If you own a domain name, getting the highest offer possible generally requires waiting for a potential end user of that domain name to contact you. In some cases, you may be waiting years, or you may never hear from the perfect end user.
The alternative to waiting is to proactively reach out to potential buyers who may be interested in purchasing the domain name. While it may not maximize your sales price, it could produce a sale and cash flow for your business or investment.
In this tutorial, you will learn how to use the Estibot Domain Lead Generator & End-User Finder Tools to find and contact potential end users. Also included in this tutorial are the real results from trying to sell four domain names to potential buyers using the Estibot tools.
These Estibot tools require a paid account at the Intermediate, Advanced or Expert level. This tutorial is not a paid placement; it’s an educational tutorial for those with the desire to proactively sell domain names and the means to purchase a paid Estibot account.
How the Estibot Tools Work
There are two tools provided by Estibot for finding end users:
- Domain Lead Generator & End-User Finder Tool
- Lead Research Tool
As the Estibot documentation states, these tools were “…created to sell domains in the $150 to $2,500 price range to small businesses.” These small businesses are likely to be purchasing advertising and to maintain proper Whois records. In addition, the Whois contact information is likely to be for the owner or principal of the company.
Estibot gathers information in two ways:
- Looking at companies who are buying keyword advertising in search engines.
- Looking at companies owning similar or related domain names.
It should be noted that you can manually do all the work contained in this tutorial. If you would prefer to use your time than pay for a service, follow the steps and reproduce the results without the use of Estibot. However, if you agree with the adage time is money, you might prefer to automate the process and complete it faster.
Case Study Examples
Tutorials are always easier to understand when real examples are used.
The following domain names, owned by DomainSherpa.com publisher Michael Cyger, were used as test cases:
- 1932Quarter.com ($210)
- BurienPlumber.com ($0)
- DiveSuit.com ($1,600)
- VPNTest.com ($20)
The Estibot valuations as of the publication date of this article are listed above in parenthesis after the domain names.
While I agree with the magnitude of the valuations of 1932Quarter.com and DiveSuit.com, I believe BurienPlumber.com has the potential to be worth a few hundred dollars to a plumbing service provider in Burien, Washington; and VPNTest.com, based on 4,359 unique visitors to the website in 2013 and a $4.62 average CPC on Google Adwords might be worth around $3,000. Again, these are my personal opinions as the registrant of these domain names.
This tutorial assumes you have signed up for an Estibot account and paid for an Intermediate, Advanced or Expert level of service. The service is paid monthly, so you can pay for a single month at any level, contact end users, and then discontinue service before the next month is billed, making full use of the software during the paid term. Or, if you are in the business of buying and selling domain names, you may find Estibot to be a valuable cost of goods sold tool.
A. Setting Up Your Email Account
The first thing you should do is set up your email account on Estibot.com so you can use their automated system to contact end users.
While setting it up may not sound like a big deal, how well you do this can make a big impression on potential buyers. Additionally, without a functioning email account, the remainder of this tutorial is moot.
Step 1: Sign into your paid Estibot account and visit the Lead Generator Settings page
Step 2: Click “Add an Account”
Step 3: Enter your email address and click “Save”
Optional: Click the mail line item in the text box (A) then click “Edit Selected Account” (B)
Update the address to “Your Name <firstname.lastname@example.org>” (without the quotes) to have your name show up in the recipient’s email inbox as your full name, not simply “email@example.com” and click “Save”.
Note: Estibot can use any email provider, and no email address passwords are stored. Instead, Estibot sends email from their mail server with your specified email address as the “reply to” address.
Perform a test: At the top of the mail setup screen, click the “Custom Mail Server” tab.
Click the “Test” button on the bottom of the confirmation window.
If the email test email is successful, you should arrive in the email inbox of the account you set up after seeing the following confirmation message.
The test email should display in your inbox with the full first and last name of the recipient. Unfortunately a “<" symbol appears before the name as well, which is better than simply the email address appearing.
You are now ready to send emails using Estibot’s automated system.
B. Searching for and Selecting End User Leads
There are two tools provided by Estibot for finding end users:
- Tool #1: Domain Lead Generator & End-User Finder Tool
- Tool #2: Lead Research Tool
Tool #1 is the original tool developed by Estibot and provides both a search of similar domain names and a search of advertisers on Google. When it finds an advertising company, it performs a Whois lookup to determine a contact email address associated with the company’s domain name.
Tool #2 only searches similar domain names (i.e., it does not find advertiser leads) but does so in a more flexible manner by allowing you to separate keywords and search with synonyms. It often produces more leads at a faster rate than the original tool.
The video below shows how both tools were used to search for prospective end users.
Tool #1 overview: starting at 0:00.
Tool #2 overview: starting at 6:27.
This interview is promoted through a media partnership with Domaining.com
While Estibot does the heavy lifting of finding end users via either similar domain name Whois lookups or advertising analysis, it should not be considered a panacea for developing a list of sales leads. If you are a true investor and understand the industry that you are investing in, you will likely have contacts, additional information on leads and other sources to reach out to.
While you cannot add leads into the Estibot tool, you can use the text of the Estibot-generated email to send from your personal email account.
C. Writing Your Sales Letter
Estibot Tool #1 comes with a template that you can use or modify as you desire. One nice aspect of the template is that any advertising data, such as search volume and cost per click information, can be automatically included within your email using specified tags.
Using Tool #1 (Domain Lead Generator & End-User Finder Tool), the tags that can be included within an email template are:
[[asking_price]] – The asking price for your domain.
[[my_domain]] – The domain name you are trying to sell.
[[lead_domain]] – The lead domain name to which an e-mail is addressed.
[[lead_reason]] – The reason this domain was picked by our lead generator (reasons include: “Registered a similar domain”, “Searched under a related keyword”, ” Purchased ads under a related keyword”).
[[lead_type]] – The method used to generate this lead (methods include: “dns”, “ad”, “search”).
[[lead_keyword]] – The keyword for which this lead is listed or advertisers for in the search results.
[[site_title]] – The title of the site associated with this lead.
[[meta_keywords]] – The site meta keywords associated with this lead.
[[meta_description]] – The site meta description associated with this lead.
[[ip]] – The IP address the lead domain is hosted on.
[[ip_domains]] – The number of domains hosted on the same IP as the lead domain.
[[whois_registrant]] – The registrant associated with this lead domain.
[[whois_email]] – The emails (comma separated) associated with this lead domain.
[[whois_phone]] – The phone numbers (comma separated) associated with the lead domain.
[[whois_registrar]] The registrar associated with the lead domain.
[[whois_age]] – The registration age for the lead domain.
[[alexa_traffic_rank]] – The Alexa traffic rank associated with the lead domain.
[[alexa_trend]] – The Alexa trend associated with the lead domain.
[[alexa_link_popularity]] – The Alexa link popularity associated with the lead domain.
[[pagerank]] – The google pagerank associated with the lead domain.
[[ad_keyword]] – The ad keyword (if ad type lead) associated with the lead domain.
[[ad_search_volume]] – The ad keyword (if ad type lead) associated with the lead domain.
[[ad_cpc]] – The cost for click for the keyword (if ad type lead) associated with the lead domain.
[[ad_daily_cost]] – The daily ad cost for the keyword (if ad type lead) associated with the lead domain.
[[ad_monthly_cost]] – The monthly ad cost for keyword (if ad type lead) associated with the lead domain.
[[my_name]] – Your first name as set in your user profile.
The standard email template reads:
Subject: I have a domain you may be interested in.
I noticed that you are currently advertising under the term “[[ad_keyword]]” on [[lead_source]] and it’s costing you about $[[ad_cpc]] per click, that’s more than $[[ad_monthly_cost]] per month!
I own [[my_domain]] which is closely related to your keyword and may help in driving organic traffic and improving SEO. This way, you wouldn’t have to spend as much on adwords because you could get some organic traffic as well as natural search traffic based on “[[lead_keyword]]”.
I’m only asking $[[asking_price]] for this domain. If you are not interested, I understand and apologize for the inconvenience, but if you would like to buy it, please let me know.
Using Tool #2 (Lead Research Tool), the tags that can be included within an email template are:
%my_domain% – the domain name you are selling
%lead_domain% – the domain name you are emailing
%whois_registrant% – the registrant of the domain
No template is provided with Tool #2, however, you can write your own using the three tags above and save it for future use.
You should take pride in your offer and customize your letter appropriately. You likely know more about domain names than potential buyers you are contacting, so take the time to craft a well-worded and educational letter.
I say letter to underscore the importance of this communication. While you are sending it by email, you should make no mistake that most of the people you will be communicating with consider a financial transaction to be critically important and jotting off a quick email is not likely to deliver the result you desire.
Your email should not only look like a legitimate email, it should be one. In order to be legitimate, ensure the following are included:
- Name *and* email address in the From field
- Proper salutation, customized with first or last name (e.g., “Hi Michael,” or “Dear Mr. Cyger”)
- Grammar and spelling free of errors
- Proper spacing between paragraphs
- Proper signature with full contact details
- A real email address from a paid email service
Do not gloss over the bullets above. Spammers can get a free email account and use a non-descript account like firstname.lastname@example.org very easily, which means that you should spend the extra time to differentiate your email by using one of your real domain names with an online email system and your full name to show you have credibility.
Honesty and trustworthiness begin with the first contact – spend the time to test your email and ensure you are putting your best foot forward.
While some domain name investors prefer to provide a complete and long-form sales letter identifying every aspect of why the domain name is valuable and how the transaction can be completed, other investors swear by short letters that are geared only to determining interest.
There’s no one best sales letter – try different letters over time and find one that you feel most comfortable with. Ask yourself what makes you feel like a legitimate investor and how you would feel if you were a small business owner receiving the email you’re sending.
In addition to the template sales letter provided by Estibot, two sample sales templates can be found on DomainSherpa:
D. Sending Your Emails
Once you have done your Estibot searches, selected the proper leads and written your sales letter, the only thing remaining is to hit the send button and contact prospective buyers. If you’re sending additional emails from your email account to contacts not included in Estibot, you might want to send them at the same time so you can evaluate all replies concurrently and accept the best offer.
Keep track of your sales offer so you can evaluate the results against the inputs (e.g., text used, amount of information provided, etc.). Information you should record should include:
- A copy of the sales letter (save as text with subject and body, and file named similar to “domain.tld-sales-letter-YYYYMMDD.txt”)
- A list of contacts the sales letter was mailed to (file named similar to “domain.tld-contacts-YYYYMMDD.csv” or .xlsx)
Estibot also maintains an email log of emails sent using their system, including the domain being offered, the domain of the contact, the email of the contact, the date and the status (e.g., sent, skipped, etc.). You can find this information on the My Lead E-Mail History page. Clicking the status link for each entry will show you the exact email that was sent.
The results of trying to sell the four domain names in this case study are listed below:
|Domain Name||Estibot Valuation ($)||Contacts (#)||Responses (#)||Sale (Yes/No)||Sales Price ($)|
The Contacts are the number of people that were emailed in the course of trying to sell these four domain names. The Responses are the number of Contacts that responded positively that they were interested in learning more about the domain name. The Contacts count does not include any contacts that replied “no thanks” or similar. If a sale of the domain name occurred, it is listed as “Yes” or “No,” and if yes, the price is the final sales price not including escrow fees.
It should be noted that only one contact per lead was made by email. No follow-up was performed nor was any telephone communication, both of which would likely increase the opportunity to sell one of the domain names.
The table above will be updated as new data is collected, such as Responses or Sales.
Contribute to the learning: What does your sales letter look like? Post it in the comments. »
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