Let’s talk about Lucy. She is a pastry chef who recently moved to Chicago from Paris. She set up her bakery a couple of months ago in a quiet suburban neighborhood and is pleased with the response she has received so far. What started out as a hobby back when she was a teenager has now become her passion and profession. The business is thriving, she loves what she does and is excited about what the future holds for her.
It is likely that your brain has visualized this story as you were reading it and will retain those images for you for a long time to come. On other hand, your brain has presumably forgotten the name of this person (unless your name is Lucy or you have a specific reason to remember that name). The reason is that your brain selectively retains information that it finds meaningful and discards anything that it classifies as useless. This continuous process of dumping redundant memories and data is what makes the brain efficient. It’s not surprising that this intel into the functioning of our brain is the genesis of ‘marketing with storytelling’.
Domain extensions: a tool for storytelling?
It was in January 1985 when the Domain Name System (DNS) was first implemented for use on the Internet. This paved the way for the first set of top-level domains or domain extensions; each representing a specific type of entity. For example, .com symbolized ‘commercial’ websites, .mil was derived from the word ‘military’, .net meant ‘network’ and so on for .org, .edu, and .us. Since then, we have been conditioned to categorize websites based on the domain extensions they carry.
As the Internet exploded, so did the adoption of .com for all kinds of websites that represented businesses, people, places, religion, blogs, social media, communities, anything and everything. As a result, the quality of website names deteriorated with the inclusion of hyphens, abbreviations, s replaced with z, for you replaced with 4u, and so on.
It’s 2018 and we now have over 1200 new domain extensions, each with its own meaning. For example, there’s .tech for technology and .fun for, well, fun! With these new domain extensions, marketers have an opportunity to choose website names that tell a specific story, create a brand association, add more meaning and make the website name far more memorable.
Integrating new domain extensions in your marketing strategy
Domain names have traditionally been limited to primary website names. After all, the only time you buy a domain name is when you plan to create a website on it. In modern marketing, domain names go way beyond that and can be used effectively in many manners to aide your overall marketing strategy.
Here are 5 different ways you can use domain names on new domain extensions for enriching your marketing strategy:
1) Create Branded URL shortener
A bit.ly link here, a buff.ly link there and you have cryptic URLs everywhere you look. Except, it doesn’t have to be that way. Did you know that you can brand every link you shorten with your brand name? Of course you do because you have seen links such as amzn.to/2MvuTt4 and nyti.ms/2MsdmCa on social media and elsewhere. Just by looking at these links you can guess which brands these links belong to. Some of the benefits of branded URLs are building credibility, getting more clicks and creating higher brand recall overtime.
To get started, buy a meaningful domain name on a relevant new domain extension and sign up on a platform that offers to create custom branded links for you. For inspiration, check out how Panda Express is using branded URL shorteners:
2) Use contextual domain redirects
Your website’s inner pages probably have links that are long, complicated and awkward. Here’s another example from Amazon. Here’s the deep-link to Amazon’s Kindle store page which cannot be used as is in any marketing communication:
One way to communicate such links is through branded URL shorteners but if it’s an important page on your website, you could create a clean domain redirect such as www.kindle.store. Amazon is one of the brands that makes great use of such redirects. Here are some more Amazon examples:
You can use this strategy to effectively brand campaign microsites or landing pages as well. The choice of the domain extension will depend upon the positioning you want to build for the brand. Some of the options that you could consider are .club, .social, .space, .cool, .site, etc.
3) Connect offline marketing to online
When you create domain redirects or branded URLs as described above, you can easily drive traffic to your website or any inner page from offline marketing too. This is especially useful if you are exhibiting a specific product at an event. A domain redirect can make it easy for you to give an actionable link to your booth visitors. The more contextual and meaningful the link, the more they are likely to retain the website name in their memory.
4) Generate on-topic backlinks for SEO
One of the most strategic applications of keyword-rich domain names is that they can help you get on-topic backlinks. For example, if the domain redirect www.infant.clothing (owned by Amazon) gets backlinks on anchor text ‘infant clothing’, it will indicate to search engines that the website carries relevant information for those keywords. Of course, the page will only rank if it has authentic content on the subject.
New domain extensions offer a massive opportunity for you to create short, brandable domain names that help you tell a story. One of the most important benefits of new extensions is that you are likely to find a two-word domain name that you desire without having to compromise on the quality of the domain name. So, make the most of new domain extensions for your marketing strategy and build a memorable brand story.
Written By: Swati Maheshwari, Content Marketing Manager, Radix
Swati Maheshwari leads Content Marketing at Radix, the registry behind some of the most successful new domain extensions such as .TECH, .STORE, .ONLINE, and .FUN.