Mistakes happen. For those who grew up in the ‘90s under the influence of Miss Frizzle and the Magic School Bus, you may even live by the motto “take chances, make mistakes, get messy!” But in the world of business, marketing mistakes can often lead to costly consequences (need we remind you of Pepsi’s marketing debacle — yikes!).
While not all mistakes lead to a massive Twitter backlash, there is almost always a price to pay. When it comes to cloud and technology companies, the price usually takes the form of lost business and missed opportunities. Yes, we are talking about losing the one thing every web hosting business needs — leads.
We have been helping clients in the web hosting world for over half a decade and during that time we’ve seen cloud and IT companies make a number of avoidable mistakes that cost their business precious leads. If your marketing efforts have been achieving less than ideal returns, read on to see if you’re unknowingly making one of these lead-killing mistakes when marketing your web hosting business.
6 Mistakes You Need to Stop Making When Marketing Your Web Hosting Business
1. Not Segmenting Your Communications
If you aren’t serving your audience relevant information, they aren’t going to listen or care. When marketing your web hosting business, your marketing messaging should aim to cater to your buyers’ individual needs.
Many web hosting companies make the mistake of not truly understanding the pains and challenges of their ideal customers. How does your solution solve your target audience’s problems? What are your prospects’ pains, what delights them and how do your products or services fit into the picture? To better craft your marketing messaging to the needs and interests of your ideal buyers, you should develop buyer personas. Then use your personas to segment your marketing messaging to the different needs of different buyers.
Here’s the thing, if you are trying to market to everyone, you will appeal to no one.
Gone are the days of one-to-many communication. Marketing today revolves around one-to-one personalized communication.
For example, if you have an email subscriber list, you want to avoid sending a mass email to all of your subscribers and instead tailor your message to the different needs of different groups within your list.
Try segmenting your audience based on who they are and what they do. Examples of segmentation criteria are:
- Job function,
- Organization type,
- Interests, and
- Geographic location.
The goal of segmentation is to improve the relevancy of your marketing, which will ultimately lead to a higher percentage of conversions because you will be able to connect with your target buyer’s specific needs and wants.
2. Ineffective CTAs
Most businesses use the same, tired and overused call-to-action buttons, such as ‘click here’, ‘submit’ or ‘subscribe’. But calls-to-action need to inspire action! If they are boring, vague or unclear, you are missing a major opportunity to improve your conversions.
To see better results when marketing your web hosting business, your CTAs should let your audience know exactly what you want them to do and what they will get in return. Don’t be afraid to get a little creative when crafting your CTAs and, whenever possible, test your CTAs to identify which bring you the most clicks and conversions.
3. Not Aligning Sales and Marketing Efforts
According to MarketingProfs, organizations with tightly aligned sales and marketing achieved 36% higher customer retention rates and 38% higher sales win rates.
Traditionally, the marketing department had clearly delineated duties from sales. Marketing handled things like planning for events, managing public relations, designing advertisements, and printing collateral, and any leads that marketing efforts generated were passed directly to sales. It was then the job of the sales team to educate the prospective customer and — hopefully — close the sale.
But, marketing is not utilizing its full potential if its only interaction with sales is to produce sales materials or lay out the features and descriptions of products or services that the sales team sells.
The digital age has given consumers the ability to seek out information, which has changed the traditional sales approach. When prospects now arrive in the sales process, they have already done their homework by researching their options.
In fact, when B2B buyers are ready to talk to a sales rep they have already made about 60% of their buying decision. Compared to sales’ previous role as the closer and convincer, sales reps now function as more of a trusted advisor that guides buyers through the information they have collected.
Along with this shift in the sales process, the emergence of the internet also changed the role of marketing. Marketing is now responsible for producing the content that prospects are actively searching for in their independent buyer journey.
The buyer’s journey can be summarized into three stages that prospects move through when looking for a solution to their problems or needs:
- Awareness Stage: The buyer acknowledges and communicates signs of a problem.
- Consideration Stage: The buyer has outlined and named the problem and opportunity.
- Decision Stage: The buyer has a list of vendors and is ready to make a purchase decision.
It is marketing’s job to nurture your prospective customers through this journey by offering them content that moves them from the awareness stage to the decision stage. This process primes them to purchase from you when they are ready to make a buying decision.
This shift in the buying process requires sales and marketing to work together to ensure a smooth transition from marketing to sales. Prospects that complete their way through the buyer’s journey move from marketing-qualified leads (MQLs) to sales-qualified leads (SQLs), which signals they are ready to buy. Defining the handoff between a marketing lead to a sales lead is crucial to keep your prospects engaged and ensure that your sales team strikes when the iron is hot.
Top performing sales and marketing teams have aligned goals and clearly defined responsibilities to each other. We suggest developing a service-level agreement (SLA) between your sales and marketing team to ensure efforts are aligned and both parties are in agreement about how to get there.
4. Not Learning From Your Competitors
For your business strategy to create a sustainable competitive advantage, you need to take into account both your company’s internal competencies in addition to understanding your external environment. What are your web hosting competitors doing and how will this impact your marketing efforts?
Many businesses make the mistake of only doing a competitor analysis when they first launch a product or service — but knowing what your competitors are doing year over year is critical to ensuring your offer remains compelling to your audience.
Watch and learn from your competitors. What worked and what didn’t work? Can you leverage a similar marketing tactic that they employed? Did your competitors recently incur a major marketing blunder? What was it and how can you ensure you don’t make the same mistake?
This is not to say your should copy your competitors, rather, it is about understanding what will set your company apart and how to remain relevant in your industry.
5. Working with a Third-Party Marketing Company that Doesn’t Know the Web Hosting Industry
There are significant advantages to outsourcing aspects of your marketing to specialized experts, but the key to doing this successfully is finding experts that know your industry inside and out.
If you have limited budget and resources for marketing your web hosting business, working with a third-party digital marketing agency will help you optimize your spend. In addition to securing a fixed monthly fee, you can rely on a team of experts that alleviate the need to bring the same caliber of talent in-house (ie. a less expensive option!)
What’s more, if you are on a tight deadline, marketing agencies have the capacity to deliver large projects in a short time frame. But this is only true to agencies that understand your industry.
When partnering with an agency to produce content and thought leadership for your business, you want to make sure they have the depth of knowledge needed to connect with your audience. You don’t want to be responsible for revising and reviewing content you’ve hired an agency to write for you because they are missing the mark on what it is your business does or why your customers should care.
Your buyers want to know that you can speak to them in their language — technical jargon is sometimes necessary. Make sure your marketing agency can appeal to your buyers’ needs and interests at an educated level.
6. Not Having a Documented Marketing Plan
Where are you going and how are you getting there? Your marketing plan does not need to be a lengthy report but you should be able to summarize your strategy in a few pages that can be shared with the rest of your organization.
Why do you need a marketing plan? A documented plan can help:
- Improve focus on top priorities and goals
- Ensure marketing objectives are aligned with your overall business strategy
- Help establish timelines
- Assist in obtaining financing
- Formalize ideas and concepts
Your marketing plan does not need to be a static document. Rather it should evolve and change as you learn more about what works when marketing your web hosting business. Be sure to revisit your plan often — we recommend quarterly — to ensure you are on track with your goals and priorities.
How to Avoid These Mistakes When Marketing Your Web Hosting Business
Marketing your web hosting business doesn’t have to be a complicated or confusing process. If you set clear intentions for marketing efforts, backed by informed marketing best practices, and commit to your strategy you will see results.
Find out how you can avoid these mistakes by implementing a seven-step digital marketing strategy for tech companies.
Not looking for a DIY marketing solution? Not to worry. At Total Product Marketing, we specialize in marketing for technology and cloud companies. Whether you are looking for help assessing your current lead funnel, improving your website performance, or crafting your entire digital strategy — let us take the grunt work off your plate by giving us a call at 855-646-8662 or contacting us today.