A couple of days ago I saw a sign that got me thinking about website promotion, and earlier today I saw another one! I was on my way back home to Newtown in Sydney, going through the neighboring suburb of Camperdown, and I saw a manicurist's shop that had a very witty and memorable name: "Manic Cure". The website address was listed also: www.manic-cure.com.au. This got me thinking about domain name choices.
It seems that the business owner, or her online adviser, decided on this name because it was memorable or good for branding. It does seem to be an established business, so word of mouth and years of offline advertising in Sydney would mean that many thousands of people already know of the name and remember it. The site must get quite a few hits from searches for that particular name, "manic+cure". (Actually, if you do type these keywords into Google, the search suggestion drop down menu lists "manic+cure+camperdown", so that is clearly the case.) Given this brand awareness, it seems like a good strategy.
But there's another way the business could have gone in choosing a domain name. That's to ignore the catchy title and just choose keywords that would ultimately pull in traffic regardless of previous awareness of the business. For example, the domain could be something like "www.camperdownmanicure.com.au" or "inner-west-manicure.com.au".
The success of this strategy would of course depend on how much competition there was for each of the terms used. I didn't check that. However, I did check to see how many local Australian Google searches there were for keywords "camperdown" and "manicure". These were 301000 and 33100 respectively. These are pretty good numbers! There's bound to be a small percentage of searchers who combine those two terms, and you'd be nailing them (no pun intended!) pretty much straightaway. Some link building with these keywords would have to bring in some pretty good search volumes for other, related search terms over time. While some of these searchers would already know about the business, many would be completely unaware, I'd imagine. So that could be a good long term way of getting more exposure and gaining new customers.
It seems to me that the above example has relevance to all businesses in choosing a domain name. That is, do you use the domain for branding, to build upon what you have already done, or do you use it to try and pull in new customers searching for what you offer?