Naming your Business

Posted: April 10, 2018 by David Lamont in Marketing topics

Naming your business is one of the first, critical, and long-lasting things that you do. A good business name is very important to get right because it:

  • Becomes your brand name and the reputation associated with that name is a valuable asset.
  • Is trademark-able protecting your reputation from poachers.
  • Becomes your website address where prospects and customers find you online.
  • Is very difficult and expensive to change.

So, what makes a good business name? The following list highlights the interrelated elements that make a business name better. Very few names can claim them all, but all good names can claim some of them.

The premium Internet domain is available (e.g. dot-com, dot-ie in Ireland.)

Most savvy marketers will abandon a name if the domain is not available. If it is available, they will purchase all similar domains to keep them off the market.

The word and spelling are unique enough to be trademarked and the trademark is not already taken.

If the trademark is taken, move on.

Obvious to pronounce and spell.

Do you want to spend limited marketing resources bridging the perception-to-reality gap for your name? It’s an unnecessary sidelining of funds that can otherwise be used to boost sales.

The name makes it clear what you sell.

“Unoso Software” is better than just “Unoso.” You also can achieve clarity with an icon and/or tag line but it’s best if the name itself is all that is required.

The name is as short as practical.

Short names are easier to remember but they are also easier to work with in the Internet age where advertisements are limited by characters and pixels. Try this: Type the name in a font approximating your eventual logo then shrink it to 1-inch. If you can’t read it clearly, it is too long.

The name and its associated reputation are transferable.

In some countries it is common for a company to be named after its founder (e.g. Joe Ryan & Sons.) However, with the reputation tied to an individual the brand name may not have as much value as one that can be more easily transferred.

Starts with a letter that is early in the alphabet, so it appears towards the top of lists (e.g. directories.)

Most prospective customers only contact 2 to 5 vendors so making the shortlist is important to sales.

Learn more about how your business beat your competition, attract better sales leads and win the loyalty of your customers by contacting Marketingsage now.

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The Greatest Cost, Namely Time!

Posted: March 5, 2018 by David Lamont in Marketing topics

It’s easy to understand the value of time when it is applied to wages or a consultant’s time – you pay or earn a fixed price per hour, day, week, month or year. In this case, the value of time remains relatively constant. But when it comes to marketing a product the value of time is not constant. There are certain “windows of opportunity” which can significantly improve profitability and, if missed, can doom an otherwise good product to financial failure. Learn how to work with time by reading The Greatest Cost, Namely Time! on the Marketingsage web site.

Sales Opportunities with Specialty Golf Trips

Posted: February 18, 2018 by David Lamont in Opinion, Promotions

I recently met with Cathal O’Donoghue, a fellow alumnus of my university. He organizes custom golf events in Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales and beyond so I was reminded of all the golf-themed events we had at IBM.

Golf provides you with access, time and a relaxing environment to learn and sell. It also creates a shared interest beyond the workplace that gives you the opportunity to bond. You don’t even have to be good at it because the handicap system allows people of different abilities to play together.

The key to success is to pick a great course and to get beyond the logistics so you can focus on the meeting and your agenda. So as someone who organized many meetings and conferences with a golf game on the program I thought I might make your job easier by introducing Specialty Golf Trips.

While many of the day-to-day marketing activities revolve around one promotion or another it’s important to ensure that your activities are supporting a useful strategy. In turn, that marketing strategy should be supporting business goals. This Proven Marketing Strategies document on the Marketingsage website contains useful list of marketing strategies.

 

Marketing Planning Cheat Sheet

Posted: January 23, 2018 by Agnes Lamont in Marketing topics
With the new year upon us, many are catching up on their planning. It’s important enough that General Dwight D. Eisenhower famously said: “In preparing for battle I always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” So with the process in mind, I’ve posted a single-page cheat sheet on the Marketingsage website.

Low Cost Marketing that Works for Contractors in Ireland

Posted: January 21, 2018 by David Lamont in Uncategorized

If you are a trades person or contractor in Ireland this how-to paper can help you boost your sales by teaching you how to use straightforward, no-cost and low-cost marketing techniques.

The free down-loadable is now available on the Marketingsage web site.

 

Planning to Achieve a Revenue Target

Posted: January 14, 2018 by David Lamont in Budgets & Spending

Do you know how many customers, prospects and sales leads you need to reach this year’s revenue target? If not, how can effectively plan your marketing and sales strategy? You can’t! However, you can get the answers you need using the Planning to Achieve a Revenue Target worksheet on the Marketingsage web site.

Writing Stuff or Content Marketing?

Posted: April 14, 2015 by Agnes Lamont in Marketing topics

The difference between a hoarder and a collector is organization. The same holds true for the distinction between collateral creation and content marketing. Creating and posting piles of “stuff” online is not the same thing as cultivating and engaging an audience as a trusted expert and thought leader.

Having a strong content marketing strategy can improve the effectiveness of inbound marketing through all buying phases, from awareness through purchase, and increase overall brand equity. Answering the following questions should help guide your strategy successfully:

1. Who is my audience?
2. What can I offer that will interest my audience?
3. Does my offering tie back to the products/services I sell?
4. What is my brand voice/personality?
5. How will I distribute the content I create?

Having the answers helps bound what you should be creating, align content with your overall marketing and business objectives, and helps you manage a realistic delivery plan.

Sure, you may know a great deal about a range of subjects, but by focusing on a specific area, you can build credibility and provide meaningful value to an audience that is truly interested. Research what is of interest to the folks in your target audience. Do you have expertise to fill in knowledge gaps, answer questions, and offer guidance? Do you have controversial thoughts and ideas? Whether your content creation takes the form of videos, blogs, white papers, guides or whatnot, you should aim to create content that provides valuable insight and useful tools for your audience around your chosen topic. Every piece of content you produce should be of high quality and very relevant to your audience. That is what helps credential you as a trusted source and builds equity in your brand.

About the Author

Agnes Lamont is an accomplished marketer of IT products and a partner at Marketingsage, a PR and lead generation firm that specializes in marketing data storage, data management and enterprise software products. She can be reached by email at blog [at] marketingsage.net. Fellow marketers and IT professionals are invited to join her network on LinkedIn and to subscribe to this blog (see sidebar).

The more prospects who choose to register their contact information with you the better. Someone who opts-in to your house list is demonstrating an interest in your message. Some may represent immediate sales opportunities. Others can be inexpensively nurtured over time using email until they purchase, opt-out or are disqualified as a prospect.

To build your house list you need to give your prospects a reason to share their contact information with you. Having a great product or special offer may not be a good enough incentive because many visitors will not be in purchasing mode when they first get to your web page. Most will be in learning mode. Keep that in mind when deciding what incentive to offer.

Here are the most common motivators that entice people to register their contact details on a web site:

    1. To request pricing or other information
    2. To access or download a white paper or article
    3. To see a product demonstration
    4. To attend a webinar (or to view a recording of one)
    5. To attend a telephone seminar (or to hear a recording of one)
    6. To read a research report
    7. To download an e-book
    8. To access a trial product
    9. To subscribe to an e-newsletter
    10. To subscribe to a print magazine
    11. To get special access to VIP benefits
    12. To participate in a forum
    13. To access technical support
    14. To access a peer network such as a user group
    15. To use an online tool or calculator
    16. To get a coupon or discount code
    17. To register for an event such as a trade show or seminar
    18. To receive notifications (e.g. product availability, new listings, etc)
    19. For a customized experience (e.g. to store preference data)
    20. To download an audio file (e.g. a telephone seminar, podcast, music)
    21. To enter a high-value sweepstakes
    22. To join an affiliate program
    23. To join a loyalty program (e.g. airline miles)
    24. To receive a gift
    25. To participate in a survey

Best practices doe choosing the right opt-in motivators

The best incentive for your business will depend on your unique situation. However, in general the following best practice rules apply:

  • Offer credible value-add information related to what the visitor is looking for. Your brochure does not qualify as an incentive to register.
  • The offer should be of value to a prospective customer, not to the general public. Remember you want sales prospects, not just a list of names.
  • Keep the title of your offer relevant to what you sell.
  • The offer should relate to a prospect’s purchase decision process.
  • If possible, provide immediate gratification once the form is completed.
  • Always tell the visitor what is in it for them.
  • Don’t ask for too much information. You can get more information later. At least ask for a full name, company name and an email address.
  • Build trust. Clearly state your privacy policy on the registration page. Tell the visitor what will happen when they register and assure them they can easily opt-out.
  • Keep it simple. The page must look and work simply. Don’t let the programmers over-complicate it.
  • Test different incentives and registration page designs.

About the Author

David X. Lamont is an accomplished marketer of IT products and a partner at Marketingsage, a PR and lead generation firm that specializes in marketing data storage, data management, and enterprise software products. He can be reached by email at blog [at] marketingsage.net. Fellow marketers and IT professionals are invited to join his network on LinkedIn and to subscribe to this blog (see sidebar).

Almost every marketer uses email to keep in touch with prospects and customers. To do that they use a bulk email system so they can send the same message to many subscribers, track who gets what message, who opens the emails and who clicks on the enclosed links.

There are many bulk email applications. They can all send high volumes of personalized email, track open rates, track clicks as well as manage bounces and opt-out requests. So which one is best?

We looked at ten options. Nine were software-as-a-service (SaaS) and one was a software application you install on your own server. We included the ARP Reach software application because we were familiar with it. We used it for years. It’s a great package. However we found it challenging to maintain the server and frustrating to depend on an IT person’s availability. Therefore we wanted to see if a SaaS package could meet our criteria so we looked at Campaign Monitor, ConstantContact, ExactTarget, HubSpot, iContact, MailChimp, MailJet, Salesforce.com, and VerticalResponse.

By a process of elimination we ended up recommending iContact. Here’s our review.

Methodology

Our methodology was straightforward. We believe it was consistent with that of a marketer looking for a bulk email application.

We started with a list of email services that included the well known brands. We then added to the list by searching for lesser known providers. We reviewed each provider’s package as described on their website and, where possible, we telephoned the provider to get answers to specific questions. We eliminated many providers based on the answers to those questions. We tested those that were not immediately eliminated. Out tests primarily looked at email format, personalization of message, and ease of use. We did not test integration with a CRM application or 3rd party applications that may be required to make that possible.

Our review criteria included 5 assumptions and 5 comparison elements. We are experienced email marketers. Therefore some comparison elements were so critical to us we eliminated packages based on poor performance in those areas.

Assumptions

Email Volume: Our sales prospects are organizations, not consumers. We would only email people who opted in online (subscribed) or requested information by telephone or at a trade show. Therefore we would be sending emails to a “House List” that may reach tens-of-thousands, but not hundreds-of-thousands or millions. We’d likely send an email every 4 to 6 weeks to people who had not opted-out (unsubscribed.) We assumed we would have approximately 5,000 subscribers within the first year.

Disqualification: Salesforce.com’s Professional edition includes email campaigns but we disqualified it because it is restricted to 500 emails per day and because opt-outs had to be manually processed.

Email Type: We favor personalized sales letters, not generic newsletters. Therefore the arrays of fancy newsletter templates were not important to us. We wanted our emails to look just like an ordinary email one might get from Microsoft Outlook. Accordingly, the emails must appear to come from our web domain and replies must go directly to the sender. Additionally, the emails must not include the SaaS firms’ branding.

Email Sender: The list manager and the instigator of email campaigns would be a marketer, not a salesperson or IT person. Therefore, that person could learn how to use the email application, they could format a letter in HTML, but they were not expected to maintain a server.

Technical Support: We know that problems arise at the most inconvenient times. Therefore, we expect prompt telephone support.

Standard Features: We expect to monitor bounces, opens and clicks. We also expect the software to provide opt-in forms and to automatically manage opt-out requests. Almost all email applications offer these standard features. Some offer email forward tracking but this feature depends on the reader using a special button/link so we considered this nice to have, but not essential.

Comparison Elements

Ability to Contact: We assumed that a SaaS provider that could not be contacted by a prospective customer could not be reliably contacted by a customer with a problem. Therefore we disqualified SaaS providers if we could not find a phone number for them, if they failed to respond to our email/form inquiry, or if technical support was limited to forms and/or email.

Disqualifications: MailChimp, MailJet and ARP Reach were disqualified because we could not find a phone number and/or because support is by email only. We’d like to say they were immediately disqualified, but we did invest more time than we should have trying to get in touch. Campaign Monitor did call us, but their service was disqualified because technical support is by email only.

Salesforce.com Integration: We believe that every firm needs one definitive source of information about its prospects and customers. One well mainlined CRM system is critical to accurate reporting and therefore it’s critical to decision making. Reconciling multiple data sources is difficult, slow, and prone to errors. We chose the popular Salesforce.com as the reference CRM application, not because we expect salespeople to manage email campaigns, but because we wanted campaigns and responses to be visible to the team.

Integration with Salesforce.com was critical to our review. It did not matter which Salesforce.com package was required so long as a mail list could be pulled from Salesforce.com and bounces and unsubscribe information could be synchronized. In general, SaaS email packages that work with Salesforce.com require the Salesforce.com Campaign features so we used the Salesforce Professional edition as our benchmark. We did not consider Salesforce.com’s Pardot application because it’s in a different league to most bulk email applications and we thought it was prohibitively expensive in the context of this review.

In some cases additional software is required to integrate a SaaS email system with Salesforce.com. We were OK with that so long as integration between the three applications appeared to be reliable and the total cost was not completely out of line with other options.

Disqualifications: MailChimp reportedly integrates with Salesforce.com using Cazoomi. However, online reviews indicated that it did not work to the satisfaction of many users. MailJet reportedly integrates with PodBox, but the combined cost appeared uncompetitive.

ConstantContact was a finalist contender but online reviews indicated that integration with Salesforce.com did not work to the satisfaction of many users. iContact did much better in the integration reviews.

Price: There were differences in subscription rates and how SaaS providers calculated their fees. We were not particularly price sensitive because it was more important to have the features we wanted and because in the overall perspective of a marketing budget, email is not a big item. We anticipated a budget of $1000 to $1500 for the first year.

Disqualifications: MailJet, ExactTarget and HubSpot were disqualified because the pricing appeared uncompetitive with other options. These applications have valuable features, but we did not need all of them.

Piggyback Branding: Most SaaS email packages automatically include their own branding at the end of their customer’s emails. That piggybacking should be unacceptable to a professional marketer that’s paying to use their service. However, upon request most SaaS providers can change the settings to eliminate this piggybacking.

Disqualification: VerticalResponse said they could not exclude their branding from their customers’ email campaigns.

Deliverability: Almost all the SaaS providers promise a deliverability rate around 98%. That’s a great number because 100% is not realistic. Every campaign can expect some undeliverable bounces because subscribers leave, email addresses change. However, the SaaS marketers don’t commit to 98% deliverability to recipient inboxes. Our tests showed that until the sender was white-listed, emails were flagged as SPAM and were delivered to the junk mail folder.

One SaaS salesperson acknowledged our complaint but promised that inbox deliverability would be considerably higher for paying customers because their emails are sent from different servers. Apparently, the free trial customers are assigned to servers that have already been flagged by SPAM mitigation applications. And to be fair, many free trial users may send email that looks like SPAM.

Disqualifications: We could have disqualified all the SaaS applications that we tested. We didn’t disqualify any service because our test was limited to free trial accounts and we emailed our own addresses. It was not possible to conduct a more comprehensive test.

Conclusion

Marketingsage-Recommended-RibbonAfter weeks of reviewing the many bulk email options we ended up with three finalists: iContact, ConstantContact and ARP Reach. We decided to recommend iContact because ConstantContact and ARP Reach had some undesirable traits.

ConstantContact customers did not rate Salesforce.com integration very highly. At the time ConstantContact had an average 2 star rating from 17 reviews. Additionally, ConstantContact did not accommodate personalized subject lines. iContact had an average 4.5 star rating from 160 reviews.

ARP Reach is a great application and because it’s software, you buy it once and email as many subscribers as you like. However, we passed on it this time around because of the difficulties associated with server maintenance. Additionally, they did not respond to an emailed question about Salesforce.com integration.

About the Author

David X. Lamont is an accomplished marketer of IT products and a partner at Marketingsage, a PR and lead generation firm that specializes in marketing data storage, data management, and enterprise software products. He can be reached by email at blog [at] marketingsage.net. Fellow marketers and IT professionals are invited to join his network on LinkedIn and to subscribe to this blog (see sidebar).