If a potential customer sees your domain on a billboard driving to the airport, or in a magazine during their flight – will they remember it?

I always read in-flight magazines when I’m travelling, even though they’re mostly advertising (or ‘advertorials’ posing as content!). Although ‘scanning’ is probably a better term than ‘reading’, as I’m actually just skimming through and checking the domains and brand names being used by local and international businesses.

I did this last week while flying domestically and as usual .com.au was by far the dominant extension being used by businesses. There were also a few .com domains, but these were mainly larger international brands. While doing my usual ‘scan’ of the magazine, I also spotted a domain that prompted this post: pgt-reclaimed.com.au. ‘PGT-Reclaimed’ have some great looking products, but frankly their domain really misses the mark on memorability.

Most passengers don’t have internet access during their flight, which means advertisers rely on consumer recall. Prospective customers need to remember your website address in order to take action (e.g. buy your products!). I didn’t write down the domain, instead I did my best to remember it for use as a brief case study. A week later it took quite a few guesses to hit the right domain, even after making a conscious effort to remember it for this article.

PGT-Reclaimed.com.au doesn’t lend itself to ease of recall, with a three letter acronym, a dash, and then a word that (finally) relates to what they do. The magazine reader needs to remember the series of three letters, to include a dash, the descriptive word, and of course the extension.

The three letter combination of ‘PGT’ will mean nothing to most consumers, so as just one part of the longer domain – it’s very forgettable. Dashes (or hyphens) are rarely used for websites in Australia, so that would be an easy one to forget also. ‘Reclaimed’ is quite a distinctive term, so while it’s similar to terms such as ‘recycled’ and ‘reused’ – it should be fairly easy to remember. Finally, .com.au is the most commonly used extension in Australia, so at least they got that one right!

So in an ideal world, what domain should they use? How about Furniture.com.au, Reclaimed.com.au, ReclaimedFurniture.com.au, EcoFurniture.com.au or GreenFurniture.com.au – all much more memorable. They could also just go with PGT.com.au – three letters is pretty easy to remember if that’s all there is to the domain. Of course many of these will already be taken (I didn’t check availability), but just because a domain is already registered doesn’t mean it’s unavailable. As our readers would know – there’s a thriving aftermarket for .com.au domains and often the price for buying a great .com.au domain is significantly cheaper for a business in the long run, given the increased brand recall and sales conversions.

4 thoughts on “Memorability Matters

  • September 16, 2015 at 10:34 am

    I do this all the time and it gets frustrating (trying to remember addresses).

    Every extra degree of difficulty stuffs it up. Extra words, too long, hyphens and the wrong ending (should be .com.au).

    • September 17, 2015 at 8:51 am

      Thanks David, I completely agree on your point about added degrees of difficulty.

      I think people often forget that their domain doesn’t just house their website, it may also be displayed in magazines, on billboards, buses, TV ads etc. If a domain is overly complex or otherwise hard to remember – sales opportunities will be lost.

  • September 17, 2015 at 11:25 am

    Great post and nicely example of how a inferior domain just hurts your other marketing efforts.

    Those magazines aren’t cheap to advertise and there’s no question that using a dodgy domain means a certain percentage of that spend is being wasted.

    How much is hard to say. How many people are not finding the website who would have done had the domain name been clearer like ReclaimedFurniture.com.au?

    It could be up to 50% at a guess but for the exercise, let’s say it’s ‘only’ 10%. You pay $1K for the ad, that’s $100 thrown away. And that repeats for every single ad or promo you do forever more. The $100’s start to really add up and you would rue not spending a few hundred on a decent domain in the first place.

    Then there’s the word-of-mouth. It’s ironic that something that would normally be considered very techie (a domain name) is so important in something very removed from IT such as a word-of-mouth referral.

    Say someones bought some of that furniture and they are talking to a friend who likes it and asks where they got it. They would say ‘I got it online on some website… hmmm PDT something? I’m not too sure… let me hunt down the email and find it out’. And then they forget.

  • September 17, 2015 at 12:09 pm

    Thanks David, much appreciated.

    I like your example of the $ potentially being wasted due to bad domain choices. Those marketing $ sure start to add up quickly, so it’s hugely important for businesses to get the best response/conversion rate they can from their marketing expenditure. A confusing domain name places a big handicap on their marketing efforts.

    You’re absolutely right, the power of word of mouth shouldn’t be underestimated. Many recommendations are still made in conversation.

    On a related note, in the past there have been occasions where I’ve ‘road-tested’ domains in conversations with people to gauge their thoughts; and when we’ve caught up next time they’ve asked about the domain, except the domain they’ve asked about is a similar domain and not the one I actually mentioned! That’s been a great early warning sign and has shaped some branding and purchase decisions.

    I’ve found that when people are trying to recall a domain, they will often end up with a simplified version. So rather than visiting ‘propertiesmarket.com.au’ they’ll head to ‘propertymarket.com.au’, rather than going to ‘whisky-bar.net.au’ they’ll head to ‘whiskybar.com.au’, and so on.

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