We do a lot of custom programming for boberdoo customers. This mostly involves custom features, reports and logic adjustments to our customers’ lead distribution software. Our team has also worked on other projects like websites and mobile apps. Last fall I wanted to build something related to the Amazon Echo as a showcase of the skills that our team has and the products we can build.
I love the Amazon Echo. My kids love it too. If you have no idea what I am talking about, just go buy one. You will not regret it. You could also get an Echo Dot which has the same functionality but the audio is not as good.
The idea was to build an Alexa Skill (similar to an iPhone App for the Echo) for finding your iPhone if you do not know where you left it. We ended up building an iPhone app and an Alexa skill that can find and alert your phone and allows you to message friends and family using voice commands through the Echo. It was a lot more work than I had hoped. Most iPhone Apps seem to end up this way.
Thankfully we finished the coding well before Christmas. Amazon approved our Alexa Skill and we submitted the app to Apple for approval.
Instead of the article you are reading now, I had planned on writing one before Christmas to show off our shiny new toy and get lead generators and marketing companies thinking about how the Echo and other smart speaker devices like the Google Home might affect lead generation.
While I will still be writing that article, it will not be today as our iPhone App has sat in the iOS App Store review queue for over a month. While the Amazon Alexa team was amazing to work with in getting our Alexa Skill tested and approved, the Apple process is a black box of nothingness. At this point we do not know what the wait is about or if we’ll ever be approved. The excitement is mostly gone and I have had to reassign the developers to other projects. Annoyed would be the most child friendly way I can describe how I feel about Apple right now.
This project was a marketing expense for boberdoo. We wanted, well, still want actually, to show clients that we can build iPhone Apps and Alexa Skills if they ever decide they need one. In terms of eating our own dog food, this painful experience reminds me of guidance we have given to many potential customers on getting into the lead generation business.
New lead generation companies fail for a lot of reasons. They cannot generate leads at a positive ROI. They cannot find enough buyers for their leads. They do not have enough capital to get through the bumps and to run marketing experiments.
As a lead generation company, you should be prepared for the bumps. You should expect that some clients that will not pay you. Sure, you can balk and say you are only selling to large customers (who are more likely to pay). That is nice. I can tell you how well that worked out for some of our clients when the mortgage bubble burst back in the day.
Marketing experiments can be hard. They can prove fruitless and painful as our current one.
Marketing experiments can also be fun. They can provide a spark for declining lead returns and an avenue for business growth and longevity. If you are only generating leads in one way, you are setting yourself up for long term problems. Get out there and spend an afternoon figuring something out. It may be worth trying Facebook video ads or a mobile ad network. Throw $500 at it and see what happens. It might not work but the process itself may give you ideas that boost your bread and butter lead generation methods.
As for our experiment, we will let you know if and when we finally get approved and can launch our app. In the meantime, feel free to take a look at exactly what PingRing can do.
Update: Our app was finally approved! Take a look.
Brad Seiler,owner boberdoo.com
boberdoo.com has been helping lead generation companies automate and optimize their businesses since 2001. We are constantly looking for new ways to improve the industry technology and to help lead gen companies grow. Whether you’re interested in new marketing experiments, lead distribution software, or new ways to generate leads, let us know. Give us a call at 800-776-5646 or fill out the form below.