We’re excited to release Part 2 of Brooke Hernandez’s interview with Yac.com CEO Justin Mitchell!
In the video, Justin expands on how a .com domain can provide valuable credibility and legitimacy to your brand and website. He discusses how it’s one of the best ways to establish yourself as a business and get your foot in the door.
He hits the nail on the head in describing how a short, memorable .com domain is the most effective, “What we found is that the more organic traffic that you can get means less ad spend, less education you have to do, less effort you have to have in bringing people to your website. And that starts with having a brand name that’s easy to share, easy to find, easy to say, and easy to search for.” Justin could teach a MasterClass in online branding and marketing.
Justin: I’m doing good. Excited to talk with you today.
Brooke: So who your clientele that you are going after, and what benefits do you think the new domain is providing or will provide for you?
Justin: Yeah, our ideal customer is either a small start-up or an engineering or design team from inside of a larger enterprise. Our startup and the brand name, the branding, and the domain has a lot to do with who we’re attacking and going after. Those are typically people that need to get approval from somebody, whether it’s a CEO or an IT team. So that brand, that domain, all of that has to look legit in a sense of, “This is a real company that I can trust.” But also that, “Hey, they look like they have some money behind them. They’re not going away anytime soon. This is someone that we could go through the effort of vetting and getting into the company.” You know, one of the biggest things, when I was working on the agency side and go into these large enterprises, is that there’s a lot of effort on the IT side to whitelist an app or a product into a bigger company. And a lot of the IT folks just don’t want to go down that train if it’s something that might not be around in six months.
So our .com is really a clout chaser in some ways. It’s this idea of us saying, “Hey, look at us, we’re serious. This is no longer an indie project.” That .com says to our brand, “We are a big company, a little bit bigger than our own boots.” It’s a chest-pounding moment of saying, “Look at us, we’re one of the big guys.” Even if we’re not. I only have seven full-time employees, but it helps give that appearance of, “We’re not going anywhere and you can trust us. This is legitimate website.” I think a lot of people, especially if you think about maybe an older generation of people that are inside of an IT department, they’re gonna look at that and go, “A dot chat domain? What did these guys, like hack the internet? What’s a dot chat domain? That’s not a thing I’ve heard.” I’ve heard of dot-com and dot IO, that’s it. So it does help soften that blow when you bring something into the IT department. And for us also, a three-letter domain is hard to come by. It comes with some level, some modicum of cash money was spent. And again, it helps that brand kind of get past that initial boost into an IT department to say, “Hey these guys look like they’re investing in themselves.”
One thing that I’ve always said to other startups is, “Your website is akin to your storefront. If you had a retail store and if that was messy or dirty, didn’t look they ain’t gonna been cleaned in a really long time, then no one’s gonna go buy your clothes in your store.” And the same can be said about a website. If it’s not being taken care of, if it’s not up-to-date, if it’s not well branded if it doesn’t work on mobile… Whatever the thing might be, your website is essentially your storefront and at the end of the day, your domain plays a very large factor in that. I would probably say it’s akin to the street that you’re on. There are certain streets that people just don’t want to go down because we know that’s not a great street. And we’re not gonna go shop on that street. And if your shop is on that street you’re just not getting the foot traffic. For us, having that Main Street in our domain is a way to say, “We’re here. We’re legitimate. We paid the extra money to get on the safe street.” That’s not to say that there’s anything wrong with a non-dot-com domain, but there is an inherent bias in the marketplace. So when we’re looking at that IT manager or that engineer or that creative director, our brand name says, “Hey, we’re legitimate for a big company coming for you and we would love to help you out.” Aa lot of that has to do with just image, and as fickle as that might seem, it’s the facts of life. You have to appear like you are the big guy to get in that room.
Brooke: Right, and it gives, like you said, the credibility. That’s the factor that it really shows is you’re now this credible company and that they’re like, “Oh okay. They have the money, they have the investment in this. We need to take the time to discuss it with them.” So it makes perfect sense. And what advice would you give to a startup or even a new company that’s looking to rebrand? What would be kind of your go-to on it?
Justin: Yeah, I think the biggest one is investing in your customers. Find out who your ideal user is, and talk to them. That’s a big first step is just talking to your user. Say, “Hey, we’ve got three brand names. Which of these resonates with you the most? Talk to 15 different people and put that stuff out there.
But I think in general, the biggest thing that you’re gonna want is something that’s easy to pronounce, easy to spell, easy to organically find on the Internet. One thing that we’ve done really well with yac, and I think part of it is due to us being very loud on social media, but we have gotten to the point with yac where it is a household name. We’re getting mentioned in articles, we’re on these org charts of top remote tools. And part of that is the ability to just remember that word. You know that name. It doesn’t sound like another brand. It doesn’t look like another brand. We have an easily findable URL. You can Google the name and we pop up. A lot of that has to do with making a strong branding decision upfront to not spell it weird, not put an accent mark in there, not have a strange TLD. There are all these things that really help you. And what we found for sure is that the more organic traffic that you can get is just the less ad spend, the less education you have to do, the less effort you have to have in bringing people to your website. And that starts with having a brand name that’s easy to share, easy to find, easy to say, and easy to search for.
Brooke: You hit the nail on the head on that one man! I mean everything you said was just exactly what you need for organic traffic. Like you said, I think people forget that that’s a really big way to save so much money on marketing and on ads. You might have to invest a little more on a domain, but you have people coming straight to your site, and not having to Google, and possibly go to a competitor or any nature of that beast.
Justin: In fact, the domain purchase on our end is a marketing expense. That’s the way we build it against our runway. If we spend X amount of dollars upfront, that means that we don’t have to spend for the lifetime of owning this company. The marketing dollars to make up for how you find us online are an upfront fee that prevents years and years and years of extra marketing spend trying to battle against a bad website domain.