Leadferno … Last March, when we spoke with Aaron Weiche for a debrief on the process he went through in selling GatherUp to Traject, one thought sat in the back of our minds. Sooner or later he’d part ways with his new owner and start something new.
We were right. But it wasn’t exactly a brilliant prediction. Entrepreneurs that stick around after a sale rarely stay long. And for Aaron, it was about 11 months. Aaron announced on social media in early February that he would, in fact, be leaving GatherUp (Traject) to start something new.
This week he announced in a blog post what that “something new” is. It’s called Leadferno and it exists in a space we are both familiar with and excited about. Leadferno, which rolls out for real in June, is all about making it easy for small businesses to communicate with customers in the manner they prefer. And in most cases that manner is SMS or messaging.
The company’s tagline is, “Business Texting and Messaging Made Easy.” And it promotes the following benefits. “Close more leads faster and delight customers with real-time messaging channels like SMS and Facebook messenger from one powerful inbox.”
The company hasn’t published its pricing models yet. But Aaron told us it will be a SaaS product with an average price in the $150 to $250 per month range.
Communicating with the Modern Consumer
Aaron and his team, which includes his former GatherUp colleague Mike Blumenthal as an advisor, are building a platform designed to make it easy for small businesses to let consumers communicate with them via their preferred channel. And Aaron’s going-in assumption is that more often than not, the preferred channel will be text.
“For most of us, text is our number one channel. It’s where we go to communicate with friends and family,” Aaron explained to us on a call earlier today. “And we’ve seen the evolution and the pandemic has only fast-forwarded our feeling that we’d love to just be able to text the small businesses that we work with for simple questions, updates, information. Whatever it might be.”
Ok, so what Aaron and his small but growing team are building is a platform for SMBs to make it easy for their customers to text them (avoiding the dreaded voice mail, email abyss). And to them manage the message stream, make sense of it, and turn it into a tool for closing leads faster. And also use it to keep customers longer by offering an easier (and less frustrating) way to communicate with them.
In His Own Words
We had a few questions for Aaron on what this is, how it works, and what sets it apart from the competition.
There are a lot of customer experience platforms out there. How is this different?
“There are a lot of products out there that are just converting you to one thing. Chat with us. Or complete some small contact form. We really want this to evolve to be all of those CTAs in one box. So when you see our contact form pop up, and you click on it, the business is able to say, Here are the top four or five things I want to happen when a customer is on any page of my site. I want them to have the choice. Do you want to text me? Do you want to call me? Or do you want to request a callback? Maybe you want to buy a gift card? Do you want to book a meeting with us? We don’t want to force the consumer into one communication path.”
Who is your target customer?
“The best audience for this are businesses that already have visibility in search results. And with their marketing. And at the end of the day, we need some search volume or web traffic to convert for them. So if somebody is so small, where they don’t have any of that, like they need to get that in order first. And once you have that, then it’s like, can the people that are coming in contact with my search results, my social profile, my website interact with me easily?”
“And we’re really focusing on three main categories in our direct market. One is home services. So movers, plumbers, HVAC. Anyone that’s providing a homeowner with service of some type. Then professional services. For example, independent insurance agents, financial advisors. People who are looking to answer questions and set appointments. And then the last one is dealerships. But not auto dealers because that market is really saturated. But rather boat, RV, motorcycle, ATV. So that second tier of recreational-type vehicles. So those are the three markets that we’re we’re looking at the most right now.”
How will you go to market?
“We have a two-pronged approach. We will go direct to small businesses. And then also just based on my own experience in working with agencies, we want agencies and web design shops as a channel as well. Also, we’re not looking to do a white label product, what we want to create is a partner product that gives partners access to what’s happening with their customers, and also gives them recurring revenue off of it. If you’re optimizing pages. If you’re trying to create more traffic. or if you’re building beautiful websites. For all that the last mile is making sure whatever you drive there actually converts. So we really feel like we can be a great conversion tool for web designers, SEOs, local SEOs, and digital marketers.”
Have you taken any funding?
“We have raised an angel round. And we want to use that and bootstrap it from there. If this turns into $100 million business, it’ll be more by accident than where we’re desiring it to go. We want to build something really strong that serves a great purpose. And I’m just wired more into a Midwestern bootstrapping mentality. We raised the angel round, just for speed to market.”