Every domain and hosting provider knows one thing: it all starts with a domain name.
We tell our customers over and over again that a good domain name is a great way for any business to present itself.
The importance of domain names is also reflected in the vital role they play in your sales flow, as every customer journey begins with a domain search.
For many customers, however, searching for the right domain is often a dreadful experience, particularly if their original choice is already taken by someone else.
This is actually a very common occurrence: when we took a closer look at the over 1 billion domain searches that pass through our system each year, we discovered that there is a 57% chance that the string your customer is searching for is not available in .com.
Even if domains are not your main product, neglecting to optimize your domain search is bound to turn many of your potential customers away, causing a loss of earnings that goes well beyond the margin you would have made on the domain sale itself.
Over the years, DomainsBot has helped many of the world’s most successful Registrars drive more domain sales. As a new year full of opportunities begins, we decided to share a few tips on how to optimize your domain sales flow and turn this 2018 into the best year ever.
1. There is such a thing as “too much choice”
The advent of hundreds of new TLDs over the past few years has certainly broadened the pool of great options available, easing the pressure on customers to find “a good .com” at all costs.
All this TLD bonanza seems to have shifted that “performance anxiety” over to the Registrars though. Caught between an exploding catalog of options, Registry Operators bidding over each other for shelf space and some good old “fear of missing out”, for many Registrars the easy solution was to let the size of their search result pages swell significantly.
Some have put their faith in bottomless lists with infinite scroll, others have taken a more scientific approach and ended up in “category tabs” hell.
Predictably, usability (and the customer who “just wanted to get online”) is often left holding the short straw.
Looking at our Partner network, we were not that surprised to notice that those Registrars that have kept their head cool and their results pages clean and simple and only show a limited set of results tend to have much better conversion rates (and probably happier customers).
2. There is no “one size fits all”
The way the domain and hosting sales flow is built today puts us all in a tricky position. Domain search is typically the first meaningful interaction a Registrar has with a prospective customer, which means that at this point we still know very little about the user and his/her intentions. Yet, it is also the moment where we are expected to shine, delivering the perfect results and displaying the domains and extensions that are the best match to the user’s query (and that are most likely to sell).
For a single domain provider, building and maintaining a system that can handle this task efficiently is a daunting – and expensive – task. DomainsBot, on the other end, has spent over 10 years focusing all its efforts into building a system dedicated specifically to analyzing each query, mixing a varied source of data, advanced statistics and semantics to return in just a few milliseconds a list of relevant results and suggestions. When our Partner passes on to us the first part of the customer’s IP address, we are even able to include results that take the user’s geolocation into consideration. This enables us for instance to show a .london suggestion to a search originating from the London area, or a .ca to a Canadian customer.
The secret to keeping your results page short and clean is clearly not to pick one single set list of TLDs to show to all your users and axe everything else. Leaving the task to come up with the list that makes sense for each specific customer to our Semantic Engine takes away all the need to deal with the complexity of the modern domain market, so you can focus your energies on providing better service to your customers.
3. Analyze & optimize
Many Registrars spend significant amounts of money on SEO, SEM, Social Media and all sorts of marketing campaigns to drive traffic to their homepage. Sadly, many then fail to track how many of these hard-won leads convert into a paying customer, and most importantly what causes some of them to drop off during the process.
Getting detailed analytics on your sales flow can be a complicated affair, particularly if your store runs on an off-the-shelf solution.
Partners that pipe their domain searches through the DomainsBot Name Suggestion can add to the increased sales also the advantage of getting access to a Dashboard providing several useful pointers to better understand their market.
The average conversion rate per thousand queries is, for instance, a good indicator of how effective a sales funnel is. The weighted performance of each individual TLD provides useful data to fully evaluate the effect of a marketing campaign. Furthermore, our Partners can get a more accurate picture of what their competitive landscape really looks like based on the number of domains that were first searched on their site and then later registered somewhere else.
Just like with everything else, there are no quick fixes that can replace hard work and some good old-fashioned “trials & errors”.
Registrars and Hosters that are willing to take a holistic approach to understanding and improving their sales flow are likely to fare better than those that plan to simply keep doing what they have always done.
If you are one of those looking to provide a better service to your customers, sell more domains and grow your business in 2018, DomainsBot Name Suggestion can be the smartest investment you will do this year.