FINDING THE RIGHT DOMAIN NAME

There is an often-told story (disputed by many historians) that the head of the U.S. Patent Office once sent his resignation to President McKinley, suggesting the office be closed because “everything that can be invented has been invented.”

You might think you are encountering a modern day equivalent situation when trying to select a domain name for your business or blog. After all, Google announced seven years ago that it had already indexed over 1 trillion unique URLs.

Securing a good (notice I did not say “the perfect”) domain name can be frustrating. Your selection must be unique, the single road by which the world must travel to your ecommerce doorstep.

It is therefore essential that you secure the best available domain name for your business. Simply recognize and accept in advance that it is usually a classic example of satisfying a process, not optimizing it.

Consider the following points:

  1. Begin by preparing a prioritized list of acceptable names. Avoid unprofessional sounding domain names unless they are somehow related to or descriptive of your business. Variations of your name should be safe bets.
  2. The next step is to search your list on any domain registrar. The largest and best-known registrar in the United States is GoDaddy. Network Solutions and Netfirms are also popular. Prices vary widely. Since you will probably use the same company to host your website and email, consider the entire cost of the package, not just the cost of name registration.
  3. Don’t throw in the towel just because your first choice has been taken. Enter it into your browser and see if it is actually being used. If not, there is an active aftermarket for domain names. Free services such as www.Whois.net and www.Better-Whois.com will show the registrar and, depending on the account’s privacy settings, the name and address of the registrant. You can then contact the owner and inquire whether the name is available at a reasonable price. The same services will tell you when the registration expires and (for a fee) notify you if the registrant fails to renew.
  4. A cheaper alternative is to construct a similar name. Perhaps the insertion of a simple hyphen, using an abbreviation, substituting numeric symbols for words and so on will accomplish your goal. The only limitation is the one imposed by your creativity. Whatever name you choose, try to keep it as short as possible, preferable 10 characters or less.
  5. The most widely used domain extension is .com. If it is unavailable, other options include .net, .biz, .us and .info. Although originally intended for nonprofit organizations, many commercial ventures now use the .org extension. Most registrars will automatically show you other available options if your preferred extension is taken. With the continued expansion of the Internet, the inability to reserve .com no longer carries much of a negative marketing connotation in most situations.
  6. Finally, after you have decided on a domain name and extension, consider reserving other available extensions to keep them out of the hands of current and future competitors. For example, you might buy mycompany.net, mycompany.biz, mycompany.US and mycompany.org as companions to mycompany.com. Additional domain names can be purchased without a hosting package for as little as $10 each, per year. You can also direct inquiries to these companion extensions to your primary web address.

© 2015 by CFO America, LLC

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TACTICAL SOUP WON’T CURE MARKETING WOES

SoupMotivational speakers Jack Canfield and Mark Hansen created an entire industry with the 1993 introduction of their Chicken Soup for the Soul book series. They have since sold over 100 million copies, and inspired countless authors of every genre. A recent search of Amazon generated 35,024 hits of titles beginning with “Chicken Soup for the.”

One could easily get the impression soup has magical powers to cure just about anything.

However, there is one soup not good for anything except unnecessary costs and market failure. That is a steaming bowl of tactical soup. What is tactical soup? Princeton, NJ consultant Gordon G. Andrew describes the recipe this way:

“Tactical Soup occurs when firms get bogged down in a flurry of marketing activity without placing enough emphasis on how it will help generate revenue and profitability.”

Tactical Soup is served up regularly in businesses where activity is too often mistaken for results, where the urge to “early adopt” the latest craze eagerly overlooks cost-benefit analysis, and where the rush to hop on the newest social media bandwagon precludes any thought of whether your target market is similarly enamored.

To squander limited marketing resources in a valueless caldron of tactical soup is a recipe for disaster. It can be avoided by asking three simple questions:

  1. Where will I find my market?
  2. What is the total cost of the proposed marketing tactic?
  3. What incremental sales volume is necessary to justify the cost?

Marketing is about connecting with the right audiences in whatever communication channel they select, always a moving target. There was a time when most audiences were found through ads in the Yellow Pages, roadside bill boards  and the Sunday newspaper. Finding new customer prospects today is far more complex, and depends on demographics such as age, sex, income and education levels.

Question 2 is the easiest, provided indirect and allocated costs are added to the initial design costs, price concessions, monthly hosting and other recurring expenses.

The final question requires a basic understanding of your cost structure. While cost accounting is too complex to explain here, of primary concern in implementing marketing tactics are the average gross profit (sales price less cost of goods sold) and what volume of sales can be expected from new customers. A product or service with a $100 gross profit is cost justified at a much lower new sales volume than one with a $3 gross profit. Likewise, a service that typically enjoys 6.3 sales per customer supports a higher marketing budget than one where repeat sales are negligible.

Answers to these three simple questions will provide the focus, discipline and accountability to maximize return on marketing efforts and avoid the waste and disappointment of tactical soup.

© 2014 by CFO America, LLC

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THE PITFALL OF WHOLESALE NETWORKING TO RETAIL PROSPECTS

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You Can Count on a Guy in a White Hat

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As an entire generation who grew up watching Gun Smoke, The Lone Ranger and a long list of other television westerns knows, good guys always wore white hats! One of the greatest Hollywood clichés of all times, it is deeply ingrained within each … [Continue reading]

“LIKE” IF YOU REMEMBER MYSPACE

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Is it just me, or has there been an explosion of people posting nostalgic photos on Facebook and asking you to click "Like" if you can remember a black and white picture of some fifties TV icon or a once popular consumer product from your youth? Time … [Continue reading]

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