Posted on May 24, 2012
Guest post by Lauren Forest
Choosing a name for your new product or service can be creative, playful, and rewarding. But it can also be a bit like circling the airport waiting for the plane to land. You’re excited and enthusiastic to get to your new destination so the fun can begin. You can even see the runway in the distance, but you can’t really get started because your plane hasn’t touched down.
Many of us have been in this position. We’re excited to share our new idea with our customers, but we’re bogged down in what to name it.
It can be even more tricky because we’re often very close to the idea. It’s our “baby” and so much a part of us that it’s challenging to see it clearly.
Let’s land the plane
Here’s a quick exercise and a list of screening questions you can use for determining how well a name works. This will help you make a decision so that you can do what you’re meant to be doing – showing your new product or service to your customers.
First, imagine your product name and subheading are written on a plain sheet of paper. Imagine that they’re part of a list of several product names and subheadings, all on that same sheet of paper.
Now ask yourself if someone could read just the words on the page and be able to answer these questions about your new product name:
Does it convey the process or “thing” that customers will do?
Does it convey the result that your customers will get?
Does it convey the purpose for using the product?
Bonus question: does it convey “how” the thing you’re selling is offered (words like system, workshop, etc.)?
Grand slam bonus question: does it contain keywords people are searching for?
You can also approach this from the opposite direction. Rather than starting with the new name, start with the questions and let them guide you toward coming up with a name. Think about your customers and ask how these questions apply to them. Just start brainstorming and writing the words and phrases onto a big sheet of paper or in a new document.
If possible, also make sure to take advantage of the power of your subheading. You can use it to give people an even stronger sense of the product and / or process. Subheadings are also great for adding emotional appeal to really draw people in.
Let’s look at the Team LKR product Zero to WordPress Website as a great example. This name tells the customer a lot about the product. It conveys what the customer will do – build a web site. It conveys the result the customer will get – a WordPress website. It conveys the purpose for taking the class – to build a WordPress website. And it also gets the grand-slam bonus question because “WordPress website” is a high volume search term.
Here’s something else to keep in mind: the name doesn’t have to be literal. Symbols, images, and metaphors can be very effective in getting customers to pay attention.
The phrase “Zero to…” works well here because it says that a customer can start from scratch. It clearly means “no experience necessary.” Well done, Team LKR!
Remember to have fun!
Make sure to have fun with the process – that’s why you’re doing this in the first place. There is no “right” or “wrong” answer. Not all of the screening questions will apply to every name. But the more of them you’re able to apply, the stronger your product name will be.
Deciding on a name for your new product or service is an exciting milestone. It’s the act of making your new thing “real” – you’re giving it shape and making it come to life. This quick exercise and set of questions will help you in that process.
You can stop circling the airport, land the plane, and begin the exciting adventure of sharing your new idea with the world.
Lauren Forest is an entrepreneur, writer, editor, and workshop leader. She has specialized in business writing and editing, web-based marketing & information design, and online content management for nearly 20 years. Her work has helped clients establish presence and personality in the marketplace, get more business, make more sales, and be more successful. Lauren is also known as “The Word Perfectionist.” Surprisingly, she believes that letting go of perfection is an excellent idea if you want your business to move forward quickly. But that doesn’t mean forgetting about perfection. Quite the opposite. It means getting a perfectionist on your team – someone helping you impress your customers with quality and credibility. Learn more about how she can help your business: www.WordPerfectionist.com
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