Domain Names – how to choose?

Registering a domain name

Firstly, you register a domain name rather than buy one. No-one owns their domain name outright, and you have to keep registering it to ensure it doesn’t fall into anyone else’s hands.

Should your domain be the same as your business name?

If it matters to you, yes, try and match your business name to your domain name and if you have a local business with a shop front, for example, this makes perfect sense.

Alternatively, you could brand your online business with a more appropriate name if it is just going to be an online store.

Should your domain name contain keywords?

From our experiences, good quality domains with exact keywords convert well. If you are searching for something specific and the domain name comes up in the results with those words in it – the searcher will think they have reached the right site and that you specialise in it.

How long should domain names be?

Keep it short – around three words at most, two is perfect and make it meaningful. If you have gone through a branding process – what have you found? What words describe your business? Is location important? Should you add a place name in your domain name?

What about hyphens in domain names?

Generally, we avoid using hyphens as it makes the site look spammy. There is no ranking benefit from using keywords in a domain name.

Should you register variants? 

People search in all kinds of ways and registering an ‘s’ for the plural is often worthwhile. If your name can be misspelt easily, purchasing that variant can also be of benefit. Also, purchasing variants can block future competitors from registering a variant of your name.

There are many domain name extensions, and to register .net, org, .biz, .info, and .co is a defensive tactic. Still, if you have someone in a developing country that picks up on your successful business and registers a close variant, it is expensive to hire lawyers to challenge the competitor’s registration.

What if the .com has been registered?

If the .com has been registered, and unless it is a keyword domain, then it may not be worth developing a site that someone else owns the .com version of. If nothing is happening on that .com version, it is possibly OK.

Be aware of previously registered domains.

If Google has penalised a registered name in the past and you purchase the name, you may find that it becomes impossible to rank. This may be because the spammer allowed the registration lapse and it appears on the market again. To check if it has been registered previously go to (known as the Wayback Machine) and it will show on their interactive timeline whether the site was previously registered.

It is doubtful that you would discover if the site had a previous penalty until you found it impossible to rank.

If you are starting a new business and want to discuss domain names and branding, please don’t hesitate to give us a call on 01403 292 120 or 07572 422 303. We’d be happy to help and give you the benefit of our advice.

A Nightmare Before Christmas for our local businesses

Like many other local business owners out there, I am worried about what will happen to our High Streets, hospitality, travel and other smaller businesses.

There are so many that have spent thousands of their hard-earned cash to make their businesses Covid safe to get them through the winter. The run-up to Christmas is vital to sustain them through January and February and with doors closed and no footfall, we will see the online giants benefit once again.

This lockdown is more serious than the last and will sound the death-knell for many and is so ironic that it came on Halloween of all days. Financial support can only go so far – businesses have rates and rents to pay and pubs and small breweries are likely to be brought to their knees.

Many are better prepared to deal with a second lockdown with take-away services ready to roll for the second time but this next month is a crucial trading period for our high streets.

Customers who want to support their local shops will struggle to do so if only the food outlets are open. Many gift shops are too small to have online stores. Etsy, Amazon and eBay take a large cut if you sell on their platforms, then you have the shipping to pay and a percentage to your merchant bank per transaction which leaves many retailers wondering whether it is worth it. You can set up your own shop on platforms like Shopify, but you still have costs, shipping, merchant costs and marketing plus the time it takes you to enter every product, description and photograph it and then work out your shipping cost. This is not something that is undertaken lightly or quickly.  

However, that’s not the point. People want to shop on their High Streets; they want the opportunity to browse, and to work locally as well as to put something back into their local community. Orders have been placed for large items that may not now arrive before Christmas, or kitchens and bathrooms that were hoped to be installed. Delays on these push other customers back further into 2021 and beyond.

Yes, we have to protect the NHS and the elderly, but this is a time when our communities, need to come together and work together for the good of their towns and cities. We see endless images on social media, and the news, of people disregarding advice. There have always been world problems and threats, it’s nothing new, but you have to take the bull by the horns and make those life choices. So, we have to pull together.

Sadly, this lockdown is likely to cause more deaths not just from cancer and heart disease, but suicides from job losses and bankruptcies and many mental illnesses. People need to see one another, share struggles, get support from friends and like-minded individuals, not being able to do that is damaging for the individual, and their whole family. People need to believe in a future for themselves and their family.

We need to be supporting start-ups which will create new jobs in the future. There are some great ideas out there but, as people are at the moment, they don’t have the funding to get things off the ground. Instead of paying people for being on furlough, why not offer them an income while they launch their own business?

And, then on top of that, we have Brexit! That’s been forgotten this weekend. We have been assured for months that everything will be sorted – and deadline after deadline has passed with nothing concrete on the table. Our fishing industry has always been a bone of contention with the French, but it makes you think if we can’t even produce a successful Track & Trace App that we can be proud of, what chance do will our manufacturers have when goods are stuck both sides of the channel? How many more businesses will have to stop work? It won’t be because of Covid but down to paperwork, policies and the inevitable red-tape.

A winter of discontent? Likely. We can but hope there is a glimmer at the end of the rainbow.

As a final word, we are around to help local businesses in East and West Sussex. Take a look at our first article on surviving Covid, or if you want to talk about your website, marketing, SEO and what you can be doing during the lockdown to ensure your business is in the best place to come out of it fighting, please don’t hesitate to give us a call or email – 07572 422303. We will help where we can.

Supporting local East Sussex companies to grow their business

Fine Marketing is proud to be one of the specialists delivering a range of business support to East Sussex companies. Under the direction of Digital Islands, run by Gavin McWhirter, we are working with start-ups, early-stage and established small and medium-sized companies who are looking to grow their business. 

The project which falls under the South East Business Boost, East Sussex, has a range of specialists which includes HR, Leadership, Marketing, Digital, Sales, Web Design, Branding, Design, Exporting, Finance, Product Development, Sales and Crowdfunding.

Businesses in East Sussex

If you run a business in East Sussex and are looking at ways to grow but do not have the business knowledge to reach the next step, we have three programmes.

Ready to grow

This is for companies in the first few years of trading who may need advice and information across a range of subjects.

Big Ambitions

This programme is for ambitious companies who are focused and ready to grow their business over the next few years.


Breakthrough is a programme for businesses that haven’t engaged with support before.

The challenges of running a business

Free business support is available from experienced business specialists who want to help you take your business to the next level. We know what the challenges are – our experts run their own businesses and their support could make a world of difference to yours.

The programmes are fully funded, and especially in the current climate of change, the opportunities to gain new skills and learn from experienced professionals is one not to be missed. They include:

  • What do you need to know to run your business?
  • Your business growth plan 
  • An introduction to marketing
  • The importance of understanding costs & margins 
  • Creating a great website
  • Key Steps in creating a results-focused marketing plan
  • Recruiting and retaining great people 
  • Delivering high impact products that the customer wants, needs or is asking for
  • Creating a brand that stands out from the crowd
  • Creating a sustainable, repeatable sales process

In addition, there is a range of Masterclasses available to any business on the programme that would like to sign up. 

As part of this programme, you can fill in a Business Strategy Assessment which is a toolkit that generates an individual report for your business. Please watch the South-East Business Boost Video to find out more. 

Feedback received from today’s Intro to Marketing Workshop

Many thanks for such a great session today, and for the attachments. I found the PESO framework (which was new to me) really helpful in becoming more focussed on where to spend my time and energy, but I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that by far the most important piece of information I’ve seen in a long time was the simple Persona template with the accompanying generation breakdown summaries. My target population is succinctly described (namely the Boomers), and I’ve got a few pointers now on how to reach & appeal to them. Thank you!

Dr Lorraine Gailey, Director, Hearing Partners.

E-commerce and multi-channel marketing

E-commerce and multi-channel selling is more important than ever

During the lockdown, businesses have found that just selling their products on one channel is not enough and have turned to multi-channel and their own e-commerce stores. Those that have been able to adapt have faired better than those who have had restrictions from their online platforms. 

In recent months, we saw that Amazon stopped sellers from selling any items deemed ‘non-essential’ and this resulted in a backlog of orders for some companies, damaging reputations and has seen some businesses refunding orders which then couldn’t be fulfilled.

Some sellers saw their accounts suspended when platforms suddenly experienced a surge in sales which left their competitors to dive in and take advantage. 

Our advice, therefore, is to look to sell through multi-channels and platforms as you can manage. Make sure you are in control and avoid third parties making decisions which could affect your sales and preventing you from trading.

What are the options for opening an online shop?

Let’s look at the marketplace. You have eBay, Etsy and Amazon and the benefits are that they are easy to set up and access. Your product listing on a site as these should be searchable and simple to manage. 

These marketplaces are not perfect. Not only do they have control over everything on their channel, they decide whether they allow you to sell and can turn you off. They can also take advantage of high-selling items. AmazonBasics is just that – they make a similar product to items that are selling well and can become your direct competition. 

Social Media platforms also offer eCommerce solutions for small businesses. On Facebook Shop, you can import your product directly to your Facebook Account to sell. Instagram and WhatsApp work similarly, and Instagram also offers gift cards.

For hairdressers or other service types, who have not yet opened since lockdown, gift cards are a great way to keep the cash coming in, but you need to recognise that time has to be allowed on re-opening to book in these customers who have already paid.

Setting up your own online shop

Having your own e-commerce store will give you the maximum amount of control and ensure you will always be able to sell online.

The ‘new’ normal is probably never going to see the same amount of customers through your door unless a vaccine becomes available, and ‘walk-ins’ and ‘impulse buys’ will become less frequent. Therefore, online purchases will become essential, and repeat purchases will be your ‘bread and butter’.

You can set up your own online shop using a platform such as Shopify or WooCommerce however, some people find this difficult and wish they had used a website designer or agency to do this for them.

When you set up your own e-commerce store, it will need marketing – you won’t see the same levels of sales as you did via the other marketplaces. Consider that you will need support to find the best ways to drive traffic to your website; you will need SEO; remarketing; social media and other marketing and perhaps Google Ads when you start on this journey. Although there won’t be additional fees, there will still be fees that you need to consider. It will net you more profits, but you will have to market your website. 

If you want to discuss possibilities, we can talk you through the pros and cons via a Zoom meet or other virtual chat channel – give us a call on 07572 422303.

How to keep your customers informed through marketing and social

I thought I would just write a blog to encourage people to continue to promote their business during the Coronavirus crisis.

Google and Bing Business Listings

Everyone should have a Google My Business listing, and a Bing one for that matter.

They are free to set up and manage and appear for relevant searches on Google and Google Maps, and Bing appears on Bing places, Microsoft and Yahoo.

If people are searching for your business, they usually type in the name and the location. The business listings will provide all the info a searcher needs including location, business hours, services, pictures, reviews, menus and contact details. They will even say if you are temporarily closed due to COVID-19. On a mobile, customers can ring you directly from your Google My Business listing. 

For customers and clients, having this information ready when people are search is a bonus. It is also FREE. If you haven’t already set up a GMB or Bing listing – now is the time to do so and it will put you in a better position when you are ready for business to pick up again. 


During this time, send your emails separately and pro-actively address specific concerns of your customers. 


Keep this updated with your most recent and essential information as well as the channels your customers can go to for up-to-date information.

Social Media Profile

Pin a specific post that gives any relevant responses or link it to your website page, which shows new information – however, don’t forget it is pinned when you come to post another post.


Ensure your business premises display the current information and opening hours. If you put up a temporary sign a few weeks ago – you may need to replace it or change the notice.


You should be modifying your homepage to indicate you are on top of the situation and if you are doing anything new or different. You can use a sticky notification bar, a full-page rework or a link to a Covid-19 page.

Google My Business listing

Remember to update with new opening times or a temporary closure notice. If you are making time for anything, this is the one to prioritise. Google is running a Covid-19 update facility but have currently suspended reviews and turned off short name. Check your attributes – delivery, pick-up, drive-through?

Google What’s New Posts

These posts disappear after seven days but you can use an Events post where you can to set a time frame.

Adjust your marketing messages.

Do keep your messages relevant and make sure you are not insensitive. If you are still running ads make sure they are not old adverts or posts. Mistakes can be costly during a crisis. 

Google and Facebook Ad Credits

Both will shortly be issuing ad credits to small and medium-sized companies. These giants have seen their marketing revenues drop, and now is an excellent time to be taking advantage of lower auction prices in many sectors.


Don’t expect posts to reach any more than 2% of your followers and don’t waste money on boosting posts – it’s like giving money to Facebook. You need to use their Business Manager and be super savvy. There is lots of online help or ask us about it.

Working Remotely

If using Google’s free apps ie Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, etc. you might find Tips to Work with Remote Teams useful.


Marketing during the COVID-19 crisis

In the world of digital marketing, the last couple of weeks has seen us react quickly to support clients with advice to ongoing and future campaigns, rescheduling, cancellations, making changes to websites, updating opening times and delivery information. On social media, we have responded to the demands of clients preparing their businesses for when a kind of normality returns. 

COVID-19 is certainly shaping consumer behaviour, the customer journey and many are turning to phones and personal contact to get the information they need quickly and precisely.

Certain businesses have seen an increase in demand from the obvious; hospitals, telehealth, subscriptions to online services and care, but spin-offs have included more demand for self-storage, pest control, financial services, senior living and mattresses. We assume the latter is because younger family members are living-in to help others.

Across the board, the search volume for COVID-19 has risen exponentially and will have an impact on your brand. Our suggestions, therefore, are try to position your brand as a helper and work on strategies with your blog posts, your social media and your PPC.

Many businesses are pulling back from PPC to SEO and content marketing. If you are aware of your Google Analytics stats, your insights to organic Search can be improved and used to tap into your customers’ behaviour.

Here are some interesting stats from US data company Dialogtech showing the current difference between Organic and Paid Search with regard to phone enquiries.

What else could you be doing? 

Give out a clear message

If you have a retail store which has had to close because you’re not an essential business, then explain why and let your clients know that you hope to be soon open again. 

Perhaps you have a shop that has had to change your opening hours because of staff shortages or problems with supply. Share your news as well as local content and be empathetic with others.

On what channels can people find information about your business?

The most important are: your website, Google My Business, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Linked-In, Trip-Advisor and Bing.

Make sure your brand messages are consistent as this will enhance your SEO

Check out where people are visiting your website from – it’s all there on Google Analytics.

Let your customers know you are working and open for business. If not now, then prepare from when you will re-open and how you will manage social distancing in your shop or business. 

Remember to post those opening hours and updates on social media. Add a banner or a pop-up but make sure it’s only on the home page and doesn’t distract visitors by appearing on every page they visit. 

If you have reduced staff, let your customers know by adding an extra line on your contact form by saying your response times may not be as quick as usual. 

Change Google My Business and Facebook business hours

With any business hours changes, follow those through on Google My Business (GMB) and Facebook pages. Use Google’s COVID-19 update options which will preview on your profile and, if your business is temporarily closed, you can mark it as ‘temporarily closed’ on GMB.

If you have put a plan in place to direct people around your premises to adhere to social distancing, why not talk people through it and show them with a video? Give them the reassurance they need to come back into the shop or business premises. 

Google Reviews and the ability to edit names on GMB have currently been suspended. The Q&A section has also been temporarily removed due to the crisis.

Don’t forget to use Facebook. Chat is up around 50%, and people are spending a lot of time on Facebook while working remotely. Creating content and reposting helpful content could be seen as a real benefit to your business. 

Brand building and awareness

Don’t sit back during the crisis, show everyone you have resources and your business is in good health so that when the time comes, you can return to normal. 

You may well find you have new customers, have benefited from the additional exposure, have built some brand advocates and have sent out your brand messages and maximised exposure. Use webinars, giveaways, learn a new skill, participate in podcasts, host a digital summit or be a speaker and create some digital content so you can hit the ground running when the need returns. 

How do we all stay healthy, engaged and safe when so much has changed in our world?

Work goes on, and there is a value. From what we all see from our online feeds; education, engagement and entertainment continue in different forms all around us. People have adapted, improved and become more versatile than ever with their ideas. 

Should the Coronavirus stop B2Bs from marketing? 

Should we all stop and stay quiet, or shall we continue to provide value to our clients and new audiences?

Businesses all around us are adjusting to the new norm. Work doesn’t always stop. With some businesses, unfortunately, they have no choice, but for others, companies still need support, information, advice, products, supply and services. There have been and, will be, new challenges, new opportunities and ways in which we can help our B2B customers and our B2C.

We have a new reality. People and businesses have new needs which we need to meet as well as new fears that we can help address. We need to find a way we can do our job but do it differently. 

There is no written plan for this – the COVID-19 crisis is unprecedented. Some brands will get it wrong. Their sales may be too strong, and they could be seen to be exploiting the public. Others could risk not doing anything or pretend it’s business as normal.  Some companies are working hard remotely, and others are working flat out to support under-resourced NHS teams. In the last few weeks, we have all come to appreciate those things we took for granted, and it is wonderful to see how many people care for their community and those that live within it.  

There is a lot of content out there, some good, some poor and some that is affecting your customers. Remember, whatever advice you give, it needs to be relevant, and your content calendar should be adjusted accordingly. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to use your story – it’s a powerful message.

Businesses should be adjusting their marketing calendar as it is impossible to continue with existing plans. Could you bring projects forward or keep them on hold? Giffgaff had a campaign planned for the end of the year and, as it was focusing on building communities, they have adapted what they had currently filmed, changed the format, and brought the launch date forward as ‘communities’ due to ‘community’ focus.

Some hard costs and reputation costs will inevitably not be recouped, but it is still essential to work on your reputation and be communicative. Let people know what’s happening with your business, be transparent, be one with the community and keep your customers on board so that when we have the green light, you are prepped and ready to go.

Here is some helpful information on How to Host a Virtual Event and How to Organise a Webinar on LinkedIn’s work resources page. 

COVID-19 and should you be marketing your business?

We have been watching the COVID-19 situation develop rapidly over the past few weeks and, well before the UK lockdown, it was evident that a major crisis was brewing. Not only were we going to see a global downturn but supply, especially from China and South Korea, was going to affect everyone.

At the moment, the world is coping with a pandemic, not yet a recession, but we have no doubts there is a large one on the cards.

What is happening to our businesses? There are three distinct groups

  • demand has sky-rocketed, and their supply chain is starting to get tighter
  • demand is stable, but they are also finding the supply chain is starting to tighten
  • demand has dropped off and they are not worried about their supply chain.

For example, customers are buying more from supermarkets as they are not eating out in restaurants. Basic amenities are being purchased from the sofa and not on the high street.

Some business will see a temporary loss and others, who may have been struggling for survival anyway, will see their decline accelerated. Beauty and clothing sales will be tested as people stay at home and don’t consider splashing out on new clothes or looking their best.

The supply chain is going to be crucial to some businesses’ survival. We had concerns with Brexit, but nothing on the scale of what to expect with COVID-19. Supplies of medical clothing, masks and testing kits have seen a massive surge in demand which will hopefully fall as quickly as it has risen. Supply is leading demand at the moment and businesses are going all out to use their skills to best fit supply.

Most of us who have been in marketing for some years recognise the importance of maintaining and sustaining valuable customer relationships. We expect to see pricing models reworked as supply chains change but reducing product quality risks damaging your brand and customer experiences. A difficult decision to make when you have spent many years investing in your brand and products.

Should you still be advertising? When you look back, during difficult times, it is the well-loved brands of today that built strong customer loyalty during times of hardship. During the Great Depression was the time that Kellogg’s doubled its advertising spend and invested heavily in promoting a new cereal – Rice Krispies. Kellogg’s wasn’t the market leader at the time, but profits grew by 30% and, the rest is history.

Brand advertising has always continued regardless of global situations, and we have already seen a vast rise in Zoom over the past few weeks with an increase of approximately 74% this year (figures from CNBC). Statistics from Forbes quoted on 24 March that downloads had increased by 1,270% between 22 February 2020 and 22 March 2020. 

Changing to remote working and remote education with an emphasis on entertainment and keeping us all sane, produce many opportunities for advertising and connecting.

As we spend more time watching and listening to traditional TV and radio or online through social, online publications and video, there are opportunities to consider how best to invest in advertising. Actions today, could make or break your business – if you are not there in front of potential customers, you can bet that your competitors will be. 

Think about your core values, build emotional connections, support your customers and benefit from those engagements when the crisis is over. It is important to keep your customers informed as to what you are doing be that through your website, social media or advertising.

If you would like to discuss marketing, advertising, traditional or online campaigns, please do get in touch with us. Call Julia on 07572 422303 or email

Fine Marketing sponsors Best Environmental Business Award

Fine Marketing is sponsoring the Best Environmental Business Award at the Seahaven Business Awards 2019 for the second consecutive year.

Julia Johnson, Director of Fine Marketing, said ‘We really hope to see entries from businesses committed to a greener future particularly those supporting renewable energy sources and combatting climate change. There are some brilliant local businesses in the area, and their great work often goes unrecognised.’

There are seven different awards for Business of the Year, Business Person of the Year, Best Customer Service, Best Environmental Business, Best New Business, Best Eatery and this year, the President’s Award is for the Best Health, Wellbeing and Beauty Business.

Businesses in the BN9, BN25 and BN10 postcodes are eligible to enter as well as those that trade within the Seaford, Newhaven and Peacehaven area.

The Judges include both local MPs, Maria Caulfield and Lloyd Russell-Moyle, The Mayor of Newhaven and the Presidents of Newhaven, Seaford and Peacehaven Chambers of Commerce.

This year’s event will be attended by HM Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex, Peter Field and Ambassador An from the Vietnamese Embassy.
Oliver Sutton, Director of Fine Marketing, commented ‘We are very privileged to work within such a dynamic part of the south-east and particularly with other like-minded business leaders who are passionate about making a difference and giving back to their local community.’

The 16th annual Seahaven Business Awards are organised by the Newhaven Chamber of Commerce, in association with the Peacehaven and Seaford Chambers of Commerce. Entries can be submitted via the Newhaven Chamber of Commerce website: and the closing date is Friday, 29th March 2019. Winners will be announced at a special Gala Dinner in Peacehaven, on Friday, 10 May 2019.

Should I take a stand at a Trade Show or Exhibition?

We have always take the long-term view with regard to exhibiting at trade shows in that it can bring benefits to your business and raise valuable awareness but that it should be weighed up with the costs involved before you invest your time and money and be part of your annual marketing strategy.

Trade Shows and Exhibitions give you the opportunity to meet directly with potential customers and generate leads but success is not always guaranteed as the people you may meet may not be in the market for your kind of products and services.

We do find that taking a stand at exhibitions gives us the opportunity to speak and network with other stand holders and this is often beneficial if you are a smaller business and other stand holders are of a similar size. The smaller companies will frequently have their Managing Director or Sales Director present, and it’s a great way to introduce yourself and start building a relationship.

Exhibitions are always an excellent way to raise your company profile and increase brand awareness and to make the most of this you should be using social media in the run-up to the exhibition to make the most of your online profile and increase followers. You may also find there are additional advertising and sponsorship opportunities that you can take advantage of when booking your stand.

Every business should be involved in some kind of networking, and trade shows are no exception. Shows are an ideal opportunity to learn about your competitors, find out about their new launches and what they might have in the pipeline that could have an impact on your business.

If your company is planning to launch a new service or a new product, then an exhibition could be the ideal opportunity and may provide an opportunity to discuss the benefits of the new service or product and the outcomes you hope to see.

It is highly likely that you will have competitors at shows and exhibitions. How can you stand out? You will need to make sure you have an eye-catching stand and some outstanding literature. Make sure it is all company branded and perhaps have some giveaways or sponsorship prizes to make sure your name has more impact on prospective customers than your competitors.

Consider your costs: stand space, design and build, travel, staff time, printing, sponsorship and giveaways. Book the right stand space – don’t get stuck in a corner where people may not find you easily.

Finally, do your research. Choose the right exhibition or trade fair. Check out if the speakers are big enough to attract the kind of delegates and/or footfall that you are looking for and follow up the event with some evaluation. The success of attendance and whether you have generated any good leads will give you the reasons to re-book or not for the following year.