.QA IS Your Local Marketing Strategy

by · September 20, 2011

We all are increasingly dependent on major search engines when looking for products and services. Millions in the Middle East flock to Google, Bing and Yahoo! every day – whatever the products is, someone is searching for it. Search engines mine digital content to instantaneously provide answers for those who are looking, and with a little digital know-how it’s fairly easy to become one of the answers. It all starts with effective domain names — the basic building blocks of every Web address. They perform the key function of being a major connector between online and offline content, yet despite its vital importance and potential value in localization, there are only about 10,000 registered Qatar specific domain names.

These days, it’s all about how customers can find you and location specific domain names make it easier for search engines to surface the most relevant, Qatar specific information. Companies should think of their online presence as another “outlet.” .QA is just like a sign above the door that tells search engines and potential customers that you are in Qatar.

Doha-based Alsubaey Photography is one company taking advantage of the Qatar domain names through its www.alsubaey.qa website. Customers who are looking for Doha based photographers can easily find Abdulrahman Alsubaey’s landing page through organic search, yet companies with similar profile, but without .qa domain names don’t even pop up in searches and directories. This is just a quick example of how smart business people are embracing marketing on a shoestring budget.

There are twenty-something generic top-level domains, or those letters located to the right of the dot in a Web address, including .com, .gov, and geographically specific .qa. Most companies are well familiar with .com, but do not always take advantage of opportunities presented by country specific names like .qa. Unlike .com, there is no scarcity of names; it offers brand protection; and with appropriate marketing can reduce promotional costs. Rumor has it that both Apple and Google have already registered their .qa domain names, and these two players know a thing or two about marketing.

And the good news is Qatar-specific domain names are now available to the general public . If you are in the market for a personal website, you should grab your domain before anybody else does. You don’t want to be facing a situation where you build a personal site or a Web business only to find out later that you don’t own it. A fashion retailer, French Connection, faced this challenge a few years ago – they fought and lost a court case in the UK over one of their brand names. Trying to win the rights to a website name can be tedious and costly, and a lot of companies prefer taking a defensive registrations route.

It is common sense that your website domain name bears your personal name or the name of your business, but you shouldn’t stop there. Campaign or product specific URLs offer a unique way to direct customers to targeted online content. For example, if your business is Doha Bakery and your product is called Red Velvet Cupcakes, then get a domain name called www.dohabakery.qa and www.redvelvetcupcakes.qa. You can have both of these domain names pointing to different pages of your site. This way, your website will pop up in organic searches for both – customers who can only remember your product name, as well as those who recall your corporate name or location.

If your business’s name is hard to spell, you may also want to get a domain name with the incorrect spelling to capture the audience that otherwise wouldn’t be able to find you. You can also capitalize on your location by acquiring dohacars.qa, for example. Purchasing multiple domain names doesn’t mean that you have to have content on every single site – you can set up each domain name to redirect and feed traffic to your current home page.

While the core elements of marketing remain pretty much the same, it is no secret that customers’ behavior is shifting to the Web and as online activities become more of a standard, most companies now include a domain name on corporate materials, including business cards and advertising. Qatar specific domain name can provide powerful message about your business and heritage and is an opportunity not to be missed. Registering is easy – visit the Qatar Domains Registry website to first check the availability of the specific domain name, and if the name is available, you will be directed to a list of registrars to purchase from.

Post By Julia Astashkina (25 Posts)

Julia Astashkina is heading the Marketing and Outreach Section at the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology in Qatar. She runs organization’s multiple communications and marketing initiatives and is a guest blogger of the Digital Qatar blog. Julia has extensive experience in strategic marketing, communications, and social innovation. She has an MBA and other degrees from Georgetown and ESADE, and is the community lead for Creative Commons Qatar.

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