William L. Horvath II is the owner of Laser It All, specializing in custom etching of company branding. He owns a couple of domains and agreed to share his experiences.
Mike: Tell me a little bit about the business and how long you have been in operation.
William: It started in 2007 when I read an article about Limor Fried doing laser engraving on laptops. Making a (very) long story short, I purchased a laser and asked my wife to take the lead on that business, which was started as a subsidiary of my other company, DoX Systems. We originally operated under the name Tech Tattoos, and were focused on the B2C market for laser engraving of electronics. After we started discovering what else we could do with the laser (on glass, stone, tile, wood, plastic, etc.), we decided the name Tech Tattoos was too limiting, so we came up with Laser It All. We spun Laser It All off as its own company this past April, and my wife (Jen) is now the majority shareholder.
Mike: You own LaserItAll.com as your main website domain. How has owning the domain been beneficial to your business?
William: Aside from being eponymous with the name of the company, the domain name captures the essence of what we’re about, which is that we can laser engrave, mark, or cut just about anything. The benefit is that it clarifies to our potential customers the great variety of things we can do. As a result, we’ve gotten a lot of work that, in the software business, we call ‘corner cases’: Odd, challenging jobs (like engraving a tile surround for a fireplace, or cutting acrylic for a one-off R&D project) for which the laser is a perfect solution. These kinds of needs don’t come up for any particular person very often, but when they do, it’s nice for them to know a solution exists. To be candid, we make more money off the large B2B orders (such as a conference organizer who’s ordered a large number of laser-etched moleskin notebooks from us to give away as swag), but the corner-case kinds of jobs are what makes it fun.
Mike: You also own ZapYourCrap.com as a secondary name that is currently pointing to the main site. Catchy name. Tell me where you came up with this and how you use the name to promote the business.
William: Kudos goes to one of my DoX Systems staff, Brian Knoblauch, for coming up with that domain name. It turned out to be ‘marketing by accident’ — When we were just starting out, the domain for our original name, techtattoos.com, was already taken, so we snagged tech-tattoos.com. I knew that most people would never remember the hyphen if they saw it in (e.g.) a TV commercial, so we started brainstorming ideas for an easy-to-remember domain that captured the essence of what we were doing (laser engraving of electronics) at the time. Thus ZapYourCrap.com was born. It turned out to be a great move — Everyone laughs, and remembers it, when they hear it.
Mike: Do you do any form of marketing?
William: We’ve done newspaper ads in the Toledo City Paper, as well as TV commercials. Of the two, the TV commercials had a much more significant impact (Though to be fair, we didn’t spend as much money on the paper ads.) We also tried the yellow book, and put up a place page on Google. Renee Pinter (our general manager) has been doing a good job keeping up with our social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) campaign. We’ve gotten most of our B2B business, however, by networking: BNI meetings, Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce events, EPIC (the local young professional’s organization) events, etc.. We’re also currently running a promotion with a coupon that you can bring in for $5 off an order of $25 or more, or that you can give to a friend, in which case she gets the $5 off her minimum $25 order, and we’ll pay you $5 in cash as well the next time you’re in. We just started this campaign a couple of days ago, so it’s too early to tell how effective it will be.
Mike: Are you aware of any keywords or phrases that you rank well for in the search engines?
William: I’m personally not aware. I’m not terribly concerned about that problem at the moment, as we’re not doing online sales yet. Once we move into the national marketplace, SEO optimization will become a much bigger issue for us.
Mike: what advice do you have for anyone looking for a domain name for their business?
William: It’s great to get YourCompanyName.com, however there’s a lot(!) to be said for getting something easy to remember, even if you have to resort to one of the lesser-used TLDs. Whatever you select should ideally be directly related to the products or services you provide — That (in my opinion) is what makes it truly ‘catchy’. A used car company might be able to get A1234567.com, which is easy to remember out of context, but if their potential clients are thinking about cars when sitting at the computer trying to remember the domain they saw for two seconds on a billboard, I’ll bet they’d do better with WeAreInTheUsedCar.Biz.