How to Promote a Web Hosting Business

27 replies
Hi Warriors,

Just wanted to pick your brains on how you would best go about promoting a web hosting business. I know all the stuff about the market being saturated, etc. so please no downers about barking up the wrong tree or I'll lose my motivation :rolleyes:

Seriously, for the seasoned warriors out there from whom I learn and continue to learn on a daily basis, the question is:

- You want to start a web-hosting business.
- You have a reseller account plus the website and payment processors in place.
- You have some funds, but not heaps with which to market your business.

Looking forward to your thoughts. How would you go about it? How would you get that first client? And then, how would you build the business going forward...

Questions, questions... I know

Cheers,
Dee
#business #hosting #marketing #promote #web
  • Profile picture of the author Wide
    How about doing it a big differently than everybody else? Try find a niche and focus on that. Offer them something exclusive for joining (such as templates, headers, graphics etc - created specifically for their niche).

    Maybe offer them a free Themeforest template for a year signup, prepaid.
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  • Profile picture of the author DustonMcGroarty
    Hey Dee - I've seen a few successful marketers bundle this with another product. So maybe you offer another service like building a sales funnel for people and web hosting is include for the first 6 months, 12 months or forever if they're paying you monthly for your service.

    Also, I felt I should mention... the market is NEVER too saturated. I hate when people say that. There's always a way to offer a better service, a better value, a better product and better customer service.

    Be different. Do what others won't. You'll be on top.
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    • Profile picture of the author Dee Syed
      Wow, thanks for the speedy feedback and inspiration, guys - especially Duston! You've just added a whole lot more to my motivation on this project. Great to have input from positive thinkers on any project

      The idea of freebies and/or bundling both sound interesting. The niche I've selected is business hosting for UK SMEs, so I reckon they won't be too interested in graphics and stuff, but maybe more along the line of free books / whitepapers etc. to give it a professional edge? Anything else along these lines you can suggest?

      As for bundling with other products, I can think only of web designers - most of whom already have their own reseller hosting, and maybe professionals like accountants/bookkeepers who can recommend this to their business for a %.

      The site is still in a very early stage - still fiddling with the design, structure and copy and coding but it's almost there from the presentation point of view.

      Here's how it stands now: DedicatedServerHostingUK | Dedicated Servers, VPS & Managed Web Hosting for Business to give you an idea of the audience I'm pitching at. BTW, I have an IT background, so am able to provide the ongoing support that this business will need if you're wondering.

      Thanks for the suggestions once again, any input on site theme would also be much appreciated - it's a custom version of the toommorel-lite from fellow Warrior neeraga.

      Dee
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  • Profile picture of the author DustonMcGroarty
    I'm not sure I know what SME stands for... sorry. I assume some kind of professional. In this case, do they even know what hosting is? Why they need it? Which package they need based on their business?

    Maybe you could offer to consult with them to determine what would fit well with their company.
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  • Profile picture of the author ACGroup1
    It is so competitive that you really have to give away some enticements. Maybe offer free hosting for a period of time if they buy a website through you or vice versa offer a free website with hosting. This can work with targeted niches and local businesses to get you started.
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  • Profile picture of the author Dee Syed
    @Duston: SMEs in the UK means small to medium enterprise (i.e. small businesses) - anything from your startup to those with around 500k-3m turnover. They would need hosting for a variety of reasons, whether for a fully online e-commerce project, file hosting or even to outsource their internal company network to a 3rd party. Sorry for the jargon!
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    • Profile picture of the author DustonMcGroarty
      Originally Posted by Dee Syed View Post

      @Duston: SMEs in the UK means small to medium enterprise (i.e. small businesses) - anything from your startup to those with around 500k-3m turnover. They would need hosting for a variety of reasons, whether for a fully online e-commerce project, file hosting or even to outsource their internal company network to a 3rd party. Sorry for the jargon!
      No worries, but back to my question... do they know they need hosting? They know they need to be online and all that but do they understand how it works or would you need to jump in and take them by the hand?

      This is where you could be different. All other hosts sit back and wait for people to come to them that already know they need hosting. What about all the people that have no clue what hosting is?

      I understand they may have some IT guys take care of this but they aren't the ones cutting the check. I'm saying go to the top and make yourself known.
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  • Profile picture of the author DonMarketer
    Selling hosting is a very competitive business model.

    In order to succeed you'll need to differentiate yourself from the rest of the pack.

    I do sell hosting, but most of my clients are from the internet marketing niche.

    When they arrive at my squeeze page and enter their name and email address, I email them my give away product. After that I follow up with other offers, which include a professinally designed website, blog theme, squeeze page and some more... In the process I promote a very valuable free offer which is only available to those who buy hosting from me. Then I even offer to help with the hosting mechanics if they need it... I won't say more to avoid copycats

    Maybe you could create something similar based on your niche's needs.

    The first step is to choose your target market niche, identify their needs, see if you can fulfil their needs and in the process get them to buy hosting from you. That would be a win win situation...


    Originally Posted by Dee Syed View Post

    Hi Warriors,

    Just wanted to pick your brains on how you would best go about promoting a web hosting business. I know all the stuff about the market being saturated, etc. so please no downers about barking up the wrong tree or I'll lose my motivation :rolleyes:

    Seriously, for the seasoned warriors out there from whom I learn and continue to learn on a daily basis, the question is:

    - You want to start a web-hosting business.
    - You have a reseller account plus the website and payment processors in place.
    - You have some funds, but not heaps with which to market your business.

    Looking forward to your thoughts. How would you go about it? How would you get that first client? And then, how would you build the business going forward...

    Questions, questions... I know

    Cheers,
    Dee
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  • Profile picture of the author ElaineHenderson
    I would buy banner ads on webmaster forums and also do a "welcome offer", some discount on a plan of 1-2 months so the customers will be able to check the services and decide if they want to stay or leave.
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    • Profile picture of the author whland
      Originally Posted by ElaineHenderson View Post

      I would buy banner ads on webmaster forums and also do a "welcome offer", some discount on a plan of 1-2 months so the customers will be able to check the services and decide if they want to stay or leave.
      Banner ads on webmaster/webhosting and other related sites are in my plans soon for webhositng-land

      Currently we just post ads in forums that allow hosting offers to be posted. It seems to be working so far.

      Chad
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Ray
    My son asked me to partner with him on a re seller web hosting business less than two months ago. The going so far has been slow but consistent effort is paying off. If we could start all over I would have insisted on one missing piece. He did not have a well thought out business plan that involved research and good feedback from those already successful in this kind of business.

    If you don't have your business plan in place, do it asap. You will find that it will help you stay on track. I hope this helps.
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  • Profile picture of the author abuhanifa
    find affiliates to promote your business , more over try to reach clients before your competitor. I may be writing a thread on how to do this
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    • Profile picture of the author Dee Syed
      Thanks for the tip, Michael - I have a straw-man plan in place but your comments inspire me to take it more seriously.

      So far, we have some common themes running through the replies:

      - Differentiate/Stand out from the crowd.
      - Offer some kind of incentive to clients.
      - Get an affiliate program up and running.
      - Have a plan.

      The first two are quite easy to figure out but the last ones are probably worth a thread in their own right

      On the assumption that there must be others in my position who would find this info useful, can anyone explain:

      - How to get an affiliate program up and running from scratch without breaking the bank. Where to recruit, what software/tools etc would be handy.

      - As marketers, what are the must-have elements of a pre-launch business plan and over what length of time?

      Thanks for all the responses - this is exactly what's great about the WF!

      Dee
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  • Profile picture of the author williamk
    Banned
    PPC and Banner Buys along with affiliates. That is the best way to promote your services. Also unless you are sure that your service is really good, its not worth promoting it. Because one bad review at starting will ruin you.
    But I recommend using Ebay to get initial customers too.
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  • Profile picture of the author elzafonv
    work on your USP, try to get some furom traffic. good luck.
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  • Profile picture of the author William Maloney
    In my opinion, the best way of starting a web-hosting business is by offering sponsorships to (important) bloggers, websites and so on. In exchange for the free webhost, they will have to put backlink + write an article about your webhosting services.
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  • Profile picture of the author Noel Cunningham
    You could run an advertisement in your local paper saying you are giving away 50 Free Websites etc.

    Direct them to your website where they will be instructed that the only cost of getting their free website is purchasing some hosting (which every site needs...) Then direct them to buy their hosting through your affiliate link, from my host I get $65 per referal.

    All you need to do then is hire an outsourcer for a couple of hundred bucks per month and get them to buy the domain and install a basic WP site.

    If you did 50 sites per month (which is small change) that would generate $3,250 in commissions from the hosting company

    Not you have your client base and they love you because you built them a Free site so you can easily Upsell them on some of your other services like:

    - premium website design
    - SEO services
    - custom graphics/logo design

    The possibilities are endless with something like this. Good luck with it..
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  • Profile picture of the author fated82
    I don't sell web hosting but here are some ideas you can take away and run with it.

    One member here used to give away a free website for every client who sign up with his web hosting package. Can you give complementary services away for free when a new client sign up?

    Also, you must know that most businesses already have hosting providers, so the only way to get clients will be those without a website OR those who are fustrated with their hosting providers. Can you a promo for these group of ppl?

    You need to bundle your hosting service with something else. I suggest having several other front end services or products and make your hosting service a backend profit center.

    Lastly, brainstorm and decide who you can work with. Leverage on other biz who might need your services for their clients.
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  • Profile picture of the author multiplecloud
    Hosting business is already red ocean. In marketing perspective, I will have target customer type first, web designer, internet marketing, web master. Then finding the list and make invitation to try our service. People who looking for hosting account will have many choice, so they will be not know how to pick only good hosting. So they will find some review/word of mouth/suggestion from their friend. The first 10 clients is very hard to start with. However if it pass the first 10 the first 50 or even the first 100 clients, power for word of mouth will be multiple, more and more. Given your service is good and have no problem.
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  • Profile picture of the author BamIPD
    Target current HostGator customers and give them 6 months free and offer to help them transfer their (100) sites over. There seems to be a lot of people fed up with HG, so maybe you can pull a few of them to your service.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kingfish85
    Thread is over a year old since the last post. It appears the OP has just abandoned the site anyhow. content such as "Text Goes Here" found on various pages with affiliate links to other providers.
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    • Profile picture of the author mosthost
      Originally Posted by Kingfish85 View Post

      Thread is over a year old since the last post. It appears the OP has just abandoned the site anyhow. content such as "Text Goes Here" found on various pages with affiliate links to other providers.
      Of course he did. He was approaching this in a half-assed way to say the least.
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  • Profile picture of the author vietnap
    I just had an interesting call from an old friend, asking me why we haven't advertised much and if we need some investments. I know that, we don't build business based-on advertising. We tried sometimes before, but somehow it's not working with our business model. We mostly get customers based on "word of mouth" references.

    Mind you, that will be a slower way. But from my experience, it's bringing you stable, long-term customers. We still have customers who have been working with us since 2003. If you go that way, the quality of service is the most important thing.
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    • Profile picture of the author Kingfish85
      Originally Posted by vietnap View Post

      I just had an interesting call from an old friend, asking me why we haven't advertised much and if we need some investments. I know that, we don't build business based-on advertising. We tried sometimes before, but somehow it's not working with our business model. We mostly get customers based on "word of mouth" references.

      Mind you, that will be a slower way. But from my experience, it's bringing you stable, long-term customers. We still have customers who have been working with us since 2003. If you go that way, the quality of service is the most important thing.
      X100 on that. Unless you're selling unlimited this & that, have tens of thousands to waste on ads & are paying 50-100+ to affiliates, it's just a waste other than the normal forum posts.

      Most of the customers clicking the ads are not looking for limited services , they're looking for cheap, bargain basement deals. Ultimately, leads to expecting the world for a few pennies.
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  • Profile picture of the author aarthielumalai
    Hey Dee,

    There is this nifty method that marketers have been doing for some time. They usually promote a hosting affiliate program with this method, but you could try the same for your reseller site.

    In this method, you'll offer a free basic website to business people in exchange for them buying your hosting. A basic 3 or 5 page site with a basic theme would do I guess. You can later upsell SEO services or other designing and programming services to the same client too.

    You can find these business people in yellow pages. But, I'd suggest you target countries other than the US, because almost every marketer targets the US market, and you might have a lot of competition.

    Good luck.
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