What’s in a Name? 5 Reasons to Use Domain Names to Extend Your Brand

While marketers plan their campaigns and related communications, they often overlook the importance of their domain name as an extension of their brand.

With the land rush for short, easy-to-remember dotcom names, many newer companies find themselves with limited choices because domains are saturated. Part of the challenge is that everyone desires a memorable, descriptive name, preferably in line with the brand.

Also challenging is dealing with the potential risk of an angry customer(s) creating a quick website, incorporating your brand and/or domain name. Many marketers have registered obvious domain names with negative connotations to hinder this type of activity.

To that end, it’s a good idea to think broadly about how to use domain names to augment your online communications in real time without making up names and investing significant amounts of money in branding. The average domain name contains 35 characters without the domain name extension; such as .com, .net or .org and 65 characters is the upper limit.  Here are five examples that illustrate how to extend your reach through good domain name usage.

  1. Provide additional product information. Since marketers do a lot of research related to their products, why not share this information with your consumers who are often looking to be educated. In this case, use of branding should be understated or non-existent since potential customers supports your product but appears to be neutral.
  2. Create a memorable name. Instead of using your business name, choose a domain name that people can remember. For example, while WhereTheDiamondsAre.com may be long, it’s something that a person the market for jewelry will remember more than the store’s name, Charleston Alexander. It also helps your radio marketing since potential customers don’t need to write the name down.
  3. Neutralize a crisis by responding quickly to real time events. At the Why I Chose event in New York, Lauren Price of The Public Interest Registry pointed out that Toyota could have separated the car recall from their main site through the use of a secondary dedicated website with its own keywords and related content without detracting from the main goal of the Toyota site which is to sell cars. Lauren used ToyotaRecall created by a PR firm as an example.
  4. Support a charitable cause. Since .org domains are associated with not-for-profit organizations, this is one way that you can organize people quickly around a cause or provide support that’s separate from your main website. For example, http://avon.com/ and http://www.avonfoundation.org/
  5. Enhance your brand. Some products lend themselves to different types of domain extensions. Using a .org domain name has the brand attributes of being trustworthy, well intended, informative and high quality. Many open source computer software uses .org such as drupal.

Recently, other top level domain extensions have been and continue to be added such as .co and .me. Before selecting a domain name that’s not one of the top five extensions, be alert to the challenges presented until these formats are more accepted. For example, email from the domain may get caught in spam folders.

Of course, if you create another website, it requires promotion to build a following. Here are seven suggestions to grow your following.

  1. Link from your current website and/or blog.
  2. Create a Twitter strategy to enhance your reach. As part of your tactics, don’t forget to use Twitter bait.
  3. Include social sharing to allow readers to share with their colleagues.
  4. Use a social media press release to increase awareness to a broader audience with links to strongest stories.
  5. Set up a Facebook fan page to augment the conversation.
  6. Cross promote the new website in your existing marketing communications such as emailings and other customer communications like purchase receipts and customer service.
  7. Build a blogger outreach, either through direct, targeted contact or by leaving comments on relevant blogs.

While your current website and/or blog may be handling your content effectively now, if there’s a real time event that effects your business, it’s good idea to respond quickly and effectively by creating another web presence on a new domain name appropriate to that event.

Do you have any other suggestions for building another related presence online using another domain name? If so, please add it to the comments section below.

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Tip of my hat to David Meerman Scott and Lauren Price for inspiring this post.

Photo credit: Natalie Maynor via Flickr

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