A successful start-up understands that business is not just about having a ‘cool’ idea; it’s about ensuring all the parts of a business work in unison. Marketing, distribution and a clean user experience for a start-up are just as important as the product or service provided.

Start-me up

Let’s look at the app industry. It seems there is a start-up releasing a new app every minute of every day.

“It was fascinating to see the ways apps have rapidly developed, from clunky, hard-to-use applications to seamless user-friendly commercial products,” says Empirical Works CEO Paul Lin. “There were a lot of gimmicky little apps in the beginning – hugs apps, fart apps, apps that had a very basic concept that did very little.”

“Foursquare was the first app that enabled you to ‘check in’ to a location, which was completely unheard of at the time. Foursquare’s unique offering then quickly became integrated into other social media platforms and it plummeted in popularity, showing [that] if you can’t adapt and evolve, success can be short-lived.”

That is the major problem facing start-ups: often a great idea is just and only that. If the idea doesn’t evolve, or if the marketing that backs the idea doesn’t give a clear indication of any point of difference, then the business or app will have a short shelf life.

Stand out from the crowd

Without the luxury of hiring an expensive marketing agency, how can a start-up stand out from the crowd? While guerilla marketing tactics, free gifts, sponsorship opportunities or contests are all relevant marketing gimmicks, start-ups should also spend some time looking at their long-term digital strategy.

Your domain name should be a key element of this strategy. Director of Search & Social for seoWorks Leah Rise says that “brainstorming domain name ideas is something that should be done carefully and thoughtfully”.

“It can be very expensive to rebrand your business if you need to change your URL, and in the context of SEO you may lose accumulated PageRank if the redirects are not done properly after domain migration.”

If you are a start-up, you need to get your domain right from the very beginning. It needs to be obvious and memorable.

“URLs ideally should be intuitive, memorable, and if a customer can guess the products and services you are selling simply by your brand name, then it has achieved its purpose,” Ms Rise says.

“SEO experts say an obvious URL is a great URL, so find names that reflect your products and services. A lot of customers will simply type your brand name into a browser. It is also recommended that the domain name is easy to pronounce and spell.”

So if you are starting a company, keep the brand name and domain integration simple. If you are a food app start-up, look for a domain name such as www.foodfindapp.melbourne. This type of domain tells people that you are a food-based company with a Melbourne focus. This method works for any business: www.touristtravel.sydney, for instance, gives a clear indication of what the business is and where it is focused.

Marketing strategies must have a digital component, and part of that strategy must focus on domain. If you can create a domain that clearly states what you do, where you are located and is representative of your brand, then your business will evolve from start-up to success.

Image credit: iPhone apps sphere by Blake Patterson, Licensed under CC BY 2.0