What are the first few things you do after you acquire the best domain name for any geographic city or area? That’s what I wanted to know when I decided to register for and attend the GeoPublishers.com Expo in Chicago, Illinios, which took place over the last two days.
Fred Mercaldo, president of GeoPublishers.com and publisher of over 60 geodomains including Scottsdale.com, did not disappoint with a comprehensive program including presentations from Ron Jackson, editor of DN Journal, Don Jones from NewOrleans.com, and the Castello Brothers (Michael and David) of CCIN.
What follows are five of the biggest takeaways and trends in geodomains right now. Each is influencing what domain names we buy, develop and publish in significant ways. (Facebook photo album of GeoPublishers.com conference)
5. Owning the Brand Is Only the Beginning
For domain investors, the domain name can be – and often is – the ultimate goal. But for anyone developing and publishing content on geodomains, it’s only the beginning of the journey. During the GeoPublishers.com Expo, it became painfully clear (to me) that there are many aspects to consider: gathering email addresses for your audience, building engagement through Facebook, immediately communicating deals via SMS text messaging, apps with push notifications, consultative meetings to determine potential advertisers’ needs before offering solutions. As Alisa Cromer from Local Media Insider put it, “There’s a time to be quick, and a time to be strategic. Now is the time to be strategic.” Google and Facebook are racing to control your local audience, but it’s not too late – you need to determine a strategy now and begin executing against it.
4. Build the Brand, Not Just the Domain Name
Geodomain names are fantastic assets. Don Jones from NewOrleans.com stated, “They’re immediately recognizable, intuitive brands on the web.” But just launching a website for your city is not enough. Sara Mannix of Mannix Marketing, an Internet marketing services and website design firm that operates many geodomain sites including Albany.com, Saratoga.com and LakeGeorge.com, suggested integrating the brand with your community through offline marketing tactics such as utilizing billboard displays, sponsoring an in-person event, and providing pro bono marketing seminars to Chamber of Commerce members in your city.
3. Grow Where Others Are Declining
While Internet advertising is growing by leaps and bounds every year, not all advertising channels are feeling the love. One great way to find new customers is to look for your competitors’ disgruntled customers. According to many attendees at GeoPublishers, current advertisers of Yellow Pages and direct mail are places to start looking. Being able to discuss how user behavior is moving online and how many hotels are removing phone books from their rooms highlights the benefit of directory listings on your premium brand geodomain websites.
2. Traffic Is Increasing…and It’s Mobile
While most of your traffic is coming from the web browsers of desktop or laptop computers today, it’s going to shift. Paul Wagner, CEO of Forkfly – an online service offering coupons and discounts from restaurants and other businesses to publishers, noted that “30 percent of site traffic is mobile, and it’s going to increase to 50 percent within the next two years.” If you’re not thinking about reformatting content for the small screen – with larger fonts and smaller graphics – your readers are going to be disgruntled. But don’t stop there. Wagner also suggested making sure you stay abreast of Facebook, push notifications on apps, QR (quick response) codes, NFC (near field communication) and any other technologies that could impact your advertising customers.
1. Get Feet On The Street
“Feet on the street,” “boots on the ground,” “dialing for dollars” – however you refer to it, proactive selling must be part of your plans if your geodomain is going to be successful. According to Gordon Borrell, CEO of Borrell Associates Inc., “your average salesperson should bring in about $250,000 per year in sales; perhaps half of that for smaller markets. Four salespeople should bring in $1 million in revenue.” Given that the average revenue per sales representative should be three to four times their salary, it’s an investment every geodomain publisher can afford to make.
Additional Coverage of GeoPublishers.com
- “GeoPublishers Conference off to a promising start” by Nat Cohen at DomainArts.com
- “First GeoPublishers.com Expo Provides a Wealth of Information During Weekend Run in Chicago” by Ron Jacson of DNJournal.com
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