Alex Schmelkin is the co-founder and president Alexander Interactive. His firm has been involved in the relaunch of Action Envelope’s website, using a fantastic keyword domain, Envelopes.com. Alex shares his thoughts about his team’s involvement and his perspective on domain names in general.
Mike: How did you come to be involved in the strategic relaunch of Envelopes.com?
Alex: Ai has been the ecommerce agency of record for Envelopes.com (formerly Action Envelope) since 2004. In this time we completed two major redesign and ecommerce platform implementation projects and the Action Envelope to Envelopes.com rebranding in 2010.
Mike: It’s interesting seeing a product designed for traditional mail to be leveraging the Internet, the primary source of decreasing paper mail usage. Tell me how this fits into the overall strategy?
Alex: Envelopes.com is the world’s largest envelope store. There are products, colors, sizes, and printing options unavailable in many other traditional and online outlets. We’re experiencing much of the same shift the overall retail industry is in transitioning traditional, store-based customers to ecommerce.
It’s certainly not lost on us that the product that Envelopes.com sells is considered one for which there is declining demand. However, even in a market with an overall decline in sales, Envelopes.com is positioned as the dominant leader and is currently experiencing dramatic growth. There will always be a demand for traditional paper products, particularly for correspondence around special occasions and life events. As the frequency of paper mailings decreases, each one we do receive becomes all the more special.
Mike: As consultants to the company, did you help the firm see the benefits of the Envelopes.com domain name and what it could do for their search results? Was the company using a different name prior to this?
Alex: The company was operating as ActionEnvelopes.com for its entire existence, prior to the recent launch at Envelopes.com. We did consult on the benefits of using the Envelopes.com brand name as opposed to their existing name, particularly for the acquisition of new customers.
Mike: Clearly a competitive search term, “envelopes” 22,000 global exact match monthly searches in Google. I’m not sure how long ago the site launched but I don’t see Envelopes.com on the first page of Google yet. Is that something you are working on?
Alex: ActionEnvelope.com currently dominates natural search, owning a #1, #2, or #3 position for almost every important business and social envelope keyword. It was therefore with great planning that we embarked on transitioning the current rankings to the new domain. We are now just part of the way through a multi-month campaign to redirect incoming Google search traffic to the new site.
Mike: I do see Envelopes.com as a sponsored link on the first page of Google. Do you know what other marketing strategies the company is exploring?
Alex: Envelopes.com employs a robust mix of online marketing strategies, including paid search, search engine optimization, email, comparison shopping, a continuity reordering program, and a loyalty program. One of the best parts of the new Envelopes.com site is that all existing customers of ActionEnvelope.com will find their account information, past orders, and loyalty points transferred to the new site.
Mike: As a design firm, do you consult you clients on finding the best domain name for there sites? What advice do you give them?
Alex: We are frequently asked to consult on domain selections. We work with both established and emerging businesses. Established businesses generally understand the value of a good domain name, and consider new domains for major marketing initiatives or branded sub-site projects. For domains we want that are unavailable for direct registration, we consult with our clients to determine the sales and brand impact of the new domain. We explain that a domain’s value is all relative. We recently consulted with a major regional clothing store chain in New York that did not own the primary domain name for its well-known brand. The domain we wanted was for sale and we worked with our client to establish the appropriate budget and completed the purchase.
For emerging businesses, we’re often the ones that have to break the bad news that almost all combinations of English language words are taken. We advise our clients to find shorter domain names and names without common misspellings.
For all domain purchasers, it’s all about relative value. Who else is willing to pay as much as you are for the domain? Who else can extract the same commercial or brand value? Domain decisions for businesses just as often have an emotional or personal value as they do a commercial one. I count myself among the very few Internet citizens who would highly value Schmelkin.com. It would be hard for me to consider someone else controlling it, and as such I place a great deal of value on its ownership, exhibiting much more of a visceral need.