Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Marketing Power of Domain Names

Domain Names

Each and every month over 175,000 Internet domain names are reserved. That is almost 6,000 names per day, every day. How do you go about making sure your company's web site name is recognized and found from the millions of domain names already in existence?

Your company needs every Internet promotion and marketing technique to allow potential customers to easily find your web site. One powerful way to help stand out from the thousands of other mortgage web sites is to have a professional sounding and easily remembered Internet domain name. The wrong domain name selection can cost your company thousands of lost commissions everyday.

How To Select An Unique Domain Name

Let us analyze what is happening in the "real world". Domain names have their own social class built into place. There are the most desired extension (*.com); and then there are all the other extensions (*.net, *.org, *.cc). Validation of this is evidenced by the newer versions of Internet browsers.

Just type any word, "mortgages" for example, and the latest Netscape and Internet Explorer versions will complete the address by automatically adding the ".com" if you don't type it in the full address. If you currently have a "*.net" or "*.org" domain name, you already have one strike against you (i.e. potential lost business).

The dot com names are the most preferred and desirable. The dot com names can be compared to a having a toll free 1-800 number. It is much better to have a 1-800 number, instead of a 1-888 number. People will automatically assume a dot com at the end of domain name (not *.net or *.org). As you can see, securing a "good sounding" domain name can get quite confusing ... if you don't know what to do.

Assume you meet a perfect mortgage client at a social event and they want to contact you. If you tell this person your phone number is 1-800-HOMELOAN, then they have a good chance of remembering you. If you tell her your company's phone is 1-888-HOMELOAN, then there is a chance that she might confuse your phone number and possible dial your competitors toll free number (i.e. 1-800-HOMELOAN). Just because of some Internet confusion, you have possibly lost another mortgage client.

Searching For A Name

Let us assume you have a mortgage company and you wanted the domain name mortgage.com. You check it and see it is gone, so you say, "Well, I will just take loans.com" gone too, as is almost every other single and multiple word combinations dealing with loans. After going through two and three word permutations such as mortgagebroker.com, mortgagehomeloan.com, and then off to more permutations mortgagehomeloans.com, you remember that 175,000 domains names are taken every month. (Hmm, I bet many of the "good names" are gone.) So you start checking the *.net and *.org availability and soon find out many of the "good" names are no longer available here either.

Finally after days of searching, you find a domain name "loans-4-u.net" available. Finally, an identity! This is where marketing problems occur. If you have to explain your domain name, or how to spell your domain name, you have lost your effectiveness.

Name Recognition

Now back to "you meet the perfect mortgage customer at a social event" and they want to contact you. You proudly tell her that your domain name is loans-4-u.net and she claims she will visit your site tonight. Assuming this perfect client does look for you site, does she type in loansforyou.com, loanz-4-you.com, loansforu.net, loanzforyou.org, loans-for-ewe.com… well, you get the idea.

You have now spent thousands of dollars to develop and promote your mortgage web site. And with just a little Internet confusion, potential customers are going to a competitor web site just because they are confused on how to spell your domain name. This might happen numerous times a day, and it will cost you thousands of dollars in new loan originations. You don't want to give away business to your competitors by having a "confusing" domain name.

Moral of the story, all things being equal, get an easy to remember or simple or descriptive dot com name.

Clickability

Your domain name is like the lead headline of a newspaper. It can immediately tell potential customers that your domain specifically addresses what they are seeking. If a potential customer does a search engine query for "low interest mortgage loans" and the first three domains presented are, loanz-4-awhile.com, bluepacificshores.com and lowinterestmortgages.com. Which name are you more likely to select?

This potential customer will review the domain name addresses listed and see if any domains sound professional and relevant. If your company has a professional sounding domain name, this potential customer may be more likely to "click" on YOUR web site to see what mortgage services are offered. More "clicks" on your mortgage web site means more potential business.

If you miss even one potential customer, you have lost a potential commission of thousands of dollars. After spending thousands of dollars promoting and marketing your web site, this is an expensive way to lose business.

H-Y-P-H-E-N-S

We are frequently asked, "Should I hyphenate my domain name? It will make it easier to read." Well, the answer is usually no. Look at the domain mortgage-home-loan.com. Which domain name is easier to explain?

Hyphens cause you to have to explain your name, and one more place for a potential visitor to make an error. If you have to explain it, you have lost your effectiveness. Make is easy for customers to find your web site.

Abbreviations

Try to leave out abbreviations if possible. If your company is California Home Loan, make sure you get the complete spelling. If you have just califhomeloan.com, you are just making it more difficult for customers to find you. This is even more important if you want past customers to refer people to your web site. Can you imagine some customer telling a friend your mortgage web site is califhomeloan.com or cahomeloan.com instead of californiahomeloan.com?

Which domain name is your customer going to better remember? If your customer can't remember, they won't be able to refer your mortgage services. Another lost customer worth thousands of dollars.

You Have To Move Quickly

We had a corporate client that was thinking of registering a perfect domain name for his company. We advised him to register that name immediately. Unfortunately, he did not take our advice. Two days later another company registered the same name. The old saying goes, “you snooze, you lose”. This is especially important on the Internet. A time line of 6 months on the net is like 2 years in the real world.

Technology and marketing promotion on the Internet is constantly changing. You need every Internet promotion technique in your favor to help drive more business to your web site. Stake the odds in your favor by registering a good sounding and well-remembered domain name. And, three years from now when 25% of all mortgages will be transacted over the Internet, your company will be well positioned in having a strong Internet presence.

Remember -- domains are going fast… in the five minutes it took you to read this article, over 20 domain names were registered ... some by your competitors.


For online mortgage leads please visit our mortgage leads page.


Originally published November 1999

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