Webinar: 27 Minutes to Seriously Better Domain Names

Baby Wearing Large Headphones Listening To Music
Why have I never done a webinar before? I was designed for webinars. Talking to lots of people at once? HELL YEAH.

So I’m joining the experiment a bit late, with a teeny bang.

27 Minutes to Seriously Better Domain Names.

I spent a half hour – minus a couple of minutes for saying howdy and arguing with buttons – unloading as much of the wisdom as I could fit in about how to choose an awesometacular domain name for your website.

The Kickass Naming Service has been one of my mainstays for two years, and in that time I have refined the hell out of my guidelines on what constitutes a great domain name and how you can create one for yourself.

Here’s the recording! I’m a wee bit nervous (you can’t tell, apparently), but I still squeezle in lots and lots of info about what’s important in choosing a domain name.

Audio MP3

Or download it here.

Any questions that remain?


Creative Commons License photo credit: Pink Sherbet Photography


7 things that every client tells me they want in THEIR clients

Who Am I ?

It’s one of my standard questions: Tell me about your ideal clients. What qualities do they have?

And the answers are always the same, to start with.

  • They’re smart.
  • They’re funny.
  • They’re women. (Or entrepreneurs. Or middle-aged.)
  • They’re willing to do the work.
  • They don’t argue about the prices.
  • They turn up on time.
  • They’re not, you know, broken.

Most clients will tell me every single one of these more or less verbatim, and then get to the end and say, “They sound like… everyone. Don’t they.”

I don’t even need to say yes. Instead I say, “Well, let’s dig a little deeper, so they start sounding specific.”

And so. And so.

They’re smart.

What kind of smart? Book smart, street smart, mamma-dint-raise-no-fools-smart? Emotionally, kinesthetically? Is smart a shorthand for wise, witty, practical, common-sensical, educated or something completely different?

And when you know that: what does their smart mean for them, and how they interact with the world?

And when you know that: what does that mean for you?

Practical example: describe the style of article you’d write for these different flavours of smart:

  • reads encyclopaedia for fun
  • solves Agatha Christies in the first two chapters
  • always knows when you’re feeling edgy
  • can fix anything, even without duct tape
  • never without a witty retort
  • constantly self-aware and self-correcting

Ah. Smart now means something.

They’re funny.

Again, what kind of funny? Smart and sarcastic? Sweet and silly? Pun-tacular? The humour that flows from an understanding of just how ridiculous the world we live in is?

And when you know that: what does their sense of humour say about them and how they see the world?

And when you know that: what does that mean for you?

Practical example: describe the tone you’d use in your newsletter for these different flavours of funny:

  • absurdism
  • gently amused
  • hard-edged mockery
  • satire
  • observational humour
  • word nerdery

Again, they’re very, very different.

They’re women.

Why do they have to be women?

90% or more of the time with my clients it turns out that “women” (or most of the other demographic-y information) is, like funny and smart, trying to be a shorthand for some other, necessary quality.


  • empathy
  • willingness to change
  • communication skills
  • lovingness
  • self-awareness
  • undergoing a dramatic life change

So, does it actually have to be middle-aged women entrepreneurs in North America? Or are you trying to say something else?

They’re willing to do the work.

This one falls into the “Duh” category. (But don’t beat yourself up. Everyone says it.)

Of course you want people who value the work you’re doing and won’t just leave it on the metaphorical shelf behind the Boggle set.

This is a sign that you’re ready to leave behind the dabblers and the dilettantes to embrace those who are ready to truly ROCK IT THE FUCK OUT.

So how do you know? What do your clients do (or NOT do) to indicate their willingness to get down and dirty and embrace the transformation you’re creating?

How do you create the situation where they display that willingness?

For makers of physical thingies: your flavour of this tends to manifest in statements like, “They deeply care about handmade/quality/the craft.” Otherwise it is exactly the same.

They don’t argue about the prices./They turn up on time.

Similar, but related. This is about them respecting you and the work.

The question is: why do they respect you and your work? What about the work, and how you deliver it, is worthy of respect?

I mean, you (as a human being) are innately awesome. This is not up for discussion.

But what is it about what you’re doing, and how you’re doing it, that makes them think your prices are amazing?

Why do they value your work and time so highly?

They’re not, you know, broken.

You’re not here to fix your clients. They bring a basic level of self-awareness, self-esteem, financial capacity and creativity to the work.

The funny thing is that those standards are different for everyone. Your “have enough money” is someone else’s “broke as fuck”. (And someone different’s “bajillionaire”.)

So what do your standards look like?

And how do you communicate them: in your offerings, your word choice, your pricing, your assumptions, your barriers, your boundaries?

There are a few other patterns, but you get the idea.

Most client-demographic questions suck a giant pile of ass, because they never go under the hood and say, Why does this matter?

It’s the level underneath the superficial where the connection happens, where you find your Hells Yes I Am! identity.

It is always awesome to ask yourself this about any of the ways you’ve identified your right clients. Often, the “Because…” is more valuable, meaningful and special than the quality above it.

If so, skip the superficial and get right down to the meat.

Nom nom nom.

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Creative Commons License photo credit: AhmadHammoud


The three tasks of marketing

Spices from Gujarat
What is the purpose of marketing? What is it for?

I’ll give you a minute, your answer is probably awesome.

Here’s mine: the purpose of marketing is to create, build and maintain relationships in order to make mutually satisfying offerings.

Shorter: to become friends so we can high-five each other with a deal.

(Do you think the guy who sold his magic beans to Jack for a cow was happy with the barter? I’ve always wondered.)

And like every developing friendship, your marketing goes through a few stages.

  • The Introduction
  • The Getting to Knooooooow Youuuuuuu, Getting to Know Alllllllll Aboooooooout Youuuuuuuu…
  • The “Me too!” moment
  • The “What would X think?” realisation
  • The “Oh, have you met so-and-so…”

I was gonna describe them, but I totally don’t need to. They fall pretty neatly into three categories: Creating, Building and Maintaining Relationships.

If you ever need a concrete model for this: play The Sims. (Any of them.) They do this brilliantly.

I’ll talk about the third another time, maybe, but for now I see a Bad Thing that I want to talk about that’s happening in the marketing of lots of amazing people who are getting sub-amazing results.

Your marketing needs the introduction AND the deepening. It needs to find new people, and then take the right ones from superficial awareness to deep connection.

We’ve all seen far too many people who create tempting attention-grabber after attention-grabber, with no way to take the relationship deeper. They think that’s enough, which is rather like the idea that I could shake your hands thirty times and then we’d be BFFs.

But on the other hand, there are also the people who create a wonderland of awesome, but don’t do anything to attract new people to it. This creates one of those creepysad amusement parks, all desperate neon and calliope music. (Probably with a sad oompah, too.)

Actually, I can talk about the third one too: the most egregious fuck-up of which I tend to see is the person who ignores their audience until they have a sale on, like the friend who only calls you when their computer breaks down. (Poor form!)

My point, I haz one:

Each of your marketing functions needs to perform at least one of these three tasks.


Each of these tasks needs to be performed by at least one marketing function.

And this all works much more smoothly when you know which does what, and how they link up.


This is how I do it. Each piece of paper has something like “Twitter”, “newsletter” or “breakdance” on it. (Okay, not the last. Which is a TRAGEDY.) And they are arranged into the different phases. (Into the path, which I talked about hyah.)

Thusly, I know the purpose of everything I do. For me, these articles are an introduction, and a deepener. The newsletter (which is awesome, and if you are not signed up for it you are missing out) is specifically for improving the relationship and then making offers. Facebook is another introduction. Et cetera.

You don’t have to do it this way, but you gotta do it some way.

Write/draw/dance out the story: how do awesome clients go from Never heard of you to Love you forevas?

And check: does your marketing have all three tasks covered?

Well… does it?

I’ll say it again, the newsletter (and seriously mind-boggling free resources) are really, really good. If you haven’t signed up for Rise and Shine yet, the pretty box below awaits you…

Creative Commons License photo credit: Sudhamshu