There are a host of potential reasons why you might be struggling to sell your domain names. I have learned a lot over the years I have been in the domain business, and continue to learn as times change. I want to share some helpful tips that can help you transition from domain collector to domain seller.
Invest in Good Domain Names
I have had many people come to me in the past asking for help selling their domain name. I have turned most of them down because I got a lot of requests from people with really bad domain names. I hate to say that because it sounds mean, and it’s also sad to see someone who has invested thousands of dollars into domain names that will never sell.
I often remind people that you know you have a good domain name based on the number of inquiries you get from people who want to buy it. It reminds me of one of my bigger ROI sales. Several years ago, I had purchased a domain name for a personal project and before I could launch it, I got a buy request from a domain broker at GoDaddy. It was an offer of $250, which I had no interest in, so I told the broker that it wasn’t for sale and if I was going to sell it, it would be closer to $10,000 because of how much I valued it for my project. Well (and I sure you know where this is going), they came back with their best offer which was $2,250. I asked myself if I could find another domain for my project and I did (like within a few minutes) so I sold it. I had paid $8.29 for the domain and owned it for less than a year.
Good domain names will get offers. If you aren’t sure what makes up a good domain, take a look at this article. If you want to take a deeper dive into domain names and learn the ins and outs of domain investing, I highly recommend enrolling in DN (Domain Name) Academy.
If you don’t have good domain names, it’s ok. You can let them expire and start over with better names. Many of us – myself included – have realized along our journey that we simply made a bad choice, and learned how to select better names. Oh… and don’t freak out if you let it expire and someone else picks it up and sells it, that will happen. You can’t keep them all and you can’t sell them all.
List Your Domains on Domain Marketplaces
There are many domain name marketplaces where you can list your domain names. Some require exclusivity (mostly those specializing in brandable domain names), however, most of the mainstream domain marketplaces allow you to list in multiple venues. Each site offers its own commission structure and some offer services such as escrow to help ensure a safe transaction for both parties. Here are some of the most common domain marketplaces:
- Afternic – Afternic (owned by GoDaddy) is a unique marketplace that features a network that will list your domain names at multiple brokers, giving you the maximum exposure, so it’s critical to have your domain name listed there.
Those requiring exclusivity:
Just as it sounds, outbound marketing of domains involves identifying potential businesses that would benefit from owning the domain name you are selling. It’s a lot of work, however, it pays off because it is a great way to let a company know that the domain is even available for sale. I recommend using a full scope approach in terms of contacting the company. Specifically, I would identify the owner, CEO, Chief Marketing Officer, or Director of Operations and let them know you have the domain for sale. In some cases, you need to be prepared to educate them on the value of the domain, if they are unfamiliar with the value of premium domain names.
A few tactics for reaching out to companies include:
- Using LinkedIn to identify owners and executives.
- Sending an email.
- Calling the company.
- Using a contact form on a website. I recommend this as a last resort, but I have sold domains via a conversation that started through the contact form.
- Social Media. It’s easy to send a message to a company that has a Facebook page.
While some people fear getting a harsh or hateful response, if you are professional in your approach, this rarely happens. Most people have thanked me and said it wasn’t a good fit. The most common response will be no reply at all, unfortunately. You want to be consistent in your outreach, but you don’t want to be a spammer (i.e. sending multiple messages over a short period of time) or become annoying. In some cases, you will get a response weeks or months down the road. If the domain name is already sold, take this as an opportunity to offer your services and help them find an alternate domain name.
Due to the amount of work involved, my recommendation is to focus on higher-priced domain names if you are doing outbound marketing. It can take just as long to contact enough people to sell a $500 domain as it does to sell a $10,000 domain name. In fact, the higher the price, the more savvy the buyer, so sometimes that weighs in your favor.
Speaking of price, the other downside to outbound marketing is that you will often not get top dollar for your domain name unless you have a super premium domain name. Why? The chances of connecting with someone who was just waiting for your call to pitch them is pretty low. If your domain is strong enough, people will be reaching out to you and making you offers, so remember that when you are pricing your domains for outbound selling.
For more tips on outbound domain selling, I recommend the book Outbound Domain Marketing.
Update Your Whois Records. This is a technique I learned some time ago. Often if someone is looking to buy a domain, they will look at the Whois record. If you let them know that it is for sale and have up to date contact info in your Whois record, you may be surprised to see that people will actually reach out. If you use Whois Privacy, you will be limiting your exposure to buyers who might try to reach you via your Whois contact info.
Hire a Domain Broker. A domain broker is someone who has experience in getting domain names in front of buyers. They may have a network of brokers they work with, a network of buyers they work with, and sometimes a team that will contact prospective buyers on your behalf. Due to the time involved in proactively selling domain names, most brokers will not take on a client unless they deem the domain to have a value in excess of $100,000. Think about it, it takes nearly the same time and effort to sell a $3,000 name as it does a $250,000 name, and if they are working on commission it simply does not make good sense to spend the time to earn a small commission.
Price Your Domain Name to Sell. There is a saying in real estate, “price cures everything.” The same is true in digital real estate, which is essentially what domain names are. Just like traditional real estate, if your domain sells too fast, you might fear that you priced it too low; I know as this has happened to me. But you have to ask yourself, “how long do you want to be a domain collector?” If your domains are not selling, there is a chance they simply aren’t good, aren’t in front of the right buyer, or just are priced too high. Remember, people usually have options when buying domain names, so you want to make sure your is desirable or they may just move on and buy another one.
Lastly, if you have not gone through DN Academy, I highly recommend that you consider it. There is so much to learn in the domain investing world and this course will take your knowledge to the next level. Before spending several hundred dollars on domains that won’t sell, spend a few hundred dollars to learn how to buy names that will sell.
I hope this helps you sell your next domain faster and I look forward to your testimonials!