Outbound domain sales are a popular means of creating a revenue stream without having to wait for a buyer to come to you. Consisting of finding a suitable owner for a domain and then contacting them directly, outbound sales is typically done via email or phone to a targeted group of individuals or companies.
Usually, an outbound domain sales process will involve research via Google, LinkedIn and other services, followed by crafting a sales letter and sending a personalised email. In this article, I’ll walk you through the outbound sales process using one of my own domains – PhotoRetoucher.com.
I’ve chosen this name because it’s a memorable, two-word .COM that could be highly desirable to any photo retoucher, so there would be plenty of potential end-users. The domain isn’t for sale, it’s simply being used in a scenario to help with this walkthrough.
Before we start, I’d like to point out that in my eyes, outbound domain sales are not an excuse to send bulk emails to thousands of investors or end-users. You also need to undertake outbound sales at your own risk, as “for sale” emails have been used to successfully win UDRP cases in the past.
Starting at square one, you’ll need to find suitable companies to send your domain name to. Depending on your domain, you may end up with just a handful of leads, or you may have 20-30 qualified leads. My first step would be to Google the keyword(s) that make up the domain.
In this case, those keywords are
retoucher. To get results that use your exact keywords (rather than variations), use quotation marks when you search. So, for
photo retoucher, I would search for “photo retoucher”.
I would look through several pages of Google results, looking for any company that either uses the keyword(s) in their domain name, uses an inferior TLD, or uses the keyword(s) within their home page title. I’d also look for any relevant advertisers for the keywords.
I would also repeat this search without quotation marks, to find companies advertising for similar terms, or to find companies ranking highly for similar keywords. On Google, you can also search using
inurl: to specifically find websites using your keyword(s) within their URL.
Google isn’t the only search engine I’d visit, but it is the first. After Google, I’d repeat my searches at Bing and DuckDuckGo to ensure I hadn’t missed any obvious leads.
Once I’ve found relevant companies via search engines, I make a note of their URLs to visit again later, in order to find specific contacts.
LinkedIn is an phenomenal tool in outbound sales. Searching through the social network can help you discover new leads that don’t necessarily get shown in search engines. Using LinkedIn’s company search can also help you discover useful facts such as the company’s size, which could help you determine whether or not to contact said company.
As with search engine results, type your keyword(s) in to LinkedIn’s search bar to find company results. As my domain is PhotoRetoucher.com, I would also look at a select number of user results, too, because many photo retouchers work on a freelance basis, and may not necessarily list their company on LinkedIn.
If your domain name is a desirable name, and many companies are using variations on that name, it may be advisable to contact them, to see if they are interested in upgrading their name. For example, with my PhotoRetoucher.com domain, I see that the .org version has been developed by a software company, so I would probably contact them.
ZFBot is an excellent, free service that allows you to find similar names based on keywords that you enter. It will search through over 140mm domain names to find similar domains to yours.
Again, make a note of all URLs to go back to later.
Finding the Right Contact
We recently published an article about who to contact within a company, with regards to domain name sales. The general rule is that for small to medium companies, the CEO or founder is often the best person to contact. For larger companies, finding a lower level employee with direct association with a key decision maker is often your best chance.
To find the right contact, I would firstly visit the company website, as email addresses or key contacts can often be found there (hint: try not to contact a generic “info@” email address). If an email address isn’t found there, you can use LinkedIn to search for a specific company employee. If LinkedIn fails, a Google search, such as “[company name] CEO” may help you.
If you have a name and no email address, that’s no problem. Using a service such as MailTester.com will allow you to guess their email address. Most companies follow one of three email protocols:
- FirstName.LastName (e.g firstname.lastname@example.org)
- FirstInitialLastName (e.g email@example.com)
- FirstName (e.g firstname.lastname@example.org)
If you have their full name, finding an email address should be no problem.
For PhotoRetoucher.com’s leads, many companies I’ve found are fairly small, or are freelancers working on their own. In this case, checking WHOIS may be a possibility, as small businesses or sole traders may reveal relevant contact details via WHOIS.
Once you have your leads, you could store them within a CRM software. Streak is my own personal preference as it fits straight in to my Gmail account. A CRM will let you manage each lead, to see who has responded, who has enquired about a price, and who has declined the domain.
Some people may prefer to call a company directly, and this often gets good results. However, I prefer to keep all domain transactions via email, so I have a record of all conversations, offers, etc.
As I said, I prefer to keep domain sales confined to email whenever possible, so at this stage I would send out emails individually, keeping each email personalised. Using the recipient’s name and their company name within the email is my target. I also like to keep my emails as short as possible at just a couple of lines.
In my subject line, I would use the domain name as well as the word “available”, or the phrase “for sale”; such as:
PhotoRetoucher.com Domain For Sale. Specific subject lines such as these have always been effective for me.
Each message is personal to the recipient, so it will always start with Hi [name], or a variation on that. My sales email is usually no longer than three sentences, but it portrays what I’m selling well enough. The email will not contain a price, however. I’ve found that if a person is interested, they’ll always reply with “How Much?” – at which point, you can open a discussion about a price.
Closing your email with a signature is fairly important. Displaying your name, company (if necessary) and contact details is a must, as well as displaying any required pieces of information such as company’s registration number (depending on your location).
A professional signature isn’t difficult to create. Websites such as NewOldStamp can help you to create an email signature in a matter of minutes.