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HostHoney

Getting my First 100 Cllients,

Question

I just recently setup my company, I am still working out some kinks with my whmcs integration, but other than that My services are open for business. I am looking for advise on getting my first 100 clients. Or even my first client. I have posted an ad on WHT But I believe due to the error with my whmcs integration I was unable to get any customers as well my pricing is not $1.00 per month pricing. I am willing to off deep discounts for the first month and small recurring discounts. But Aside from Advertising on Forums and word of mouth how can I let people know of my companies existence, and then get them as customers?

 

Thank you

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Any startup company should have enough funds on hand or available to cover the cost of operating for a year without having to rely on customers. It's hard to get them at first, but once you've got some the rest will come easier.

Honestly? I think the best thing any startup company owner can do is simply have a helpful presence on forums. Showing people that you know what you're talking about and that you're willing to go above and beyond to assist complete strangers who pay you nothing puts you and your company in a much better light than any advertisement or banner ad can. If people see that you are knowledgeble and helpful they're much more likely to order service from you.

A lot of people are like me. I have a handful of servers from different providers. I chose the providers I did not because of their promotional pricing but because of their presence in this community and others and their reputation. You're new, so you don't have a reputation (yet) but you can start building it today by maintaining a helpful and professional presence in communities like this.

Best of luck to you.

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Another one of these threads :)

Can we start a new section called:  PROVIDER SCHOOL   ? Really, I am not joking.  Would be a good on topic central area for new folks to spend endless hours reading.

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2 hours ago, risharde said:

Not to hijack the thread but how would this apply to software where there is a possibility of less overall cost than providing a hardware service? I too am researching how to get my first 100 customers but via software means.

Software is an odd beast.  Front loaded costs with software.  After that, often minimal costs (depends how much future dev you have / do though).

Biggest approach these days with software is to get people using what you have created.  Even on trial basis.  Limited trials work.  Creativity can apply to pricing usually.  But, until you get some folks using this and speaking well of such, it's an uphill climb on a loose sliding gravel face.   

Get some beta testers and get feedback from them on pricing vs. value.  

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Listen to MannDude don't go down the super low pricing path. Also be careful with the SEO stuff.  Personally if I see a provider targeting PBNers I will not use them, Just my own quirk but I detest SEO.

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For starters, I would fix your www CNAME.  It currently leads to a 404 page on the CloudFlare site so you're losing potential customers anytime someone types in www.hosthoney.com or clicks on a link that www is hardcoded into on your pages (like the TOS link on your home page).

Trust is important so work on your TOS, add governing law and jurisdiction clauses,  and add a separate privacy policy.

Quote

6.1 - Disputes

You agree that any dispute between you and HoneyHost arising out of your use of the Service on in any way based upon your subscription to and/or use of the Service which cannot be resolved between you and HoneyHost will be submitted by the aggrieved party for binding arbitration under the auspices of the Singapore law.

Singapore law? Your WHOIS lists a residential IL address... I would make it clear to potential customers where your business is based.  

Even more importantly, I would suggest writing your own TOS instead of doing a wholesale rip of another host's TOS (specifically HostWithLove's TOS) as you have done.  This will help you avoid questions like "Why it b say Singapore bro?"  It will also help you avoid receiving DMCA's for copyright infringement.

Quote

 I think the best thing any startup company owner can do is simply have a helpful presence on forums. 

Shared hosting so I'd probably concentrate on small business forums, local business related forums, or OMFG real live local people or businesses, and put less emphasis on hosting forums like WHT whose members are mainly other providers.

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Having an active presence on web hosting forums is one way to get new clients, but it's important not to spam one-liners because most folks will see right through that.

Post something helpful, meaningful and accurate/correct information.

The offers sections are a big mess right now, at least on the big forums, your thread will get buried in less than 24hrs... and with stickies on both top and bottom, it's quite hard to get noticed.

 

Another very important thing is your website... you (in general) are fighting to get people to visit your website, and your site is the first impression they get, make sure it's perfect in every way. If you get a high bounce rate then you're doing everything else for nothing. This is where you need to keep an eye on analytics and figure out where your visitors are dropping off, did they even visit your pricing pages? etc.

 

Also, pretty unrelated to the subject, the bee in your logo looks high as f**k 

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Thank you guys for the comments I will work on all that has been mentioned.

 

Also to @HBAndrei I wanted a bee and say a few different options but I chose him because I liked it. If you look at my Twitter and Facebook pages I have a different version of the Bee.

I do not plan on offering Consistently rock bottom below margin prices to get customes. I will do as @manndude stated and just be active on forums and assist others when needed.

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Now my official response....

Getting customers isn't magic.  Why should I buy from your company?  What conveys trust on your website?  Do I know you?  Do others know you?   

What is 'different' about your services?

Where are you doing business from?   What type of company are you by law?  Where are your services delivered from?

Answer all those... ON YOUR WEBSITE.    

Fix typos, create copy that works.  After that, we can talk about what else you need to do.  Cause for now, what is there is meh, landfill.

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Regarding your pricing model, it will be difficult to attract clients at a higher price until you have established yourself as a brand and have provided a high perceived value. To provide a high perceived value, you can focus on your great quality of support, stable servers, or by adding in a lot of features that customers would be willing to pay for.

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Go local and go out and get your hands dirty. Get some cards, door hangers and go door to door (businesses) and give it a real and personal touch. This makes a huge impression as virtually nobody does it.

Personally 3 words sums up a great niche: local, managed, premium. Don't go cheap go premium and make sure you back it up with consistent performance.

 

My 2 cents.

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Don't go offering unsustainable prices for your servers as it will hurt you in the long run and end up like another GVH. Apart from online presence, post classifieds, include your business in directories, work on SEO and have a budget for advertising. Advertising will make you some quick sales but SEO will help you A LOT  in the long run. 

just my 2 cents

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48 minutes ago, zionvps said:

Don't go offering unsustainable prices for your servers as it will hurt you in the long run and end up like another GVH. Apart from online presence, post classifieds, include your business in directories, work on SEO and have a budget for advertising. Advertising will make you some quick sales but SEO will help you A LOT  in the long run. 

just my 2 cents

GVH wasn't a failure until multiple things went wrong (read human staffing, lack of staff, high ticket volume, constant drama in public, hacks, arrests of workers, etc.).  It was super low margins on profit side, which makes it hard to attract any real workers.  Leaves you with Lowend hobby teens and Indian support.  All that while having a public attention crack-like habit of the owner that needed fed throughout the day like Gremlins.

That's why not to go the cheap GVH route, it is churn and cap on biz has a real low ceiling on total sales volume. 

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Not to hijack the thread but how would this apply to software where there is a possibility of less overall cost than providing a hardware service? I too am researching how to get my first 100 customers but via software means.

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8 hours ago, drmike said:

Software is an odd beast.  Front loaded costs with software.  After that, often minimal costs (depends how much future dev you have / do though).

Biggest approach these days with software is to get people using what you have created.  Even on trial basis.  Limited trials work.  Creativity can apply to pricing usually.  But, until you get some folks using this and speaking well of such, it's an uphill climb on a loose sliding gravel face.   

Get some beta testers and get feedback from them on pricing vs. value.  

I experienced this recently, well said. The beta testers were willing to pay $3.5 dollars  a month but getting others to use it is a nightmare even though I think my product has so much features its worth it.... perplexed and concerned that dropping price to $2 dollars a month leaves me with little to nothing on maintenance, development of new features, hosting etc.

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16 hours ago, risharde said:

I experienced this recently, well said. The beta testers were willing to pay $3.5 dollars  a month but getting others to use it is a nightmare even though I think my product has so much features its worth it.... perplexed and concerned that dropping price to $2 dollars a month leaves me with little to nothing on maintenance, development of new features, hosting etc.

It is a thing and has been for years... Services - software as a service - are increasingly on the decrease price wise across the board.

As a startup, you'll need to align perceived value buy-in point with what you are delivering.  That can be feature limiting the low side - parsing your product into a Lite version in essence.  Perhaps limiting monthly events, volume, etc.  But it might be only adding other features on the higher tiers.

Fine line with software and price pressure.  Promos can't go long, needs to be addon pricing and whole process needs measured from low buy in to regular price in < 6 months.  There is a severe shelf life to most software and honestly the landscape is busy and competitive.   So reinvestment for future development is necessary.

You are an assumed startup, so expect a good 12-24 months before traction happens and you figure out sweet spots in your niche.  Get customers in at the $2 and work to slash your overhead or just investment cap limit it for the next 6-12 months as a fixed total.

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I would say your best option for getting to 100 customers fast is start local. Attend local business network meetings. As you start getting those customers as for referrals and grow the business that way.

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Well aside from getting traffic from forums and local users there's not much you can do unless if you have a big budget. Advertising wont work well if you target international clients (your budget will be over before you know it). You would spend lot of time on marketing than on advertising. 

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14 hours ago, SkyNetHosting said:

Well aside from getting traffic from forums and local users there's not much you can do unless if you have a big budget. Advertising wont work well if you target international clients (your budget will be over before you know it). You would spend lot of time on marketing than on advertising. 

There is a lot one can do.  This applies to any and all businesses.   However, it will consume time in lieu of money. 

Marketing is the core of everything.  Advertising (paid) should come from marketing PLAN as one of the many prongs of awareness and brand building.

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