Real-Impact Inc. is a boutique executive training company specializing in working with business leaders to improve communications to key audiences. In addition to providing training and consulting services, Real-Impact has a division, Higashi Publishing, which offers numerous learning resources, including the Tough Talks™ series, including Tough Talks™ in Tough Times: What Bosses Need to Know to Deliver Bad News, Motivate Employees & Stay Sane.
The president, Jean Palmer Heck, has trained people from 33 countries and speaks at many business and association conferences. She has experience on both sides of the camera and microphone–as a news reporter/anchor and as a spokesperson for a pharmaceutical company.
The company’s domain names are:
Mike: Tell me about your domain, toughtalks.biz. I see the .com is taken but not in use. Was the .com your first choice? Did you try to contact the owner to purchase it?
Jean: The .com domain was our first choice, but it was already taken. When we were unable to track down the owner, we decided to buy domains with variations of our ToughTalks™ brand name. We then chose to use the shortest domain to use in our marketing. That is the .biz version.
Mike: Has owning .biz instead of .com caused any confusion by customers typing in the .com and thinking there was a problem with your site?Do you feel that .biz is pretty well accepted in business?
Jean: The .biz domain has not caused any confusion, as far as we know. Most people don’t type in the domain name; they usually type the company name or book title in the Google box. As a result, they find the Tough Talks™ series website and probably don’t even notice that it is not a .com name.
Mike: What made you decide to go choose .biz over any of the other available TLDs such as .info or .us?
Jean: We wanted to use the one that was most suited to the business application of the book. We discussed it with our webmaster and our public relations consultant, whose domain names also do not have .com, but rather .biz and .us. They told us that they have not found any problems with them.
Mike: As you mentioned in our initial contact, you also own a hyphenated domain, Real-Impact.com. In this case you chose a hyphen in order to own the .com. What made this decision different than toughtalks.biz? Why not RealImpact.biz?
Jean: Real-Impact Inc. was formed a number of years ago, before the .biz became popular. In fact, I don’t even know if it was available then. Previously the company was called JPH Corporate Communications. The initials in the business’s name, JPH Corporate Communications reflected my own initials, but was sometimes transposed by clients to JHP. I realized that there wasn’t anything particularly unique about using initials in a company name and decided to change it to make it more memorable.
A business development advisor suggested I consider a name that reflected the benefits of doing business with me. He asked how my clients characterized their experiences with my training and consulting. Since many of my clients had told me that my coaching and training had significant value to their professional development and that their communications had real impact on their key audiences, I decided to incorporate that phrase in the company name.
We sought the domain, realimpact.com, but its owners were not willing to relinquish it. Since our focus groups overwhelming liked the name of Real-Impact, we decided to stick with it and use the hyphen in the logo and the domain.
Mike: Have you done any marketing of these names either online or offline? ToughTalks.biz ranks on the first page of Google for the term “tough talks” (without quotes). Real-Impact.com ranks in the second position for “Real Impact” second only to the non-hyphenated term. Was this due to intense effort or do the names have a large role to play in it?
Jean: With these particular domains, we have not used Google Ad Words. Because Real-Impact is a boutique training company, most of our business comes from word of mouth and referrals from our clients.
All of our marketing materials list the domain names. These include business stationery, handout materials at conferences, and information about my speech titles and learning resources.
In terms of SEO, we could do much better. But we’re fairly pleased with the results we have gotten with limited investment in such efforts.
Mike: Based on your experiences, what advice do you have for others searching for domain names for their businesses?
Jean: Get creative. Think benefits. Scrutinize your company name. Initials are so….last millennium!