most obvious one I can think of right now for our “fictional company” is rubberbandplanes.com, but it’s already taken.
Side-Note: No website has been built on rubberbandplanes.com since it’s initial registration in 2010 so its owner has that that domain up for sale – for the right price, I’m sure. This practice is called “domain squatting”, and it’s pretty common. People snatch up domain names they think may be attractive to some person or company in the future, then try to sell them to the highest bidder for a premium.
Using the product-type method, you might purchase rubberbandplanes.com and set up a redirect to wrightbrothersltd.com (or thewrightbrothersltd.com). This is one way for people searching for a generic item, by the type of product you sell, to be directed right to your specific company and brand.
Domain Branding by Your Products’ Trade Name:
Alternately, if you’ve developed a very catchy Tradename for your product like “BuzzPlanes” (or something like that) and you want to brand “BuzzPlanes” for your rubber band driven toy airplane, you might register that domain name as well and link it to your company-name-based domain name or your product-type domain name.
Side-Note: “buzzplanes.com” is actually available as a premium domain name from Studio902 Web Solutions for a mere $1795.00!.
Whatever you do, DON’T give up on finding that perfect domain name for your company! Be creative and try multiple variants. For example, while the shorter rubberbandplanes.com is already taken, just three more searches revealed that rubberbandairplanetoys.com and rubberbandairplanes.com ARE both available and while buzzplanes.com IS available, buzzplane.com isn’t.
Choosing the right domain name for your website is the most economical way to begin building your brand and, although it’s not always easy to come up with the perfect choice, it’s always worth it.
In the next article, we’ll talk about branding your company through your routine email communications.