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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-18-2005, 10:13 AM Thread Starter
 
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need marketing ideas

ok guys, i'm taking over marketing in the web hosting company i helped organize because we are not seeing the kind of results i was hoping for when someone else was taking care of it. and i'm fiding it to be a very difficult role to fill.

we have a solid product, a very loyal base of customers who are happy with the way we take care of them but they are not sending much business to us through referrals.

I am looking to generate new business more than milk the current customers, our customer base has not yet reached the critical mass where it's self sustaining.

if there are any marketing or small business geniuses among you, I would appreciate any input!
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-18-2005, 10:19 AM
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Call your competitors. Other web hosting companies.

Ask them for referals or examples(websites) of the work they do.
Then call those companies throw your name out there.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-18-2005, 10:23 AM Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jughead
Call your competitors. Other web hosting companies.

Ask them for referals or examples(websites) of the work they do.
Then call those companies throw your name out there.
we've tried looking through lists of complaining customers but since people pay a little amount each month, this may be too time consuming. I'm thinking to break into new markets somehow, where hosting is not yet saturated. Something like photo albums for photographers?
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-18-2005, 10:46 AM
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First of all, find out what your company does best, and where your competitors are weak. Where your strengths overlap their weaknesses is where I'd start. Don't try to be all things to all people. Concentrate on 3-5 strong points of your company and focus on that. Also, try and differentiate yourself from your competitors, don't be a "me too" company.

I don't know that much about web hosting, but I would think small to medium size businesses that don't have the resources to do this in house would be a good market. What about local restaurants/businesses, not large chains. I know I wish I could find a local restaurant/business online and find out more about them, but most of them don't have a website, just phone #'s.

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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-18-2005, 10:46 AM
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Just kinda thinking out loud, but would it be plausable to offer web sapce to folks interested in some web sapce(for home) but that are not interested in a domain
IE can you take a offer cheep space for people interested in posting photos or sound clips instead of using say EBAY for hosting
And example would be, i am intersted in housting sound clip so i can sell musical toys, people who purchase them on ebay are interested in hearing the toy before they buy it, but i dont need a domain just space to post up sounds
I am sure its out there, but i have been to busy to seek it out
Plus if you hosted pics, you might be able to pull business away from the ebay server if you could advertise that the sellers were saving money
Example 6 pics on ebay are a buck to post, on your service it could be .50
Again, i am not to net savy, but just posting an idea
Hope it helps, or at least dosent hurt
R
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-18-2005, 01:24 PM Thread Starter
 
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GRNDSKPR, we have a few customers doing just what you described using a sub domain or ip address to access their ebay pics. I even wrote a program for them to upload pictures directly through their browser years ago and forgot all about it...

ChicagoFactory, so you're saying focus on one type of customer? This is what I've been thinking about. The website as it is now, is designed for a broad audience and doesn't really target. We appear to be like a million other hosting companies, even though we are hosting some of them in our data center...
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-18-2005, 01:27 PM
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GRNDSKPR, we have a few customers doing just what you described using a sub domain or ip address to access their ebay pics. I even wrote a program for them to upload pictures directly through their browser years ago and forgot all about it...

Is that listed on your web site????? Maybe thats the 8.99 deal
or maybe you could post a link, imight be interested
thanks
R
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-18-2005, 02:12 PM
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its hard to answer without knowing what the product does or is?
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-18-2005, 03:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zeusrotty22
its hard to answer without knowing what the product does or is?

it's webhosting. In my experience with webhosting, word of mouth is usually your best bet. your target audience probably isn't as price consious as other industries, because your industry is very competitive and very cheap. There are places out there that will host a website for only a few bucks a month now, all you have to do is provide the name space and the content, and they host it. If I am a small business owner, I don't have the time to find who is the cheapest, so if you are $1 more a month then the other guy, but you come well refered, I will probably end up with you then the guy who I don't know but has no personal references. That being said, I am going to need somebody to design my site, and more then likely I would ask them who can host it for me. so I would start hitting up web designers pitch your product, maybe offer a commision to them, say $20 for a 1 year agreement? the WWW is just that world wide, so maybe try posting on web design boards and offer a commision to anybody that gets you a customer.

<-- Chris

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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-18-2005, 03:30 PM
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What about approaching small business associations. Groups such as the Home Builders Association, or the Interior Designers Association, or the local musicians guild. Groups which need a group presence online, with links to the individual members of each group or association.

"For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, 'He has a demon.' The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Here is a glutton and a drunkard..."

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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-20-2005, 01:32 AM Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Taborn
What about approaching small business associations. Groups such as the Home Builders Association, or the Interior Designers Association, or the local musicians guild. Groups which need a group presence online, with links to the individual members of each group or association.

this is a wonderful idea! it would get us exposure to a whole membership list... now i need to figure out what type of groups can use our services. I really have to get a designer onboard so we can provide a full service.
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-20-2005, 01:34 AM Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clearwaterms
it's webhosting. In my experience with webhosting, word of mouth is usually your best bet. your target audience probably isn't as price consious as other industries, because your industry is very competitive and very cheap. There are places out there that will host a website for only a few bucks a month now, all you have to do is provide the name space and the content, and they host it. If I am a small business owner, I don't have the time to find who is the cheapest, so if you are $1 more a month then the other guy, but you come well refered, I will probably end up with you then the guy who I don't know but has no personal references. That being said, I am going to need somebody to design my site, and more then likely I would ask them who can host it for me. so I would start hitting up web designers pitch your product, maybe offer a commision to them, say $20 for a 1 year agreement? the WWW is just that world wide, so maybe try posting on web design boards and offer a commision to anybody that gets you a customer.
We pay 20% comission and most of our business comes from word of mouth of customers or referrals from webmasters (whom we pay 20% monthly). It's very difficult getting to talk with webmasters somehow I have to become better at it.
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-20-2005, 04:12 AM
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First off study your competitors. Web host's seem to be a dime-a-dozen these days.
Do you offer at least the same level of services they do?
Are your services reasonably priced in comparison?
In what areas do you feel you surpass them?
How did you find your competitors?


Second know your target audience.
You’re really dealing the two groups of people. On one hand you have your techies who are looking to host a professional site. This group will most likely know what there looking for and besides value they will be drawn to reliability, uptime, speed, and customer service. The second group will be people with little or no technical knowledge who have a need to host images or the most basic website. These people will need to be educated and will be looking for easy to use controls.


Tap your existing customer base.
There’s no better resource than your current customer base. Develop a questionnaire and send it to your clients. If you don’t receive any in return, offer a free month of hosting in exchange for a completed questionnaire. Get testimonials.


Some marketing ideas:

Do you have a web presence?

What is your ranking? If your no where to found spend some time and money (or barter your services) to get your ranking increased. This is not an easy task but will help in your visibility.

Develop some fun web banners and try to get them posted on as many websites as possible. Ask your existing clients if they will place them on there site.


Create an html email and buy a small targeted email listed.

Is your existing web site up-to-date and easily to navigate? Do you have a FAQ area? Are testimonials listed on your home page?

Maybe develop some basic well written how-to tutorials and offer them to subscribers. Show a sample to entice non-subscribers. If your budget or capabilities allow try to do them in a video or interactive flash format.

Try to get your services reviewed and ranked by “hosting-review” sites.

Run a limited time promotion (be sure to place the promotion on your home page) and have a friend or two place them on a “deal” website such as fatwallet. Those sites have an unbelievable audience. Just be sure it really is a dirt cheap deal.

Offer a month of free hosting for people who switch from there existing provider.

Last edited by QuickStudy; 11-20-2005 at 04:19 AM.
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-20-2005, 12:12 PM
freaking newbies, man there slow, ha ha ha
 
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You need your customers to love you, so then they'll start blogging about it. Once that happens and others read their blogs, and they sign up, and then they write about it in their blog, this whole process repeats a thousand times over.

Honestly, marketing is easy and very cheap these days if you take advantage of how the internet works, because once you plant the seed it WILL spread like wildfire if your company is worth writing about.

You gotta hype your products, get people excited, make them wanna read a company blog, just dying to find out what you guys are up to next. Before you know it, you've got people blogging about what you're going to do before it's even released. Figure out ways to release new and exciting ideas, or improvements on existing ideas so your company never feels stagnant and it will grow.


...but in all honestly, Webhosting is a shitty game to play. I would look for a specific market to tap in to. For instance, there's only one company in the US that provides the Typo3 CMS. ONE. Maybe you should be the second?

I've been developing websites for 8 years and live and breathe this stuff, so take my advice for what it's worth.

Last edited by CRAZe Inc; 11-20-2005 at 12:16 PM.
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-20-2005, 01:11 PM Thread Starter
 
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thanks guys, hosting is absolutely a shitty industry and we have a long way to go before things are marketable, but I really think there is a lot of potential. We have a great support team and great tech base, now just have to get this sorted out. I'm just so tired of playing catch up rather than planning and excecuting some kind of a marketing strategy.
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post #16 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-20-2005, 03:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aptyp
ChicagoFactory, so you're saying focus on one type of customer? This is what I've been thinking about. The website as it is now, is designed for a broad audience and doesn't really target. We appear to be like a million other hosting companies, even though we are hosting some of them in our data center...
In a way, yes. Try and focus on doing 1 or 2 things really well, not 10 things that you do OK. Like Bill said, small organizations would be a great place to start, and I would think a bigger market pool that needs your expertise. Everybody wants the big guys, but then price becomes an issue. I'd rather have many small clients at a higher GP, than 2 0r 3 large clients at a smaller GP.

Mike

"Life is all about ass ... either you are covering it, kicking it, kissing it, sitting on it or trying to get it."
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