When you're starting a new business venture, registering your domain name is an essential rite of passage. Before you arrive at a decision, you've likely pondered it for many weeks or months, researched it extensively, and run it by friends, family, and colleagues for validation. You may even have sought outside help from a brand expert or an intellectual property lawyer to make sure you've got it just right.
When all is said and done, and you're ready to register your domain, chances are you're very happy with it. It's short, it's catchy, and it's relevant to the market your business is targeting.
There's no denying that your primary domain name is a powerful asset; it's the cornerstone of your brand's online presence.
As important as it is, though, your primary domain name is only one pillar of what needs to be a broader domain name strategy. It's great start, but it's also important to consider other complementary domain names that might solidify your online presence and give you the tools to get your customers more fully engaged.
Improve customer engagement with event-specific domains
One essential area you should be focusing on in any domain name strategy is how you can use additional domains to boost your marketing efforts. Despite the rise of automation, optimization and analytics, marketing is still very much a creative endeavor, and businesses that get creative with their domain names give themselves more options for promoting their products and services in innovative ways.
Jacquie Severs, who is the Marketing Director at Beau's All Natural Brewing Company, one of Canada's most successful craft breweries, is a big advocate of using additional domains for a variety of marketing purposes. For example, the company has regularly used secondary .CA domains, like beausoktoberfest.ca and stpatricksparty.ca, to promote its special events.
“Setting up secondary domains for our events has been very effective for us,” Severs says. “Take our annual festival, Beau's Oktoberfest. The information we provide online about the event for our fans is extensive. You can buy your tickets, learn about the different beers on offer, view concert schedules, look at event photos, access maps, and more. Hosting an individual domain for it just makes sense — for our marketing team as well as for our fans, who want to fully explore all aspects of the festival online before attending.”
Another consideration Severs mentions is that their special events are typically targeted at the local fans of the Beau's brand.
“As we are now selling nationally,” Severs says, “the focus of our main domain is on our beer and our national presence, while our secondary event domains allow us to fully engage local fans in the events without distracting from the content on our main website.”
Consider dedicated domains for product launches, rewards, and marketing campaigns
As Beau's has demonstrated with its event-focused websites, having other domains at the ready to support individual products and campaigns gives you the flexibility to target specific audiences with specialized content that's distinct from what's on your main business website.
For example, it might make sense to have a separate domain to host a microsite for a major product launch. Maybe your new product targets a specific niche market segment and would benefit from being separate from your main site. You will also want to consider whether there are specific marketing campaigns you're planning that would benefit from having a separate domain, for example to host landing pages.
Or, maybe you're developing a rewards program and you'd like to funnel all your rewards traffic to a separate site to make it as simple as possible for your customers to view and manage their rewards.
So, when should you start thinking about these additional domain names? Ideally, right at the beginning, when you're formulating your marketing plan. It's never too early to start thinking about what additional domain names could help you make a bigger impact in the market.
Protect your brand and your intellectual property
Another practical reason for registering multiple domain names is to protect the integrity of your brand and other intellectual property online. In our recent post about the legal aspects of domain name selection, we discussed the potential for other individuals or businesses to register domain names that are very similar to yours with the goal of intentionally misleading visitors in a variety of ways.
One example that falls into this category is the case of so-called “typosquatters”. These are people who register domain names that are very similar to a legitimate domain name, but contain typos (think gooogle.com vs. google.com). When users type your domain name incorrectly in their browsers, as they do from time to time, they are sent to a site that may contain advertisements, adult content, and even malware. As well as being potentially damaging for your customers, these sites can tarnish your brand by association.
One way that you can protect yourself, of course, is to purchase intentional misspellings of your domain name up front when you purchase your primary domain. Depending on your individual circumstances, it may or may not be desirable or feasible to do so, but it is worth serious consideration, given the potential for harm to your business.
By all means, feel good about that shiny new domain name you've chosen and put it to work in the service of your business. But don't forget to consider the many benefits of a broader domain name strategy to protect your online presence and help you reach and engage with your customers in new and innovative ways.
Start building your domain name portfolio today - search for an available domain name below and register with one of our certified Registrars.