Category “Marketing”

Happy Holidays from Setpoint

December 19, 2014 by Nick

Happy Holidays 2015

Setpoint Systems would like to wish you and your families a safe and happy holiday.  To our customers, thank you for your continued support.

This Holiday season we are going to have a little contest with our Santa model. How to enter is simple, like us on Facebook and post an awesome photo of your assembled Santa by midnight, December 31st for a chance to win a brand new Apple iPad Air 2.  The winner will be the most creative picture of Santa, and humor will go a long way in helping.  Below you will find links to our Santa model in two different sizes.

Little Santa Download (124 KB)

Big Santa Download (120 KB)

Good luck and we are excited to see how creative you can be.

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What are business websites really good for?

May 23, 2013 by Kara

Businesses exist to make money, if we didn’t make money we wouldn’t be around anymore.  In today’s world most businesses have websites to drive traffic to their sites so they can get new customers and thus make money.  We depend on the Internet for information.  If you need a plumber do you pull out the phone book or do you Google it?  It’s so much easier to pull up a company on the web and then pull up reviews of that company to see if you should do business with them.  That’s why it’s so important that every company has a website, even if it is just a basic page with how to contact you and where you are located.

Websites bring new visitors.  When people are searching for your product, do you show up?  If they can’t find you on the Internet they can’t buy from you.  Make your site easy to find and navigate.  Tell people what you do and make it clear and concise.

Websites build credibility.  If you can look at a company’s website and see pictures of their product, examples of prior work, or certifications that they hold it is a first step in building trust.  If you don’t have a website, just a listing in the yellow pages, your visibility goes down and you’ve lost that first step in building trust.

Websites show competency. If you’re selling a product your website should focus on it.  Our website is focused on automation using lean principles.  Because that’s what we sell we have pages on our site talking about it, YouTube videos, White Papers, and of course blogs!  Blogs are a great way to pick a specific part of what you do and talk more about it.

Websites address issues.  The most recent issue that comes to mind is Disney changing the image of Merida from “Brave” where they gave her a smaller waist, took the frizz out of her hair, and changed her eyes.  People got mad and wanted her image changed back.  Without a website you are limited to where you can address the issues that will come up.  Every business has them.  Quick and easy communication with your customers makes a big difference.

Even if your website starts out as just a blog, get it out there.  Get started today, you know what will happen if you don’t… people won’t find you.  But think about what can happen when they do!

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Focusing on What is Really Important

September 30, 2010 by Kara

As a part of my continued training in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) skills I found that I really wanted to understand what the people coming to our website were doing and if the information was relevant to their searches.  In seeking help in understanding Google Analytics, yes I am like the majority of the other companies out there I love my free analytics, I found a class offered where the teachers are certified through Google so I signed up.

When I first started looking at the analytics of our website I thought that I wanted as many visitors to my site as possible because then I was more likely to get a lead.  That ended up being completely wrong.  I was looking for quantity and not quality, which is odd because the culture here at Setpoint is all about the quality of time and not quantity of time spent on a project.  Slowly I began editing the site and streamlining it to make it more relevant, my visitors did decrease but the percentage of people who found us irrelevant also decreased.  Plus, added bonus, I started getting better leads.

So after taking out the extra stuff off my website and focusing on what we do, now our volume of traffic is down but those who are coming are actually finding what they are looking for, which is great!  I learned a lot from the class that I signed up for.  They walked all the way through the program and showed us different ways we could view the data, filters we could set up like taking out the people here at work.  Because really, do I care how long one of our engineers spend on our website?  No, not really, they aren’t going to buy anything.

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Gaining Confidence

September 9, 2010 by Kara

During the first year I worked at Setpoint Systems we overhauled our website and part of the services the company offered was Search Engine Optimization (SEO) as a part of the overhaul.  Within a few months of the new website being up the VP of Marketing found a new job and decided to leave the company.  As his assistant it fell upon me to take responsibility for our website.  The only thing I knew was some basic HTML that I had learned at Setpoint to maintain the existing website.

As I started working with the company who was providing our SEO services I realized I had no clue about what they were even talking about.  As I talked to my boss about it, we decided that I needed to learn about what search engine optimization even was because I needed to understand what the company we hired was doing.  As I began to read articles, blog posts, and follow forums on the Internet I began to get a basic understanding of what SEO was all about and how to do it.

Everyday I pushed myself to learn more so that I could figure out things like why we weren’t ranking on Google searches, or why people didn’t stay on our website.  The day came about 9 months after I started learning about SEO that I realized I knew more about SEO than the company I was paying.  My boss already knew it but I didn’t see it yet.  When I learn a new skill it’s hard for me to say that I know more than my teacher.  I was in no way ready to do SEO on my own but I was ready for a new company who knew more and could help me to continue to learn.

Thus began my task of searching out different SEO companies, interviewing them, and selecting the one that I felt would not just help our website but would teach me along the way.  This second company lasted for a year and a half and I learned so much more and started to gain confidence in my abilities because they would let me do as much as I was capable of.  If I came up with the idea they encouraged me to follow through on it.  I started to realize that I did understand what I was doing.

Once again I was tasked with finding another SEO company that could continue to teach me.  The problem now was that I felt that I knew what I was doing so if they couldn’t match up with me then they were scratched off my list.  I was astounded that people were still selling services that were considered outdated when I started learning about SEO over three years ago.  After researching these other companies I realized that I did know as much as they did and I was just as good.

For the past nine months now I have been doing the SEO for our company on my own.  I consistently rank for the keywords that I am most interested in.  I am still working on maintaining and adding new keywords because I don’t want to have a static website.  I have been fine tuning our site and weeding out items from our site to streamline what our offerings are because even though we have done torque and swaging stations I found that people who were searching for them were not looking for the type of industrial machinery Setpoint provides.  Through doing this I have found the bounce rate decreasing which helps me to see that Setpoint’s website is more relevant.

Gaining confidence for me came through doing.  It was easy to read about and start to understand what SEO was all about but it wasn’t until I started doing or applying what I was learning that I started to believe that I really could do this.  I think this is true for many things, once you learn about a topic the point at which you know you can do it is when you start doing it day in and day out.  It wasn’t until after I couldn’t find another company to replace the last company I had hired that I realized that I could do this on my own.  I may purchase a service such as keyword research from one company or another along the way to give me a fresh perspective but as a whole as long as I continue to have time to devote to our website I know that I am good at what I do and will be able to continue to help the Setpoint website to show up when people search for lean automation equipment or industrial automation services.  I also have to remember to never stop learning, the ideas of search engine optimization are continually changing and I need to stay current so that I do not become one of those people who are doing things that are no longer useful.

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Picking a SEO Company or any Vendor

April 29, 2010 by Kara

Over the last 3 years I have been learning about what SEO is and how it works.  So what is it?  Search Engine Optimization, it’s how websites get found by the search engines, Google being the most popular search engine.  Over the last few years we’ve used a few different companies but felt that our site was stagnant and we were ready for it to move forward again so I started to look around and find a new SEO company to help. 

I started searching a few months ago and was disappointed by some of the companies that I found.  As I searched for companies I looked through their websites; after all I wanted my website to be better so they had to have a great website.  Some sites didn’t even answer basic questions as to the services they offered or what those services entail.

Some companies I contacted had a good website but on review of their proposal I realized that they were using old outdated information for the services they were providing.  Coming from a company who goes out and searches for the newest technologies to integrate into an automated solution it was frustrating to see companies trying to push services that were considered outdated when I started learning about SEO three years ago.

The most frustrating was when I contacted a company to find out more about their services only to not have someone contact me back.  There was one company that I thought would be a good match and I submitted a request twice, the second time I heard back saying the regular contact was out of town and that they would assign someone else to contact me, only they never did.

After reviewing the proposals I realized that some companies were very upfront with what their strategies were while some were vague.  Those that were upfront seemed to be more trustworthy because they weren’t trying to hide what it is they were planning on doing.  At what point would the more vague companies let me see what they were offering to do for me?

In searching for a SEO company I found ways to improve my website and our company.  Do people come to my website looking for what we offer and leave feeling like I didn’t answer their questions?  Does my company or my website use old outdated information or equipment?  Do we follow up on the leads that come into our site?  Are we giving them the run-around?  Are our proposals lacking in the explanation of what services we are offering?

Bottom line is there are no silver bullets in finding an SEO Company. My feeling is that you must decide what direction or help your website needs and then go out and find that specific SEO Company that can help you. I have yet to find the SEO Company that can do it all.

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The Discipline of Market Leaders Updated with Some Caveats

September 10, 2009 by Brad

In the mid 1990’s I read a book that connected with me. It was The Discipline of Market Leaders authored by Michael Treacy and Fred Wiersema. In a nutshell it said that companies need to pick their marketing strategy from one of three choices, those choices are Operational Efficiency, Product Leadership, or Customer Intimacy. A company that believes they should do all three will fail.

 It goes like this:

  • Companies are most successful when they focus on only one marketing discipline
  • Companies are mediocre when they focus on two marketing disciplines
  • Companies will be run over when they think they can do all three

 

The table below summarizes the concepts of the book:

 

OPERATIONAL EFFICIENCY

PRODUCT LEADERSHIP

CUSTOMER INTIMACY

Core Business Process

Sharpen distribution systems and provide no-hassle service

 

Nurture ideas, translate them into products and market them skillfully

Provide solutions and help customers run their business

 

Structure

Strong central authority and a finite level of empowerment

Acts in an ad hoc. Organic loosely knit, and ever changing way

Pushes empowerment close to customer contact

 

Management Systems

Maintain standard operating procedures

 

Reward individuals’ innovative capacity and new product success

Measure the cost of providing service and of maintaining customer loyalty

Culture

Acts predictably and believes that “one size fits all”

Experiments and thinks “out of the box”

Flexible and thinks ” have it your way”

 

Company Examples

Wal-Mart – McDonalds

Intel – Nike – 3M

Nordstrom

Over the last few years I have heard nothing from these authors. I wondered are the concepts no longer valid, what has changed?

My feelings are they are as relevant today as they were 10 years ago, with two caveats.

First: it doesn’t matter what strategy you are pursuing, you need to continually look at ways to lower your costs and add more value (from the customers view not the companies) for lower costs. This is a fact in the world we live in today with no exceptions that I am aware of.

Second: adding more features and functions after a certain point where the customers aren’t demanding them will open up the possibilities of a disruptive product coming in and interrupting your strategy. This disruptive concept was originated in the book The Innovators Dilemma by Clayton M. Christensen, it is worth reading.

The Discipline of Market Leaders is still a relevant book today to help companies chart their path, but remember the two caveats.

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What Does the Customer Really Want?

March 12, 2009 by Clark

At Setpoint we follow the Mahan (Mahan Khalsa) culture of selling.  Following are some high level points we closely follow and practice in our daily business relationships with our clients.

Mahan selling is not a technique but rather a culture that establishes a partnership between Consultant and Client.  Too many times sales professionals spend an inappropriate amount of time advocating their products or service before even understanding what the client’s needs, issues and opportunities are.

Mahan selling focuses on understanding completely every aspect of the customer’s needs before trying to pitch a solution that may not be even close to what is needed.  By focusing efforts on the customers issues and opportunities, a sales professional can bring far more “value add” to the table and in the long run provide the solutions that exactly meet the customer’s needs.  Not kind of, or sort of…exactly.

The goal is to be in tune with the customer’s business issues and opportunities.  This can only be achieved by allowing the customer to express what these issues and opportunities are.  Too many times customers just want to know a number or be given a solution to what they perceive as “The” issue.

At closer examination, and with some sincere questioning by the sales professional, a complete, prioritized list of these issues and opportunities can be compiled.  The way to get to a solution that exactly meets your client’s needs is by a “No Guessing” approach to finding out what issues and opportunities your solution will solve or help the client take advantage of.

stoplight

Any time you feel the conversation or sales cycle may not be going in the right direction, Mahan calls this a yellow light.  Our typical reaction to yellow lights in sales is similar to how we drive on the road.  Most people speed up and zoom right through the yellow caution lights.  In the Mahan culture we are encouraged to slow down for these yellow lights and express your concerns to the customer.

If we let the customer turn the so called yellow lights to green, rather than trying to hurry through the issues and do it ourselves, we will be more successful in finding a way to serve their needs.  In fact, if done correctly, having the customer solve the issues or yellow lights can usually create a more positive impression of you and your company’s ability to serve their needs.

One of the main reasons we try to get an upfront list of issues and opportunities is because there is always a direct correlation between the customers likelihood of buying our solutions at a certain price and the number of issues and or opportunities we and the clients feel our solutions can solve or capitalize on.

So remember, never guess what the client’s needs are.  Ask clarifying questions on what their needs are.  Get out all the issues and opportunities they hope your solution will solve.  And always slow down for yellow lights in the sales cycle and allow the customer to turn any yellow lights to green.

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The Financial Crisis: Events Leading up to it and Who is to Blame

October 23, 2008 by Kara

Joe did a great set of videos explaining the financial crisis including what led up to it and who is to blame.  We filmed this one before but I hear it was pretty boring and had bad lighting.  So we refilmed it and here it is.  We got some professional lights thanks to Steph!  Joe also went to a thrift store and got some props.  My personal favorite is the Napoleon bobble head – I love Joe’s smile when he uses it it’s like he’s ready to start laughing.

Joe talks about the savings & loan crisis and the bailout that the government did back in the 1980’s, about the creation of Freddie Mac & Fannie Mae, what a subprime mortgage is, a bank’s balance sheet and how they become insolvent or bankrupt.  That’s in the first video Financial Crisis: Freddie, Fannie & Subprime.

Let me know what you think, do you like this one better?  Are there other questions that you would like to have answered?

 

The second video is about Who is to Blame, Joe walks through the entire process of a loan and what happens and then lists out who he feels is to blame…and there’s plenty of that to go around.

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Rich Internet Applications (RIA)

October 23, 2008 by Kara

Recently I was asked what Rich Internet Applications (RIA) were and whether they were good or bad, useful or something that we might be able to see in the future. Rich Internet Applications have been used on the web for many years. They are great for engaging the customer and drawing them deeper into your site. One of the earliest ways I remember using a RIA is dreaming about buying a new car and having all of those extra’s added on. So since my dream car is the new Dodge Charger I’m going to use that as my example.

RIA’s allow you to go in and select a product and then choose all the features that you want all the while seeing the price of the product so that you can see how your selections affect the price. So if I want the Charger R/T All Wheel Drive P package in the dark titanium metallic, I’m looking at a starting base price of $36,135. However, who wants a base model when you’re dreaming? After adding the “essential” extra’s like the power sunroof you’re looking at $39,785. Then I can go through and look at the Daytona R/T in Stone White starting at $37,035 add in the same extra’s and the price is $40,320. So within a few minutes I can see it is better pricewise to go with the R/T AWD and save or for less than $1000 go for the cool paint job of the Daytona R/T.

That is what is so great about RIA’s, they allow you to go through the selection of something you are looking at and pick and choose what you want to get the solution that is right for you. You could see if you added a feature if you could still afford it or if by adding another one you couldn’t. Another website I have seen where the RIA is great is on the Sony Ericsson site. Their site lets you go through the options of cell phones and it narrows down which phone would work the best for you (of course it has to be one they make). Verizon tried to use it but they still need to work on it. You can go in and select options but then you have to select view phones and if you select options that are not all included in a phone you get an error of “no match found, please modify selection and search again.” What I like about the Sony site is once you select an option it changes the features and phone selection to only have the options that are truly available shown. If you choose a phone that doesn’t have and option, it grays it out so you can’t select it.

One of the things I really like about a Rich Internet Application is that it doesn’t require me to download anything onto my computer in order to use it. It’s all a part of their site and doesn’t require me to spend 3 minutes allowing something to be added to my computer.  Allow – hey I said allow already! I can see the use of RIA’s growing and more websites that offer a lot of features or options to use them to help customers narrow down what they are looking for.

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