You’re the owner of Susie’s Cupcake Café. It’s located on a busy downtown corner. On beautiful summer days you set up a stand and give out free samples of your product. Why? Because it’s an easy and efficient way to control your customer’s brand experience. You know yours are the best cupcakes in town, even though the café across the street has started selling them too. But, just because you are confident in your brand and your product doesn’t mean you are going to stop giving out free samples, and you definitely won’t let the competition set up a stand outside your shop either. The reason is because that doesn’t make good business sense. It’s the same reason you should bid on brand terms for online advertising. Brand terms in paid search are like giving free samples outside your store. Yes, the location of your store will naturally bring customers by, like organic search will put you on the SERP. However, paid search gives you the ability to put your ad in front of your customers accompanied by the message you want them to see. Bidding on brand terms is an efficient way to prevent your competition from getting in front of your customers and a means to have complete control over your brand impression.
Why you should bid.
Not everyone is a fan of going after brand terms for online advertisements. Some believe it’s not in their best financial interests to pay for terms that organic search will bring up. However, brand terms are cheap compared to others, and if you don’t buy them Google can sell them to someone else. The best strategy is to take up as much real estate on SERP as possible. People search in many different ways, and you want to cover all of those channels. You can’t control what information organic search pulls from your website, but you can control the message of your paid search advertisements.
How you should bid.
So, where to you begin with brand terms? A great way to start is by dividing your brand terms into separate categories and having a campaign for each for maximum product coverage. One way to organize those terms is with these four categories; true brand terms, brand misspellings and iterations, and brand URLs.
True brand terms are for people who really know your brand. For example, Coca-Cola is a true brand term, where Coke is just a term people use for your products. If your top selling product is Susie’s Blueberry Bliss Muffin and that’s what goes on the packaging and the menu, that’s a true term. If a customer asks for a blueberry muffin, that is a general term not a brand term.
Brand misspellings and iterations are very similar, but important to distinguish. Brand iterations would be different terms used by your customers to search for your company. For example, along with your café downtown you happen to own a chain of bakeries that ship your delicious pastries across the country. Your business is Susie’s Cupcake Café Inc., but people might search Susie’s Cupcake Café Company or Co. They could type in Susie’s Cupcake Café LLC, without understanding the difference between them. A misspelling would be if someone typed in Susie’s Cupcake Bakery or Susie’s Pastry Shop. Many people do not have intuitive search, and a majority never change their browsers or settings, so they type out exactly what they are thinking of. That’s why you want to have a combination of iterations and misspellings of brand terms so that you show up in the SERP. It’s also a great opportunity to correct and provide them with the brand message of your choosing. Not only can you correct them about your brand, but you can also learn from the terms they use. After all, it’s always useful to know how people are searching your brand and what terms come to mind when looking for the products you offer.
Brand URLs are all the different versions of your actual URL that people could type in. For example, www.susiecupcakes.com, http://www.susiecupcakes.com or susiescupcakes.com. These terms are inexpensive because you own the URL and because of that your quality score is hard for your competitors to beat. However, just because they aren’t bidding on the term, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t either.
Companies that can effectively execute SEO and SEM strategies will dominate the SERP. It’s important to be successful in organic search, but if you pair that with paid search, specifically with brand terms, you can create a memorable and impactful online brand experience. Have your ads show up wherever possible and make the message stand out. Offer a promotion code or downloadable coupon for the real store. The better your company is at optimizing paid search with organic results, the better it will contribute to your overall channel growth, in store and online, because comprehensive marketing has comprehensive results.