Alternative Domains For Branding

How To Use Alternative Domains For Branding

June 16, 2016 - 11 minutes read - Branding, Modern Marketing

As a digital marketing consultant, I’m always looking for new and creative ways to help clients effectively brand themselves. If a branding method also happens to be good for SEO and user experience, all the better!

The digital landscape has evolved over the years to favor a very heavy social and video experience. Consumers have shorter attention spans now than ever, so it’s a challenge for modern marketers to create fun, memorable brand messages that appeal to audiences in a very quick minute. The average person is bombarded with about 5,000 ads per day, so the question becomes: how do you stand out?

There is no easy answer, but I believe part of the solution lies in creative branding – for example, the use of creative branded domains. Using alternative domains has become one of the hottest industry trends out there in an age where – let’s face it — .COMs have become not only competitive, but downright expensive too (if your .com is already taken by a 3rd party)! So I often recommend alternative domains to startups building their first websites. Yet, even for the established brand who has a .COM, there is room to strategically add alternative domains. Sure, everybody knows “.COM” – but alternative domains can be memorable, fun, and inspire creativity on your part to expand and consolidate your content.  

Mod Girl® Uses Alternative Domains For Branding And To Expand Reach

Our websites, www.ModGirlMarketing.com and www.8Waysin8Days.com have been around for several years now. As my company continues to grow, I plan to further educate our audience with educational training programs, webinars, and eBooks that will provide more in-depth tutorials and help more people succeed in building powerful brands through modern digital marketing strategies. These alternative domains will come in handy in redirecting people to specific high-value campaigns and offerings. Currently, I’ve activated a complementary domain strategy  to intuitively reinforce some of my website’s most important existing pages.

For instance, we recently purchased the following domains for branding purposes:

[clickToTweet tweet=”How To Build a Memorable #Brand Using Alternative Domains #TLD” quote=”How To Build a Memorable Brand Using Alternative Domains” theme=”style3″]

Branded Top Level Domains (TLDs) Domains and Modern Marketing

Modern marketing is not about “what’s trending”; it’s about building a memorable brand and connecting with an audience. Branded Top Level Domains (TLDs) that are relevant to service offerings and community building are just one of the many modern marketing strategies we deploy for our growing brand and recommend to our clients for their growing brands.

Our long-term vision for Mod Girl Marketing (which also aligns with Google’s long vision) is less about “standard SEO practices” or “new SEO tricks” — and more about enhancing user experience by using data to develop better calls-to-action and more effective brand messaging that resonates with audiences. When you’re doing all that, the SEO just falls into place.

Mod Girl Client Roxy Plastic Surgery Benefits From Alternative Domain Branding

ROXY Plastic Surgery of Columbus, OH offers another example of how alternative domain branding can be useful. Dr. K. Roxanne Grawe is at the top of her game with a strong Snapchat and social media following, but as a busy plastic surgeon she knows there is always room to grow her brand, particularly through social media and video. For surgeons, these channels are well-suited to offer a unique “inside look” into the world of plastic surgery. Alternative domains are perfect for use in Snapchat, where video clips are only shown for a few seconds and you want audiences to recall a specific call-to-action.

We set up the following domains for ROXY:

Although we just recently set up these new branded domains for Dr. Grawe, she is very excited about using them and loves the modern branding opportunity.

Don’t Just Take Our Word For It!

Many marketing professionals are starting to see the potential benefits of alternative domains. Bill Hartzer of Advice Interactive (and formerly Globe Runner) has been analyzing the SEO benefits of new TLDs for years. His conclusion: Keyword-rich, exact-match new domains “tend to rank fairly well,” and, if implemented correctly, can help improve search rankings as part of a broader SEO strategy as well. This can be true both for paid campaigns—where he found a new domain getting more impressions at a better cost-per-click versus an otherwise identical .COM—and in organic results—with one new domain rising much higher after being properly migrated and supported with a new web site design, as well as increased content and links. From the results it’s clear that some businesses and individuals are finding new TLDs to be better branding tools to help engage with online audiences.

[clickToTweet tweet=”#Google has made clear that its search engine does not discriminate between one #TLD and another.” quote=”Google has made clear that its search engine does not discriminate between one TLD and another.” theme=”style3″]

READ
Client Onboarding Process: A Checklist for Digital Agencies

How to Choose a Memorable Domain for Your Website

Rob Villeneuve, CEO of Rebel.com and contributor to Duct Tape Marketing, has this to say about branded domains: “Google has made clear that its search engine does not discriminate between one TLD and another” – so “If you’re a designer, then why not use .design? If you repair computer hardware and software, then try .tech. If you run a clothing shop, then .style or .clothing could be for you, or you could adopt one of the increasingly common location-based extensions.” Another option for local enterprises is to use location-based extensions like “.nyc”. Villeneuve implores: “Why not break free from the .com and choose a shorter, more relevant, and more memorable new domain extension for your website? It could do wonders for business and make your brand that little bit more memorable.”

Nicole Fallon over at Business News Daily also loves the use of alternative domains for branding purposes. The experts she consulted say that new TLDs give website owners the ability to communicate offerings very simply and effectively. If you make pizza, why not use “.pizza” as your web address? If you’re a dentist, why not use “.dentist”? If you want to direct people to your online retail store, why not use “.shop” as a faster and more convenient way to get them there? Once you have a great deal of content, you can direct customers more easily by creating a “.wiki” for a neutral and authoritative look at your offerings, the article posits.  

 The Bottom Line

We’re not suggesting that the ONLY thing you have to do is buy a creative domain name in order to stand out from the competition or rank well for a keyword. But our decade of marketing and branding experience tells us that investing in alternative, branded domain names DOES HELP mobilize web traffic down your sales funnel because ultimately it’s what modern consumers want.

Curious to see what alternative domains exist for your brand? Head over to your favorite domain registrar (Namecheap is our favorite) and take a peak!

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