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From Beep to CarLoans: How a domain name change resulted in a $40 million turnover boost

In June, Shaun McGowan’s business, Beep.com.au, was turning over $60 million. Five months later the company has grown by 60%, now exceeding $100 million in turnover, through one simple change – the domain name. 

McGowan purchased a new, premium domain name CarLoans.com.au in June and since then the business’s click throughs have increased, its marketing spend has reduced and turnover has increased by $40 million.

Speaking to SmartCompany,McGowan says the change has made a “massive” impact.

“There is a natural assumption the biggest, oldest companies have the premium generic domain names,” he says.

“In terms of the domain name investment, the name paid itself back within four months.

McGowan says the benefits of the new name have been multi-tiered, but the number one change has been people’s perception of the business.

“People assume it’s the biggest and the best car loans business now,” he says.

“The benefit of a premium domain name is its very descriptive – people know straight away what your business does.”

McGowan took almost two years to acquire the name from a gentleman who bought it 15 years ago and says it’s since improved both the front and back-end of the business.

“We noticed the impact the very next day. The moment we launched CarLoans, we had a 35% drop in our AdWord spend the next day,” he says.

“A lot of our inquiries are driven through AdWords, but we’re now getting the same number of leads for much less. Our click-through rate went up and our conversion rate alone has increased by 30%.”

The impact of premium domain names on online advertising click-throughs seen by McGowan was also noted in a UK study by Memorable Domains.

The report found “ads featuring a generic domain name with an exact match to the product (ElectricBicylces.co.uk) performed significantly better than identical ads featuring an alternative generic (YourBikes.co.uk) or non-generic (InAHurry.co.uk) domain”.

The study found ElectricBicycles.co.uk ads produced 45% more click throughs than YourBikes.co.uk and 105% more click throughs than InAHurry.co.uk ads.

McGowan says while premium domain names can be expensive, it’s a worthwhile investment. 

“Our inquiry rate increased massively. The cost-per-click came down and we catapulted through the search engine rankings, and that was just our front-end improvements,” he says.

“We’ve also noticed when the sales consultants are talking to the customers our name now is now seen as the authority in car loans because of its natural association with CarSales. Our settlements and conversion rates from us speaking to customers increase, customers would give us more information from the outset and they’d speak to us on the phone for longer.”

McGowan has also capitalised on people’s natural association of the name with CarSales by designing the CarLoans website and its processes to be similar to those found on the CarSales site.

McGowan says people should consider building their businesses around domain names.

“The problem most have in today’s world is they decide on their business and then go looking for a name. They should find the domain name and then build the business around it,” he says.

“When you can, you should invest in the best possible name and spend the most money that you can afford. Relating it back to the retail world, think about it like a store location. Having a premium domain name is the equivalent of buying the best shop on the best street with the best foot traffic.”

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Yolanda Redrup

Journalist

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Yolanda is a SmartCompany reporter who has a knack for covering business misconduct and retail issues. Previously, she was the editor of RMIT's student magazine Catalyst. Follow her on twitter: @YolandaRedrup
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