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Your business should be easy to find online

By Marty Minchin
Correspondent

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Choosing a catchy name may set a business apart, but without the right wording customers may have a hard time finding it.

“We would recommend less creativity,” said Dana Maki Shope, president of BigHouse Marketing in Charlotte. “There are some cool names out there, but when it comes to search engine marketing, people tend to query exactly what they are looking for.”

That means if you’re a florist, put “florist” in your business’ name.

More and more businesses are finding that when their name shows up high in online search results, they see a significant increase in activity.

“Online exposure is important in today’s world,” said Shope, who has seen companies triple and quadruple their business after upping their online exposure.

BigHouse Marketing specializes in search-engine marketing. Shope, who opened the business in 2008, said that she chose the name because she and her business partner had left the stress of corporate America and wanted a name that was light-hearted and reflected a fun, creative and hard-working environment they hoped to create.

In their early 20s, Shope and her business partner had shared a house with two other friends that they called “The Big House.”

“The name serves as a constant reminder that we’re supposed to enjoy our work,” Shope said.

When it comes to online searches, however, having “marketing” in the company’s name makes a significant difference.

Potential customers are much more likely to do an online search for a company’s service rather than its name, no matter how memorable it is, Shope said.

For businesses with established names, they can still increase their presence in online search results by choosing the right domain name for the company website.

For example, a pet groomer named “Fluffy’s” could choose a domain name that included “fluffyspetgrooming” to increase their hits for online searching for local groomers.

“It might not be as flashy or creative or trendy, but if somebody’s looking for it, having that in your name (helps),” Shope said.

Overly creative names, especially those with unusual spelling, also can hurt in a business atmosphere where mobile devices are increasing becoming a tool to connect with customers.

Shope said she sometimes uses Siri, a voice-activated mobile application, to search for businesses. “If you have a funky spelling, it’s going to make it more difficult to look up,” Shope said. “Google is software, not (a) human.”

“Boring and simple can be very effective,” Shope said. “When you tell your customers what you are, they are more apt to pick up the phone.”

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