Winning Customers in Highly Competitive Markets

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This slide describes why people succeed or fail in competitive market verticals. It offers a better way to succeed by not competing but by changing the playing field. To increase lead generation; instead of focusing on selling, focus on problem solving and helping people with their problems.

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  • Hi I’m Curtis R. Curtis and I am with RankSense. I want to thank you all for coming.  As some of you may know, I am one of the “oldtimers” of the Internet industry and I have been involved in Affiliate marketing since its inception. Since 1993 I have been building and running access & hosting providers, many of which I started affiliate web hosting programs for….  Now I am not anaffiliate marketing expert but I did get to see firsthand those who succeeded and those who failed in what is probably one of the most competitive verticals & why!!! … especially when it was porn hosting … yes, I built a few of those too.  I like to start off by asking how many of you here have a web hosting affiliate site or are pre-selling web hosting products on their site(s)? Ok so you understand how competitive it is.
  • Web hosting is one of the highest paying affiliate verticals out there. Some of the really great affiliate web hosting sites make hundreds of thousands of dollars & not just off of commissions, but also just to be listed on their site and having dedicated review pages such as WebHostingStuff & WebHostingGeeks.I know!. As a hosting company I have paid many affiliate sites 10s of thousands of dollars just to be listed on their sites, to have my banners, reviews on my company .
  • As you can see Web Hosting companies pay good CPAs. The really successful web hosting affiliate sites can demand from web hosting companies very high payouts, in fact it is a bidding war for many of these sites… one I usually lost. Note: These companies are just example of how large the payouts are. This is in no way meant to be a list of the best; in fact some of the best ones are not even listed here.Also this is just their published CPAs, often for the good sites, they can negotiate higher CPAs and most likely get it.
  • As I said really good affiliate sites pre-selling hosting can make a lot of money …BUT this is only the really good ones and they are few & far between.If you are just starting out & looking to dip your toes into the waters of affiliate marketing, you may want to re-think whether or not the web hosting vertical is a great place to start off in.
  • The web hosting space is definitely one of the most competitive spaces there is on the Internet.Everyday there are 100s of new entrants into the market space – both affiliate marketers and hosting cos. “a quick Google search for "hosting" produces 425,000,000 results. That means that the hosting market is a very crowded space.”For every affiliate marketing success out there, literally thousands fail to make even enough to cover their hosting costs. ***This is extremely true for those pre-selling web hosting products.
  • when it comes to web hosting, people start with a lot of preconceptionsl like:They think that All you need to do is sign up, download the banners, put them on their site (s) and wait for the money to roll in. Right – good luck with that. Chances are your visitors are not even thinking web hosting when on your site.They assume targeting those keywords closely related to web hosting, is the way to go. They have no idea how a) competitive and b) how expensive getting ranked high for these keywords is. I just read in the most recent Netcraft report that the keyword “web hosting” is top bid is $46 per click and “dedicated servers” has hit $50. As for the organic, it requires enormous resources & budgets just to get anywhere near the first page. Few if any of us will have the either the resources or the financial wherewithal to compete with those who are spending $100s of thousand of dollars per month on these keywords and have major SEO depts. or agencies working for them. One web hosting company I know spends over ¼ $m/month just on the keyword “web hosting”Another is picking those that pay the most. I am not saying that choosing those hosting companies that pay the most are a mistake just that you need to be more careful, you need to do your homework first. Also if these are all “cheap web hosting companies” and your content is about quality hosting companies, your visitors are likely not going to trust your recommendations.
  • But WAIT….before you give up considering affiliate marketing web hosting services, I promise I will show you there is a better way however… there are a few things I would like to share with you before I do. For those of you who are successfully affiliate marketers , I know you already know this however…for those who are not here are a few things to consider before you tackle this highly competitive vertical. And besides for those of you who know, it never hurts to refresh why we are successful.
  • Choose only those hosting companies in a few reputable affiliate networks. I like to use CJ as I was one of their first beta testing merchants & I think they are good. The key thing is only pick a couple so you do not need to check a ton of different networks on your progress. Whichever networks you choose, you want to know their terms, rules & limitations on advertising, etc. so orient yourself with the basic requirements before stepping in. It pays and the key word is pays to be careful. Carefully research which are hosting companies to work with. A good way to do this is just start check the big web hosting affiliate sites and see who they are promoting – choose those companies that everyone is promoting ie. BlueHost, Yahoo, Globat, Lunarpages, Inmotion, Fatcow, Hostgator, Ipowerweb are just a few that you will find ubiquitously. One note: Depending on the type of content of your site, you do want to choose those that match. For example, as a web hosting authority, I look to help people find the best hosting companies & I am picky so I definitely want to make sure those I promote quality hosting companies. Definitely you want to look at the 3+ month Network earnings for each one. Anyone can have a monster week that will inflate their 7 day earnings per click but the key is how they perform over time. A high Network earnings number over several months is a good indicator that people are making money from the affiliate program.  Check if they report reversals. CJ for sure does. It is important to factor this in when looking at their numbers. What is the point not to mention the cost of making 100 pre-sales only to have 99 of them reversed? Trust me this can kill you. Terms: This is really important. Some web hosting companies make it easy to make a sale. Some make it difficult plus some only pay on a hosting sign up while others pay you on everything from Domain names to SSL certificates. Some will not allow you to use PPC and some will not let you use email. It pays (pun intended) to read the terms before signing up!  Of course, it is good to check how much each company pays per sign up BUT that should be the last number you look at. There are companies paying out $150 per sign up, but their websites don’t convert vs. a company who only pays out $75, but their sites converts like crazy. Who would you rather be signed up with?  Referral length. Sometimes a person doesn’t sign up right away with a web hosting company. It may take them a month or more to decide to buy web hosting. If they go to your web host 3 mns after their first visit and sign up for web hosting, I want that commission! The longer the referral period the better!!
  • Ok so now you have selected those companies whose hosting services, you are going to pre-sell (btw, it is good to have more than you start with so when you monitor who is performing and who is not you can test changing those who are performing poorly)Before you even start , you need to understand, if you try to play the game that everyone else is playing, very high chances you will not succeed.So: Do not do what everyone else is doing. Simply putting up banners on your site and hoping that visitors will click on them does not work. There are just too many doing thisDo not target those keywords that are directly related to web hosting. As stated, you do not likely have either the resources or money to do it – trust me hosting companies alone spend hundreds of thousands of dollars every month on this.The same is true with selling. Do not make the focus of your site or your content, aimed at selling web hosting service but instead be different, build a content-rich web site, full of information, reviews and full of shared experiences about web hosting and topics related to web hosting. One good tip is to discuss the pros & cons of each and be honest. It will make your visitors trust you. When you share the imperfections, your prospect’s defenses are lowered and they are more likely to trust you, not to mention helps build your reputation of honesty and help establish you as an authority figure about web hosting.
  • Ok, so that is what not to do.  Now we get to THE SECRET SAUCE !!! It is a well-known fact that the best potential customer are those WHO are in desperate need, starving for a solution which you have the answer to & which, either directly or indirectly relates to the products or services you are selling. Solve their problem and given the right offer, they follow your recommendations.  The more critical the problem, the faster the potential customer is going to take action. So instead of focusing on selling, what you need to do is help people solve their problems. Why? When you truly help someone solve their problems, they are more than happy to reward you with their most valuable asset. … their trust. Trust is a prerequisite to any online transaction that involves the exchange of money, and it is the hardest thing to get from any online visitor.
  • So how do you find these starving people?Trust me they are everywhere.Check out forums related to web hosting. A very good one is webhostingtalk but there are countless others.Start talking about hosting related problems and people will come to you.
  • Since I just happened to do a presentation similar to this at SMX Advanced “Can Your Web Hosting Survive the Digg Effect” – I thought I would quickly throw these slides in as examples of some of the things you could write about.
  • I will not go into detail but as you can see there is a lot of things people need to consider, a lot of issues they will be confronted with and a lot of things they should know before choosing a web hosting company.
  • Of course, getting to the front page of Google and maybe No. 1 via organic search is still the best & least expensive way to drive traffic to your web site and rocket your sales.For those of you who are going to do your own SEO, you will need great SEO tools/software so here is my one shameless plug for my own company RankSense, who developed an end-to-end, fully integrated SEO software which will guide you through the entire SEO process with over 12 SEO tools built in. I would also like to recommend a few good friends SEOmoz & SEOBook for sources of great SEO information and some nifty tools, like SEOmoz’sLinkScape.
  • BTW, if anyone is interested in learning more or would like to try our RankSense SEO software, come up and give me your business card and I will send you details on how you can try RankSense risk-free for 90 days.
  • Winning Customers in Highly Competitive Markets

    1. 1. “Lead Generation in an Extremely Competitive Vertical … Web Hosting”<br />Speaker:<br />(Curtis) R. Curtis, CMO<br />RankSense<br />Curtis@RankSense.com<br />
    2. 2. “Web Hosting Affiliate Programs Are One of the Highest Paying on the Internet!!”<br />“Show me the money!!!”<br />
    3. 3. Web Hosting Affiliate CPAs<br />
    4. 4. Great Affiliate Web Hosting Sites Make Gobs of Money<br />“BUT…they are few & far between!!!”<br />
    5. 5. Why??<br /><ul><li> It is one of the most competitive!
    6. 6. It is very crowded market space!
    7. 7. Most do not make enough $s to survive!</li></li></ul><li>SO Why Do Most Fail??? <br /><ul><li>Copy banners & wait!
    8. 8. Target the same keywords!
    9. 9. Do not have $s & resources to compete!
    10. 10. Pick the hosting cos. that pay the most!!!</li></li></ul><li>BUT ….there is a better way!! <br />However there are few things you should<br />consider before you start<br />
    11. 11. Quick tips before starting<br />1. Study & learn from the best<br />2. Put in the time & effort<br />3. Determination & motivation <br />4. Self-discipline & time mgt.<br />5. Stay positive & optimistic <br />6. Communicate with Program Managers <br />
    12. 12. Factors to Consider:<br /><ul><li>Sign up under a good affiliate network
    13. 13. Carefully research hosting companies
    14. 14. Check their 3+ months network earnings
    15. 15. Closely examine their terms & conditions
    16. 16. Look for those who convert the best
    17. 17. Look for those with long referral periods</li></li></ul><li>Change the Playing Field! <br /><ul><li>Do not follow the pack
    18. 18. Do not target hosting related keywords
    19. 19. Do not focus on selling hosting!</li></ul> Be Different – Change Your Selling Mindset!<br />
    20. 20. “The Secret Sauce!”<br />Focus on Helping People with Problems!! <br />There are more people with problems than people who need hosting AND they are starving for answers!!<br />
    21. 21. Why is Trust So Important? <br />People who trust you are more likely going to TRUST “yourrecommendations”<br />
    22. 22. How to Look for Starving People?<br /><ul><li>Look for people asking questions or having problems related to web hosting</li></ul>*** Trust me… there are lots of them!!!***<br />
    23. 23. Seek Out People in Distress!<br /><ul><li>Answer questions in forums
    24. 24. Write articles & blog about web hosting issues
    25. 25. Create solutions to common problems</li></ul>i.e. My server just got hacked!<br />
    26. 26. Discuss Web Hosting Issues:<br /><ul><li> Do I need dedicated server (s)?
    27. 27. How much bandwidth is enough?
    28. 28. Do I need managed or unmanaged?
    29. 29. What OS, database, scripting, etc?
    30. 30. Do I need failover/load balancing?
    31. 31. How quickly can I scale up?</li></li></ul><li>Articles on Choosing a Good Host:<br /><ul><li>Flexible bandwidth & network options
    32. 32. Broad range of advanced hosting services
    33. 33. Professional, trained 24x7 techs & server admins onsite
    34. 34. Rock solid, reliable backup & failover solutions</li></li></ul><li>Write an E-Book About Common<br />Problems & Solutions<br />Then give it away free – <br />everywhere you can!<br />So am I crazy? <br />Why would I share this Information?<br />
    35. 35. Saving the Best for Last!<br />REMEMBER:<br />“Solve people’s problems and you WILL GET their trust you need to turn your recommendations into sales”<br />
    36. 36. BUT You Still Need “Great SEO Software”<br />
    37. 37. “Lead Generation in an Extremely Competitive Vertical … Web Hosting”<br />Questions?<br />RankSense<br />Email: Curtis@RankSense.com<br />Tel: 1.206.414.3654<br />Cell: 1.604.313.7377<br />

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