The Two-Letter Next Big Thing

Digital marketers have two letters to be excited about when it comes to creativity and innovation in the digital world. No, it’s not some new hyped social media platform, though there are plenty of those. And, no, it’s not some new startup or app, there are also plenty of those. But, it is something that creates a whole new set of possibilities— two-letter domain names are now available in a plethora of exciting new name spaces. With hundreds of new top-level domains now available with market-driven keywords like .GAMES, .NEWS, .REVIEWS, .ATTORNEY, .SOCIAL, or .VIDEO, to name just a few, the possibility for two-letter combinations create a new innovative and creative marketing opportunity. A few of the more interesting ones already out there in these new spaces include: ST.News, LV.Social, and RS.News. Other great domains that are still available are DJ.Live, KC.News, MC.Software, If.Social, MO.Video, FM.Live, and He.Rocks.

Consider this: everything that is done in the digital world in some way ties back to a domain name residing somewhere in the Domain Name System. And two-letter domains create some interesting new possibilities. But why will marketers care?

First, short, memorable names are always favored over long names or digital properties buried inside a traditional web site behind backslashes. When someone sees a name like Go.News or My.Reviews, there is an inherent increased likelihood that the consumer will actually remember that domain name and go directly there, which has real value for the owner of that space—direct traffic. More people access content from mobile devices than from traditional desktop computers today. Short, memorable names could be typed into a mobile browser much more easily than long names, giving these new gems an edge in connecting with consumers on the go.

Second, microsites tailored to a specific need are not just a trend, but a continuing pattern as consumers expect everything you do for them to be niched and custom. We no longer want a one-size-fits-all approach to everything—particularly in the digital world, which is consumed not only by websites or domain names, but linked and integrated between social platforms, apps, the internet of things, and e-commerce, too. Leveraging short niched two-letter domain names in this vast new array of unique names gives digital marketers a whole new set of tools to connect directly with consumers on specific initiatives.

Third, as social media sites and apps become hyper niched, digital addresses need to be the same—this allows marketers to better align all of their strategies. For example, if you create an app that delivers a specific functionality or connects with consumers via #trends or social media messaging, the possibility now exists to match up a concise two-letter domain name with those strategies.
Additionally, the way we search is changing. Most people navigate between social media, apps, and traditional search engines, with many sometimes bypassing search if they know or remember the address they are looking for. Many type their search directly into the browser, so if they happen to remember the name, then voila, they arrive at your digital address bypassing search and the possibility of losing them to a competitor. With short, memorable two-letter domain names, particularly in spaces that make sense for your industry, the opportunity to create a comprehensive campaign just got a little easier.

Finally, these new name spaces signal to consumers that you understand the future. No longer anchored to an old-school Dot Com, you showcase your innovative, forward-thinking approach to the next generation of internet users.

To implement a two-letter next big thing in your digital strategy, first consider the many new names available and assess which ones fit nicely with your digital marketing strategy or industry. For example, there are industry categories like actor, attorney, consulting, dentist, engineer, mortgage, lawyer, or vet, and there are function based names like news, social, sale, software, or video. There are also creative, interesting opportunities like live, ninja, and rocks.

Digital Mapping is an opportunity to develop a comprehensive digital strategy.
Digital Mapping is an opportunity to develop a comprehensive digital strategy.

Second, evaluate your current digital strategy in an exercise I refer to as Digital Mapping®. Digital Mapping requires plotting out what’s working, what’s trending, and what’s missing in all aspects of your digital strategy, including social media, apps, search, ecommerce, content and trends, microsites, web properties, and the internet of things. This exercise should focus on your current data: the consumer experience.

Third, pair up that data with the new TLDs available and create some winning, innovative combinations. This is where digital marketers have a blank canvas to really think about how a two-letter combination could give you an edge in search and engage the consumer. Finally, scoop up those domain names before they are gone and then roll out when it fits your marketing strategy. Just as two-letter names were quickly removed from the marketplace in Dot Com, the same could happen in this expansion of the name space. While there are now hundreds of new spaces and the amount inventory of these names just got a whole lot bigger, prime two-letter names, particularly in key industry categories, will be purchased quickly.

Shameless Rightside plug:
To help brands further utilize the benefits of owning branded short domains, on September 14 at 10 a.m. PT, Rightside will release new domain inventory where two-character domains for popular TLDs (like .GAMES, .LIVE, .NEWS, .NINJA, .SOCIAL, .ROCKS, .VIDEO, and many more) can be purchased. You can download the list of inventory here. Registrar partners participating include: Enom, Hexonet, Name.com, and United Domains.

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