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The Perfect Domain for Your Digital Campaign

Digital marketing has come a long way since the early days of the web, when getting your site on the Yahoo Directory of cool sites was a sign that you'd made it. More than two decades on, online branding has evolved.

Today, digital campaigns span search engine optimization, social media, advertising, email marketing and content, which has itself blossomed into photography, video and even augmented reality (AR). At their heart, though, digital campaigns begin with one important thing: an eye-catching, intuitive domain name.

Choosing the right domain for your digital campaign takes imagination. When it comes to choosing the top-level domain (TLD), it pays to be adventurous and look beyond the traditional .com and .net options.

Digital users are drowning in information, and attention is an invaluable commodity. A domain name that can communicate your company's ethos to online audiences before they swipe past it is key.

Short and snappy

When using a domain as part of a digital campaign, a company should use short, one or two-word options that enable them to quickly stand out and capture a user's attention. Registering meaningful domains of that length can be difficult with overcrowded traditional TLDs.

Using an alternative TLD gives you more options. UK-based communications giant Sky took full advantage by using .sky. This decision enabled the company to use just a single letter to reach its online audience with a particular product.

Q.sky is arguably the easiest Sky-related domain that anyone could remember. The company redirects visitors who enter this domain to the section of its online store selling the Sky Q home entertainment box. Not only is q.sky far easier to access directly, but it also sticks in the reader's mind; the URL becomes a short, snappy brand asset for the product in its own right.

While some companies use their domains imaginatively to give a particular product an online home, others use them to craft broader campaigns that may operate for a set time period. Custom TLDs are an excellent way to promote specific projects like this.

In BMW's case, the company chose next100.bmw to communicate its vision for the next century. When the campaign was over, the luxury car brand redirected the URL to its main site.

Concentrating on a single domain name for a campaign can strengthen the branding message. Registering a dedicated domain can support a wide range of digital campaigns, from competitions and giveaways through to 30-day challenges (those play well on social media!).

It's OK to be .blue

For other organizations, an imaginative name is a way to reflect a broader business ethos. The .blue TLD attracts high-quality clients looking for a way to differentiate themselves.

Lake Tahoe-based Elevate Blue LLC registered elevate.blue for a triple win. First, it nicely encapsulated the company's name in the URL. Second, the site name helped communicate what its business was about. Elevate.blue reflects not only the deep blue of Lake Tahoe, but also its sky-high elevation. As such, it communicates an important part of the company's brand, which is to take startups to a new level. As the company says on its web site: “Aim high, go blue." Finally, many potential customers noticed the TLD and wondered Is .blue a domain name? — enabling the company's executives to communicate their brand message everywhere they went.

Integrating TLDs across all marketing efforts

The most effective campaigns provide continuity, spanning both the digital and the physical worlds. Tie your online and offline marketing together by reproducing and complementing your unique domain name in your print materials —including posters and billboards.

For example, to promote .london, which has become the City of London's TLD, organizers used a variety of digital media, including video interviews with Londoners, combined with print campaigns, such as posters on the London underground to reinforce the City's branding.

The takeaway for small business owners is that domain names are evolving. The range of options now available gives you the opportunity to shine and show your unique value. When marketing to people across fast-moving digital channels, innovative branding is no longer an option — it's a requirement.

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Tuesday, September 4, 2018