The key to a choosing a business name that brings in more customers is to make sure you achieve two goals.
First, good names get the right kind of people in the door. When a prospective customer reads your name, they should be interested in learning more.
Second, good names are easy to recall. A name is useless if people can’t remember it. Meanwhile, a memorable name can be shared with friends, searched for on the web, and talked about at work.
And that’s it. If people remember your name easily and it gets the right people coming in the door, then it’s time to move on and do the real work.
So how can you come up with a name that does those two things?
Keep reading and I’ll tell you…
First, What Not To Use…
One wrong ingredient can ruin a perfectly good recipe and the same is true with a business name. Before you start brainstorming ideas, let’s talk about three common mistakes you should avoid (or at least consider) when naming a business.
First, don’t mess with spelling.
If your company sells wood and the name is Would4Sail … no one is going to write down the correct spelling of the name.
Is it Qualtronics or Kwaltronix? How do you even spell Qualtronics in the first place? Impossible spellings mean you won’t be remembered easily … or at all.
Along this same line, numbers are usually a struggle. Let’s say you start a company called 5 Minute Massage and you’re giving out mini-massages all across the city. The name is pretty good. It’s memorable and easy to recall.
But what’s your website? Is it 5minutemassage.com or fiveminutemassage.com? Do customers look you up in the phone book under “5″ or under “F”?
Second, avoid a geographic name.
Let’s say you start a company called Milwaukee’s Blinds and Beds … what happens if you want to sell blinds and beds outside of Milwaukee? It’s going to be tough to expand and you’ll probably have to rename at some point. Beware of boxing yourself in with a local name.
Third, avoid complexity.
Ever have trouble remembering a law firm’s name? That’s because Ziffren, Brittenham, Branca, Fischer, Gilbert-Lurie, Stiffelman, Cook, Johnson, Lande & Wolf has 10 partners and a really long name. (And yes, that actually is a real law firm.)
Usually one or two words is best. Try to stick to three at the most. Short names roll off the tongue easier and are much easier to remember.
OK, so what should you include in your business name?
The Recipe for Memorable Business Name
There are three key ingredients to remember when cooking up a business name that brings in more customers: schemas, alliteration, and the rule of three.
Let’s talk about each one…
The Power of Schemas
Perhaps the most powerful way you can improve a business name is by using schemas. A schema is a cognitive framework that helps us organize and interpret information.
For example, if I say the word “school” you have a certain image or thought or association with that word. You automatically think of things like education, teaching, learning, and so on.
Or if I say the word “murder” … you have a schema associated with that as well. You think of crime, hatred, and sorrow.
The associations, thoughts, and emotions that are tied to a particular word are what make up the schemas in our mind.
When it comes to naming a business, you can use the power of schemas to bring in more customers.
For example, the word “victory” automatically triggers a schema that brings back thoughts and feelings of winning, being the best, and playing with the heart of a champion.
If you made racing bicycles, then this might be the perfect fit. You could call your business “Victory Bicycles” and people would associate your bikes with winning.
Another way to use schemas is to pair them with something unexpected. This works best when it conveys the message of your business, but also creates a unique name.
For example, let’s say that you run a bar with a wide range of beers. You pride yourself on knowing all of the best microbrews and customers come to you for your beer knowledge. You’re like the librarian of beers.
The Beer Library would be the perfect name for a place like that. It hints at the sophisticated nature of the place. It’s an establishment for people who are serious about finding good beer. But it’s also a name that is the complete opposite of your typical library, and that makes it memorable.
It’s like a tax accountant running a business called Tickled Taxpayers. (“Tax returns so good they’ll make you giggle.”) Tickling taxpayers is a strange thing to do and the unexpectedness of the name makes it easier to remember.
By taking advantage of the common schemas associated with “victory” or “library” or “tickle” each of the names above tie their work to the thoughts and feelings that they wanted to be associated with.
Aided by Alliteration
Alliteration is the occurrence of the same letter or sound at the beginning of adjacent or closely connected words.
Passive Panda is a good example. The “Pa” at the beginning of each word is alliteration that ties the whole name together.
Alliteration makes phrases easier for us to remember and that means it can do the same for your business name.
Think about the differences in these names…
Dancing Daisies compared to Beautiful Daisies
Toys for Tots compared to Toys for Young Children
Leaping Lizards compared to Jumping Reptiles
The use of alliteration in the first examples makes them easier to read and remember.
Using one of our schema examples, we could change the name of “The Beer Library” to “The Liquor Library”. It still uses the library schema effectively and it includes alliteration to make it more memorable.
Another way to use alliteration is to tie your name with the action that you want people to take.
An excellent example of this is my friend Corbett’s site called Think Traffic. Using the word “Think” tells the reader what to do when they consider the business.
What do you talk about on your website? Think traffic.
Want flowers? Buy them from Remember Roses.
Need a car wash? Get it from Wash at Willie’s.
Tired of counting sheep? Find a better mattress at Sleep Soundly.
Using action–oriented words like “wash” and “sleep” not only bring alliteration to the name, but also reinforce what the business actually does.
The Rule of Three
Did you know that our brains are programmed to remember groups of threes?
Larry, Curly, and Moe
Peter, Paul, and Mary
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost
We see groups of three so often that it’s just easier for us to remember groups with a similar structure. (Compared to, say, a group of four.)
For example, it’s easier to remember a business named “Beds, Blinds, and Buffets” than it is to remember “Beds, Blinds, Boards, and Buffets”
If you simply say those two names out loud, you’ll probably realize that the first rolls off the tongue much easier.
As I mentioned earlier, shorter names are usually more memorable. But if you have to make it longer, then groups of three work well.
The Bottom Line
What’s the best name? The one the customer remembers when they’re ready to buy.
If you use at least two of the ingredient above — schemas, alliteration, and groups of three — then you should be able to craft a name that any good customer will want to remember.
What’s the name of your business? Leave a comment below and tell us!