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Marketing your web hosting company on a shoe string ideas for the cash strapped web host

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Free publicity in the form of a press release has been one angle that many web hosts have taken advantage of recently. The trend has been to submit releases to the two biggest media sources covering the hosting industry are theWhir.com and HostingTech.com. Of course submitting to those outlets might not be addressing the target market you are looking for as a start up hosting company. Services of a similar ilk to pressbox.co.uk which has a greater demographic and of course your local media is more likely to yield a better result.

A start up web host cannot dream to be on a level playing field with the giants of the industry when it comes to marketing budgets. You might have the same quality of product but advertising on national television and in broadsheet newspapers is just a pipedream. When you dont have the cash resources to handle heavyweight competitors, you have to be smarter. At the end of the day, whether you have a marketing budget of millions or just a pittance, the end goal is the same. You need to make sure that as many people as possible remember the name of your company and associate it with your product. Sure having money makes your task easier, doing it on a shoe string makes your task more fun!

Because you have a limited budget, haggling on fees is going to become an important part of each purchase process. Whether you are paying for leaflets or buying banner advertisement space, you should never accept the price quoted to you on inquiry. Of course if the supplier refuses to back down then you will be forced to pay the price they ask; however usually it is possible to achieve discounts especially by throwing in a condition where you give the supplier a small percentage or amount of each sale in order to make it more lucrative for them.

When there is a serious lack of funds, bartering your services becomes a viability. The most obvious example is hosts bartering with web designers, exchanging hosting space in return for web design and graphics design work. Its better to do the exchange of services offline as opposed to online. When you deal in an industry where there are hundreds upon thousands of competitors in the same market place with little product differentiation, you need to look into bartering in niche markets. If you need a web design, find someone local, a school art student for example would be an ideal candidate.

Recently there was a forum post about a student who supplemented his income during college by purchasing unsold advertising spaces in magazines and on radio. Near publication time magazines have unsold space that they need to sell off, likewise with radio and television stations that have unsold broadcast time. This student was purchasing the unsold advertising space at knockdown rates and then reselling to companies at cheaper prices than the outlets usual price, making a huge profit on the difference. Theres no reason why you cannot take advantage of this and purchase the space instead. There are websites devoted to this. Just search Google and you will find plenty of them.

Free publicity in the form of a press release has been one angle that many web hosts have taken advantage of recently. The trend has been to submit releases to the two biggest media sources covering the hosting industry are theWhir.com and HostingTech.com. Of course submitting to those outlets might not be addressing the target market you are looking for as a start up hosting company. Services of a similar ilk to pressbox.co.uk which has a greater demographic and of course your local media is more likely to yield a better result.

Getting featured in articles and the media is a great alternative to paid advertising and press releases are universally considered to be the method to get your company name into the media. One of the major problems a lot of hosts will have no doubt is generating a story worthy enough to be featured. A press release doesnt have to be the only method to get into the media. On a local scale, corresponding with your local newspaper is a good way to get into the media at no cost.

The best way to correspond is by writing to the letters page. You can do this by responding to local news events and drafting letters which reflect your companys business interests. Obviously rather than writing under your own name you will be writing under your company name. There is a myriad of issues which can be addressed ranging from the environment to new pieces of legislation. It may take time for this method to produce effective results but you are clearly reinforcing your company name and what you do in the minds of your target audience not to mention creating a positive spin for your business by taking interest in local issues.

Of course there are many more ways in which by spending effectively nothing you can accomplish the same feat as dropping thousands on an advertising campaign. On a personal level, the challenge posed and creativity required to budget a business idea on a shoe string budget is not only stimulating but also rewarding.

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Author

Rodney Ringler

Advantage1 Web Services About the Author: Rodney Ringler is President of Advantage1 Web Services, Inc., which owns a network of Web Hosting Informational Websites including HostChart.com, ResellerConnection.com, FoundHost.com, ResellerForums.com, and HostingKnowledge.net. Rodney has over 15 years industry experience from programming to internet marketing.View Rodney Ringler`s profile for more
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