Local Business Roundup: Lessons in Trademarking from Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift trademark tips for small businesses

(Credit: a katz / Shutterstock.com)

We know it’s impossible to keep up with all of the news in the local business space. That’s why we’ve cherry-picked the articles from this week that matter most for business owners like you.

[Branding] Lessons in Trademarking from a Taylor Swift

Source: Inc.

Trademarking can be a great way to build and protect your small business brand—but only if employed in the right way for the right reasons.

Two examples from last year come to mind as examples of positive and negative trademarking:

  1. Taylor Swift filed to trademark a number of phrases employed on her albums, protecting her intellectual property from pirated merchandise producers.
  2. Lagunitas, a San Diego craft beer producer, filed a lawsuit against Sierra Nevada for use of the acronym “IPA” (India pale ale).

While Taylor Swift’s was a smart move—intellectual property is easy to steal and misuse—Lagunitas was lambasted on social media for their attempt to “control” a term widely used by both brewing companies and the public.

The moral of the story? Trademarking can be a strategic move for your business, especially if you have a unique identifier that differentiates you from your competitors. However, you should consider your own motives, your audience, and any potential threats against your brand before starting on trademark paperwork.

Why It Matters: If your business has a unique tagline, product name, or brand name, it may be worth it to file for a trademark. Just make sure you’re doing it to protect your business from potential threats, not to make some extra money by claiming “dibs” on a universally-used phrase. As Lagunitas can attest, that probably won’t work out too well for your brand.

[Search] 10 Common Mistakes to Avoid on Your Local Business Website

Source: Search Engine Land

Local search can be a great way to connect with potential new customers. But unfortunately, many local businesses make mistakes with their website that prevent consumers from ever finding them—or if they do, prevent them from staying on their website long enough to find out more about their offerings.

Here are 10 common website mistakes you should work to correct in 2015 if your business’s site happens to be a culprit:

  1. Don’t just focus on your brand.
  2. Don’t just focus on your products or services.
  3. Don’t assume that people know what they want.
  4. Don’t forget to optimize local on-site elements.
  5. Don’t forget to optimize off-site local signals.
  6. Don’t forget your home page.
  7. Don’t forget your internal pages.
  8. Don’t include spammy lists of cities or keywords.
  9. Don’t make your title tags spammy.
  10. Don’t forget to update your NAP (name, address and phone number) when it changes.

Why It Matters: Before diving into the details of search engine optimization (SEO), it pays to address some of the broader issues that might be happening on your site. All of the mistakes on this list come down to one fundamental mistake: focusing on your business more than your potential customers. Shifting your attitude away from “what’s in it for me?” to “what’s in it for my audience?” will help you create a better website that both search engines and readers will want to engage with.

[Loyalty] How to Reward Returning Customers

Source: Small Business Trends

In your quest to attract new customers, do you forget to reward your regular patrons? If so, you’re not alone—it happens to many local businesses. However, it’s important to avoid ignoring your existing customer base for a number of reasons:

  1. They’re already loyal to your brand.
  2. They require a much smaller investment to keep happy.
  3. They tend to spend more than new customers.
  4. They’re in a position to recommend your business to others.

What can you do to make your loyal customers feel special? A few ideas include:

  1. Create special sales and events for existing customers only.
  2. Provide early access to new services and products.
  3. Personalize your communications, customer service, and offers using the information in your customer profiles.
  4. Launch a loyalty program that provides incentives to keep customers coming back.

Why It Matters: Your current customer base is one of your most valuable assets. Make sure to keep them happy by always providing a great experience, special perks, and benefits for remaining loyal to your brand. Don’t forget that happy customers are one of the most effective marketing channels out there, so it pays to invest in them. 

About the Author

Ashley Taylor Anderson

Ashley Taylor Anderson is a content developer and marketer who's spent her career knee-deep in the B2B technology space. In previous professional lives, she worked as a science textbook editor, media producer, and pastry chef.

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