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My ten point process for selling domain names to end users
Selling domains to end users will most likely get you the highest price for your domain because the right end user has a business use along with the desire to own your domain. End users generally pay retail prices. The General Manager of NameMedia (BuyDomains.com) Peter Lamson and Ron Jackson, editor of DNJournal recently said that domain sales to end users are going very well.
I have found that domains priced under $5,000 are the easiest to sell. Domains priced there or less generally do not require a senior level decision maker, financing or too much of a sales pitch in order to get a small or medium sized end user company to understand the power of a domain that is relevant to their business. However, domains priced over $10,000 can be run through this same process geared towards large corporation but it is a more difficult process since the senior level decision makers are harder to indentify and contact.
If you don’t have the time, talent or fondness for research, screening, contacting and/or cold calling prospective end user buyers for your domain, I offer a pro-active marketing service for a flat fee (no commission).
The same process outlined below can be used to market an upcoming domain auction listing too. Whether your domain is at auction at Bido, eBay, Afternic, Sedo, Moniker or Snapnames, you should reach out to end users to promote the sale of your domain name.
Okay, enough with the introduction. Here’s my process for selling domain names to end users (which can also be used to solicit direct advertisers to a developed website).
Phase 1: Conduct research to analyze the quality of your domain
1. Search Whois history and Archive.org information to analyze past use, design, advertisers, graphics and development. You might discover that the domain was owned and used before you acquired it.
2. Check the Adwords keyword tool for search frequency, advertiser competition and related search terms. This will give you an idea of the popularity of the keywords in your domain.
3. Check domain position in Google, Yahoo and MSN Live search results to find placement of domain in search engines (if any). Find a “rank checker” tool that you like and see if the domain is listed in the search engines.
Phase 2: Identification of end user prospects
4. Identify ownership and current use of related domains like the singular version, plural version, dashed version, similar keyword domains along with checking other extensions like .net .org .info .biz. .us .mobi, .tv .co.uk .com.au and .ca extensions. Make notes of current owners and start a prospect list of prospective buyers. This research may allow you to discover related domains that are available for hand registration.
5. In step 3, my rank checker tool gives me the top 40 results for the three different search engines. I run it a couple times for keywords related to the domain then add all the good candidates to the prospective buyers list. This process can yield hundreds of prospective buyers for your domain. Sort out the duplicates, news pages and the like.
6. Then check the three search engines for advertisers who are paying to show up on keywords related to your domain and add them to the prospective buyers list.
Phase 3: Prospect screening and contact phase
7. Draft a short email that offers the domain for sale along with benefits of ownership. Customize the text for your situation. Including the price is a decision for you to make. Something like:
Since you are in the _________ business, I thought you might like to know that I am selling the domain name _________ .
This domain can be forwarded to your existing site to capture some pre-qualified leads from people who type in the domains into their browser.
This domain should serve work to your advantage in the search engines and in Internet and offline marketing campaigns.
This is a very short term, first come first served opportunity. I am contacting other _________ businesses today about this opportunity.
I will sell this domain today for _________.
Summary with your contact info.
8 . Now begin screening the prospective buyers by visiting each website on your prospect list. Send one email at a time to the most appropriate contact. You can also look in the whois to see if there is a different or better email address to use.
Make notes of company management along with any contact information as you work down the list. This is a time consuming phase especially when large corporations are potential buyers. Their websites do not give out senior level decision maker contact information. So, when necessary, I will refer to the press releases and/or public whois information in order to guess email naming protocol (first initial last name@ or first name.last name@) so I can send an email directly to a senior level decision maker, usually the VP of Marketing.
Then, as you find unqualified prospects, delete them from the list.
Phase 4: Follow up phase
9. After you finish your direct one-by-one email campaign, you should plan to make another pass down the qualified prospect list and begin a phone campaign to identify and market the sale of your domain to the most appropriate decision maker.
10. Follow up with phone calls and emails to interested parties and good prospects.
That’s it. Simple, right? Well, it’s a time consuming process but it can be very rewarding when you hook up with an end user that “gets it” and wants to buy the name. You get a sale and he/she gets a domain they will develop or point to an existing website. If you need a little help with cold calling there is more information below but I have one more tip for you about preparing the domain for sale.
Preparing the Domain For Sale
As you pitch this opportunity, your prospects will most likely type in the domain to view its current use. If it’s not parked or developed, at least park it so the content has some relevance to the domain name. Here’s what I like to do with a domain that I am selling… list it on ebay and then point it to the ebay auction listing. (You can list it with a buy it now price or auction. That’s your own judgment call.)
However you price it, when your domain is listed at ebay it shows that the domain is actively for sale and that this opportunity has an expiration date. If you want to get an affiliate commission on your own sale, follow these simple instructions:
Open an affiliate account with the Ebay Partner Network
Go to the listing page of the domain for sale on ebay. Copy the URL.
Go to the Ebay Partner Network then Create Campaign. Create a campaign for this domain
Go to Tools then Link Generator. Select custom URL, paste in the URL of the ebay auction of the domain name, select your program like Ebay US then select the campaign. Don’t enter any text. Click Generate URL and then copy the URL. (This is the old Flexible Linking Tool.)
Go to your registrar where you have the domain registered and forward the domain to this ebay generated URL. Now, when someone types in your domain for sale, they will be going through your ebay affiliate link thus giving you a commission on the sale and a 30 day cookie so you will get a commission on any purchase they make for 30 days.
The Cold Call Pitch
Always focus on the positive benefits of owning and using a top quality, generic domain (assuming that’s what you are selling). You will get all kinds of responses from F*&$ you to “I’m interested”.
First, I would suggest reading through my Reasons to Own Domains and make the appropriate points to your prospects. Mostly I focus on how this generic domain would capture type in traffic that are from pre qualified leads like potential customers, partners, employees, investors and even journalists looking for an industry source. I like to say that they are pre qualified leads because if someone types in a domain, they are actively looking for the product or service with those keywords.
Get your prospect to understand that this is a long term investment similar to advertising yet they own the domain which is an asset that will only cost them $8 per year to own. Ask if they have an annual advertising budget and encourage them to related this purchase as an advertising expense.
Compare the domain you are selling to the domain they are using. Is your easier to say over the phone and/or remember? If so, make sure they understand that. They don’t have to rebrand their site. They can simply point the domain to their existing site. They can use the domain in online marketing campaigns too. I would say that people are more likely to click on a great keyword domain that is relevant to their search rather than some XYZ brand domain that they do not know about.
Also, if they own the domain then their competition doesn’t. I get a lot of good responses to that one. A great industry term or generic domain also gives them credibility in the marketplace.
Now I don’t have any studies to back up any of this so be careful not to state this all as facts. However, these are all safe assumptions that most domainers would agree with.
When you have to leave a message (and you will very often) be sure to speak slowly. Mention some benefits, your name, phone number (slowly), domain name and that this is a limited time opportunity. You might want to mention your time zone if necessary.
My Domain Broker For Hire Service
I have given you everything you need to start marketing domains for sale to end users. Since this is a very time consuming process that is not for everyone, I offer a flat fee, pro-active marketing service.
I will pro-actively market your domains for sale to end users or market an upcoming domain auction listing for you for a flat fee. I will provide you with a final report that will list all the qualified prospects along with notes regarding my contact with each one.