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Customer Fallout – How Do You Handle Churn?

client

Addressing customer churn

I’ve thought about this many times even on things not web hosting industry related. Other than poor customer service or repeated outages, I think high customer churn results from continuing to charge long term clients higher prices than you’re offering to new prospects.

When I see commercials run on TV offering services with lower prices than what I’m paying, my first impulse is to get the deal they’re getting, and more than once, I’ve heard from my vendors that those are just promotional prices and existing customers don’t qualify.

customer

Long term clients are invaluable

How do you handle long time clients?

Plus, even if you don’t advertise, and let’s say, your client has been with you for years, and your competition is offering better pricing for the same service, some clients will just opt to move on without complaining.

The current host thinks their clients are happy until they get that, ‘I want to terminate my service’ notice. Is this complacency on the part of the host, or is that just the nature of a competitive marketplace? I think it’s a bit of both. Hosts can hardly afford customer churn in today’s marketplace.

analysis

Statistical analysis is strategic

Lifetime asset strategies

Of course, moving on is a fact of life, cross industry. Most companies run statistical analysis on how long to expect clients to remain on board, and that helps them plan out growth strategies.

I do see reviews on web hosting forums where clients will stay with a provider for years on end, but more often than not, businesses migrate to other service providers for a myriad of reasons, not only related to price.

static versus dynamic

Times change

Client’s needs and requirements never remain static

The first thing you need to realize as a service provider is that your client’s needs and requirements don’t always remain static. In today’s world of technological advances, dynamic is the word of the day.

The services they first purchased may have met their hosting requirements at the time, but they either outgrew those, need to scale back because of budget cuts or any of a number of other reasons.

Right or wrong

The right way versus the wrong way

What did you do wrong?

This doesn’t mean that you’ve done anything wrong. You just haven’t done everything right, meaning you didn’t maintain communications with your clients to keep pace with their requirements.

That also doesn’t mean if they terminate their services with you that they’ll never come back. Sometimes, they realize that the grass isn’t really greener elsewhere.

Clients most likely price shopped when they found you, so it would be unrealistic to think that they wouldn’t continue to price shop, even if you believe they’re completely happy with your services.

advertising

Will aggressive advertising create churn issues

Advertising creating conflicts

Let’s say your hosting company advertises aggressively, but their promotions are for new clients only. What typically occurs is existing clients will see those ads, resulting in lots of calls from them asking for the same deal. Does your hosting company first tell them it’s for new clients only and cave in only if they complain? At that point, even if the hosting company gave them the same deal, it’ll leave a sour taste in their mouth going forward.

Some companies will give promotions to existing clients and new clients, but that’s rare. What you’ll typically find is that once you’re locked into specific plans and pricing, that’ll never change, even if you’re with the same company for years on end.

On the flip side, as a company, you can’t afford to lose money on clients, unless there is perceived value in promotional loss leaders. Companies need to look at lifetime asset valuations. How long do they normally retain existing clientele?

WordPress

WordPress themes and plugins need to be updated when patches are released

WordPress brings with it some issues

Another issue that leads to customer churn in the hosting industry is the popularity of WordPress. Why? An alarming number of WordPress websites are not kept up-to-date, meaning their themes and plugins are not regular updated. This leads to security loop holes and compromised sites.

Quite often, the hosting provider is consequently blamed for not locking down their servers securely. In reality, no matter how securely a server is locked down, if you’re running old unpatched software content management systems on your websites, you open yourself to malware attacks, and migrating to another hosting provider won’t help. The vulnerabilities in your site will migrate with you.

Should you reduce pricing

Should you reduce pricing

Should you reduce pricing across-the-board?

Will lowering pricing keep churn under check? Not normally. Why? Pricing needs to be at levels that produces enough revenue to provide comprehensive levels of support, and still turn a profit. Clients that leave based on price alone are quite often the same ones that return when their new provider falls flat responding to and resolving support tickets.

Brought to you by ProlimeHost

We’ve been in the web hosting industry for over a decade, helping hundreds of clients succeed in what they do best and that’s running their business. We specialize in Virtual Private Servers (VPS) and dedicated servers, with data centers in Los Angeles, Denver & Singapore.

VPS Services: Lightning Fast SSD Virtual Servers

Our Virtual Private Servers all feature high performance Xeon processors and SSD storage in a RAID10 configuration to optimize your server’s performance, which dramatically enhances visitor experiences on your site.

That speed is backed by unparalleled 24/7 support, featuring both outstanding response AND resolution times to maximize your uptime.

Now is the time to join the ProlimeHost virtual private server revolution.

Dedicated Servers: Backed by a 99.9% SLA network uptime guarantee

We only use enterprise-class hardware in our dedicated servers and offer a four (4) hour hardware replacement. Throw in IPMI for remote management, support for public and private networks, free operating system (OS) re-installs, and SATA, SAS & SSD (including NVMe) storage. Call +1 877 477 9454 or email us at Sales@ProlimeHost.com. We’re here to help.




eCommerce buying guidelines in 2021

Know, like and trust are terms relative to – sales, and not just in face-to-face meetings with a sales representative, but also on the Internet. Billions of dollars are spent online every year, much of that with businesses you’ve never heard of, so those three attributes need to be addressed in your marketing strategy.

Social media sites – are used to convey trust, but most business websites rely on professional design, value-add solutions content and competitive pricing to carry the day. And this is where online buyers can sometime get into trouble.

Trust in know, like and trust

Trust in know, like and trust

The ‘lock’ icon and https: lend credibility – to the security of financial transactions, but even fraudulent (or less than honest) businesses can obtain SSL certificates. There are things to look for on sites that imply trust, like a brick and mortar address and phone number.

It’s amazing how many ecommerce sites have NO contact information other than a general email address, or contact form. Plus, some use Domain Privacy Protection to hide ownership information about the site itself.

Would I do business with ecommerce sites that hide their identity? Never, but they’re still out there taking people’s money. I cannot reinforce this strongly enough – you need to be careful when you’re purchasing anything online. The Internet is littered with scammers.

Testimonials convey trust – but not so much if only first names are used, or if the hyperlink points to the site you’re presently visiting. Case studies convey way more trust than testimonials, unless of course those are video testimonials.

I do remember years ago, where a web hosting provider mailed video cameras to a number of their clients to record their own video testimonials. I believe that was back in 2008. Today, everyone and their brother carries a computer and camcorder in their pocket or purse. It’s called a smartphone.

video testimonials

Video testimonials

Clients don’t need a recording studio to film a testimonial for your business, nor do they need expensive video equipment. In fact, video testimonials produced by the clients themselves go over far better than professionally developed videos.

Why? It’s word of mouth, it’s down to earth and it conveys truthfulness. And when those are combined, it presents an extremely powerful incentive to buy.

I once visited a site where the owner was inquiring – how to improve his ranking on Google. One of the first things I noticed on his site was that it had two testimonials from different individuals, but listing the same URL for each.

The first testimonial raved about a service they didn’t even offer on their site, which immediately seemed strange and raised lots of red flags.

The second raved about their customer support. I was curious, so I did a WHOIS on the URL that was listed on the testimonials, and it turns out that domain has never been registered, and the site I was on has only been online for four months.

Trusted

Trusted

Would I trust my credit card with that business – not in a million years, and not because the site itself wasn’t professionally designed, or offered solutions that matched my specific requirements, or were even attractively priced. Their trust factor had been compromised.

I, like many others, don’t put a lot of faith in text testimonials, just because it’s so hard to know if they’re real or not. I want to see specifics, not just that they did a fantastic job. And it doesn’t get much better when you search for reviews online.

For web hosting reviews – most of the top ten review sites are simply advertising venues, where positive reviews from affiliates flood the site. Worse yet, many of the brands found on these sites have the same parent company and share a central support facility.

The service and pricing from one provider there may be more appealing than another, but it’s the same company – just different branding. Bottom line is that there is no one best web hosting provider, only the one that is best for you.

A word of caution – unlimited is not actually unlimited. Check each of their Terms of Service for their respective resource limitations. You will be very surprised. You’ll either be limited by number of inodes, percentage of CPU in a specific period of time or one of a number of other limitations.

Beware of red flags when – pondering whether to share your credit card info with businesses online. The Internet is littered with scammers like a minefield. Be careful where you step.

Brought to you by ProlimeHost

We’ve been in the web hosting industry for over a decade, helping hundreds of clients succeed in what they do best and that’s running their business. We specialize in Virtual Private Servers (VPS) and dedicated servers, with data centers in Los Angeles, Denver & Singapore.

VPS Services: Lightning Fast SSD Virtual Servers

Our Virtual Private Servers all feature high performance Xeon processors and SSD storage in a RAID10 configuration to optimize your server’s performance, which dramatically enhances visitor experiences on your site.

That speed is backed by unparalleled 24/7 support, featuring both outstanding response AND resolution times to maximize your uptime.

Now is the time to join the ProlimeHost virtual private server revolution.

Dedicated Servers: Backed by a 99.9% SLA network uptime guarantee

We only use enterprise-class hardware in our dedicated servers and offer a four (4) hour hardware replacement. Throw in IPMI for remote management, support for public and private networks, free operating system (OS) re-installs, and SATA, SAS & SSD (including NVMe) storage. Call +1 877 477 9454 or email us at Sales@ProlimeHost.com. We’re here to help.




White space – the forgotten website design element

visitors perception of your website

Visitors perception of your website?

Successful websites, in other words – sites that receive lots of relevant traffic, incorporate measured amounts of white space to:

  • Ensure legibility & readability
  • Enhance attractiveness & professional image, and
  • Solidify brand awareness
  • Promote conversions

Cross industry tips
White space is any space that isn’t occupied by other visible elements. This can be the space between characters, words, lines, paragraphs, images and sections of your website. Whereas the direct mail industry leans to big, bold and in-your-face (minimal white space) because that’s what works for them, this strategy doesn’t work well for desktop websites. On mobile sites, Google actually looks for ample space between hyperlinks. Why? Fat thumbs! Ensuring that your website is easily navigable is huge.

Newspaper industryThe newspaper industry has a term called “above the fold.” I used to be newspaper reporter (long ago), for a small weekly published in Pensacola, FL. In terms of value, everything on the front page was gold. Who wants their story buried 6 pages back? Websites share that dilemma as well. Everything displayed without scrolling gets seen first, and of course first impressions leave lasting impressions.

White space balance
While a large part of the battle is just getting prospects to your site, the next battle is keeping them there. If you use too little white space, your site may appear cluttered, and too much white space, seem empty. White space is an important facet of a website’s design, as it compliments your site’s content, helping to emphasize your products or services.

White space helps navigation
Active white space, or white space that’s intentionally added, can help visitors to your site navigate easier, by providing structure for your navigation bar, content, header and footer. Content that is structured and follows a predictable pattern throughout your site helps visitors find the information that brought them to your site from search queries or other marketing strategies.

Passive white space, on the other hand is not so clearly defined. Some say it’s the product of poor layout design. Others contend it’s more about modifying space to improve the readability of your content – type family, letter spacing, line length and leading (space between the lines). These directly tie into readability and legibility.

Readability and legibility
You can have the best, well thought out and researched content, but if it’s not easily readable, your visitors will move on to other sites. If your selection of color schemes – font versus background colors clash, your visitors will move on to other sites. If you write in long unbroken blocks of text, your visitors will …. you get the point!

BrandingHow does white space brand your product or service?
Hard copy newspapers are expected to have dense content, but they still need to be readable. Websites, on the other hand, need an industry specific blend or balance of white space. Generally, the more upscale your product is, more white space is used to portray its value. Overlaying images of products on your website with cluttered or in-your-face bold text diminishes the perception of its value.

A number of developers either design their sites around SEO narratives or facts & figures. The end goal of business sites really is about either branding or conversions, so perception is the key element. First, your site needs to be perceived as professional, current, value add and have an effective call to action. For all of that to happen, it needs to be readable and eye catching.

My recommendation
First, research what your competitors are presenting online. Why? Because your visitors either just came from their site, or will visit their site after leaving yours. Comparison shopping on the Internet has never been easier.

What will set your site apart, aside from your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)? Optimizing your site for the right balance of white space may not seem important, but image or the perception of value is so much more important than it used to be.

Selling on price alone rarely works long term. Branding your business image helps you own your niche in the industry.

Brought to you by ProlimeHost

We’ve been in the web hosting industry for over a decade, helping hundreds of clients succeed in what they do best and that’s running their business. We specialize in Virtual Private Servers (VPS) and dedicated servers, with data centers in Los Angeles, Denver & Singapore.

VPS Services: Lightning Fast SSD Virtual Servers

Our Virtual Private Servers all feature high performance Xeon processors and SSD storage in a RAID10 configuration to optimize your server’s performance, which dramatically enhances visitor experiences on your site.

That speed is backed by unparalleled 24/7 support, featuring both outstanding response AND resolution times to maximize your uptime.

Now is the time to join the ProlimeHost virtual private server revolution.

Dedicated Servers: Backed by a 99.9% SLA network uptime guarantee

We only use enterprise-class hardware in our dedicated servers and offer a four (4) hour hardware replacement. Throw in IPMI for remote management, support for public and private networks, free operating system (OS) re-installs, and SATA, SAS & SSD (including NVMe) storage. Call +1 877 477 9454 or email us at Sales@ProlimeHost.com. We’re here to help.




Marketing Strategies for 2021

marketingHow do you measure the quality of your marketing efforts?

Do you measure quality in terms of new sales, or possibly more targeted traffic to your website or blog? Is it measured by closing ratios? What do you use for a baseline? The bottom line is that you can’t manage what you can’t measure, so there has to be a reference point. Of course, you could simply wing it, but that doesn’t work long term unless you’re incredibly lucky.

In web hosting, most providers measure the quality of their marketing efforts in the number of new clients, supplemented by upgrades from existing clients. Churn is not necessarily attributed to marketing, rather to support, but it’s still possible to connect the dots.

Controversy

Can you use controversy to increase your sales? This is actually used quite frequently, especially in titles, to draw attention to the intended product or service. Books, magazines, websites, forums and blogs are great at tapping into controversy. Right way – wrong way. What it can do – what it can’t do. What’s expected – what’s not expected. What works – what doesn’t work.

A lot of folks question the benefit of using controversy in sales pitches, and you certainly carry a double-edged sword when doing so, but it can work well if professionally presented. What prospects really look for is solutions to their specific issue or pain. If your product or service offers that solution at a competitive price point (not necessarily the lowest price), then your closing ratios will improve.

blogMarketing vehicles

For blogs to be an effective marketing vehicle, do they need to be relatively free of sales related content? My take is that even if prospects are searching to buy, they don’t want to be sold to. Does that make any sense? Blogs should contain value-add, relevant content, with minimal hype or sales talk. Blogs enable even the smallest of entrepreneurs to present themselves as experts in their field.

Prospects have proven over and over that they prefer to buy from individuals, businesses and organizations that they know, like and trust. If you’re perceived as an expert in your field, that speaks volumes to trust.

Blogs also open a channel of communication whereby prospects and clients can discuss and pose queries of your content. Responding to their queries is vitally important as it shows an interest in their concerns and observations. In turn, this can lead to a following of sorts where your audience begins to know who you are and where you’re coming from, and that speaks volumes to know and like.

content-is-kingContent

First and foremost, content must be readable. If you write marketing material in long, unbroken blocks of text, 99.9% of your prospects will either fall asleep halfway through your presentation or move on to your competition. And color contrast is HUGE!! Who designs marketing materials with blue text on a purple background?!! Or uses 13 different fonts and point sizes on the same page?

There have been lengthy threads started on a number of web hosting forums devoted to this topic alone. If the content of your website, blog or marketing materials is perceived as less than professional, this will adversely affect sales. This includes grammatical errors, less than appealing color combinations or color contrast, or simply the flow of your content.

Break up those long paragraphs into shorter, easier to read content. Use bullet points to draw attention and add graphics for eye appeal. It’s amazing how quickly you can pick up on sites that were designed in the 90’s, because so many of them used animated gifs and bizarre colors.

Your website or blog is the face of your business online. Lack of attention to either of them can be perceived as a lack of attention (by extension) to your business operations. First impressions do matter. In fact, I recently visited a local adult-assisted living facility where the receptionist had a plaque that read, “Director of First Impressions.”

confused-prospectClarity

I think clarity varies by whatever marketing vehicle you pursue, but there should be a common thread that transcends your effort, rather it’s in terms of ROI, branding or whatever. Marketing campaigns should be a blend of persuasion, advertising, marketing, writing and knowledge in a manner that CALLS (your prospect) TO ACTION.

A confused prospect never buys, so it’s important to be focused in your presentations. If you want your prospect to lease a VPS, don’t divert your presentation to hot, warm and cold disaster recovery solutions. Lead them in a logical manner from point Interested to point Purchased, without a lot of side trips.

Brought to you by ProlimeHost

We’ve been in the web hosting industry for over a decade, helping hundreds of clients succeed in what they do best and that’s running their business. We specialize in Virtual Private Servers (VPS) and dedicated servers, with data centers in Los Angeles, Denver & Singapore.

VPS Services: Lightning Fast SSD Virtual Servers

Our Virtual Private Servers all feature high performance Xeon processors and SSD storage in a RAID10 configuration to optimize your server’s performance, which dramatically enhances visitor experiences on your site.

That speed is backed by unparalleled 24/7 support, featuring both outstanding response AND resolution times to maximize your uptime.

Now is the time to join the ProlimeHost virtual private server revolution.

Dedicated Servers: Backed by a 99.9% SLA network uptime guarantee

We only use enterprise-class hardware in our dedicated servers and offer a four (4) hour hardware replacement. Throw in IPMI for remote management, support for public and private networks, free operating system (OS) re-installs, and SATA, SAS & SSD (including NVMe) storage. Call +1 877 477 9454 or email us at Sales@ProlimeHost.com. We’re here to help.




Social Media Marketing as a Business Tool

Social Media MarketingI recently attended a local Chamber of Commerce after-hours party where one of the discussions turned to Social Media Marketing as a business tool. An interesting point was made that prospects, cross-industry, aren’t as open to direct sales calls, but would rather search the Internet for information related to potential purchases for everything from shoes, cars, homes and restaurants – to web hosting.

Now that everyone on Earth owns a cellphone (or so it seems), local search queries are sky rocketing. With so much information at their fingertips, prospective buyers are turning to the Internet for How-To articles and videos to pretty much everything. Do you want to be able to replace an O2 sensor on your 2004 Blazer SUV? There’s probably a video posted online of how to do just that.

Do you write content for your website or blog?
It only follows that if prospects (for your products or services) are keying in search queries to find relevant information on the Internet, that you should be there. I guarantee this – your competition WILL be there. Why leave anything on the table for them?

Consistency is key because you want your readers and visitors to keep coming back – regularly. When it comes time for them to pull the trigger on the products and services you offer, you want your business to be in their sights. This relates directly to rememberability and branding.

writers blockWriter’s Block
Don’t know what to write about? Select anything you’re passionate about. What do you know about your product or service that could be beneficial to the reader? Very often, if you just start jotting down notes throughout the day, some topic will jump off the paper and hit you square in the middle of your forehead. The real key here to just do it. There are NO excuses for NOT writing. All of us lead very busy lives, bombarded with demands on our time and energy.

Check out what others are commenting on in forums related to your products or services. Perform your own search queries to spark your creative juices.

It’s important to keep track of trends, because nothing is status quo anymore. The Internet has made our world a more dynamic place, and there’s no going backward.

InformationProviding information relevant to the search query is paramount
First, pick a topic geared to providing information, either how-to or solutions based – the goal being to help / provide insight. Start with a topic in your specific niche, like “Website Design” or “Automotive Repair,” then create a title based on emotion, or anything that you think would draw a click through. Some examples would be, “Unlimited space and bandwidth = unlimited risks” or “Increasing the quality of marketing campaigns – what you need to know.”

Keep your paragraphs short 
I realize you’re excited about your stuff, but loooooooooooong unbroken paragraphs turn OFF most readers. Break your content down into specific thoughts or steps, with one paragraph leading or flowing to the next. Try to compile some fashion of chronological order. Hopping around will only confuse the reader and cause them to lose focus. Plus, a confused prospect never purchases.

Touch as many of the five senses as possible
Of the five senses, I mean sight, smell, touch, taste and hearing. Obliviously, these won’t all apply to each article, but through a combination of graphics, and painting pictures with words, you’ll create mental images that will reinforce your call-to-action.

If a picture is worth 10,000 words, what would a video be worth? It’s so simple to create videos and post them to YouTube these days that there’s no reason any longer not to. You don’t need sophisticated video equipment or a studio. Smartphones have become so commonplace that videos created with them are becoming accepted as mainstream.

RecommendationEnd with a recommendation
Recommendations can be tips, precautions or proposed solutions. Prospects are searching the Web to alleviate some pain or issue, grow their company or enhance their lives. You can establish yourself as an expert in your field through your articles, giving you and your organization a step up on your competition.

You don’t even have to be the cheapest or least expensive solution out there. You just need to get the word out, and social media is the going thing. Post your blog’s articles on your Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter accounts … and any other portal that fits your fancy. If they get shared, you’re golden. Nothing is better than having someone else on social media shout your praises.

Brought to you by ProlimeHost

We’ve been in the web hosting industry for over a decade, helping hundreds of clients succeed in what they do best and that’s running their business. We specialize in Virtual Private Servers (VPS) and dedicated servers, with data centers in Los Angeles, Denver & Singapore.

VPS Services: Lightning Fast SSD Virtual Servers

Our Virtual Private Servers all feature high performance Xeon processors and SSD storage in a RAID10 configuration to optimize your server’s performance, which dramatically enhances visitor experiences on your site.

That speed is backed by unparalleled 24/7 support, featuring both outstanding response AND resolution times to maximize your uptime.

Now is the time to join the ProlimeHost virtual private server revolution.

Dedicated Servers: Backed by a 99.9% SLA network uptime guarantee

We only use enterprise-class hardware in our dedicated servers and offer a four (4) hour hardware replacement. Throw in IPMI for remote management, support for public and private networks, free operating system (OS) re-installs, and SATA, SAS & SSD (including NVMe) storage. Call +1 877 477 9454 or email us at Sales@ProlimeHost.com. We’re here to help.