Names matter: online and off.

With a new .sydney or .melbourne domain name, digital marketers have the opportunity to own their market vertical online, geo-target consumers to the city-level and reap rewards from improved message recall.

Savvy marketers recognise that the humble domain name is the digital asset that underpins their brand’s entire online experience. It is not to be overlooked.

Australian marketing experts Sharon Williams and Kate Deacon are two professionals who understand the benefits of local domain names.

In their opinion, the success of a new domain name marketing strategy comes down to three essential factors: branding, content and face-to-face communication.

1. Branding 

A new name is a new opportunity. Be it a company or domain name, change can improve recall and help a brand stand out.

As Kate Deacon, digital marketing specialist at City of Sydney, explains: “One of the main reasons that we’re using .sydney is that it’s easy to remember and a much more familiar and accessible marketing proposition.”

But with any name change there is a risk of confusion. Controlling this risk, according to Taurus Marketing CEO Sharon Williams, requires consistent brand messaging. She recommends digital marketers create a three-part strategy to update, educate and amplify. This could be linked with a new campaign, promotion or offer.

In the case of City of Sydney, the adoption of the .sydney domain will coincide with a new-look website. The new design is predicted to increase web traffic and as a result increase familiarity with the new domain.

“Because we’re relaunching and redeveloping this site, we’re going to market it with a beautiful new offering,” says Ms Deacon. “To be able to market it as is really special for us. It’s not just the same old, same old.”

2. Content

Geographically specific web domains like .sydney and .melbourne provide a direct link between a business and their community.

Ms Williams believes that to take full advantage of this, brands need to pay close attention to how their content is optimised to reflect their local credentials.

“While the .sydney and .melbourne web domains allow brands to increase their relevance to a site-specific destination, area or industry, it is really important for content to emphasise this.”

“There is no point branding yourself online as .sydney if your website, your content and your brand do not also embody these values. If you’re going to be local, be proudly local.”

Being local means optimising website content with relevant keywords and creating new content that embraces its site-specific relevance.

3. Face-to-face communication 

There’s a new web domain in town. It’s live and it’s on brochures, web banners and advertising. Now, says Ms Williams, it’s time to get it on people’s lips.

“What you want is for others inside and outside your world to refer to your website as .sydney or .melbourne. It needs to move past the point of a surprise: from general recognition to full assimilation.”

Face-to-face communication is essential to achieving this. While a domain may be recognised by sight, hearing it will greatly improve recall. For this to occur, brands need to educate staff before the rest of the world hears about it – then ensure the new domain is used in all communications with customers and clients.

“Then it’s your job to make it heard,” says Ms Williams. “It’s already a talking point: the moment you say to a customer, ‘we have more information on our website,’ you’ve peaked their interest.”

The key to introducing a new asset is consistency: commit to using the new domain repeatedly in every piece of communication you deliver. Mixing messages, including reverting to using an old asset, will only lead to confusion among your audience.

“Top-level domains aren’t something everybody understands,” says Ms Williams. “If you introduce it at all levels of face-to-face exchanges, you give your brand an opportunity to clarify this confusion – and be understood.”

Image attribution: Sydney Harbour Bridge & Sydney Opera House at night by matthewwu88, Licensed by CC BY 2.0