When I was living in Amsterdam, I would often frequent a cocktail bar near my house. Lovely little place, amazing cocktails, great atmosphere and amazing staff. The purpose of the bar was that it was meant to portray a Prohibition Bar. So that meant no windows, no visible door to get in, no signs, no brand, no nothing. There was literally no way of finding this place if you didn’t know about it. The novelty of being inside this bar was mesmerising, there was nothing like it. I think on my first visit I asked someone why they didn’t have a sign or shop front and they said, and I quote; “they didn’t want to be found”. I was gobsmacked at this, what kind of business doesn’t want to be found I thought to myself.
I once worked at a newsagents in my local village and they actually had possibly TOO many signs outside the front, quite unlike the Amsterdam cocktail bar, my manager used to say that she “wanted to make sure people found the shop”. Complete polar opposites. There won’t be many businesses similar to the cocktail bar in Amsterdam, so I can assume that most businesses will ‘want’ to be found. Having your own business is something to be proud of right? Why would anyone want to do anything other than show off their company? What would you do if you had a retail business? You would have signs out the front right?
Obviously not every business has a shop front or retail premise, some may not even have a fixed address as they are cloud based, so what do they do to get their digital shop front?
Fast forward a few years...
I am on the phone to an advertiser who is (politely) debating with me as to why he should be paying for traffic in his SEM (Search Engine Marketing) campaign when people are searching on his brand name, ”If they are searching on my name, then I will already be appearing at the top of the organic listings and possibly on the Map listings too”, which is a great point and I understand the logic. He is absolutely correct, I have been spending money from his advertising budget for users which are searching his brand name ”Pete’s Paints”.
Okay, so the great debate is, ”Why should I be paying for traffic from users searching my brand name”?
I don’t think there is a one particular answer for this question, nor do I even think there is an argument against my point. Let me start with one point and if this doesn’t convince you I will go on…One of the buying motives is “Competition”, when I search on “pete’s paints”, there are 4 other local companies ALL bidding on this and appearing on the Search Engines; Pauls Paints, Pedro’s Paints, Phil’s Paints & Pennies Paints….
Pauls paints has an advert with copy along the lines of; “50% off All paint for new customers”
Pedro’s paints has an advert along the lines of: “We Will beat ANY like for like local quote, call us now”
Phil’s paints has an advert along the lines of; “£49 off your first order”
and Pennies Paints has an advert with a message along the lines of; “Free Paint brush set with all paint orders”…
Anyway, Pete’s paints (My customer), doesn’t have any offer running at all. So with me showing him what the current SERP looks like when searching on his brand, I think it is safe to say, he is slightly ‘miffed’.
With 4 ads now showing at the top of the page since the most recent update from Google, he isn’t showing above the page fold, so he has asked me to put an advert up and make sure he is higher than everyone else. I asked him why he wants to ‘pay for clicks’ for this, and he says he wants to ‘make sure people found him’. And would you look at that, we are back full circle to the little newsagents I used to work in when I was a wee nipper.
Lets move onto a few other points…
There is no one more relevant than you for branded traffic. You are therefore likely to be generating excessively high CTRs, which will very quickly lead you on to generate very high Quality Scores which ultimately leads you to very very low costing traffic. In comparison to ad spend, the brand spend is going to be very much negligible, and I even believe for keeping a campaign in nice health, this is imperative. Having part of an account with such high CTRs, can surely only be a good thing. How much does a shop spend on a shop front sign, branding stationery, and then updating this each year and the only people seeing this are local, online they can be found anywhere.
I could go on forever, but I am going to finish with one final point, and another very important one; the attribution model. How many people are making a purchase or engagement with the business online on the first visit? Not many. So what are they doing after then? Well they could be shopping around, doing some more research, or simply not ready to purchase yet. So what is likely to happen when they are ready to purchase? They will either give you a call if they made a note of the number, they will re-visit your site if they book marked it, OR there is a strong chance they will go on Google and search on your brand name to find the site, so they can then engage.
Now tell me this…
If you had a business and you had a prospect ready to make a sale, would you want to invest the small negligible sum of money to give your self the highest chance of turning that user into a sale instead of your competitors stealing them with one of their mind-blowingly good deals? I know what I would want.
Be proud of your brand, tell the world, make sure your digital shop front is visible, and don’t lose those prospects to your competitors. Bid on your brand name, and variations of it!