We had a great last MeetUp of 2010 at Bombay Palace in Beverly Hills. In the end we had about 25 attendees and a lot of new faces! It is always satisfying for Jason and I to see new people in the group each time. The more people we can inspire to come and share their ideas together the better the group will be!
At this MeetUp we also proved that a Guest Speaker is absolutely something that benefits the group and we’ll be sticking with for all future MeetUps. In 2011 we will be debuting a brand-new website for the group and discussing some options for holding MeetUps in multiple locations since Southern California is such a large region geographically.
If you didn’t get a chance to make the MeetUp you can view photos of the event using the link below. I’ve also placed a few below if you want to get a quick taste of the event! I have also included a brief summary of the questions I asked Braden and his answers for those who want to know about more about the discussion!
(Guest speaker Braden Pollock)
(Laura from Thought Convergence)
(Me and Daina with Brian from Domainstore.tv)
(Me and Jason)
What are some of the common myths about lead generation?
Buyers may be difficult to find. Once you find them they may be difficult to convince – particularly if you are new to the industry and especially if they are end-users. Convincing someone to pay a flat monthly rate is even more difficult. I’m a big believer in the Cost-per-lead model as it’s the most transparent and fair lead practice.
Domainers typically think that they will get far more $$ per lead than what the market will bear. A percentage of your leads will have bad contact info so you won’t get paid on those. If you have lousy content, your leads often times will reflect that. Site visitors are looking for information. If you’re not offering anything useful, you’ll generate less leads. The leads you do generate will come from less informed potential customers. In some industries lead selling is difficult. For example, lawyers are prohibited by the Bar from buying leads. (they can pay a flat monthly marketing fee) Consolidators, on the other hand, can buy legal leads. A consolidator is typically the major player in a particular niche (e.g. 1800DUILAWS.com, ExpertHub, etc) The next issue you’ll need to deal with is your lead volume. Without a decent volume of leads, selling them will prove difficult. For instance, there are more than 2000 monthly searches for Westwood dentists but next to none for Los Feliz dentists.
What niches are the easiest to get started in?
I wouldn’t say anything is easy. Everything requires work and ingenuity. Depends on which side of the equation we’re talking about. If you already have a buyer in a non-competitive area then it’s easy. Finding buyers can be difficult. More broadly, perhaps auto insurance is not too difficult. Virtually everyone needs auto insurance and finding consolidators is easy. Lead-gen guys buy them, insurance carriers and insurance agents all pay for leads. Start with an area you know something about so you can find the right domains and write the decent content.
Another way to go is to partner up with a company like Epik.com. Work within a niche they already service. They’ll take a portion of the revenue but they do all the heavy lifting.
What role have domain names played in your business?
Huge. We’re chasing after roughly 300,000 key phrases. It’s difficult to rank for all of them with just a handful of broad sites. However, I can much more easily rank well with targeted domains and sites. The domains alone give us direct navigation (which seems to be diminishing) but the site gives us the organics. Five or six years ago we spent nearly $250k monthly on CPC. We’re now around $45k-$50k/mo with substantially more traffic. The difference is the domain strategy. Plus I have thousands of appreciating assets in my domain portfolio. I receive offers almost daily.
What do you look for in a domain when you are buying it?
Search volume, primarily. Secondarily, brand-ability. The search volume will continue to increase and I want that traffic. Plus, if I’m ever to sell it, the domains needs to be generic, memorable and easy.
Where do you see the industry going next year?
CPC is dead. I think everyone knows that and is scrambling to figure out how to develop their portfolio effectively and affordably. Once developed the question is how will the site get monetized without an ad feed from Google? The answer is not just lead-gen, but ebooks, space ads, affiliate deals, etc. I believe you’ll see more and more domainers attending Affiliate Summit and related conferences to get a handle on what’s right to sell on their sites. Clickbank.com, ShareaSale.com, etc are great places to start in looking for appropriate products. A couple of affiliate sales can easily far out-weigh CPC commissions.
I would like to give a HUGE special thanks to Thought Convergence who provided tons of food, drinks, and information for our attendees. We couldn’t have done it without them!