4 Things to Consider Before Changing Your Business Name: Digital Marketing Edition
Your brand is integral to your business, and sometimes, it's necessary to undergo a complete rebranding strategy to develop a brand that properly represents your business to your target audience. While rebranding can bring about countless benefits, it's not without risks.
An integral part of rebranding often involves changing a business' name. This can be a very productive step for the growth of a business, but it requires preparation and due diligence to be done correctly and successfully. We've put together a business name change checklist of considerations to be made if you're considering changing the name of your business.
1. When Is a Name Change a Good Choice?
While changing the name of a business can yield a lot of success, it shouldn't be done without careful consideration. There are a handful of scenarios where a name change might be the right choice, while other times, it may introduce a lot of hassle for little gain. Here is a short list of common situations to prompt a justified name change:
- Legal issues
- Your business has outgrown its name
- The name creates brand confusion with another company
- The name fails to stand out
- Your target demographic has shifted
- Unexpected PR complications
If you've found yourself in any of these situations, or if you have other valid reasons for pursuing a name change for your business, continue reading. We'll discuss the key things you should consider before changing your business name and how to navigate the risks.
2. The Disadvantages of Rebranding
While a name change might be the right choice for you and your business, that doesn't mean it comes without its complications. Before taking the plunge, it's important to be aware of the potential challenges you could face when undergoing a name change for your business.
If you've taken the time to build your reputation as a business and gain name recognition for your original name, you will undoubtedly confuse your customers as you rebrand. It's a good idea to introduce your new name and create a series of announcements before your official switch over, but chances are, there will still be some clientele who miss the news and wind up confused once your name has officially changed.
You should be prepared to redirect traffic from those searching for your old business name so that they can discover your name change and remain connected to your business online. Even still, expect to lose at least a few confused customers who cannot find your business once your rebranding is complete.
Costs and Complications
While changing the name of your business sounds simple in theory, it can often be more complicated – and expensive – than it initially seems. There are aspects to rebranding that don't always initially come to mind, including:
- Informing governmental agencies
- Updating business licenses and permits
- Commissioning new business cards and promotional materials
- Updating your official business website
- Updating company mail addresses
- Updating social media handles
- Updating signage
While doable, all of these tasks can also consume a fair chunk of time and money. This isn't to say that changing your business name isn't a worthwhile endeavour, but you should be prepared for the various logistical aspects that will require your attention along the way.
It Requires a Level of Certainty
A business owner should be relatively confident in rebranding and renaming their company because returning to the original name is not a viable option. It will only increase customer confusion and give your audience an impression of your business that includes uncertainty and a lack of business savvy. Not to mention all of the time and money invested in the name change – which, according to Forbes, can be anywhere from $1 000 to over $50 000.
Be certain in your decision before moving forward to avoid hassle and unwanted repercussions. Reversing a name change is expensive and can damage your business's reputation.
3. Changing Your Business Name Affects Website SEO
Business owners embarking upon a name change are often worried about their SEO, and rightfully so. After all, you've spent all of this time building SEO strategy and gaining traction for your business, and you don't want that all to go out the window and have to begin again from scratch.
The good news is that you can take steps to maintain your website's SEO value and not fall in the rankings amidst a name change.
Audit Your Existing Pages
The SEO value of your website is comprised of the individual pages on your website and its structure as a whole, as well as some outside factors. To identify your website's current SEO value and determine what is worth maintaining, thoroughly audit your URLs and look for current rankings for each page, high-value content, and backlinks.
With the help of online tools, you can gain insights into the various aspects of your website like its performance, sitemap, mobile usability, and links. Completing a full audit of your current website and its SEO performance is the first step in maintaining all of your progress as you undergo a name change.
Preserve Valuable SEO Content
Your complete audit should help you identify which pages on your website have the highest SEO value and, by extension, the content that contributes the most to your rankings. Alongside keywords and backlinks, strong website content is one of the most significant contributing factors to your website's SEO.
High-quality content that accurately reflects your business should be preserved as much as possible, even if you have to alter page layout and edit sentences as needed. The topics and high-volume keywords used in your strongest content should be maintained when transitioning through a rebrand. They should also be incorporated into heading tags and other influential SEO elements to help you maintain your SEO rankings.
Set Up 301 Redirects
A 301 redirect signals a permanent redirect from one URL to another. All users who request an old URL will be automatically sent to the new one, which is understandably a crucial aspect of maintaining SEO amidst a company rebrand.
301 redirects allow you to transfer your current SEO equity from your original site to your new site. Still, they must be implemented correctly to gain the benefits and have your website functioning properly. The complexity of your redirect setup will depend on how many changes you make to your website's overall structure – here's a blog outlining all 301 redirect basics.
Once you overhaul your website and launch it anew, it's important to let search engines know. Depending on the extent of the changes made, you may need to submit an updated sitemap to Google. If you have changed your website domain entirely, Google will also need to be updated regarding that change to ensure that search results only display your new website and not the old one.
Note that this doesn't apply if you change from http to https or www to non-www. It does apply, however, if you switch from example.com to example.org or newsitename.com. To inform Google of your domain change, use this link.
4. Consider Your Social Media Rebranding
When doing a complete rebranding overhaul and name change, that also extends to your social media accounts. Changing your name on social media isn't overly complicated, and you benefit from maintaining all of your previous followers and posts as you transition. This helps your audience quickly understand who you are and what you do by glancing at your profile if they find themselves momentarily confused.
Social media plays a large role in a rebrand, however, as it allows you to provide your followers with notice through announcement posts and reels that will inform them of your name change and rebranding, the reasoning behind it, and the newfound direction of your business. It's a great tool that can help you stay in touch with your audience and include them in this exciting transition for your company while minimizing a loss in clients due to the name change.
Work With a Professional Digital Marketer for a Seamless Transition
These factors are just a few of many that should be considered when embarking upon a rebrand and name change for your business. Changing the name of a business can yield huge successes, but the road to getting there is not always straightforward.
The team at WEB ROI are digital marketing and web design experts capable of guiding you through the process and ensuring that all necessary steps are taken to ensure a smooth rebrand and optimal success.
Please contact us today for more information on anything mentioned in this article or to discuss your particular rebranding needs. We're happy to join you and do what we do best so that you can continue to find success with your business and its new brand identity. Let's chat!