Digital startup naming mistakes that everyone should avoid

Imagine, you’ve got a fantastic business idea with great prospects, clearly defined audience and the revenue model is crystal clear too. You are absolutely bullish about its chances to become “the next big thing”.

Suddenly, everything comes crashing down because your billion dollar dream domain is not available.

Any why not, the world consists of nearly 6,500 spoken languages. Thousands of new, weird words are coming to life every year. No matter how smart you may be, there is no way of knowing all of the words in the world or who, in the online arena, has used them before you.

Choosing a name just like that is absolutely out of question because the name you’ve chosen may have a negative connotation in the real or virtual world. It could be a bad omen in certain specific cultures or a slang used in some absurd social context. You would obviously want to avoid all those options.

Here are simple tips to help you avoid some of the startup naming mistakes.

Research

Google your desired brand name. What results are in the first page? Anything suspicious there? Are people complaining? Answer these questions by following these steps.

  • Should your new brand name sound like a generic word, evaluate the strengths of the first 10 results and make sure you will be able at all to rank for it. Use the Mozbar to check the Domain and Page authority of each result.
  • Check your new brand name in Google’s Keyword planner. Are there search volumes shown for your new brand name in exact match? Then it must exist somewhere, so you need to Google for it better.

Also Read : 7 Tips to name your company

Domain doesn’t matter

In my experience as a startup consultant, I’ve seen founders losing their night’s sleep over not being able to get the exact domain name as the business name. Frankly speaking, domain name doesn’t matter at all. The name itself matters much more than having the same domain name. Pick a great name, go with a tweaked domain name. Pick a great name, then add something to get a domain name. It really doesn’t matter all that much – whether you get the domain later or don’t. Then get building!

Also Read: Does your company name matter?

Don’t pick too creative names

The problem with having a name like Naymz, Takkle, Flickr, or Speesees is that you will forever have to spell it when you say it, because it isn’t spelled how people hear it. Most importantly, with voice recognition devices like SIRI or Google Now, you would never be able to get your brand search on the top.

Don’t play mixology with your company name

If you invent a new “word” for your name, be careful that it doesn’t sound unnatural. Mashing two words together or mixing up a bunch of letters to form a new word rarely appears or sounds smooth. And be cautious using trendy suffixes to make up a new word. Startups names like Learnyst, Hotelogix, Intelliber, Mobiefit are such examples.

 

4 Digital Marketing sins in the Real Estate

According to an ASSOCHAM survey:

Real estate firms throughout India spend about Rs 2,500 crore annually on publicity across different media and digital marketing accounts for about 25 per cent with a share of about Rs 625 crore.

According to www.emarketer.com, overall online ad spend is projected to steadily increase year over year:

  • 2013- $42.5B
  • 2014- $47.8B
  • 2015- $51.9B
  • 2016- $55.2B

If the real estate industry simply maintains its current share of overall online spending, using www.emarketer.com data as a baseline, the relative yearly spends would equate to:

  • 2013- $15B  +9.7% Year over Year (YoY) growth
  • 2014- $16.7B  +19.2% YoY
  • 2015- $18.1B  +8.3% YoY
  • 2016- $19.3B  +6.6% YoY

 

With a series of new startup companies like Housing.com and Commonfloor entering the space, real estate has suddenly made a grand comeback to the digital marketing. Naturally, with the kind of VC cash at their disposal, these startups are all set to disrupt the space pretty fast. It could well be a comeback for the Real Estate vertical to the digital marketing mainstream.

Frankly speaking, real estate is a funny space in India. As a digital marketer, you can only do so much and there are much bigger factors at play throughout customer’s purchase funnel. It would be fair to say that property guys never really got a complete hang of the digital space.

For a long period of time, most of the real estate people thought that Google is only way they could generate leads and hence, they splurged thousands of rupees in getting their website’s SEO. Even today, getting your real estate project’s website with strong SEO is considered to be a huge priority item for every builder.

As quoted by Indian origin Pritesh Patel, a real estate marketing consultant in UK:

There used to be a time when Google would release a major update to it’s algorithm twice a year. Now it’s like almost every month. There used to be a time when you could pay someone, or an agency, who would build you 50 links per month, regardless of where those links are placed and there are thousands of such SEO and web design companies across the country.

After their recent algorithm changes, Google released a Google Webmaster Quality Guidelines against poor SEO practices. All those marketers who were earlier using link building strategies through paid sources lost their page rank significantly.

The REAL Trends 2013 Online Performance Study reveals some shocking statistics around how the greater real estate industry effectively throws its online advertising budgets to the wind.

Considering that:

  • 90% of consumers did online research before they bought their last home
  • 45% of consumers expect an initial response from an online inquiry within 15 minutes
  • 56% of consumers expect a response from their agent within 30 minutes
  • 89% of consumers said response time was very important when choosing their agent
  • 45% of inquiries on real estate websites never receive a response.

Billions of dollars of real estate marketing money is getting wasted on digital marketing products and services.

Here are some of the most commonly committed sins by real estate companies in digital marketing:

1 Million Facebook Likes Syndrome

Concept of generating likes for your Facebook page has become the latest fad for all real estate marketing teams. Almost as if it is a Bollywood box office release which is aiming for a 100 cr box office collections on the opening weekend. Feeding property updates to your thousands of ‘friends’ on Facebook, even those that live thousands of miles away is clearly a waste of precious marketing dollars. ( Also read : Why you should not worry about Facebook page likes )

Email Nuisance

I can already foresee a time when people would stop using emails because of so much spam hitting their inboxes. Unfortunately, Real Estate industry does not understand the meaning of data segmentation or personalisation. All they know is to blast emailing your entire database just to stay ‘top of mind’ or Tweeting incessantly because, you know, the first place people go to when they think of buying a house is Twitter.

Making 100 project websites

Often I’ve seen real estate companies creating 100’s of domains and sub domains (often one for each project), in order to generate visibility for these projects and garner more number of eyeballs for their brand. I believe it is a poor strategy as you are spending money every time you launch a project. Instead focus on building a strong brand name and keep adding success stories under your belt.

Lead generation is Dead!

A lot of you might be thinking that I am going mad. But trust me, you’ve read the heading correctly.

But how can I even think of doing marketing without lead generation? You can’t, but read the above heading again, what I am saying is that Lead Generation is dead, but Demand Generation is now in.

I’ve seen how madly real estate companies are generating leads to sell their properties. Incidentally, generating hundreds of leads is no good enough. The decision to buy a house takes much longer than what it used to 5 years ago. You are not just supposed to generate a lead but actively see it through till the end. Generating hundreds of leads which are not followed or not managed is a waste of precious money.

Top 6 reasons why digital startups fail

A few months ago, I wrote an article on global trends of failed startups, and guess what, last week I stumbled upon one ex-founder of a failed startup company who has now gone back to his full time job and doing quite well in his new role as a business head.

The pace at which new startups are coming up is less bizarre compared to if you see the pace at which they get shut down.

Question is, why?

Since 2011, 70% of the companies having raised less than $5M overall are dead. Statistics like these can scare the hell out of any young, aspiring entrepreneur. We all read those beautifully written PR stories around few people receiving millions of dollars of funding by VC firms or angel investors, what we miss out on is the list of companies who failed after receiving those funding.

Last year, CB Insights shared below list of top 20 reasons for startup failure which were based on the post mortem done with 100 failed startup founders.

Top reasons startups fail

Top reasons startups fail

 

Let me expand some of these and add some more from my side based on my startup consulting experience:

Single Founder Startups

Let me rephrase the above statement, single “active” founder startup. Incidentally, I’ve worked with couple of them in my career, being a single startup founder is one of the most difficult things in life. Does the destiny sympathizes with these heroes or lady luck favors them? Not really, in fact, it is even more harsh for a single founder to take off their dream. Though there are some nice plus in this situation for e.g. decision making is much faster as the startup is almost like a sole proprietor firm, but considering the single founder cannot be an expert in every single aspect of the business, it sometimes takes a lot more than it should. And sometimes, it may lead to business fatal decision making.

Focused on Niche

If your startup business model targeting a very small segment of audience, you might want to re-look at your business strategy. A lot of founders pick up ideas focussed at a niche audience in order to avoid the competition and carve a stronghold in that segment. But this can be suicidal as it will increase your marketing cost of audience acquisition and if your idea is not strong enough and/or your product experience is weak, a bigger player might just gobble up your segment as well despite yours being a unique idea.

If you make anything good, you’re going to have competitors, so you may as well face that. You can only avoid competition by avoiding good ideas. ~ Paul Graham ( Y Combinator )

Bad Hiring

Also read: How to hire for your bootstrap startup?

One of the most obvious and perhaps the most important reason as to why a lot of startups fail is ‘PEOPLE’. Today, every single early stage startup is going through the worst nightmare of hiring the right people for their idea. There is no doubt that startups need people with a different set of skill sets and more importantly attitude. Needless to say, you cannot filter these people using any job portal. At times, startups end up hiring people in a hurry to get the ball rolling, especially when the investor pressure is high to deliver and scale up. This can also happen when startups hire people based on their background and not the skills they are actually looking for. Result is quite obvious, wrong people get on the bus that leads to project delays and eventually, product failure.

Too longer proof of concept

Also read: 6 Stages of a Startup

Call it a personality issue but some startup founders get themselves into a zone when they spend just too much time in building their product prototype for the proof of concept. It could be because the pandora box of ideas within the parent idea becomes just too much to handle and they just don’t know what to test within their MVP, but this causes massive delay to the project launch and at times so much so that it leads to losing the first mover advantage in the market.

Poor Marketing

This is typical to all B2B startups who raise funding based on their unique product idea which looks really fancy on the presentation, but it is equally difficult to engage audience on that concept. More often than not, there is no clear strategy to build brand as B2B companies focus on customer acquisition without thinking about future growth. Net new customer acquisition becomes increasingly difficult and after a point and lack of repeat business or up-sell starts hitting the bottom lines.

In Fighting

With so much of blood and sweat being put into building a startup, they are extremely prone to ego-battles within the founding team. Once that happen, Decision making becomes increasingly difficult on key issues, positive energies starts to disappear and the balance sheet starts reflecting the reality. This reaches a point where founders can’t see eye to eye and the startup failure becomes increasingly imminent.