Selling Domain Names To End-Users: What I’m Trying In 2011

As you all know I’m no domain sales expert, my interests have always been focused on generating passive income with domains. That being said I still do enjoy the thrill of a good domain sale and I’m always interested in ways I can improve or streamline my processes. I am always much more interested in selling my domain names to end-users that will see the value in the name rather than investors that will simply want to flip the name. There’s nothing more painful than selling a domain to an investor who then flips it for 10x or 100x what you sold it to them for!

Now I am by no means an expert at selling domain names to end-users, but I am trying a lot of different things to better understand which techniques work the best. This post has “my 2011 experiments” in it for a reason, I’m still experimenting and trying to learn what works and what doesn’t. I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned in the last 3+ years is that .com’s get the highest response rate from end-users. When I email people about domains my .net, .org, .us, .info, etc. names tend to get very few responses if any. When I send an email about a .com name I’m selling the response rate is much higher than I thought but this does make sense since end-users are definitely the most interested in .com.

So I’m experimenting with a few things this year and I thought, as usual, that it would be fun to share what I’m doing with all of you. Remember, these are experiments so please don’t take these and assume that if you follow my lead here you’ll make a million dollars in sales. So far I’ve had some success but nothing to write home about. In general it is important to understand that if your domain name is truly a premium domain you should be getting offers on it just about every day. If you’re sending emails to end-users we’re not talking premium here so please don’t put the word “premium” in your email – because it’s just not true!

I used to think that all the big Domainers had figured-out how to send the perfect sales letter. After attending a few conferences and meeting many of the top guys in person I quickly learned that they get a TON of offers on their names because they have GREAT domain names. If you aren’t getting any offers on your domains it doesn’t mean they are bad, but you’ll have to admit that you’re in a whole different league. The top Domainers have ultimate leverage since people are coming to them and making offers all the time, if you’re doing the opposite and emailing people all the time about your domains, you’re on the other side of the fence!

It’s okay to be on the other side of the fence, I’m there and know that I still have to work my way up to getting some great premium domains. Right now I’m buying domains in the sub $2,000 range so it would be unrealistic to expect to sell my names for five or six-figures. If I do, then great, but I’ll set my expectations much more realistically since at the end of the day this is an investment strategy, and investment strategies need to make you money!

So here’s what I’m trying this year to sell some of my domains to end-users:

  1. Constant Contact. I am using constant contact to send my emails. This is popular email marketing software that allows you to create lists and send more professional looking emails. The feature I like the most with Constant Contact is that I can see exactly how many people opened my email. This helps me learn which headlines are the most effective.
  2. .COM only. I talked about this above but I can’t emphasize this enough, I’m focusing on .com only when it comes to selling domains to end-users. I still love .net, .org, and .us for development and continue to build-out these names, but when it comes to selling domains to end-users I’m .com all the way!
  3. No fixed pricing. Rather that putting a fixed price in my emails I’m pushing for the buyer to specify what they are willing to pay and negotiating from here. I think putting a fixed price in an email can either scare a buyer away or potentially sell your domain at a price that is lower than the buyer would pay. By letting the buyer throw-out a number I think you give yourself a bit of an edge in the negotiation process.
  4. Contact people actively advertising for high CPC terms. If someone is paying $5/click on Google they are probably spending a fortune on advertising. I think these are the best candidates for a good domain that could save them thousands of dollar a month or more on advertising.
  5. Different sales letters. All domains are different and I’m tailoring my sales letter to the domain that I’m selling. A sales letter going to a law firm should be different than one going to a Doctor’s office.

That’s what I’m trying and as always I’ll keep you updated as things continue to progress. Feel free to share your own methods for contacting end-users in the comment section below. Also I am more than open to feedback and criticism, if you think I’m doing something wrong and you have a solid track-history of selling domains to end-users, let me know – I am always learning!

{ 9 comments… add one }

  • yohanes April 26, 2011, 10:14 am

    hi Morgan, i have 56 domains to be sold quickly. please give me your best offers to my domain names. Here is my complete portfolio » https://sedo.com/search/searchresult.php4?language=e Reply me soon. Thanks.

  • Michael April 26, 2011, 10:55 am

    Don’t you have issues sending unsolicited emails to people who haven’t opted in to anything using Constant Contact? I would be worried my spam rate would get into the red since you are only allowed one complaint for every 1,000 emails you send. Unless you had a big account and you entered in a boatload of dummy accounts (like myemail+1@gmail.com, myemail+2@gmail.com, etc.) to offset the complaints of course.

  • Joe April 26, 2011, 11:06 am

    I agree with you, Morgan. The big boys in the industry receive tons of offers on a daily basis, so they didn’t even need to figure out how to write the perfect letter to endusers. Great article, as always.

  • Anthony David April 26, 2011, 1:43 pm

    Really nice post about making direct sales. I also think now is the best time to be buying domain names as the economy is still far from good. Once it is better PPC is going up and domain prices are going with it. Constant Contact sounds very interesting too, I will have to try that.

  • Michael Cyger April 26, 2011, 8:28 pm

    Very interesting, Morgan. Can’t wait to hear as you learn more from your experiments.

    How might you tailor a letter to a doctor’s office differently than to one sent to a law firm?

  • Alston Balkcom April 27, 2011, 5:37 am

    HUUUUUUUUUUUUGE danger on no fixed pricing. You are a big boy and you should know what you are doing.

  • Garry April 27, 2011, 11:55 am

    Morgan,

    I think not pricing your domains is very unprofessional. If you’re confident enough about the domain you’re selling then you should know what you want for it, especially if you are the one making first contact.

    I’m a domainer too but I won’t price someone’s asset for them. It’s yours and it just looks shady to say “How much will you gimme?” That’s greedy.

  • Jason Stewart April 27, 2011, 2:37 pm

    Good Luck Morgan,

    Looking to see how your experiment goes!

  • Simon April 28, 2011, 2:53 am

    Nice Post Morgan.

    Please keep us updated on your findings as 2011 progresses.

    Something that might help too is Estibot’s lead generator.
    The lead generator will locate the owners of similar domains to that which you’re selling and/or has the option to provide contact details for companies advertising on Google based on your domain keywords.
    Generates a usable list of contacts which you can export, or you can also email the lead list directly using a personalized template that you can create (and save) within Estibot.

    Worth looking into as this may save you hours researching on the net.