Learn How to Unleash the Power of Domain Data via a Whitepaper from DomainsBot and Open-i Advisors

In our work promoting our Name Suggestion and the Pandalytics service, we often come across Registry Operators, Registrars and Webhosters that say they want to be more data-driven to optimize their business.

However, the next thing we hear is that beyond a general wish to use data more effectively, many still don’t really know what to do, or how to get started.

A common misconception is that you need a big team of data analysts and a large budget to do Business Intelligence, which is why the wish to be more data-driven ends up remaining just a wish, buried among many other tasks that seem more urgent and important (and that paradoxically could be massively improved by better leveraging data).

The reality is that the key to be successful with BI, is not how big your budget is, but rather to know what questions to ask, and to have a clear idea of how to use that information for a specific goal.

To prove this point, we teamed up with our friends at Open-i Advisors, to share our best tips and highlight a few simple things anyone can do to use domain data more effectively.

The result is a whitepaper that you can download from here right now. We have tried to keep it simple and accessible, suggesting a few “low hanging fruit” steps that we believe would give positive results quickly, and be the starting point for a broader adoption of BI and stronger, data-driven growth.

From Puerto Rico to Rust, data is the answer

Over the past few months, we have noticed a growing number of Registries, Registrars and Hosters mentioning they want to be more data-driven. It’s exciting to see many of them finally realizing there must be a better way to focus their marketing resources on the efforts that provide the best ROI and help their business grow.

DomainsBot is already enabling many of the industry’s top players to sell more domains by helping them present to each customer the best suggestions, creating relationships that allow them to upsell a broad range of other high-margin services.

We are also providing them with detailed information about their customer base that ensures a personalization and precision in their sales and marketing effort. This makes for happier customers and increased revenue because a personalized offer with relevant services tends to drive better engagement and higher conversions than the old-fashioned “one-size-fits-all” newsletters.

Do you also wish you knew more about your customer base, how they use your services, what else do they need? Would this knowledge make it easier for you to grow? If you are ready to take this step too, DomainsBot is here to help.

Whether you are planning to attend the ICANN Meeting in Puerto Rico or Cloudfest in Rust, booking a meeting with a member of our team might be the smartest decision you make this year.

5 cart-eating monsters and how to stop them

Imagine you are walking around a shop, lazily picking up a few items you might need. As you turn the corner you are confronted with a huge line of people waiting to pay. What do you think? Do you begin asking yourself “do I really need any of this?”, “can’t I really buy it sometime in the future?” or similar questions? Nothing strange there, most customers do.

Online shoppers might be spared from having to stand in line for ages behind the smelly guy buying one frozen pizza with small change or the old lady that can’t remember the pin to her bank card, but still many potential (often hidden) obstacles can still cause a prospective customer to abandon the store before completing the purchase. According to the Baymard Institute, the average documented online shopping cart abandonment rate is a whopping 69.23%. In other words, out of 10 potential clients, just 3 become actual buyers!

The prospect of having to spend too much time to complete the order is just one of the many things that may lead your potential customer to give up the purchase: in this article, we will go through the most common mistakes in the design of sales flows leading to cart abandonment and suggest some strategies that domain and hosting providers can use to fight it.

1) The maze

Let’s face it, most people don’t exactly consider domains and hosting as the sexiest products out there. They buy them because they realize that being online is important for their business, but it’s doubtful anyone finds buying domains and hosting a particularly enjoyable activity.

If the same customer is then forced to jump through hoops and pages after pages of upsell options, chances are that he will lose his motivation before finally getting to the “Pay” button.

What can you do about it? Review carefully the entire sales process on your website, trying to see it with the visitor’s eyes and removing any step that is not absolutely necessary and that can cause a customer to drop off.

2) The interrogation room

For the customers that managed to endure the average check-out process, there is nothing worse than catching a glimpse of the finish line, just to realize a big fat form is still in the way. If your aim is to keep the customer motivated and his drive to buy high, then a long list of questions and details to be filled in is a giant wall that for many can prove too hard to climb (or simply not worth the effort).

What can you do about it? Keep your forms short, ask just for the info you really need to complete the check-out. If you still feel you need additional details, you can probably find a better place for all the other questions after you have closed the sale. You may even consider moving these additional registration fields to the “thank you” page (after-purchase), rewarding his registration with a coupon or similar.

3) The “surprise”

Frustration is another emotion you want to avoid during the purchase process and few things are as annoying as seeing the total due change at the Checkout step.

Not only you want to keep the customer motivated, but also happy to buy from you and to create a trustworthy and long-lasting relationship that gives you the possibility to upsell and cross-sell in the future.

For these reasons, hiding in the cart stuff like setup costs or special extra requirements to access a promotion and showing them just when the customer is about to pay is a bad, bad choice.

What can you do about it? Be clear from the beginning, and don’t be too creative with offers that are “too good to be true” if in the end you need tricks to make them work. If you think the real numbers will make the customer drop off, then consider a different approach or try to sweeten the deal with some special offers.

4) The crash

There are different ways technical problems can nullify your efforts to win a sale, from cryptic server error messages to the payment system not accepting the payment to the cart not updating with the new products added by the customers: all these obstacles will turn your prospect’s motivation down and likely making him slip away from your sales flow.

What can you do about it? A well-functioning sales flow is crucial to the success of any online business, so make sure to test any changes you make using different browsers and mimicking all possible scenarios before you deploy them to production. Clearly, every now and then things might still malfunction, in which case it is also good practice to have clear error pages that can explain to the customer what went wrong and how to move forward.

5) The “hard to get”

Knowing what customers might ask for and making sure to have it in stock and ready to ship is one of the biggest headaches for merchants dealing in physical goods.

While this problem might feel foreign in a world of cloud servers and unlimited gigabytes, most hosters forget that the frustration deriving from the inability to find what one wants lurks on each of their customers at the very beginning of the sales flow as they are asked to pick the domain they want.

While you might not think about domains in terms of stock and limited quantities, there is a big gap between the perceived “infinite choice” typically associated with domains and the domain the customer would actually consider buying. When you consider that 57% of domain searches today are for a string not available in .com, it’s easy to see how the domain industry does have a “stock” problem of its own.

What can you do about it? This situation feels even more absurd when you consider the hundreds of other domain extensions that are available on the market today. The issue is really not about being “out of stock”, but rather of finding a way to match each customer with something in the available inventory that they would be happy to buy.

Big retailers like Amazon have learned to master this problem by building advanced systems that can recommend alternative products that are a good alternative fit to the one the customer searched for. According to McKinsey, already a few years ago Amazon’s recommendation engine was responsible for 35% of its revenue.

When it comes to domain names, tools like DomainsBot Name Suggestion Tool are the best ally of the Registrar and Hoster that is determined not to let the customer slip away empty-handed.

On average, 15% of the domains sold by DomainsBot’s partners are the result of our domain suggestions. When one takes into account all the revenue deriving for other products attached to those domains, it’s easy to see how investing in the most advanced domain recommendation engine on the market is the smartest (and easiest) move any domain professional can do today.

Image credit EM. The text STOP! was added to the original picture by The Blog Editor

Meet DomainsBot at Namescon

Later this week, Our CSO Daniel and I will be making our way to Las Vegas to attend Namescon. It’s an event that has quickly become a “must-attend” and that nowadays attracts hundreds of domain professionals from all over the world.

Ironically, having to make the trek to Las Vegas every year for Namescon, inevitably makes me think of how many domain and hosting companies still tend to base their marketing strategies on the same gut feeling that usually is more associated with playing Blackjack.

It is very refreshing to see how this attitude is now quickly changing though. The number of companies in our space that are looking at getting a better understanding of the market is growing constantly. We are obviously happy to see many of them rely on tools such as the DomainsBot Name Suggestion and the domain analytics platform Pandalytics for that.

Using data and insights to run your business is a bit like counting cards: it gives you a great advantage on your competitors and helps you “win” more deals. And while I would not recommend using that approach at the Casino tables, it is perfectly legal (and a great idea) to do so when it comes to your marketing.

If you are interested in talking about how Domainsbot can help you run your domain and hosting business more efficiently, get in touch to book a face to face meeting with us.

See you in Vegas!

Chief Marketing Officer

2018: a great year to sell more domains!

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.

In conclusion…

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.

Supercharging the DomainsBot Name Suggestion with Analytics

Every customer journey starts with a domain search. That’s why it is crucial for every domain and hosting provider to make sure their customers find a great domain quickly and easily. DomainsBot Name Suggestion with Analytics will help you make sure they do.

Our new and improved Name Suggestion service now supports 11 different languages and provides relevant results across all available gTLDs, nTLDs and ccTLDs. And because we provide accurate tracking and conversion statistics to all our Partners, we are also the only ones that can safely claim that our suggestions sell. Many of our Partners have seen their registrations grow by an average of 15%, with some of the best performers often reaching 25%.

The feedback we have received so far has been extremely positive. Many domain providers are starting to look for the best ways to take advantage of the wealth of data at their disposal to better serve their customers and drive growth, and we are convinced that our Dashboard represents the fastest and easiest way for Registries, Registrars and Hosting Providers of all sizes to start exploiting the power of analytics to grow their business.

Domainsbot: helping Domain and Hosting companies live up to their full potential with predictive analytics

More broadly, we are excited to see how the domain industry is also finally warming up to the strategic value of Business Intelligence and Predictive Analytics.

As the requirements and goals of our Partners evolve, our advanced analytics service Pandalytics is extremely well positioned to expand the reach of the Name Suggestion Dashboard and help them gain even more detailed insights on the domain market and stay ahead of their competitors.

open-i advisors logoIn this context, we are also extremely happy and proud to have been chosen as strategic partner by Open-i Advisors.

With their expertise, the data and tools provided by DomainsBot can become an even more effective instrument for Domain Professionals eager to better understand their market and drive more and better sales.

DomainsBot Name Suggestion with Analytics

Interested in becoming our partner? Please contact us to schedule a call.