Founded in 1995, Register.it was one of the first Italian operators accredited by ICANN to offer domain names, which they provide alongside a whole suite of professional services that empower individuals and companies to create an online presence. Today, Register.it ranks among the leading companies in Europe for domain registrations and web presence solutions. Through both their partnership with Enom, OpenSRS’ sister company, and their own accreditation, they manage more than 2.5 million domains for 900,000 active customers.
We connected with Silvia Mazzanti, Head of Sales, Register.it, to talk about the growth of new TLDs, how the company adapted during the pandemic, and what the future looks like.
Having been a key player in the domain space for over 20 years, can you tell us a bit about Register.it’s journey?
Register.it has been a leading digital services company in Italy for over two decades. In that time, we’ve worked with over 200,000 professionals and SMEs to create, promote, and protect their online identity.
The world of domains has always been Register.it’s core business. However, over the years, the company has grown by developing other successful business channels such as site creation, shared and dedicated hosting, and cloud services.
We operate in a very competitive industry, and I believe that what sets us apart is how we’ve developed our services. In the last five years, we’ve implemented an agile methodology, which allows us to pivot when necessary to ensure we’re building the features and offering the products that our customers want most. Since the beginning, customer feedback has been hugely valuable to us.
Our customer-centric approach is supported by two main areas: data analysis and marketing. Our team of data scientists gives us valuable insights on trends, tools, and information that our customers are looking for, which helps us communicate with them in a meaningful way.
Keeping our customers and data as a key focus has helped our 20-year journey be a successful one.
Register.it has been focusing its efforts on unique marketing techniques. Can you tell us a bit more about that?
Nearly 80% of our budget is invested in digital campaigns, especially Google advertising. With the kind of data and intel we have through our tools and dashboards, we’re able to communicate the right message to the right audience for maximum ROI.
We also have a part of our budget that’s allocated to testing new avenues and experimenting with different marketing techniques. For example, the pandemic put a shutter on most physical events. This led us to experiment with webinars and online events.
Can you tell us more about your customer-first approach and how it has impacted your business?
Customers have always been at the core of our business. Our goal is to make their experience as seamless as possible. We do this by offering a complete web service package, with a domain name, and by working closely with customers during the onboarding process to ensure they are set up for success.
We have a team of over 50 specialists that supports our customers through every step of the onboarding journey. Customers can interact with them through a ticket, on chat or WhatsApp, or over the phone.
We don’t just want our customers to buy our services; we want them to renew. Keeping our customers at the centre of everything we do and providing them with a positive experience right from the get-to helps to build a lasting relationship.
You’ve worked with Enom, OpenSRS’s sister company, since 2006. How has Enom supported your journey to become a key player in the industry?
Our partnership with Enom, for 15 years now, has been wonderful. The collaboration opened us up to new gTLD (nTLD) opportunities and other domain promotions. Before partnering with them, we were only offering 1% of available nTLDs; today our customers can choose from 300+ nTLD options, about 25% of the total nTLDs available. Plus, because of the huge selection of TLDs that Enom offers, the option is there to expand our TLD lineup as customer demands change.
Having strong partners like Enom has allowed us to explore new opportunities and grow the business together.
New TLDs have been around for over seven years now. What are your thoughts on how the new TLD landscape is shaping up?
At Register.it, we’ve seen a shift in the nTLD business over the past seven years. Today, our customers are becoming increasingly aware of the various options they have. Like I mentioned before, we grew from selling 1% to 25% of the available nTLDs, and with over 100,000 domains across nTLDs, our numbers speak for themselves.
I strongly believe that nTLDs are here to stay. They give users the opportunity to describe their business and stand out in their niche. While the scope of growth is tremendous, I also believe that we must focus on customer education. At Register.it, we’re building a knowledge base that addresses questions about nTLDs, their benefits, and the different ways in which customers can use them.
Are there any new TLDs that stand out as a great value-add to you and your customers?
If there’s one thing that businesses are more sure of today than ever before, it’s the importance of having an online presence. The domain sales in 2020 were a testament to that. For instance, we saw a huge uptake for .ONLINE and .STORE since people had to close their offline businesses and move online. We’ve seen many ecommerce websites, blogs, and online learning sites pop up in the past year.
If I had to pick a nTLD that stood out the most, it would be .ONLINE. This is also because of our partnership with Radix for over five years now — 70% of our total nTLD sales are Radix names. We even collaborated with them on a highly successful radio campaign where we partnered with the second largest radio show in Italy to promote .ONLINE as a strong option for businesses and individuals. The campaign was a huge success: .ONLINE registrations grew 40% quarter on quarter during the duration of this ad. To me, this demonstrates the importance of increasing awareness of new TLDs. Clearly, many website owners find .ONLINE appealing. The current challenge is that many don’t know they have the option.
Radix’s TLDs are attractively priced, and the registry has supported us with a ton of marketing campaign content that’s translated into more nTLD sales.
How did the pandemic impact Register.it?
Our focus since April 2020 has been to help businesses get online. We were constantly studying how the markets were moving and stayed consistent with that to reach more customers and help them set up their digital footprint.
The pandemic forced everyone (businesses and individuals) to go digital if they wanted to stay in touch with the world. Digital tools were — and still are— essential in bridging the distances between people and businesses.
At Register.it, we noticed an evident increase in sales of all digital services we offer, especially domains and eCommerce websites.
I think for businesses that had historically relied solely on a physical, local presence, the pandemic introduced or confirmed ecommerce as an important revenue stream. If you’re looking to stay competitive, grow, and reach new customers, an online presence is essential.
With respect to marketing, we focused on two important verticals—online advertising campaigns and content marketing. We created useful, value-driven content for our blog and social media. This was to ensure that customers who needed to move online quickly had all the answers and information they needed to get started. Thanks to these efforts, we saw a 60% year on year jump on .STORE registrations, as more businesses moved online.
We believe that people today are a lot more aware of the opportunities and ways they can create a meaningful online identity. We’re hoping to increase that awareness by promoting nTLDs.
What do the next five years look like for Register.it?
In 2019, Register.it became part of team.blue, a leading digital enabler for companies and entrepreneurs. It serves over 2 million customers in Europe and has more than 1,500 experts to support them. Its goal is to shape technology and to empower businesses with innovative digital services. Joining the larger team.blue organization opened up new opportunities for Register.it to grow and better compete at the European level— we’re now operating in over 14 countries.
This is also a wonderful opportunity for our partners. For example, Radix now has the chance to collaborate with other brands within the team.blue group. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.
How is Register.it supporting and building employee morale during these difficult times?
We have a great team at Register.it. The shift to remote work, while a bit of an adjustment, did not impact our productivity. We’ve had the same results and are confident we’ll be able to keep up and get better in the coming years.
We are a dynamic team. We have structured team-building activities once a year which have proven useful to improve team morale— they’re a lot of fun. We also all connect at least twice a week to do explorative work like brainstorm new business ideas. To build a successful business you need to pay attention to your internal team just as much as you need to pay attention to your customers.
As we move forward, we’re looking to establish a hybrid work environment where employees come to the office twice a week and work remotely the other three days.