If you’re looking to start a web hosting reseller business, then you might be wondering how to find your potential new customers. Just where do web hosting providers find so many people who want to launch a website? The answer, as you might predict, is not just one single place. In fact, it’s important to look in a number of areas to find buyers – such as these.
Understand your USP
The first thing to do is to understand what your USP is, and who it appeals to. For example, an easy-set-up package which allows your customers to get their own custom website built with simple controls and lots of extra support is likely to appeal to two types of people. They are those who are not technically-minded, which is likely to be older generations, and those who are extremely busy, such as CEOs or entrepreneurs running multiple businesses.
It’s better to choose one target network and then pursue them. For example, if you want to pursue entrepreneurs, where do you find them? They are likely to use a specific social network, following specific tags or accounts, and they might use forums or go to networking events and summits. This knowledge will help you know where to channel your marketing efforts in order to attract them.
If you’re seeking your customers on forums, you need to be engaged and genuine. You should be able to talk to people on subjects related to web hosting and site management, giving them advice and helping them understand how things work. This means you have to be an expert, but you also have to have a personable and friendly nature.
Posting an advertisement for your brand on every topic is not good practice, and will likely get you banned right away. Instead, include a link to your business in your signature if allowed. Give people a nudge towards your hosting services if it is relevant to the conversation, but not gratuitously. Becoming someone who is known for expert advice in a particular forum will get you more interest than being an advertising robot.
Don’t just go for web hosting or building forums, either – go to where your customers will be. The entrepreneur forums mentioned above might well have threads or topics about the creation of websites, where you can make your voice heard.
Social media is both the joy of any marketer, and the bane of their existence. It offers so much possibility, but if you get it wrong, it will deliver so little.
First you need to make sure you’re on the right network. Millennials, new young adults, Gen X, craft shop owners, import businesses, up and coming new stars – they’re all on different networks. Do the demographic research to find out where your ideal customer spends their time. You need to make sure that they can find you easily there, through a dedicated account that you update regularly.
You can also go out and find them. Like and comment on posts, follow people, and search for references to web hosting so that you can join the conversation. Giving excellent customer service, having a sense of humour, and joking around with a rival company are all things that might help you go viral – which is always welcome exposure, so long as the joke isn’t on you.
Once you find your audience, you could also use content marketing (posting valuable content to draw people back to your brand), influencers (people with lots of followers who can encourage them to host with you), and affiliates (people who drive traffic to your link in return for a cut of earnings) to bring in more customers.
Many people who need web hosting will simply search for it online. This means that you need to be performing well in search rankings in order to be found.
Google is the big one, and controls a lot of traffic. You’ll want to try as hard as possible to do well there. But if you find that there is too much competition and you aren’t getting anywhere, then you could also try smaller search engines like Bing or Yahoo. They could be a solution – while you’ll get fewer searches, being at the top of the rankings there will mean a lot more than being on page 26 of a Google search.
Remember that there are also alternative ways to be found than just through your website. Appearing in an article titled ‘best web hosting providers’ or something similar could be hugely useful if that result comes up at the top of searches, especially if you are rated very highly in the article text.
Customers are everywhere around you. If you don’t have any yet, you just need to find them in the places they hang out. That’s the secret to a successful web hosting business.