I could start this post like the hundreds of other posts I have seen on TLDs over the past couple of months. The application window for New Top Level Domains is now open! Are you ready to meet the consumer demand? Are you ready to make an impact on the future of the internet? But I won’t. It is an incredible time, and there is so much innovation with this new landscape that we have ahead of us. I want to take a moment and shift our vision from the applications, the financial models, the technical questions, and the immediate sense of urgency. It is time to focus on the next step, a critical next step, to the actual marketing of the TLD.
It is clear with new TLDs that consumers will have many choices. The term “shelf space” has been overly used but for familiarity here I will use it. Quite frankly, the choices will be overwhelming. Without an identifiable connection to the consumer of the new TLD, there will not be a distinction from one TLD to the other, and in my opinion, there will be, at best, limited success. In order to be truly viable and sustainable, there must be an industry shift. Marketing to the end consumer is critical to the success of the TLD, and a higher focus placed on the consumer.
Here at Neustar, we knew we needed to make the same shift with .US too. Extensive, thoughtful, and valuable research was performed over the past several months into determining who our consumers are, who we identified with, and who ultimately make up the .US target market.
Who is the .US target market?
They are the people you interact with every day. At least, we hope you do. They are the small businesses who are the backbone of America. They are the second generation hardware store in Memphis, the florist shop in St. Louis, the cupcake shop in Austin, the accountant in Topeka. We talked to them. What did we find out about these small business owners?
- They feel like their voices aren’t being heard, but yet are still optimistic about the future.
- They are self starters, problem solvers who take personal responsibility for their success.
- They know what they do each and every day makes their hometown a better place.
- Their business, their employees, are family.
These small business owners had a drive to succeed. A vision for the future. Such pride in their work. Undeniable commitment to the local community.
The .US Small Business Movement
With .US, we heard them and went to work. We believe our consumer target market CAN make an impact. They can control their destiny. They can connect with others fully. They can grow their local reach further, online. They have little time at home, because their lives are their businesses. These are hard working men and women who are watching their favorite TV shows 3 days later, not because of a 9-5 job, but because of a business that represents who they are, and what they love. Do they know they know the value of a website? yes. But, they are running a brick and mortar business and have very busy lives.
So how do we reach them and let them know that being online and a .US address can grow their local reach further? We go to them.
Today we launch our KickStart America Campaign. Not only have we relaunched our www.about.us site, but we have also started a significant branding campaign targeted to our consumer target market. The one we have connected with, fully support, and know together will create a community that will grow their local community into a community online.
.US and Neustar believe in America and American Business. To the small business owners — we believe THEY are the power that fuels us today and THEY will be the force that propels us into the future. .US isn’t just about creating a great address online, it’s about joining a community of like-minded people and being a part of a growing movement. A Growing Movement of Small Business Owners that can and will Kickstart America. Please visit our campaign site at www.kickstartamerica.us or our redesigned www.about.us website.