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  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    What do you look for when chosing a provider?
    What things would put you off a provider?
    Who's your current provider? are you happy with them? Why? What made you chose them?

    Just a couple of questions that I thought would benifit this section

    Craig.
    Flump.net Affordable Hosting
    123Reseller.com A unique approach to reseller accounts

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  3. #2
    Senior Member filburt1's Avatar
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    *makes this a sticky thread*

    Look for: good balance between price for features, but good support
    Put me off: unlimited bandwidth, far too low price, bad service, low features
    Current: Hosting Matters (review: http://www.turtletips.com/forums/sho...&threadid=3613)
    filburt1, Web Design Forums.net founder
    Site of the Month contest: submit your site or vote for the winner!

  4. #3
    Senior Member I Brian's Avatar
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    Customer referrals. Budget concerns come second.

    E-mailed four with pre-sales questions. Two replied within an hour with all questions answered fully. The other two didn't at all.

    The two who replied quickly already looked alright, and not found any complaints. They'll get a small account each, maybe in the new year.

  5. #4
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    Where do you look for Customer Referrals?

    Craig
    Flump.net Affordable Hosting
    123Reseller.com A unique approach to reseller accounts

  6. #5
    Senior Member I Brian's Avatar
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    Load up Google and check out key words, including host name plus either "problems" or "good service". That usually throws up some comments.

    When I stumbled into WHT I continued the search, usually just on the host name.

    And PMing people with your company isn;t the best way to sell it . No one likes a pushy saleman, even if the salesman has good intentions.

    Try a few gimmicks/offers, etc, to generate specific interest. Let's brainstorm!

  7. #6
    Senior Member I Brian's Avatar
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    Actually, I'll state the first thing that came to mind [sorry, had to do stuff before].

    Many companies - especially hosting companies - act in utter isolation from their customers. How many hosting companies even provide URL's to any of their customer sites?

    Now here's a plan - some of these sites will provide offers of sorts. I'm doing it on my own - free soundtrack CD to go with my epic writing, in return for joining my forum AND posting in the CD giveaway thread. That's a marketing base I can take to the publishers. Buying customers, really. But in such competitive markets, I'm looking for that extra edge.

    Anyway...

    Now suppose Band X [mythical, for example purposes] were doing the same, from one of your servers. What you could then do is team up to do a joint promotion - every new customer for [i]x[i/] period of time will get a free Band X CD.

    Hardly tempting by itself - excepting that when you consider how many possible offers your various hosted customers may have and possibly put together, you could build yourself quite a "goodie bag" promo for any prospective new sign-up.

    Let's face it, webspace and bandwidth price special offers are completely old hat. A stale and unoriginal marketing item. Maybe works, but if prospective customers are browsing a number of hosts you want something that will stick in their minds and be remembered. And we all love freebies and something nice but unexpected.

    Of course, those taking part in the "goodie bag" promo will require their rewards - ask them what they'd like in return - DON'T OFFER as they may offer for far less! - maybe a few months free hosting, whatever. They'll probably let you off lightly, because it's joint venture marketing - two products sold at once. Band X get to distribute CDs to new prospective customers, promising the potential of more being referred to their site.

    And let's face it, Band X having a [temporary] link on the host homepage during the goodie bag promo are looking to receive extra hits - that's extra marketing to prospective buyers.

    It benefits those invovled in the "goodie bag" promo as they get extra marketing AND hosting extras! And it could benefit the host, in terms of the promo partners telling their friends and mailing lists about this new promo, not to mention the extra attention that [i]may[/] be gained by offering something completely new and radical with your hosting plans.

    In the end it's all cost-benefit analysis as to how it works, and experience as to what magnitude it fares [note to never abandon nold customer service just for the new - if running out of resources, then cap or cancel the offer - you want lots of happy customers, not far more customers, but who are annoyed and frustrated.

    Ok - that enough? See my point?

    It's a risk, of course. But then again, that's what business is all about - assessing the potential risk against potential return.

    _ _ _ _ _ _


    Also - you could do a small "modest expansion" promo - you e-mail customers and politely state [without the marketing push] that you're undergoing a modest expansion of hosting facilities - if they know of anyone considering a new host, would that hosted site owners consider putting in a referral? If so, you'd be happy to give some limited [i]free[i/] hosting/extra webspace/extra bandwidth/etc [whatever is best applicable]. If you get a positive response, then make an agreement according to how many rewards the customer gets for the number of referrals. Point here, is that IT IS NOT A MARKETING PLOY! push nothing. You're offering a gift. You've got new-purchsed servers on the rack and you want to spread some new sites over them, otherwise it's a wasted investment [see?]. You're offering a gift, in polite and almost hesitant terms. Dress away from marketing as much as possible.

    _____________________________________

    Anyway, that's starters. That got you thinking on anything?


    Brian

  8. #7
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    Ok.. I see what you are saying however unless you signup some band such as (dare i say it) spicegirls for example, people will be like "who on earth are band x?"

    Rather then "ooo the new spicegirls cd, cool" (if that's your bag) Do you see what im getting at?

    It's all very well offering an insentive to signup, we have our own affiliate program, we promote a community, have customers sites linked from a customer showcase as well as on the forums. However, I think people miss the real point now when buying hosting.

    They look now and think "ooh I spend 50 here but could get the same for 5 there"
    It IS a numbers game, still. People seem to love this unlimited game, they think "wow I can have it all" when really, you are probly so much more limited then anyother host you could choose!

    Yes - I totally agree with your marketing stratigy but if i was looking for a new host I would not care if I got Band X's cd or not. I would be more concerned that If i emailed them would i get a reply? Would I get a quick reply?

    There are so many 'fad' hosts out there, people see it as a quick buck and are not in it for the long haul. I don't think that they know that they have to put in ALOT of work to get it to start making money and then once its making money to put it back into the business.

    I agree its a good idea and im sure that a company such as webfusion who has a huge proportion of the market could market something free like that but do you get a personal touch with Webfusion? I seriously doubt that.

    I like being made feel like my business matters and like forming a relationship with my providers - which we do have.

    We pass this onto the customers - they seem to like it too, I speak to a number of ours on the phone each day and when I pick up the phone it will be "hi craig" and I will reply with "Hiya $customers name" "Not Helllo, customer 8827272b/c"


    If you understand what I mean..


    Just my 2 pennys anyway

    Craig.
    Flump.net Affordable Hosting
    123Reseller.com A unique approach to reseller accounts

  9. #8
    Senior Member filburt1's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Craig
    I like being made feel like my business matters and like forming a relationship with my providers - which we do have.
    A happy customer is a returning, paying-again customer
    filburt1, Web Design Forums.net founder
    Site of the Month contest: submit your site or vote for the winner!

  10. #9
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    Originally posted by Craig
    What do you look for when chosing a provider?
    What things would put you off a provider?
    Who's your current provider? are you happy with them? Why? What made you chose them?

    Just a couple of questions that I thought would benifit this section

    Craig.
    1. other peoples views on the host extras you get and cost
    2. www.eniki.net, very happy with them, stable servers, no adds what so ever, unlimted everything bassically
    3. the cost for what you get

  11. #10
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    I'm pretty picky when it comes to hosting, but on the plus side for the host I do choose, I am extremely loyal when I do find someone that will meet my requirements.

    I'm going to break my own answer up into two sections:

    Pre-sale
    • Good price-to-features ratio. I generally set a budget for the features I want. However, I do understand that hosts, like everyone else, are in it to make money and therefore I'm not going to look for someone that posts a "too-good-to-be-true" price/features ratio. I want to know the host is going to be around for a while, and if that means paying extra for that security and peace of mind, I'll do it.
    • A clearly defined, realistic TOS/SLA agreement. As someone quite correctly pointed out earlier, "unlimited bandwidth" is something that isn't realistic to expect as a service level. Neither is 100% uptime (hey, things happen right?) But as long as the terms are defined and reasonable (99.5% or higher uptime is fine with me) then that's fine.
    • A money-back guarantee with clearly defined terms as to the collection of it.
    • Well-thought out, positive reviews from people who have used the host in the past and that I can see are still using them (I'll often do a domain search on any URLs provided to make sure the host is being used.) To that end, I find a board called Web Hosting Talk to be useful (not always right but generally you can get good feedback from there.) I consider this more important than anything else.


    Post-sale

    • Support. Even if I don't come up with a question within the first 30 days of using a host, I will often make one up just to see how quickly they'll respond (usually something trivial like "what's my FTP password?").
    • Privacy of information. If I'm signing up with a host for the first time, I'll create an email address or alias for the sole purpose of the signup just to see if it gets sold, rented, or otherwise disseminated without my permission.
    • Uptime. I will visit my site at random intervals to see that it's up (in addition to development ant testing). I used to use InternetSeer for this but they in turn started to sell my address to spammers as well as doing this themselves so I no longer use them.


    To summarize, I look for quality, reliability, stability, and a host that's genuinely interested in a long-term mutually beneficial relationship rather than a host that's out for a quick buck.
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