I know it may sound funny, but I try to leave a business card wherever I go. When I go out to eat, I'll leave one with the tip, if I use a public restroom, I'll leave one laying around somewhere. I'll set them on random shelves at electronics stores in sections that I think someone that may be interested in hosting would shop in. I've gotten a few conversions from it.
I'm not too versed on the in's and out's of the northern UK local advertising scene, but here are a few general thoughts that generally apply to the local market.
Word of mouth is arguably the best form of advertising for local markets. People talk, so provide good service and a possible incentive for them to refer new customers.
And if you are on a first name basis with your clients and feel comfortable doing so....ask if they know any people that would be interested in hosting. Done tactfully, this can provide a lot of new clients.
Obviously, you mentioned that you have thought of these but newsaper ads are relatively expensive for advertising and not very well targeted. If you have a large budget, continual newpaper advertising may be an option, but a single dispay ad may not get you a lot of sales.
I haven't had a lot of experience with flyers to local business, but apparently some people find some success if they hand deliver the flyer and have a chat to the head of the business.
Also, and this may work better with ISPs than hosting companies, but get a NICE car and plough it with tactful advertising for your domain etc. Make sure you are using a modern, nice car. It screams of cheap if you do this with a 82 ford.
i have a 318i compaq . But im deffinatley going to get some business cards made. I dont really want to be advertiseing my business on my car. Hand delivering leaflets is a very good idea. Get to know them face to face is probably a good way to go. I inquired about sending out flyers in our local free newspaper and they quoted me £17.50/around $28.00 per 1000. Thers over 250.000 people ligveing here. So that could be quite expensive.
Newspaper flyers/inserts are untargeted and ultimately would not hold much interest to the majority of the readers.
Having said that, your plans are quite cheap, so maybe people might see it as an affordable means of putting their personal site online.
If you are looking to attract business clients, there are always Chamber of Commerce bulletins and guides that are read by new businesses starting out. In a town of 250,000, you have plenty of opportunities to target these new businesses, as most new business these days would definately consider a website as part of their marketing strategy.
Local advertising is definitely the way to go. If you just sell online, well join the sea of companies out there all pitching the same thing more or less - it really is tough for the customer to figure out which host is for real!
Tap the local hosting market and if possible meet your clients. Another thing about hosting is that customers feel at ease with local businesses b/c there is a better degree of accountability with a local firm as opposed to a firm across the globe.
What worked well for us is direct mail. We sent two mailings to a selected group of businesses. First letter simply introduced our company and explained how our company differs from the competition - and some advantages to keeping things local
Next letter was just to remind them that we sent them a letter few weeks ago and that we could offer them a months free hosting if they switched to us. That worked great! And if we know they are hosting already, we also mention just to keep us in mind in the future. I include my business card with the second letter.
Other ideas that have worked for us:
1. Partnering up with print shops and letting them offer website packages (with hosting ofcourse) to their clients as a value added service.
2. Partnering up with businesses who sign up clients for us - we give them our packages at a discounted price - and they markup and sell to their clients - note that this mainly works with our international customers. It makes sense since a lot of local international customers prefer to pay by cheque and to a local company - so we just work in the background.
We are currently debating about classifieds - anyone have any good experience with this avenue?
We've looked at classifieds in the past, however our main concern that stopped us from advertising in them is that you are likely to get lost in the masses... even for the town of 13,000 people, the smaller of the two local papers has on average probaly 300 classified ads each week... all shoved on the last 4 or 5 pages of the paper. The larger paper uses a blanket classifieds publisher so they have quite a few more, although ads with them go to all the other papers that also use that company.
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I am doing a flyer campaign that already is showing some positive response. Don't get a flyer delivery service to deliver your flyers, do it yourself and target who you deliver the flyers to. Web design houses. Computer retailers. Professional office buildings will garner a lot of good results. Dress in casual manner without looking like a typical flyer deliverer. Slacks or khaki's, golf shirt and smile could get you some signups on the spot.
Be ready for questions. Be ready to help the client signup. In one case, I assisted a client signup from their computer, they paid and I set them up all from their office.
Be ready for sore feet and lots of mileage on your vehicle. But it can all be worth it.
The MAIN thing flyers do, is get your name out there. Do businesses first and then residences. By the time you get to the residential side, many will already know your name or seen your flyer and that name recognition may result in more signups. I believe the minimum is 100,000 and there is no maximum although if you are doing more than 2,000,000 you should contact the post office for custom pricing.
Another option is contacting your postal service to inquire about Ad Mail This is where you send your flyer to a certain number of stops. You pay by the stop and the rates can be as low as 7 or 8 cents each. The more stops you contract for, the lower the cost. This is something to think about on doing national campaigns.
Originally posted by Amdac Another good place for cards which I've done, is to scatter them around the programming/web design section of large book stores. It's a lot more targeted than random locations
Hmm, very interesting idea! Might just try that out Amdac
Many radio stations sell "Sponsorships" of their main newscasts. Ya know that newscast at 8AM where the announcer says " This newscast is brought to you by xyzm Hosting Your Affordable and Reliable Hosting Service. That announcement every morning on the most listened to newscast of the morning runs about $400 a week on our local radio station.
Does it work? You bet it does. I did it with my DJ service...and we took a booking a day from that spot.