One of the most pertinent issues business owners face when establishing an online presence is how to direct customer interest to their website and translate that into revenue.
Often, this includes sales and marketing tactics like direct mail, lead generation and online campaigns to drive awareness.
Some savvy business owners also invest in search engine optimisation and marketing techniques to increase the number of leads they receive from Google, Bing and Yahoo!.
An area businesses regularly overlook is their humble domain name.
A domain name is the business asset that underpins your entire online identity and it acts as a digital lighthouse to illuminate your web presence. A good domain name can be a cost-effective and highly successful method for increasing direct type-in browser traffic to ultimately improve your bottom line.
When it comes to effective domain names, there is no better option than premium generic domains.
What is a premium generic domain name?
A premium generic domain name is a short, memorable, descriptive and commercially-oriented domain related to the market vertical or industry sector of your business.
For instance, a florist would see great value in flowers.com.au, as would a camera shop with cameras.com.au.
Given their intuitive nature, domain names such as these are seen as the most authoritative and trusted online providers in their sectors. Consumers are drawn to these websites over others and the domain name actually helps to drive in traffic. It’s a bit like getting the prime eye-level product position on a supermarket shelf, rather than being located out of sight at the bottom.
These premium generic .com.au names work; the proof is in multiple success stories operating on the Internet at the moment.
For example, in September 2011, investmentproperty.com.au became the highest recorded domain name at auction when it was snapped up for $125,000 by New South Wales property developer Vision Homes. Similarly, hardware.com.au was purchased at auction by Woolworths in 2010 for $33,000. There are unofficial sales rumored at significantly higher values, however often domain name sales remain confidential and there are no laws that require the details published as there are for offline real estate sales.
The sale of these premium generic .com.au names demonstrates the strong demand shown by major brands that recognise the important role they play. They also demonstrate the enormous intrinsic value .com.au domain names hold despite their retail price, which can start from around $20.
Perhaps the example of a premium generic domain name comes from carloans.com.au.
CarLoans.com.au case study
The first incarnation of Shaun McGowan’s car loan business was initially called Beep.com.au and turned over a healthy $60 million.
As a savvy digital entrepreneur and domain investor, Mr McGowan knew the business had greater potential and turned his attention to purchasing a premium generic .com.au for the business.
Following the acquisition of CarLoans.com.au and a brand refresh in June 2013, the business saw an immediate increase in website traffic and customers, a decrease in marketing spend, 40% reduction in ad word spend, and overall growth of 60% to generate turnover in excess of $100 million.
I recently caught up with Mr McGowan to draw on some of his insights on the value of a premium generic .com.au domain name.
“We have not done anything different, we’ve only changed our domain name and that has seen this huge growth for our business.
Our business is not unique and we have many competitors. In this marketplace, you need a competitive advantage. While deep pockets to generate awareness is an advantage, so too is having the best domain name. We don’t have to tell people what we’re doing – people know to go to carloans.com.au to get a car loan. Our marketing budget has significantly reduced because we don’t have to educate consumers. The education is already done in those eight letters – that’s the power of a domain name.
With CarLoans.com.au, consumers think they’ve seen us before even if they haven’t interacted with the business previously. People just assume they know us because we’re seen as the biggest and best.
There is a natural assumption the biggest and oldest companies have the premium generic domain names. In terms of the domain name investment, the name paid itself back within four months.
Ultimately, having the biggest and best exact-match premium generic domain name in our industry is what’s going to count at the end of the day.
For example, do you buy shoes from shoes.com.au or ABCshoes.com.au? With shoes.com.au, you’ve got instant credibility because customers believe it must be the biggest and best retailer, whereas ABCshoes.com.au must build that trust with consumers to educate them on who they are and what they sell.
The exact-match domain name is exactly what it is; it’s powerful, it’s credible and consumers believe it. It gives you instant recognition.
Purchasing premium generics
I encourage business owners to consider registering a premium generic .com.au domain name.
In most cases, premium generic domain names will have already been registered. This does not mean they are unavailable for purchase though.
Various Registrars provide expired domain and aftermarket auction services to help businesses acquire highly sought-after domain names. Simply contact your preferred registrar and ask how they can help you register the perfect domain name for your business. For a list of the Australian Registrars, visit the AusRegistry website.