Where Are My Customers?
So you’ve started your web hosting company. You have a name, a domain, a beautiful web site, a dedicated server, and you’ve even printed your own business cards with your highly appointed title adorned underneath your business cards. You’ve decided to launch a home based office, so you make the morning commute: sipping your cup of coffee, wearing your soft slippers while you edge your way through to your desk. You turn on the computer, check e-mail, hop over to your web site and you sit back, relaxed.
After a few moments of contemplation, you scratch your head. Am I supposed to be doing something? Oh, yes, where are my customers?
Web hosting companies are springing up as internet entrepreneurs are attracted by this seemingly lucrative business. In essence, it does not take a lot of resources to startup a web hosting company, but in order to do it right, you really need to think about what matters most, which is the strategy you will use to attract customers and generate revenue. There are many ways of attracting customers online, but let us explore a strategy that will help you build your business starting from your local marketplace.
The dreaded cold call; picking up the phone and contacting people you don’t know who do not have the time nor the need for your business. At the grassroots of sales, cold calling is a way to generate business, but it requires a lot of time, effort and patience. Find a local business directory, or browse a directory online, and pick out businesses that need a web site and hosting. You can even call businesses that already have web sites and web hosting, and sell them on what makes your company better and what solutions you can offer them. You’ll definitely catch the attention of your competitors, but hey, that’s business.
Direct Mail Marketing
Targeting your local market might be an effective strategy, since you have more of an intimate presence within your own neighbourhood. Attracting local businesses that might need web sites can be a lucrative strategy if you implement a marketing campaign that will work effectively to attract them. Creating flyers and distributing them by direct mail is one way of doing it. Do your research, map out the local businesses you want to reach, and develop a marketing campaign that will attract their interest. Offer a free e-business workshop. Give them a special offer for free web hosting. When planning a direct mail marketing campaign, emphasize the importance of generating a response with every ad you distribute. Instead of simply advertising your hosting plans and other services, give them an offer or a call to action. Get them to do something!
Attending your local business events, especially networking groups, is an effective means of building your presence and being known in your business community. Networking events bring together business people and entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds. The essence of networking is not simply to promote your business, although you will find it a very good way to do so, but to build long lasting relationships with others who may do business with you in the future, or even refer your business to their contacts. When attending networking events, meet as many people as you can, educate them on how you can help their business, and always follow up after the event. It is important to keep in touch. Relationships are valuable to the success of your business!
As an internet professional, you have the resources that will help many businesses succeed by providing them with web hosting services. Why not share your expertise with local businesses that are still unaware of how the internet can help grow their business? One way of doing this is by offering free workshops. Find a local venue that is affordable and easily accessible to you and your prospective clients. Put together a simple presentation, an interactive workshop, and even prepare some refreshments for after the show so you can start pitching your prospects. You have to do a bit of work to invite local businesspeople to attend your workshop, using cold calling, direct mail, or simply taking advantage of your existing contacts. Make the workshop fun, something they’ll remember you by!
Partnerships & Alliances
Do you know how many web designers and graphic artists there are in your area? Do you know of any other businesses that can push your web hosting services? Identifying potential partners and forming alliances with them is definitely a great way to establish your business. Why? Existing businesses already have a client base that is dependent upon their services. Depending on the influence they have with their clients, you can generate referrals primarily from other businesses sending their clients to you for their web hosting needs. Give other businesses an incentive to provide you with referrals, and you will never have to pick up the phone for cold calling.
There are many ways to promote your business both locally and online, and this is just a scratch on the surface. Not even going into detail, there are many variations to the marketing strategies you can implement for your business. At the end of it all, the most important thing is the relationship between you and your customers, and how they feel about your business. Best of luck in all your marketing endeavours!
Copyright © 2004 Johnder Perez