Your Tech-Savvy Startup Guide 1: Use your domain names as a marketing tool
If you’re setting out to create a solid and secure web presence for your budding company, you might be learning about domains and how important they are to succeeding online.
As the CEO and founder of Authentic Web, Peter LaMantia oversees a corporate domain service that equips digital teams to secure and optimize their domain. If this already sounds like a mouthful of high-tech jargon, don’t fret. LaMantia, who’s served as a mentor to dozens of entrepreneurs, is here to break down the world of web domains. Whether you're a seasoned CEO or first-time founder, he explains the importance of investing in the right domain as it is ultimately an integral part of your company’s online identity.
Last but not least, he shares a key tip for building a web experience that is unique and relevant to your target audience. Read on to learn more:
OwnIt.NYC: Why should every business have a website and their own domain name?
Peter LaMantia: In today’s digital age, if you do not own a domain name with a quality, easy to navigate and informative website you are telling the world that you are either a) not serious about your business or b) simply do not understand how the digital economy works.
Is creating a Facebook profile enough for a business?
LaMantia: Some business owners may feel they can manage a digital presence with a Facebook page. There is no doubt that for most businesses a Facebook page is a valuable portal for audiences to engage with your brand; however, a Facebook page is, in my view, more of an awareness and education tool to capture interest.
You want your own branded (domain) web presence that you own and evolve over the long-term. Relying on Facebook is relying on Facebook to make changes in the interest of your business. The reality is that Facebook will make changes in Facebook’s interest. You have no control over those changes.
Business is digital and digital starts with a domain name and web presence. This is your brand. Even if you are not selling anything online, audiences will want to know what you are about, what products or services you offer, who you are, how you are different, how to contact you or visit your bricks and mortar store. These are just the basics, where you take it from there is up to you.
How can businesses use domain names as a marketing tool?
LaMantia: Digital marketing is as unlimited as your creativity and budget. You can use social media channels to drive users to your website (domain) where you engage with them. Use social media to create campaigns to generate interest and engagement. Provide links to send interested parties directly to your own controlled dedicated web page for that campaign on your own website/domain. You can also use your website to send traffic back to social sites where more engagement can be created.
For example, you may want to create and publish blogs in subject areas to demonstrate your expertise and deliver content value to audiences. Publish on your website, share the content summary, and links in social channels to drive more users to your website. Provide a “Call to Action” on your website which could be as simple as read more content, share with friends, submit comments, subscribe to a newsletter, contact us, buy our products or set up an appointment to learn more.
What tips can you give to businesses who want to differentiate themselves via their domain name from the competition?
LaMantia: A simple unique domain name is the starting point to show the world how you are unique as a short and memorable domain communicates meaning and brand.
You should consider the hundreds of new Top-Level Domains (TLDs) and choose one or two words for what we call “left of the dot” paired with a TLD that maps to your business line and area of interest, which is the “right of the dot." This sets the table for you to build a web experience that is unique and relevant to audiences.
Once you have the domain, you now need to build the experience to truly differentiate your business from your competitors.
What are your top tips for new businesses when it comes to creating a domain name?
LaMantia: A domain name is your digital brand. It needs to convey the meaning of who you are and what value you bring to your target market audience. All content and engagement programs you drive in the market must be consistent with the domain name. The domain is the brand anchor from which to bring your brand promise to life.
A domain name must be short and memorable. Think of the “Radio Test”. This is the idea that if a target person heard your domain name stated on the radio, they would be able to easily remember it and be able to type it in their web browser.
A good domain name does not include hyphens. Hyphens simply confuse users and make it difficult for them to type accurately. A hyphen would not pass the radio test.
Most single and two word .COM domain names are generally not available as they may be owned by another business like yours or by a domain investor. There are many good alternatives with new Top-Level Domains, such as: .CLUB, .SHOP, .SKI, or geographic TLDs like .NYC, . PARIS or .LONDON. The benefit of new TLDs is that they represent meaning and since they are new, you can often find the one- or two-word names that represent your business and brand.
How can a domain name help show your business is on the cutting edge of innovation?
LaMantia: I repeat. The starting point is a quality domain with meaning that is easy to remember, unique, and represents your brand. If you have a long or bad domain name, you are just another business. An example could be, “dogandcatgrooming-NYC.com” you telegraph that you did not try hard, so why should a potential customer believe you would be any different from the pet grooming shop down the road.
Rather, you could register and own, if not already taken, petgrooming.nyc or catsanddogs.nyc or petgrooming.club or what about grooming.pet.
But what if these sleeker domains are pricier?
LaMantia: Even if you find these names sell for a premium, it is hard to overvalue the effect of a good domain name. There are so many good options. These short, memorable, and different domains telegraph a different type of entrepreneur and business.
Do something different, show your audiences you are indeed on the cutting edge of tech as well as the premier provider of service.