Domain names are strategic assets and the best ones are often times not easy to obtain, especially for startups. Whether to invest in such a name or go with alternatives is a question many entrepreneurs ask themselves, and one that I get often. Our team at SmartBranding has now spent coming up to 2 years looking into what makes premium domain names the best investment for your brand. Here are some of the main findings.
- Companies upgrade to domains exactly matching their brand name after they achieve some success.
- Many rebrand completely to better names.
- Investors also judge a business based on its choice of a domain (Calm’s story is a great example).
- The majority of top brands across countries and industries operate on .com domains exactly matching their brand.
But domain names are expensive!
This is something I hear often. But what does « expensive » mean? A recent study by Elevent helps put things in perspective. Companies pay millions of dollars for the right to attach their names to sports arenas, stadiums and entertainment venues. This is quite a common practice and hardly anyone considers those « expensive ».
Elevent asked 2,000 American adults 18 and over if they knew that specific stadiums had been renamed. The findings are pretty interesting.
Stadium naming rights have little to no impact on the sponsor brand for specific sponsors according to two-thirds of the consumers surveyed, and less than one-third of those surveyed were aware of recent stadium naming-rights changes at high-profile NFL, MLB, and NBA stadiums.Elevent’s website
Here are some examples from the survey:
Fleet Center to TD Garden (Boston)
20-years, $100M deal is set to expire in a couple of years, but 77% of consumers surveyed in 2022 weren’t aware of the name change.
New Meadowlands to MetLife Stadium (East Rutherford, N.J.)
Only 29% of survey participants were aware of the stadium name change completed in 2011 (a 25-year, $400M deal). In other words, more than 10 years later, 71% of consumers surveyed remained unaware of the change.
US Cellular to Guaranteed Rate Field (Chicago)—In 2016, Guaranteed Rate purchased the naming rights in a 13-year deal. Here we are five years later, and 83% of consumers surveyed are oblivious to the switch.
Staples Center to Crypto.com Arena (LA)—The largest naming rights deal in sports history was announced in 2021, and 27% of respondents are aware of the change. Not bad for a relatively new deal for a venerated stadium, but it remains to be seen if the name Crypto.com catches on.
So how does that relate to domain names?
There is pretty much no way your customers won’t notice you changing your domain name. Especially if you change it to a better one, one that makes their life easier by making you more accessible. Here is just some of the feedback from entrepreneurs who invested in the best names for their business.
- Great returns with respect to customer recognition, service adoption, website exposure, and SEO. – Scott Painter, Fair.com
- Better overall conversions and lower drop-off rates on our campaigns. – Frans van Hulle, CEO & Co-Founder at PX.com
- After acquiring User.com we noted a 300% increase in traffic. – Tomasz Sawicki, CMO at User
- We saw a 40% increase in traffic immediately after securing our preferred domain. – John Furneaux, CEO of Hive.com
- We had an average return of repeat customers of over 200% from where it originally was. – Craig Clark, CEO of Pillows.com
- About 70% of traffic comes from the domain directly – we don’t have to purchase the keywords as much any longer. – Tor Sweeney, Owner of Dresses.com
- We were spending around $10,000 per month on Google AdWords and other pay-per-click services, which wasn’t really a great investment. As soon as we acquired the domain name, we saw a significant increase in focused traffic, apparently from direct visitors. – Ben Carmitchel, President and CEO of DataRecovery.com
- We noticed more conversions from our client integrations. – Graham Dodge, Co-founder and CEO at SickWeather
- We saw our conversion rate dramatically jump when we rebranded from usefedora.com to teachable.com. – Ankur Nagpal, Founder of Teachable.com
- Owning Cover.com has lent an extra level of legitimacy to the brand and this, in turn, has translated into sales. – Karn Saroya, CEO and Co-founder at Cover
- We have seen a 5x in our web3 calls to our Alchemy instances that coincided with the procurement of Sushi.com. – Joseph Delong, Chief Technology Officer at SushiSwap
- Switching to Paw.com has had a tremendously positive impact on our company. – David Gimes, Founder and CEO of Paw.com
- It is a lot easier to raise venture capital when you’ve got a domain name like we have because the first thing you see on the deck is the title, and if it says Scan.com it is making them turn to the next page. – Charlie Bullock, founder of Scan.com
- Traffic shot up 30%, journalists started writing about us, our ad spend became 20% more effective, and no one forgot our name. – James Currier on Tickle.com
Check out more comments in this article.
What about You?
As you consider the cost of your perfect domain name, it’s important to think about the long-term value it can bring to your brand. While the initial price may seem steep, consider how much it will cost you on a yearly basis and over the lifetime of your business. Think about how much more effective your marketing efforts will be with a strong, memorable domain name. Before making a decision that could impact the success of your business, ask yourself these crucial questions and weigh the potential benefits against the cost.
How does your brand name match your company vision? What new horizons can a better name open? Get in touch if you feel your brand deserves a better name, we are always happy to help.
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