Avoid this one strategic mistake that could sink your business. As a domain broker, I spend lots of time researching subjects on marketing, SEO, and branding. One of the most rewarding aspects of my day is having conversations with CEO’s, CMO’s, VP’s of marketing, IP lawyers and tech departments on how domains fit into their overall strategy.
One major error we hear is that domains are no longer needed because of various social media platforms or search engine optimization capabilities. Domains play a strategic role in the overall marketing strategy, and not understanding this could literally destroy your business.
Domains are a destination for your brand
A significant role of a domain is to provide a clear destination for consumers to find your business, product or offering. If correctly chosen a domain creates simplicity for direct traffic to your site. Your marketing dollars are magnified when consumers are able to connect with your business directly. Customers reward companies that create this simplicity because it reduces the steps and effort needed to connect and find them online. A very overused however directly correlated analogy is the power of location to real estate and traffic. The power of a premium domain is in the simplicity, shortness and ability to connect with consumers by providing a destination where to find the brand.
A major mistake of relying on someone else’s platform (FB, YouTube, Google, Medium, etc..)
Relying on another platform as the primary destination for your brand is a huge risk with potentially devastating outcomes. For example Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Google AdWords are all essential elements for marketing, however, should be there to support your marketing strategy. The end goal of using these platforms should be to move the conversation toward a direct dialogue with your company. Choosing a premium domain is about taking ownership of the conversion process by owning the destination. The wrong domain complicates this journey especially if it ‘s hard to spell, remember or has no real intuitive relationship with your product offering.
Major algorithm changes can have devastating impacts
The major social and media platforms are notorious for updating algorithms without much notice. Neil Patel had a post back in January of 2016 that outlined several of Google’s recent algorithm changes. Neil had a great quote: “A single tweak to an algorithm can destroy everything we’ve built and force us to re-adapt quickly.
These changes happen on an almost daily basis.” Contently posted an excellent recap to Facebook’s recent algorithm change in late June showing how this has a significant impact on businesses.
Google appears to be making more changes in early 2017 with a new search algorithm penalty, to demote mobile pages that have “intrusive” interstitials that get in the users way.
If your traffic is controlled by these platforms than these changes could devastate your business.
One example of a wildly successful company that almost lost it all.
FitLife is an business dedicated to empowering and education to elevate your mind and body to live your FitLife. They built a successful business on the platforms of YouTube and Facebook. In 2013 Facebook changed it’s algorithm, and it nearly put FitLife out of business They were receiving 11 million visitors a month before the algorithm change.
With the change, traffic was reduced down to less than 1 million visitors a month They were losing $50k to $100k a month for over 6 months. By creating a signature product called Organifi, FitLife was able to generate a steady stream of income.
They developed a destination for their product with the domain Organifishop.com. They have now diversified their approach to revenue creation and have taken back control of the conversation with their customers.
By not moving the conversation off these platforms (Facebook & YouTube) they nearly lost everything. Listen to this very excellent podcast with the founder of FitLife.tv Drew Canole. Check out the 26-minute mark on this podcast where he talks about how the algorithm update impacted his business.
Domains are foundational in building a destination
This may seem obvious but choosing the correct domain is a foundational decision that has a lasting impact on the success of a company. A great domain goes unnoticed because the simplicity and power it brings to marketing The goal of any company should be to create a destination that allows users to communicate directly with their brand.
Premium domains help increase conversion
The other aspect of this conversation is how well a domain performs and contributes to conversion. How we process language still dictates what keywords will appeal to consumer perception and intent. The latest Verisign study shows a 2x click thru rate with domains that match search keywords. Premium domains are necessary for positioning and communicating leadership SEO experts have come a long way, and with enough time and money can get any website ranked for a particular keyword.
A domain though is what sets like companies apart when ranked together. If a domain is acquired strategically, it reduces the amount of effort a customer needs to understand your product which leads to conversion. For a very rough example think Hotels.com versus Jimshotel.com. Even if JimsHotel.com ranked higher, Hotels.com communicates leadership and trust which means conversion.
Here is a framework to help you evaluate your domain decision:
If you are at the point of deciding on a domain for you brand, use this simple checklist to assess your decision. A domain should connect with your brand at each of these points
C = Capture consumer intent
O = One word or simplicity in messaging.
N = Nimble
V = Viral & Verb
E = Elevate your brand to a position of authority
R = Radio test
T = Trademark availability
Domains provide a clear destination for consumers to find your business, product or offering. When companies rely on platforms outside their brand as their destination for customers to interact they run a significant risk when algorithms change. Premium domains simplify the efforts needed to communicate and connect with your customers.