As much as I talk about domains and my various encounters, today I’m sharing with you a few ways businesses waste their money advertising and using bad domains.
That’s right. These companies spend quite a bit of money advertising using billboards while failing to mention their domain name. And in some cases, they fail to mention a phone number too.
I have a problem with such an approach and will make a case why most companies are wasting their hard earned revenue using billboards that fail to mention a domain or use a bad domain altogether.
In most cases, a billboard is much like a domain name in that both only have a few seconds to catch your attention.
In the few seconds one has to capture the attention of a prospective customer’s fast moving vehicle, most companies using billboard ads attempt to establish the following:
- Name of your company
- What services or products your company offers
- Domain name
- Phone number
Those five aspects alone are quite a bit of information to retain in a world where we’re inundated with a barrage of ads across a multitude of media.
Just think of how many billboards you pass in a given day and try to remember every single one.
It’s this point that leaves me scratching my head with companies that refuse to use a domain name when billboard advertising.
In most cases, a domain name crushes four of the five aforementioned bullet points.
Domains offer your company the following:
- can be your company’s name and presence
- explain in a succinct manner what your company does or offers
- is more easy to remember than a phone number and address for most
Think about it for a minute. Which billboard ad are you likely to remember?
One that uses a phone number, domain and company name that has nothing to do with services or products offered
One that uses a domain that is highly descriptive of what the company does
I pay close attention to billboards and ads. I always remember the one’s that use a good and descriptive domain name to describe their business.
Not any ole’ domain will do when using billboards, and I’m sharing a few I’ve encountered over the last couple of weeks.
Not listing domain and using a gmail address
If this is your company, then I’m sorry. Do your homework to purchase a good domain for your business. And while you’re at it, please call your ad agency to have your billboard updated ASAP.
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the billboard ad above for an Austin Realtor.
The billboard design was okay, but I’m of the opinion that the company name should have been left off the add. It adds no value and is quite hard to discern as one drives by.
But what really made me shake my head in disgust is that a gmail address was used. This screams unprofessional in an age where we’ve been using domains now for 25 years.
Get with the times and purchase a credible domain that establishes you and your company as a trusted real estate professional.
Again, this ad’s design is not bad at all. Simply remove the logo and swap the gmail address for a website.
Try domains like the following:
Simply focus on buying a domain possessing a specific city’s name coupled with descriptive words such as “real estate”, “property”, “properties”, and “realty” to name a few.
Alternative spellings and non-intuitive design
This next billboard I encountered while I was waiting at a red light.
It took me forever to read and make sense of the domain name. I only knew “braces and invisalign” services were being advertised because the billboard said so.
It wasn’t until I realized that this company’s billboard ad used an alternative spelling of the word “love” in its domain.
That’s right. The company used “luv” instead of “love” in its domain: LuvBraces.com. This domain fails the radio test.
To make matters worse, the company then chose to use a poor design as you can see in the image below.
It was the use of multi-color, poor font and dismal font-size that ruined and classified the billboard as as a waste of money.
In my opinion, the add could have simply used “Braces and Invisalign For All Ages” in the white space, and a different domain name in the purple, using white font and removing phone number and address.
Since the billboard ad represents an Austin-based company, the company could have used the following domains:
I’ve not used Invisalign in the domain name because it’s a registered mark or trademark. Using the phrase invisalign would label the company a cybersquatter since they don’t own the mark.
Simply put, don’t register domains containing trademarks.
Also, I tip my hat to AustinBraces.com and AustinOrthodontics.com, as a companies that “get it”, meaning they understand the gem of a domain they own.
Getting hyphen or dash happy with your domain
Finally, I couldn’t get or be happy with the company that chose to get hyphen happy with their billboard ad and domain name.
The company advertised We-Rent-It.com in the black section of their billboard ad.
This same section of the billboard also mentions the company’s phone number and simple directions.
The billboard ad doesn’t exactly mention what’s being rented, but one would assume that it’s commercial equipment based on the images used in the billboard ad’s design.
Again, the domain We-Rent-It.com doesn’t lend itself to passing the radio test.
In my opinion, the company could have chosen the following domains:
- AustinEquipmentRental.net – only because the .com is registered and listed for $25K.
Get the biggest bank for your billboard bucks
If you’re using a cluttered billboard design or a decent design without a descriptive domain name, then you’re wasting money. It’s just that simple.
Before you commit and place the next billboard ad insertion order, do yourself and company a HUGE favor by selecting a domain that can be easily remembered at a glance.
After all, that’s what you’re after: the customer remembering your company when they’re in need of your services.
Don’t forget to simplify your billboard design to use and position a highly descriptive domain as the focal point of the ad, making use of appropriate images and supportive industry words.
And yes, it goes without saying, your chosen domain should pass the radio test even though it’s on a billboard.
This last thought is a freebie…
Use a different domain name than your primary website address.
Why, you ask? Using a different domain allows for measuring the effectiveness of your billboard ad investment.
If you’re not measuring the return on investment of your billboards, then you are WASTING money and should simply burn it.
That’s exactly what you’re doing when you don’t measure billboard ads using unique domains and phones numbers.
I hope today’s thoughts inspire and help you understand the importance of domain names, and how to soundly use and measure domains when advertising using billboards.