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Finding that Winning Combination...

By Bill Quimby
Posted Sunday, November 21, 2004

A good domain name is valuable, but the combination of a domain name and a good vanity 800 number can be priceless in marketing. The right 800 number allows your advertising to reach several times as many people that are not on the internet regularly. It generates instant credibility and recognition and helps to create that all important million dollar brand name. But with the incredible scarcity of both .COMS and 800 numbers, how could you ever come up that all important combination?

All too often companies get one piece (like the domain name) without considering the other and then often run into also brick wall and have to settle for something less. The phone companies will often tell you that 877 is exactly the same thing as 800. And that is true if you consider .CC or .TO the same thing as .COM. They may be technically able to do the same thing, but in their marketing potential they are totally different. So if you aren’t willing to settle for .CC for your domain, then don’t settle for the same thing in your phone number since just like your domain name, that is how so many of your customers will find you.

The first step is definitely the most important and often the one that gets skipped over way to quickly. Creativity is definitely the key to finding either a domain name or a phone number. The good news is that it doesn’t cost any more money to be more creative. It just takes some brain power and a little effort. I’ll outline the process of getting the number briefly but you’re really not ready until you have 50-100 or more possible names. So be prepared to really spend time in this part.

The first step of brainstorming is to look for any type of keywords. Just put down everything possible you can come up with related to your company, your message, your product or service, your benefits or your customers and what they are looking for. Take a look at the keywords from your website or those of your competitors. Carry the list with you for several days, and involve as many people as you can. If there are other people in your organization consider having a contest to see who can come up with the most possible names/words. Short words are good because they allow you to combine them with a number of other prefixes or suffixes.

Next use some of these mechanical brainstorming exercises and sites which will help you come up with possibilities you may not have thought of. Start with an excellent online thesaurus tool at Plumb Design (http://www.PlumbDesign.com). Next, after you’ve added any possible synonyms, take a look at what other people have done to get ideas at Whois.net (http://www.whois.net). Look at the registered and perhaps better, the recently unregistered domain names there. Finally use an interesting java search term suggestion tool available (click on option number one) at GoTo.com (http://www.goto.com/d/about/advertisers/othertools.jhtml) Try these tools with each of the words that you come up with and you will literally get dozens of additional possible names. You can also try a neat tool for creating new words at a site for inventing new words called, NetSubstance (http://www.netsubstance.com) Then finally, you should combine as many of these names together with my list of possible prefixes and suffixes at (http://www.TollFreeNumbers.com/finding.htm) to stretch your list even further.

These tools together with your creativity and thoroughness are extremely important, because you really can’t expect to make a critical decision in your business without knowing what all of the possibilities are.

Next after you have built a really creative and thorough list, check out the possibilities for one of those phone numbers. Unfortunately, there is no short cut or easier way to do this than simply to pick up the phone and call them all! Keep track of all the information you get, and look for ones that don’t go through to an end customer or that go to recorded phone company messages. If it goes to an end customer then the phone company can’t get it for you, so only give them the list of ones that don’t have any apparent customer. That doesn’t mean that they will be available, they probably won’t but they are at least worth a try.

All phone companies work off basically the same database so the best place to start is usually where you already have an account. Then while they are checking on the phone numbers, look into the same possibilities on the domain names. Remember, with more and more new ventures springing up every minute, space on the net is getting tight and only going to get tighter but a good combination can literally transform your organization and even your industry! So remember the two most important ingredients in coming up with the right name are CREATIVITY and PERSISTENCE!

If this doesn’t work, visit (http://www.TollFreeNumbers.com) or just call 1-800 MARKETER. We specialize in getting 800 numbers when the phone company says they’re not available.

About the Author
Bill Quimby
billq@tollfreenumbers.com
1-800 MARKETER