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Guest Tutorial: Marketing 101 for Providers

Provider 911Recently, LowEndTalk’s @SirFoxy posted a tutorial entitled Marketing 101. As he observed, “generally speaking, hosts have zero clue on how to sell.” While this not true of all hosts (as his article illustrates), it is definitely true that many hosts are more comfortable configuring servers than they are handling the commercial side of their businesses.  In the long run, it’s those who master making customer connections and getting their marketing message across who survive.

With @SirFoxy’s permission, we’re reprinting this excellent article.  It’s been gently reformatted for LEB.  While we don’t endorse every point and opinion he shares, he does make many solid points and it’s a fantastic read summary someone with some solid marketing chops.  If you’re a host who are trying to feel your way in a very crowded marketplace, it’s mandatory reading!

Generally speaking, hosts have zero clue on how to sell, so rather than making a tutorial about how to secure your KVM, I’m making a tutorial on how to sell.

Let’s dive in:

1) You’re a human.  Your customers are humans.

At the end of the day, when you communicate you need to communicate as a human, not a business. you need to show emotion People like @seriesn of NexusBytes do this well.  (Example offer).

racknerd cult2) Create a cult.

People believe in you and your cause.  People meme @dustinc (RackNerd CEO) for good reason, because he’s created a cult like following.

It doesn’t matter he had an exit scam in the past.  People have totally forgot about it because of his cult-like following.  He also saves face a lot, and I think he’d do better if he showed more humanistic characteristics rather than being overly professional.  Which leads me to my next point…

3) Create a spectacle.

Thus brings @cociu — he’s overly humanistic, that’s why people wish him doing well.  They’ve bonded with him.  It’s the trump effect, controversy brings eyes and if you’ve ever heard “all publicity is good publicity” — it’s somewhat true.

You’ll attract people who don’t like you, but you’ll also bring people who do like you and will buy your services.

4) Create a USP (Unique Selling Proposition).

With good copy, good marketing, and good sales, you don’t need to race to the bottom of the barrel.

Let’s look at OVH for example.  Relatively budget service, but provides some of the best DDoS protection for the price.  That’s a USP.

Alternatively, you don’t even necessarily need a USP.  @seriesn provides a sense of humanity and people bond with him and will buy his services even though he’s ultimately a reseller.

5) Social status, testimonials.

Here brings @Francisco — he runs a solid service, not too cheap not too expensive. Not a great service, but not bad. Down time every now and then, but he has social status and testimonials.

Usually he doesn’t get emotional and let’s his service talk for itself.  He’s been around long enough to acquire the social status and testimonials to let his service talk for itself.

Once you build your name and brand up to a certain point you don’t have to do as much.  People already have a feel for your character.

Of course he has value adds, such as DirectAdmin, Blesta, etc, but at the end of the day people buy from BuyVM not for the best service, but because he has social status and testimonials, and ultimately you know he’ll be around.

6) LET is not the best source for sales.  It’s the best source for eyes.

You shouldn’t rely on any platform for sales.  You should solely rely on it for publicity.

Only rely on what you can control. SEO is somewhat valuable, but Google could slap you down at anytime and fuck Bing.

Build an email list. Get eyes on your offers.  Get emails. you’ll own that email list forever.

7) Loss leaders AKA trip wires.

In the marketing game, loss leaders are referred to as trip wires.

That $0.01 for the first year shared hosting offer with a renewal of $47 will do you wonders.

This contradicts my previous point of racing to the bottom, but the point isn’t to price your services low, it’s to introduce people skeptical of your service with as little resistance as possible.

Set the introduction low, but let them blatantly know it will renew at X amount.  For cold audiences this will work wonders, particularly if you have an upsell.

If you can master this you can expand outside of LET and actually run paid advertising.

And that’s an end to this for now, I could go on, but this covers a decent amount of bases.

Thanks, @SirFoxy!  Do you have an opinion, rant, or tutorial you’d like to share with the world?  Please contact us and we’ll make it happen!


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