Three weeks ago, I wrote a post about some of the major changes that need to happen with Analyst Ratings Network as a result what I learned at a conference for self-funded startup entrepreneurs called Microconf. I wrote that I needed to simplify my company’s product offerings, reboot the brand of the company under a new name and substantially improve the customer experience on our website. I try to be the type of person that does what they say they’re going to do, so I would be remiss if I didn’t provide an update as to how these projects are going. Here’s an update.
The Name Change / Rebranding Project
The biggest project on my to-do list is rebooting the company’s brand, because the name we’re currently using is too long, too complicated and hard to remember. It also doesn’t help that the name of my company (American Consumer News, LLC) is different than our actual brand (Analyst Ratings Network). Even some of my closest friends couldn’t tell me the name of my business when I prompted them. Obviously, that’s a problem.
In the last three weeks, I came up with a bunch of ideas for names and shared them with friends, business acquaintances and my subscribers for feedback. I received some great feedback and have identified a new name. Unfortunately, I can’t talk about it publicly yet because I’m still in the process of securing the domain name (it’s in escrow now). I’ve also setup a consulting engagement with the folks over at Lemonly to do branding for my new brand. They will develop a logo and other design elements to give my brand a unique look and feel. After I secure the domain name and get design work nailed down, I plan on moving full speed ahead on the rebranding project.
A month ago, my business offered two free newsletters, two paid newsletters, investment research software and an e-book. There was a ton of overlap between our products and some simply didn’t make sense in the context of others. For example, we didn’t really need a newsletter dedicated to corporate earnings because users could have earnings announcements added to their daily newsletter anyway. In the last three weeks, we cut back from advertising six products to just three. We now have one free daily newsletter, one paid newsletter and our investment research software. That’s it.
Initially, I expected this project to take quite a bit of time given that each of these products had an existing customer base. I was able to make the transition happen quicker by incorporating what people liked in the newsletters we were getting rid of into the newsletters that we kept. I’m pretty happy with where we’re at now, but eventually I should probably either eliminate the combo subscription/all-access pass to both RatingsDB and ARN Daily Premium or stop selling RatingsDB independently of the combo subscription. That would create a clear “good, better best” comparison between our product offerings.
Customer Experience Enhancement
This is the area that still needs the most work. I commented that I need to create a help section, setup an onboarding experience and dramatically clean up the clutter on my website. I haven’t really done any of those things yet. I have tightened up the homepage a bit and reworked the navigation structure on our website. I plan on working on the onboarding stuff now that my company’s products are where they want to be and I’m hoping Lemonly will be able to help design a more effective homepage than the massive block of text that’s currently showing on the Analyst Ratings Network homepage.
The Next Three Weeks
I’ll post another update three weeks from now as a way of keeping myself accountable. By then, I hope to have the domain name for the website secured from its current owner, have a new logo developed and be in the middle of transitioning to the new name and brand. I also hope to have a lot of progress relating to the onboarding experience done.
Thanks for keeping me accountable.
Update 5/17: I’m waiting on two third-party dependencies before I can move forward with the rebrand. First, I’m waiting on the logo for the new brand from Lemonly. I should get the concepts early this week and I hope to have it finalized within the next week. Second, I need to talk to a trademark attorney about the name to make sure there won’t be any issues. No one is currently using the name, but there are a couple of expired trademarks and a couple of defunct products that incorporated the name we’re going to use in one way or the other. I’ve sent all of the info over to a trademark attorney for review this weekend and am hoping to get an appointment sometime in the next week.