How to Build a Kick Ass Mailing List… A Must For Any Brand

mailbox-email-marketing— Growth Hacking Series —

The Internet is a ridiculously massive and ever-growing digital landscape, which has led to it being far too easy to get lost or forget most previously visited sites, even with the plethora of bookmarking options we have.

Creating a mailing list as early as possible is vital to the future success of your business.

There are a bunch of blog creators and businesses that launched sites years ago who are kicking themselves for not building a mailing list earlier. Some failed sites would have succeeded if they had just started to build their list in the beginnings.

Many thousands of past visitors will probably be lost to them forever, whereas they could’ve easily and cheaply reconnected with many of these old visitors every so often to further build upon relationships with their audience, while bringing in more revenue.

Are you unsure or too embarrassed to ask readers to join your mailing list?

Some of you may feel embarrassed to ask your readers to join up as a subscriber and I’ll explain why that is crazy in a minute. I’ve heard a few bloggers say something like they are “not really promoting their mailing list subscription because they don’t want to be perceived as a spammer”.

If you fall into the embarrassed group then you must change your attitude… Why?

Your audience doesn’t want to have to check your site every day for new content.

Do your audience a favor and offer them a handy reminder service of your new content and offers. If you don’t make it easy to subscribe to your list then you are doing your valued audience a disservice.

People are busy… longer than ever work hours, social media, social reality, and an overall information overload…

So if they like your articles, subscribing to your list helps make it easier and less time-consuming to connect with your brand.

It’s called an OPT-IN for a reason, so feel confident that it’s a win-win situation and then let the reader choose… They can always OPT-OUT (unsubscribe) later and if they do they won’t hear from you again.

1) Start Now With a Email Marketing Service

If you haven’t started building a mailing list from your website’s visitors then you really must start NOW!

It will be a great investment.

Maybe you’re using a basic free WordPress or other CMS plugin to slowly collect emails, but how are you sending out your updates or newsletters? Some of you haven’t started, which after reading this you can finally get started TODAY.

iContactHowever, if you’re using an email marketing software on your PC or even plain-old regular email software like Mail, Outlook or Thunderbird, then you run the risk of dangerous email problems with your site that could even cause your email to stop working!

If you are sending out your emails yourself, your ISP or Webhost could block outgoing emails or enforce crippling restrictions due to spam risks. Your IP could also be labelled as a spam risk making it hard for your messages to avoid the Junk folders where it will be almost impossible to grow a nice list and communicate your messages.

It’s simply not worth the risk. Let the professionals handle it and they’re cheap!

MailChimpThe industry standard option is to use a specialised 3rd party cloud-based Email Marketing Service such as MailChimp, or the more professional and effective AWeber or iContact.

These services will help you build your list, manage it and easily send out truckloads of newsletters, updates and promotions to your audience without risking paralyzing your normal business and personal emails.

Importantly, they all assist your business to operate your email marketing campaigns in compliance with Anti-Spam laws.

For sites that are new or have virtually no marketing budget, MailChimp is a good starting point to begin building your opt-in list. They have a free option (for up to 2000 subscribers), however the features are quite limited in the free version. It is easy to integrate with any website and has a great premium service for full features and larger email lists.

What is the best Email Marketing Service?

Every situation has different needs and all three services below are solid. If you already have a decent sized list, can afford to spend some small change on premium email marketing or plan on getting more than 2000 subscribers I would recommend (in order of preference):

  • AWeber – Rating: 9.0/10
    • Great Pricing: Starting at $19 per month
    • Beautiful Templates, Best Support, Best Integration
    • Amazingly Fully Featured (such as Split A/B Testing)
    • Professional-Grade, Simple to Use
  • iContact – Rating 8.0/10
    • Great Pricing: Starting at $19 per month
    • Great Templates, Good Support, Good Integration
    • Great Range of Features
    • Very Easy for complete beginners
  • MailChimp – Rating 7.5/10
    • Free (limited features) & subscribers
    • Expensive to upgrade plan/features
    • Basic Templates, Average Support, Great Integration
    • Easiest for complete beginners

AWeber is the most popular among Internet Marketers for a reason. It is the most polished and fully featured service of its kind and is about the same cost as the other two when comparing plans of similar features and subscribers.

2) Offer a Free Gift To Your Subscribers

I’m sure along the way you’ve received gifts on festive occasions that you’ll never forget. Those gifts had a reason that they were memorable and probably fall into at least one or more of the following factors:

  • Perfectly suited to your needs, interests or personality
  • High Desire & Anticipation
  • Highly Valuable
  • Extremely Unique
  • Ridiculously bad bordering on a joke

brandbooknewWhat To Gift Your Audience?

Now when it comes to representing your brand and offering a suitable digital gift to new subscribers, we can try to replicate the first 4 of the above memorable gift factors with the aim to forge positive connection with our brand and the reader.

It’s important that we build our gift(s) with generous time and care to make it highly valuable to our audience.. Uniqueness definitely helps.. But presenting it in a way that creates desire and anticipation can further strengthen these memories.

The gift could be anything that is not offered free to the public, has value and can be legally reproduced infinitely (preferably your own creation) such as:

  • eBooks
  • Software
  • Private Video Lectures
  • Short Course
  • Templates
  • Illustration Packs
  • CMS / E-Commerce Plugins
  • Other Useful Resources

If you put in effort to make it extra special it could take you around 25 hours to create, and if you look at opportunity-cost (eg. hourly salary of $25 p/hour equates to an $625 cost in time) it could be seen as an expensive gift to give away for free… Let’s hope it looks expensive!

But because it’s digital it can be reproduced an unlimited number of times.

The better it is the more likely it will be shared, and the less each gift actually costs you… If only Christmas worked the same way!

If you manage to attract 2000 subscribers to your list over a year, this equates to 31 cents per gift and is always getting cheaper as you keep giving! 5000 subscribers equates to 12 cents per gift.

Some bloggers can make around $20 avg. revenue per year per subscriber, some make a lot more while others make much less. So your 5000 subscribers could potentially be worth $100,000+ per year to you. So you’re 12 cent gifts you’ve been handing out, that really only cost you time (and perhaps $10-$20 or so on royalty-free stock photography) could help bring in a healthy and growing income some time down the track.

Make Sure It’s Valuable, Good-Looking and Polished

Whatever it is, just make sure it’s what you promise, it looks pretty & polished and most importantly provides great value to your audience. The goal is to exceed their expectations.

Any free subscription gift will not only attract more subscribers, but also increase opt-in email verifications as most of your audience will want to find the freebie in their inbox immediately.

Psychology studies also suggest that if you give someone a gift that has value, they are likely to feel the need to return the favour in some way.

This feeling may be marginal but could also lead to slightly higher click-through rates to your advertisers/affiliate offers, more blog comments/interaction, bookmarking, sharing, word-of-mouth recommendations and mentioning on social media.

If your freebie is highly valued by the reader they may also email it on to suitable colleagues or friends, this is why your freebie should look pretty, provide your business information/contact details, be consistent with your brand image.

The content should be well-researched, carefully structured and highly polished. The gift creates a first impression to potential new customers or audience.

3) Create a Landing Page For Your Free Subscription Gift

timthumbYou’ve spent the time to create a gift that the customer loves, so make it easy for them to share a link to this wonderful freebie you’re offering. Create a gorgeous landing page complete with the details of the gift, a subscription form and some social share buttons. The easiest way to create a super high-converting “squeeze pages” is to use OptimizePress. They have over 30 beautifully polished & tested high-converting templates for your squeeze page and they only charge a small one-time fee instead of a monthly membership. OptimizePress is compatible with any website as it can output CSS & HTML5, you can also deploy to a WordPress site via their integrated Wordpress theme or plugin.

No code required, if you can point-and-click then you can design your own beautiful squeeze pages without the help of a designer that are responsive and look fantastic on every screen (including mobile). They’ve implemented a user-friendly drag-and-drop page builder with a wide-range of possible features including video, audio, countdown timers, guarantee badges, arrows and testimonial boxes.

There have been numerous credible reports that OptimizePress squeeze pages can consistently convert around 50% of the visitors to the page into subscribers, which is miles above any other conversion page designs.

4) Use a Quality Opt-In Subscription Popup

The best email marketing platforms (Aweber, iContact) are experimenting with lightbox popup subscription forms but currently they have flaws and lack many useful features, customizations and polish.

For instance, if you sign up to AWeber, they have a free lightbox popup feature which is nice but it’s quite limited… Importantly you haven’t got control over when and what pages to enable the popup, which can annoy both regulars and 1st time visitors to your site and lead to a higher bounce rate.

By far the best opt-in form popup software is PopUp Domination. It works on any website or blog, has an amazing array of features and is optimised for all devices including smartphones and tablets.

popupdomination

Popup Domination can beautifully present your subscription gift

The settings and design are highly customisable. You can set the popup to only show on the second page impression, so that if someone visits your page it wont annoy them the first instant they arrive. If they like your site and navigate to a second page then the popup is shown. You can set popups to not show on the homepage. You can even set time intervals before showing popup a 2nd time. You can experiment with everything constantly making improvements to your opt-in rates.

The highest converting opt-in popup factors:

  1. Use an eCover to illustrate your digital gift (eg. Book or DVD Cover)
  2. Using the word FREE attracts interest & NOW creates urgency
  3. Button Color – Red & Green submit buttons convert best
  4. Reminding reader that their email address is NEVER shared helps encourage trust
  5. Tell the reader directly in large font what you want them to do (eg. DOWNLOAD NOW)

 

5) Send Beautifully Designed & Value-Packed Newsletters (With Consistent Timing)

If you starting out or haven’t created newsletters before, depending on the frequency you publish new content you should initially aim for a weekly, fortnightly or monthly newsletter. In my opinion Aweber has the best built-in professionally designed html newsletter templates.

Aweber-email-newsletter-html-templates

If you publish one article per week, you could send out a reminder after each post with the article title in the subject line. Another option is to send out a fortnightly or monthly newsletter that contains small excerpts and a featured picture from each new article. Whatever the frequency, just make sure each email provides real value, and keep sales pitches and promoting of 3rd party products to a minimum (especially when you start out list building).

Promoting products works more naturally in context within the article itself (without any mention in the email). On the odd occasion it is fine to talk about a highly relevant promoted product within an email, but don’t overdo it!

These days people can smell a pushy salesman a mile away and may unsubscribe quickly if they signed up for ‘Entrepreneur Interviews and Insights’ but instead notice more of a trend in pushing affiliate products. Please Note: Check with your Email Marketing Provider if affiliate links are allowed within your emails as some don’t allow this or require that they grant permission on a case-by-case basis.

Give your audience free and real value and lot’s of it, show that you care about them and when you do recommend a product it will be taken far more seriously and have a higher conversion rate. Sometimes they won’t buy on the first recommendation, but if then 4 months later you obtain an exclusive discount you can refer to the previous recommendation as to why you spent the time to negotiate a deal for your readers.

6) Turn Your List Into Revenue (The Right Watm-money-olday)

Only promote items you are 100% confident in the quality and suitability to your audience. Promoting random unknown items will discredit your brand and lose you valuable subscribers. So treat them with respect and do your due diligence! It may take you a lot more time to find the right products to promote but remember that doing it the ‘right way’ will create positive experiences for those readers who purchased a product you recommended, which in turn creates more trust and likelihood to purchase another product you recommend in the future.

Sometimes you will find that the better product is the one where you make less commission but that happy customer now trusts you a lot more. In 3 months you may finally find a product that is fantastic AND pays top commission, that same customer may read your take and just purchase it without any further research. So taking less sometimes pays more in the long-term. Focus less on affiliate commissions per sale and more on providing exceptional value, honesty and integrity. This is what I call the ‘right way’ to make money from your list.

EXTRA TIP: WRITE EPIC SHIT

The best Mailing List strategy in the world will still be a waste of time if your content doesn’t inspire people to share it.

To be a true Rockstar in the art of building Killer Mailing Lists – and the only way any of this will be worthwhile – is… and yes I know it’s an overused cliche… but only because it’s the single most important factor in SEO and internet success…

You guessed it!

WRITE EPIC SHIT (aka great content). Without great content nobody except for spambots are going to join your list.

   See this article if you want to read more about Epic Shit, otherwise to sum it up in a quote:

“Building a raving audience online all starts with writing epic shit. Period. Hands down. End of story.”

EXTRA TIP: Know Your Brand Identity & Be Faithful To It

Before engaging in an email marketing campaign It helps to first develop your brand identity in writing. A strong brand aims to be faithful to and consistent with their brand identity within all published media including outgoing emails. Having an internal brand identity document can keep everyone within the business on the same page helping to forge your brand personality.

This document should detail your brand’s;

Mission Statement, Vision Statement, Essence, Personality and Position/Value Proposition.

FINAL TIP: If Your Brand Is a Disaster or Unmemorable.. It’s Time To Rebrand!

There could be a number of reasons why your brand sucks…

Sometimes a name feels like a good idea but years later you realise it’s just too long? Maybe nobody can ever spell it after hearing it.

Rebranding to a short, memorable brandable name (with the all-important matching .Com domain) can do wonders for a business that needs to reinvent itself or simply market itself with a better name. A bad name can render loads of marketing effort and money useless.

Get your brand name right before you invest any more into it!

If you are considering this option or launching a new venture soon… Be sure to browse our name for sale in our brand marketplace.

All our names come with the premium .Com Domain Name and a Custom designed logo.

BustABrand’s Marketplace is full of short, catchy brandable names covering a range of niches that are ready-to-use NOW for your business.

 

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How To Use Branding to Build Your Small Biz into a Billion-Dollar Empire

brandable-brands-naming-your-business

(8-Step Guide)

There’s so many articles, books, interviews and even courses on branding. Enough to sink a ship of brandy-swigging sailors.

I heard people moan “branding is great if you have millions in marketing dollars, but Jane’s Little Beauty Salon can’t afford it”. I strongly disagree, so much so, because I know the complete opposite is true. Jane’s Little Salon can’t afford NOT to take branding seriously!

Companies with millions of dollars in their marketing budget can sometimes get away with being sloppy in their branding, by spending more on marketing they may still obtain the required awareness to keep them afloat. However, companies great and small are realizing the potent potential of effective branding as the foundation of great marketing… and the winners will win BIG!

1) Know What Branding Is

What is a Brand?

A brand is an identity that engages customers on an emotional level.

What is Branding?

Branding is defining your brand’s personality with the purpose of customers feeling something specific and emotional about the business.

A Brand’s ammunition is Emotion!

Brands are all about Emotions. People buy using emotion and justify their purchases intellectually. Without using your brand to connect on an emotional level you are going to fail miserably. The emotions you could evoke could be as varied as; trust, awe, anticipation, adventure, luxury, protection, fear, excitement, shock, passion or joy.

If our regular Jane Littles and Joe Smalls are ambitious and driven to grow their businesses, they need to put some thought and effort into establishing their little brand – as just that – a brand. Building a brand rather than a business can ensure scalability to a larger audience.

A brand should feel more like an idea, movement or revolution instead of a broken down corner store.

So what if our little friends have started their business and realize their branding is almost non-existent? Rebranding is here to help…

REBRANDING: Jane’s small business doesn’t have to stay “Little”!

If she started poorly, great! (at least she started)……… She can rebrand!

Apple-Brand-Evolution

Even Apple has been evolving through Rebranding

“Jane’s Little Beauty Salon” isn’t the worst name for such a business as it is at least self describing to an extent and does communicates what kind of business it is, however where it falls flat on its face is; it doesn’t engage any emotions, so potential customers are often disengaged as they have no idea what type of experience they can expect to receive.

Let’s say – for example – Jane wants customers to feel her brand is luxurious and want to come in to be pampered by a friendly smiling beauty therapist in a relaxing atmosphere. In this case, a far better brand name for her Beauty Salon business would be “Lushola”. Mixing the words; “Lush” meaning abundant, thriving and luxurious with the Spanish word for hello “Hola”. This brand can introduce it’s customers to an opulent array of delights, while remaining friendly and approachable. This made-up word has power and purpose to evoke suitable emotions that customers are looking for in a premium Beauty Salon.

If Jane, were to rebrand to Lushola and utilise these branding hooks in all her marketing activities, Lushola would be a force to be reckoned with. This made-up word, packs feeling even before marketing money has started to promote it and could become a widely-used term to describe a beautifully decadent & pleasurable beauty salon experience.

branding-example-rebrand-your-business-to-engage-emotions

If your current branding isn’t evoking specific emotional feelings from your customers that you want to be known for, then it’s time for a rebrand!

 

Jane doesn’t need millions to build a powerful brand, but with some hard work and consistency, building this brand might make her millions.

Your brand identity works by engaging emotions to get your customers to feel a specific way about your business.

 

 

2) Define Your Brand

Whether you’ve already started your business or are still in the planning stages. Take a close look at your branding strategy, and if you don’t have one yet, great, you will hit the ground running with a defined emotionally powerful branding strategy:

1. Brainstorm a bunch of feelings that you want your brand to make customers feel. Do this multiple times over one week.

2. Focus on the ones that are the most powerful and meaningful to a large amount of your customers.

3. Define the feeling-based brand statement. This will become the main drive behind all your branding efforts, so don’t fluff it!

If the feeling fits your company’s solutions in a meaningful way, some people may still reject the feeling after engaging with it, possibly because they disagree to the feeling itself or the connection of it to your brand. These haters still invest some emotion towards your brand, albeit negative ones. On the other hand, others will engage with your brand far more positively and invest some of their positive emotions your way. This is usually what people mean when they say “you either love it or you hate it“.

If you define your brand effectively connecting it to the beneficial emotions it can deliver, you will be one-step closer to growing a beautifully balanced brand personality!

When people become that emotionally engaged with your brand, love it or hate it, you have achieved greatness in branding.

mcdonalds-logoEXAMPLE: A Grandmaster of Branding: McDonalds always seems to win the hamburger wars against Burger King, even though most would agree The Whopper tastes better than a Big Mac. McDonalds realized that it was selling a feeling not just hamburgers and used that motivation to build their brand into “a happy place to eat a hamburger”. All their branding unifies around this purpose, such as their smiling clown mascot and “happy meals”, their marketing slogans with the most recent “I’m loving it” that followed “We love to see you smile”, “Nobody makes your day like McDonalds can”, “It’s a good time for the great taste of McDonalds” and “Food, folks and fun”. McDonalds have stuck to their branding guns, built upon the same message over many years and this has entrenched a feeling of happiness amongst millions of people.

A great brand should be polarizing, as it actively engages with emotion and evokes a feeling.

 

3) Name Your Business With Branding In Mind!

Once you have defined your brand, you can begin to brainstorm and search for names available to register (along with trademark & domain name searches). Even if you’ve already named your brand, please read this section as it’s never too late to rebrand if the perfect situation presents. These days it is becoming almost impossible to find a great brand name with an available .com to register, but there are still some great brandables being hand registered to this day.

namerificTIP: Browse Brandable Domain Name Marketplaces (such as BustABrand, Brandroot & Namerific) for ideas and potential names. These marketplaces offer ready-to-use highly brandable names covering a range of industries and each name comes with a logo & the matching .com domain name.

TIP: Stick with the .com Domain Name. I recommend avoiding registering any of the new TLD’s (top level domains) such as .ninja .site .business .club .menu ..etc.. There are thousands of variations that are ultimately making them confusing for potential customers. Sticking with the .com domain name will avoid this confusion. It also avoids having your brand’s web traffic stolen as your customers unsuccessfully try to navigate to your website. Additionally, after you’ve put in effort to grow your brand name, it’s usually too late to acquire the matching .com domain for a reasonable price from the domain squatter. So make it easy for everyone to find you now and in the future by establishing your online presence using the .com domain of your chosen brand name.

There are TWO options when choosing a brand name:

OPTION ONE: Choosing a name that means nothing

A business with a generic, brandable, easy-to-remember name can be built into a laser-focused brand but you start the path in a tough situation with a blank page and no free branding points. It takes a lot more effort to get the first brand message communicated to the masses. For instance, Google, Nike, McDonalds all had these blank-slate type names with almost zero feelings associated to them in the beginning. Billion-dollar brands can eventually be built upon them with great branding strategy, marketing strategy and precise, consistent implementation. Starting with a name that evokes no feelings can be done, it just takes a lot more hard work, time and money.

OPTION TWO: Choosing a name that has “feelings attached”

We think a better approach is to build a brand upon a name that already evokes some feelings, even if the name is made-up! Just be sure that the emotions attached to the name are in tune with your brand definition!

TIP: Great Brands Pass The Radio Test: Keep-in-mind that the best made-up names are those that pass the ‘Radio Test’ – which means that most people would spell it correctly upon just hearing it said aloud. For instance, if the brand name “UserBait” was mentioned on the radio as a marketing company helping game developers find more users, it would be spelt “UserBait” and not “UsarBayt”.

Choosing a name that already evokes feelings in-line with your branding strategy, gives you a massive head start. In this case, your message starts being communicated the moment the brand is even mentioned allowing for better brand potency in the early stages. It can also provide a visual key linking emotions to your brand image, even with minimal marketing spend.

uber-logoHere are some Epic brands that used “feeling attached” names from day one:

Uber: Derived from the German language and has been used by English speakers for more than 15 years. The word literally means “over” or “above”, but many have interchanged it with “super”. The word’s meaning and history meant it evoked feelings of playfulness, greatness and leadership.

Pepsi: Doesn’t have an alternative meaning, the word simply reminds us of the unique sound and feeling that comes from opening and taking a sip of carbonated cola. Even just saying the word Pepsi, evokes feeling of opening a fizzy drink.

pepsi-smInstagram: Blends the words “Instant” with “Telegram”… It also brings to mind the word “gram” which is a unit of mass, very lightweight for humans (approx. the weight of  a pen lid). In other words, it says to me Lightweight Telegrams and Instagram is basically the online version of lightweight telegrams in photo format and who knows, one day they may even take on twitter partly in thanks to their fantastic name helping people understand what they are about.

YouTube: Takes the word “You” to engage directly with its customers and the word “Tube”, which is slang for Television. Their name tells customers that it’s personalised TV catered for each individual or on the other hand a TV where the customer can be a star on. Both of these realities have come to fruition thanks to the super-potent branding within the 7 letter name.

netflix-logo-NetFlix: Although NetFlix’s business model started out fairly different to where it is now – initially renting out DVDs via mail order with a monthly subscription and no late fees, simply pay your monthly fee and you get new rentals posted out when you post back your previous – The name NetFlix brings to mind the “Net” from Internet and a slang word for films “Flix”. The word flix suggests speed & ease, as it is an abbreviated version of an already short word. Fast speeds & ease-of-use have been the two driving forces in NetFlix’s success during its DVD mail business and especially during its more recent (and epically successful) online streaming venture. NetFlix has grown to over 55 million subscribers, making over $550million revenue per month!

Both naming options have their benefits, but it’s hard to look past the significant brand boost that a carefully selected “feelings-attached” name can add to your developing brand.

 

4) Get A Great Logofacebook-og-image

A great logo is one that is simple, recognizable and illustrates some aspects of your brand definition and personality. There are a range of services to commission a talented freelance graphic designers to design a simple, effective and polished logo that matches your brand. For the best designers head over to 99designs, designcrowd or freelancer. If you’re dead broke, your last resort is fiverr, but there’s a bunch of junk designers on there so use with caution.

The logo is only a part of your branding, but eventually your customer will always attach their feelings to your Logo if it is compatible with these emotions.

 

5) Choose Emotive Colors

A great brand should choose one or two colors at most. Color psychology has been around for a long-time and there’s a million-and-one articles too many about it. It does have merit but I wouldn’t delve too deep, just have a look at the basic emotional connections with various colors. Keep these in mind when deciding on your visual branding.

color-brand-psych

Using color psychology can help evoke certain types of emotional feeling towards your brand.

 

6) Create A Company Voice

Your branding includes the words and speech style spoken by your company’s marketing copy & staff interactions to its customers. You should write a few sentences or paragraphs to summarise various attributes of your brands voice, then sharpen your pencil and make it more focused. It can be a mix of playful, conversational, formal, comedic, satiric, etc. You get the idea. You may find your company voice evolving over time, just try to keep it focused, consistent and only move in a clear purposeful direction if making changes to it.

You should develop the sound of your company’s voice to align with your brand personality.

 

7) Integrate Your Brand

Great Branding extends to all your verbal and non-verbal communication, including website copy, email signatures, how you answer phone calls, company attire, social media posts and even the music customers listen to while they’re on hold for you.

When all aspects of Branding are cohesive in message & style, your brand thrives and forges stronger emotional engagements.

 

8) Be Consistent

The only way to be successful in Branding, is to be your brand consistently. Your company must walk-the-walk of your brand’s ideals every day and when dealing with every partner, supplier and customer. Before long your brand will be a powerful force engaging with the masses on an emotional level.

Believe in your brand and become your brand. Just Do It, and Just Keep On Doing It….

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GoDaddy pulls the plug on super cheap domain registrations.

Originally published July 31st 2015 (Updated: Aug 12th 2015):

godaddy-coupon-errorGoDaddy, a $4 Billion dollar domain name registrar & website host provider seems to be pulling the plug on accepting coupon codes from existing customers wishing to register a cheap domain name. These GoDaddy codes ranged from 99 cents to around $6. Their new policy seems to have just come into effect within the last week of July. As of the time of writing this article, it seems GoDaddy have been keeping quiet about this.

It costs the Domain Registrars more than $8 to register a new .com domain for their customers, and GoDaddy have been subsidizing this for many years to grow to over 12 million customers with 59 million domains under management. They have not made a profit since 2009, and in that time have lost well over $500 million.

On July 31st 2015: The error when trying to enter any coupon on GoDaddy is “Some of our best offers are limited to one per customer and it looks like you’ve already used one. We’ve updated your cart with the best offer, if one is available.”

coupons-not-working-godaddy-aug-2015-domains

 

Update August 12th 2015:

GoDaddy’s New Coupon Error: As at August 12th 2015: GoDaddy has updated their promo code error to: “We can only offer such great promotions by limiting them to one per customer. It looks as if you’ve already used this type of promotion.”

go-daddy-coupons-not-working

So it seems GoDaddy have made their error message a bit easier to decipher. Now they are simply saying they can only continue to offer such crazy prices once per customer and you’ve already used yours.

If you are a new customer, discount codes can be applied at checkout but use it wisely as it may be the only discounted domain name you can register with them! Millions of people have taken advantage of the cheap registrations, but as of this week, it seems the days of super-cheap domain name registrations are over.

So what’s the Cheapest deal for a new .com regsitration now?

As of July 31st 2015, the cheapest deal for a new .com registration from a trustworthy registrar that we could find is with NameSilo. If you know of a better one post it in the comments below. We did a lot of research to find a GoDaddy coupon alternative.

Using the coupon “CHEAPESTCOM” allows you to register at US$7.99, which still means NameSilo are taking a loss on it even though it is a far more reasonable loss (and perhaps sustainable) to grow their company while not having to disappoint their customers by taking it away in the future.

Update August 12th 2015: We were able to find a deal from 1and1 for a single 99cent .com domain registration (new customers only). However, we have read far too many negative reviews and feedback about the registrar. The numerous horror stories indicate to us that the risk is probably not worth it, when you can get your domain name registered at one of the highest rated and loved domain registrars going around for $7.99. 1and1 charge $14.99 for additional .com registrations, so as it stands if you choose to use them, it’s probably best to only use 1and1 for a single domain that is on your ‘maybe’ list. Any domain that you really love would be best to be registered with NameSilo for $7.99 and a bunch of piece-of-mind.

Could NameSilo be the next king of domain name registrars?

name-silo-domain-reg-cheapest-coupon

The cheapest coupon for a .com registration available online from a known & trustworthy registrar NameSilo

I’ll keep this article updated with any further breaking news or developments on the issue. Be sure to join our mailing list as we only send out the most important information and updates.

Brand Citations & SEO Effects for Domain Names

Google is an ever-changing beast and when it comes to SEO the search engines are getting smarter at recognizing well regarded brands.

One way Google does this is measures how many times your brand is mentioned online. No we’re not talking about backlinks here, just a mention of your brand. For instance if someone was to post on their blog… “I bought a great brand name for my new venture at BustABrand.” This would be regarded as a citation and having a large amount of these mentions helps us rank for our relevant keywords.

What does this mean for branding your business and obtaining a domain name?

Well if the proposed brand name (and matching domain) is a phrase that is already mentioned on the web, then you could benefit from this citation SEO. As once you launch your brand, people will still be talking about your brand name without even knowing it.

For example, we are selling Trojanism.com the word trojanism is a word that is already being talked about online. These mentions can help your brand and will most likely continue after you launch your brand.

Already a factor in SEO

If you have been keeping up-to-date on the latest SEO ranking factors then you should already know that citations have been a ranking factor for several years.

How to take advantage of Citations for SEO

By choosing a made up word for your brand and getting people to use that word in online conversations is the ultimate goal to take full advantage of this. Another domain we are selling (and soon to list on BustABrand’s marketplace) is Brandists.com. Now if you could get your networks and others to start calling Branding experts “Brandists” in a few Epic articles then follow up with more mentions on twitter & facebook, then the phrase could catch on a little and your brand would benefit from these mentions.

(To Be Continued…) – Subscribe to our Mailing List below —->

My Namerific Listings

AfroGuy Listing at Namerific Domain Name Marketplace

I have submitted some of my personal domains to Namerific Domain Marketplace. I will be posting updates of my dealings with the guys at Namerific, but from most reports they seem to be a well-respected and effective Brandable Marketplace. There were a few domains they didn’t accept, which was surprising considering the ones they have listed already. However, so far I can say that I recommend them as they, like us at Namerific don’t require exclusivity, just that you do not offer the domain cheaper anywhere else online. Which is of course more than reasonable.

The ability to upload your own logos is great and you can choose how much to pay the logo designer from $100-$1000. Most people obviously choose the $100 but offering a higher amount can attract better designers.

Here are my .com listings with them:

  • AfroGuy
  • Phonerific
  • Honkd
  • Innocart
  • Leapler
  • Brandesta
  • Podent
  • Hentworth
  • Vegest
  • Ziptive
  • Dealinator

It’ll be interesting to see how the names go on Namerific. Stay tuned and we’ll keep you posted.

Stand Out with a Disntinctive Brand Name

Dinstinct BrandTrying to be normal isn’t something you should have in mind when selecting a brand name for your venture. Maybe at school you tried your best not to attract too much attention and blend in with the crowd, perhaps you wanted to feel part of a group or just plain normal. Well to those that ever tried to be normal, leave that in the past when choosing a brand name, this is where you should be aiming for the exact opposite!

The best brand names are bold, take a risk and stand out from the crowd

So here’s a few tips to ensure your chosen brand name will be distinctively unique…

Don’t Try To ‘Fit In’ — Normal Is Your Enemy

Having a name that fits in to similar formats, styles or imagery to your competition can water down and blur your brand. Blending in to the crowd is the last thing you should hope to do when selecting a brand name. A brand that doesn’t sound like the others and stands out from the crowd is more likely to attract interest from a potential customer looking for your product amongst a range of similar brands.

An Obscure Name Can Be Quite Memorable

Especially one that draws a visual image. The world’s leading memory experts all agree that visual imagery is far easier to remember than text. Just the act of hearing someone say your brand name should ideally create a distinct visual picture in the mind of the listener. Weird and obscure imagery can work or imagery more fitting to your brand’s message in a unique way also helps your brand stay remembered.

Use ‘Feeling’ To Connect Your Name To Your products

Without having to describe your business or products accurately, using a name that evokes a feeling that connects with your products or mission will help your name stand out and feel natural. For instance, you could say an Apple is a simple image, and Apple computers try to simplify the user experience of computers and technology. Another example is Pepsi, which when you say it almost sounds like the sound of opening a can or bottle of soda, a name with a spark of energy. Try to get that feeling connection between your brand name and your products and it will just feel right!

Our Brand Name Marketplace offers a range of unique, obscure and emotive ready-to-use .com brand name domains

How to choose an EPIC Brand Name for your Business

Branding Tick of ApprovalChoosing the perfect name for your Business or Startup is no easy task, but if you follow this guide, you should end up with some brilliant options to choose from. Having multiple options will mean you can conduct a bit of market testing to gather outsider feedback before investing time and money into developing it further.

The name of your business will have a significant impact on how you are perceived, and with information overload and shorter attention spans becoming a lasting trend, you want to make as many quick, positive and lasting first impressions as possible when your business brand name is introduced, whether they be potential partners, customers or employees, the name will affect everybody’s first impressions.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when choosing the all-important name of your venture…

Must be Memorable & Unique

One of the most important factors in successfully choosing your new name is that it is hard to forget and isn’t similar to a known brand. A clean slate is what your special little creation deserves if he is to have the best chance of a great future. With a bit of nuture and care, he just might grow up big and strong!

Spelling should be Obvious

If someone hears a new name it should be quite obvious to how it should be spelt. For example, if you hear about a new site called “Innoventing” and try to Google it yourself, you wouldn’t type in “Innooventyng”. Even though you’ve never heard the word before you realize that it’s a mix between two words that you know how to spell so it’s obvious.

Keep It Simple Stupid…

Acronyms are a big no-no! People will struggle to remember most of them. Short, sharp and sweet is the game plan here. The less letters the better, it will save you money in marketing latter and people will be able to recall a brand if it’s simple. Also, it should be easy and ideally fun to pronounce and say the word…

Your Name in the StarsAllow Room for Expansion

Don’t pick a name that labels you as a small business. This means avoiding locations and product categories as part of the name. Imagine if Amazon had called themselves BellevueBookStore. This would have labelled them as a local Bellevue business and also as a Book retailer, and hampered their efforts to grow into the mega publisher/retailer/technology company that they are today. A well branded name will not put your business in a box and stunt its growth, instead the name should allow the business the opportunity to be whatever it wants and succeed wherever it wants.

Is there any Sense?

Bringing visuals to mind is one of the best ways to remember anything and this includes your Brand name. So a name like “BeeSox” that can make people think of a little Honey Bee wearing little sox, will be so much more memorable and thus cheaper to market than “XOLIBU” that provides no sense or imagery to attach to. The second Brand Name could end up being one of the most recognized names in the world one day, but it will take truckloads more money to get there.

Make sure you can really Own the Name

Call me Captain Obvious if you may, but get it wrong here and will pay for it! Your company name and Internet domain name should be identical, and to avoid confusion and lost customers you should ensure you acquire the .COM domain name. You may have to negotiate with the current owner but the earlier you do this the better, if you grow the business and try to buy it when your well-known expect to pay exponentially more for it. Always check your name against the U.S. Patent Office for Trademarks, before you begin to operate with your new name.

Your Brand on a JourneyGet Feedback

Once you’ve found a few great potentials, test them out with people that don’t know much about what you’re up to. This should provide some fresh-eyed insights into imagery and emotions that your chosen names will carry.

Then it’s time to make the decision and begin the journey of taking your unknown little name down the road to becoming a….

EPIC Powerhouse Brand.

Our Brand Name Marketplace offers a range of unique brandable ready-to-use names and each name comes with .com domain and a custom designed logo

What is a Brandable Name?

A Brandable Name is often considered to be a made-up word (Twitter, Facebook) or regular word used in a new way (Amazon, Apple). Some times it can be a hack of a regular word with missing letters (Flickr), additional letters (Digg) or two words merged to make a new work (Microsoft, Wikipedia).

Choosing a Brandable name for your business can make life easier for growth and when it comes time to fill trademark applications. Generic keyword names like News.com or Business.com are extremely valuable domains but are not great for acquiring the trademark rights as they are too easily challenged. A generic name may be more descriptive and accurate but a shorter brandable is more likely to be remembered and leave lasting impressions.

Brandables that don’t have a strong meaning related to your business can be useful if there comes a time to expand into different markets. For instance, Amazon has now expanded into many product categories and even films. If they named their business OnlineBookStore.com they would have had a very hard time being respected and perceived as a company that can enter such a wide-range of categories.

When a name has been decided on, it is vital to acquire the matching .com domain name or as time passes the marketing efforts of the company will increase the value of the .com domain to a point where it will be a very expense purchase should the company wish to finally acquire it. Along the way you could loose traffic and expose your customers to a scam website trying to pass as your own. To avoid this buying or registering the .com domain before you begin to market the brand can save time and headaches later.

5 Tips for Naming your Business

When coming up with a Brand Name for a business, project, blog  or even band name, often people just brainstorm wildly while forgetting crucial steps to ensure the name you create can be used to it’s fullest potential. The following tips will assist you in choosing a name that should give you minimum obstacles in propelling that Name into  stardom and taking ownership.

Keep it Short

The shorter the name, the easier it is to remember and type correctly. Type it a few times and it will be hard for someone to forget it. Long names can be easily forgotten and confused, which can severely limit spread of your brand amongst the ever shorter attention span of the masses.

Make it easy-to-spell

Radio-test, if someone hears your domain name, could they be able to spell it correctly? Sometimes blending two words together but maintaining the correct spelling for each half of the new word, can help. Because people know how to spell the two words you’ve blended then just mix the two and easily find your site.

Needs to Sound Good

The name should sound like it flows, if it sounds and feels awkward to say then choose another. When you tell people your name they should want to say it back themselves. This not only helps people remember it but shows that your name is fun and sounds good enough to talk about.

Google the Name

Research what other similar names are appearing in search results when you search for it. You want to make sure their isn’t a powerhouse site getting attention from the search that will be hard to displace from the rankings.

Use a name that has some meaning

The name should suggest a positive or realistic personality trait or benefit of your business. People should start to get an idea of what your business is about just by hearing/seeing the name. This will help people remember it and create some feelings towards your brand quickly as audiences connect with it.

Finding or creating a name doesn’t have to be a nightmare. With these tips kept in mind, you will be off to a great start in selecting the perfect fit of Brand Name and Product/Service offering. Good Luck in the pursuit of your Brand Development!

Why it’s important to have a .Com domain for your business

For almost the past 20 years, the general consensus has been having a .com domain for your business is best. There has been countless alternative domain extensions hitting the market over the last few years, but .com is still the King. The phrase “.com” has come to represent most of the internet sites people visit and is always the first point of call for people trying to key in a URL of any particular brand.

Here are some important reasons to use a .com domain for your business:

  • .Com’s are the most registered domains
  • .Coms have become known as the default website extension
  • .Coms are cost effective to renew
  • .Coms receive more type in traffic than any other extension
  • .Coms are seen as more professional by customers
  • .Coms are great for a company with global aspirations
  • .Coms have SEO / Search Engine results benefits
  • .Coms provide less chance of your customers visiting fake sites pretending to be you