TGIM and welcome to my first multi-post series on MBA Monday. This series will be spanning the next three weeks and will be focused on selling domains to end-users. When I first started Linton Investments our focus was developing and monetizing domains and selling names to other Domain Investors. Over the years a few end-user sales made a major impact in our revenue stream causing me to shift our focus away from Domainers. While you will typically find more liquidity when selling domains to other investors, many of the biggest deals will come from end-users, but it’s definitely a whole different ballgame.
Here is my plan for this series so you know what’s coming today and what is coming up over the next few weeks:
- Part One – buying domains that have multiple potential end-user buyers
- Part Two – contacting end-users directly vs. fielding inbound inquiries
- Part Three – negotiating the deal
So today I’ll start with how to find domains that have multiple potential end-user buyers. Which brings me to the first lesson that took me a few years to learn:
Avoid buying domains with only one buyer in mind
I find that many new Domainers will buy a domain with one specific end-user buyer in mind, but it’s often a name that would only be interesting to that one buyer. Then, if that buyer doesn’t bite, they’re out of options. There’s an easy way to determine if there might be a good number of people interested, good old Google. Do a Google search for the domain name you are looking at buying and take a look at what you see. What you want to see is many people using your keywords either in the title tag of their site or within the domain name itself. This brings me to lesson number two:
If the keywords in your domain are used by many different companies, either in the title of their site or in the domain name itself, they could be potential buyers.
This is why I love one-word domains so much and why short brandable names have become our core focus when it comes to buying and selling names. A good short one-word domain tends to have a very large group of potential buyers. The more words you add, the smaller your market tends to become. Once you get to three and four-word domains there may still be buyers out there, but there are most-likely significantly less.
There is of course an exception to this rule (as there are to most rules) which is when it comes to selling geo-targeted domains. In this case you can really look at something like LosAngelesLawyers.com as a one word domain with a geo-specifier in the front. A lawyer in Los Angeles might be very interested in a domain like this since they may care more about ranking well for “Los Angeles Lawyers” than “Lawyers” as their business is very geo-focused. You will, most likely find this out when you do your Google search and see this term used in the title tag of numerous sites.
Now comes the key step that can save you a lot of money when it comes to selling domains to end-users. First, make sure you can come-up with a list of at least five (preferably) ten potential buyers. Next call them all on the phone. That’s right, I said it, cold call. People get junk email every single day and I’m sorry to say it but your email will most-likely be seen as junk if it goes anything like, “Did you know that a valuable domain like this can help you with blah, blah, blah…” Looks like a sales letter, sounds like a sales letter, must be a sales letter, and I don’t know about you but as a consumer I’m trained to delete sales letters. This leads me to lesson number three:
If you’re too afraid to pick-up the phone, you might be too afraid to do what it takes to sell domains to end-users.
I know it’s a bold statement and some might slam me in the comment section of this post (which you’re more than welcome to!) but I’m just sharing what has worked for me personally. If you don’t want to make the calls yourself (which I don’t) then hire someone who is good on the phone and is comfortable cold calling. As I’ve said many times before, I’m interested in building businesses, not creating new jobs for myself. Plus I know that there are people that can do a better job cold calling than I can and the same might be true for you.
There are two important points here, the first is that you determine interest before buying the domain, and the second is that you are reaching out over the phone. You should only buy a domain if you have at least some form of expressed interest from one or more parties if you are looking for quick flips. If your time horizon is longer then you could buy names knowing that you’ll sell them over the next couple of years but I’d only recommend that once you have a few good sales under your belt.
While you can still send emails to prospective buyers, a phone call is the best way to really judge interest. If you can get someone on the phone or even if you can leave a message for the right person this will go much further than any email can.
Last, but certainly not least, there is no right or wrong answer here. I use a variety of techniques to sell domains to end-users but what I’ve outlined above is what has resulted in some of my biggest sales over the years. I don’t recommend that you look at this as the only way to sell domains to end-users but instead one time-tested way to do it and a good way to help you avoid buying domains that you can’t flip. Stay-tuned next week for Part Two of Selling Domains To End-Users!
As always I’d love to hear from you, good or bad I want to hear it! Comment and let your voice be heard.