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Domain Marketing for Powerful Branding

46 percent of U.S. small businesses still don't have a website for their company. Without a website, these businesses are missing the most critical piece to their overall success and are causing users to be unable to easily find their products, services and offerings.

Domain names are the foundation of a business's digital identity. Relying on nothing more than a Facebook page or an Instagram account makes companies too dependent on a single outlet and reliant on the popularity of a specific platform.

Domain names play an immensely important role in a business's marketing strategy as they measure the success in relation to your marketing goals. It is not just about ensuring that you utilize any URL: your highest priority should be which domain name is used, and how.

First Impressions Count

The search for a suitable name for your own business can take at minimum months sometimes longer, and there is a lot riding on selecting the right one.

After all, your URL is everywhere: it appears on your office entrance, your business cards, letterhead, and advertising campaigns both on or offline. And first impressions count so the name you choose must be a perfect fit and it's crucial that it also be easily understood, accessible and get you noticed. Often we see young companies just starting out who select names with puns in an attempt to appear unique and clever, but these choices are usually not without negative consequences.

How can you prevent losing customers by being too trendy with confusing internet addresses? With the tried and true KISS rule: keep it simple, stupid! The shorter and simpler the name, the easier it is to remember.

Domain names and brands must align

Many businesses address the need for a suitable web address after it's too late and end up using a subpar domain, weakening their brand profile. Twitter first went online with twttr.com, but fortunately six months later, they realized that twitter.com was a better domain are still using that domain today. Countless other businesses are in the same boat of only securing their signature domain names after they became famous such as Facebook, Instagram, Tesla and many more.

Then you have companies who still don't own their domain names like Nissan. Uzi Nissan, a computer store owner, has been a thorn in the side of the large auto manufacturer since 1994 causing the more well-known Nissan to operate at nissanmotors.com and later nissanusa.com.

Save on advertising costs with a good domain

The following examples prove that effective domains can also have a positive effect on marketing budgets. In 2016, the German media conglomerate, RTL Interactive introduced a new celebrity portal under the short and catchy, VIP.de. Using "Your shortcut to the stars" they gave examples of long and complicated domain names, such as www.wer-mit-wem-was-wann-wo-wie.de [how-and-where-who-did-what-with-whom.de], before automatically redirecting to vip.de, with the comment "too long for us." The website was also featured in 11-second long commercials. Every millisecond counts within expensive advertising and vip.de was much more cost effective than its alternatives.

Avoid embarrassing domain name mishaps

Spaces, an apostrophe or reading the domain extension as part of the address can all lead to domain faux pas.

Case in point: the Italian battery company, Powergen, at one point thought it was brilliant to use powergenitalia.com domain even though this does NOT convey batteries or power to consumers! It is unknown whether this resulted from a juvenile sense of humor or complete cluelessness; however, the address is now no longer online.

Countless other similar examples exist, all of which show that marketing departments considered their domain's presence and potential meanings far too late. Our tip: be absolutely sure that you test your brand name with its preferred spelling in combination with all the major domain extensions to avoid embarrassing "domain hacks."

Domain + authority = more traffic

Graham Haynes, a British furniture entrepreneur, spent over $50,000 USD for the BedroomFurniture.co.uk domain, recording annual revenue of $7M USD a short time later. However, it became clear to him that his domain name, BedroomFurniture.co.uk, would limit his long-term options as far as the products he could offer.

He, in turn, bought the premium domain, furniture.co.uk for $650,000 USD to take advantage of credibility and organically generated traffic. Haynes also opted for the .co.uk extension because in the British market these domains attract 70% more clicks than .coms. His hunch that users would automatically seek out the supplier with the domain name that was closest to the topic they were searching for, namely "furniture," was spot on and produced an instant 5% boost to his profitability. Assuming this profit growth continues over the next 20-25 years, he will certainly recover his $650,000 in acquisition costs.

Be an industry leader with category killer domains

There are many brand names that have become generic terms for their product category over time such as Coke, Band-Aid, Chapstick, and Jeep. Category killer domain names achieve the opposite effect, associating the generic name with the specific product or offer. Examples of this strategy include soups.com for Campbell Soups and clothes.com for the ecommerce brand Zappos.

If you secure glasscleaner.com for window cleaning products, you will be the manufacturer that anyone looking for a glass cleaning product turns to. The generic name is associated with your specific product and the business behind it, building trust and positively influencing the customer's purchase decision. After all, your product must be the industry leader with a domain name like that!

Don't throw in the towel if your dream domain isn't available

Many make the fatal mistake of not choosing a company name in parallel with the search for a domain name. Once you've decided on a business name, you need to establish whether the domain with the same name is already registered. Almost every quality domain name is already assigned to an owner. Nevertheless, it is still entirely possible to secure the domain name you really want, as the current domain owners are frequently willing to sell.

Before you settle, we recommend that you use a domain auction platform such as Sedo.com to search for your preferred domain. It may be available for sale there, even if the domain registrar has not listed it as such. If it's not being offered for sale, that's where a domain broker can help. While you remain anonymous as the buyer, your domain broker will identify the current domain owner, explain your interest in purchasing the domain, and lead the purchase negotiations.

Hundreds of previously-assigned domain names are bought and sold each day, so chances are good that this will work out for you as well!

By Carolyn Rodon, PR & Marketing Manager, North America at Sedo

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It would strengthen your argument if you By Alex Tajirian  –  Oct 04, 2017 12:09 pm PDT

It would strengthen your argument if you methodically compare a domain-name website to a Facebook page. Can “a single outlet” on, say, Facebook be less confusing than a combination of sites?  Otherwise, you’re just “marketing” domain names.

Not putting down social media By Tobias Flaitz  –  Oct 05, 2017 9:05 am PDT

Hi Alex, thank you for taking the time to read the post and raise questions on it. What we're saying is that while a social media presence is important (we have one!), you shouldn’t rely solely on it. It would necessitate spending money to drive traffic to your Facebook page instead of receiving the organic traffic a website automatically fuels when people know your name or search for you. A great website with a quality domain name is also viewed as more legitimate, trustworthy and professional to your end users than social media platforms. Similar issues are raised if you were to only have an app and could only be found in the app store. In this scenario, what happens if Google or Apple decides to kick you out? You will have no presence there anymore and will never be found again. We stand by that your domain is your home and should be the first place people can find you and learn more about your products, services, personal endeavors, etc.

Facebook pages are also indexed. So, as By Alex Tajirian  –  Oct 06, 2017 12:20 pm PDT

Facebook pages are also indexed. So, as with a domain-name site, if you search for the company name, you should see both types of sites in the results. Thus, you would not necessarily need to spend money to drive traffic to your Facebook page. Nevertheless, big companies spend large sums to drive traffic to their sites. Yet, although type-in traffic (direct navigation) provides an advantage to a domain name, it comes at a potential acquisition price of hundreds of thousands of dollars that small companies don’t have.
Is there evidence that a “great website with a quality domain name is also viewed as more legitimate, trustworthy and professional to your end users than social media platforms”?

As for apps, Google or Apple can decides to kick you out irrespective of the size or type of your online presence. Even so, businesses would still have their Facebook pages that is Google-indexed.

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