If you have a website, then you bought into some form of web hosting advertising—but can you recall which strategy worked? The vast majority of domain and/or website owners simply go with the web hosting option presented when they secured their domain. There’s a good chance they simply stumbled upon their host. You wouldn’t use the same approach when shopping for a car, clothes, groceries or anything else. In fact, you probably have very strong preferences about where you buy your other goods. Doesn’t your web hosting deserve the same consideration?
Unfortunately, a lot of the “blame” can be put on web hosts themselves. Marketing is subpar at best with many web hosts, often because they’re focusing on bigger fish (like selling domains or premium packages that include web development). There are web hosts with special niches, while others aim to be generalists. A great web host will have a marketing department, or at least a marketer, making sure their best face is being put forward.
Word of mouth remains one of the best marketing tactics for every industry, including web hosting. However, “word of mouth” in the digital era can be taken literally or, well, digitally. Check out reviews, ask your friends who their host is and if they’re happy with them, and take a look at testimonials. Third party review sites are often relatively honest, though they tend to collect more bad reviews than good. When people are pleased, they’re not as keen to share it with the world.
Another marketing approach is banner ads, which still work in some instances (although some studies show people are now “blind” to them). Banner ads are a good approach for niche industries, such as hosts who specialize in eCommerce, because there are nearly endless options for appropriate advertising. A blog hosting provider can advertise on blogs. However, banner ads cost money, which is why targeted advertising is particularly crucial here.
Using Tech to Sell Tech
Some hosts partner with other, complementary businesses as a means for them to both grow their audience. Saddling up next to a web design agency is a good move, and this partnership agreement allows numerous smaller companies to offer all the advantages of a big one. It’s likely that someone who needs web hosting might also need mobile readiness, web design, responsive design and the like.
Finally, don’t forget about search engine optimization (SEO) as a marketing tool. It’s critical that web hosts get highly ranked on search engines like Google, particularly if they have a geo-focus or niche. People might be Googling things like “retail web host Austin” and web hosts need to rank high if that’s their specialty. A web host who knows their marketing, spends time and a little cash on it, and who is dedicated to reaching their best customers will likely continue with top notch service down the road.
Be wary of hosts who do the bare minimum because while they might be saving money, who knows where their short sightedness will end.