Get Ahead In the Cloud

The term “Cloud Computing” has become quite a perplexing and mystical phrase for many people. A lot of businesses know they should be looking into what the cloud can do for their company but aren’t certain of where to begin. If you’re struggling to get your head around what cloud computing actually is, then check out our recent article; Cloud Computing – The Definitive Guide.

The market over the next 5 years will change dramatically as the scepticism and concerns over moving to the cloud reduce and more and more people and businesses embrace the technology. ComputerWeekly.com recently posted an article stating that the global cloud market could reach £150 billion by 2020.

So the demand will be there but how do we market cloud computing to our audience?

Firstly we need a product that specifically meets the needs in the market – At Fasthosts we invested a lot of our resources into creating a great value product that meets the needs of our direct customers and resellers. The result is our market leading Virtual Server range which was recently awarded the Hyper-V Cloud Partner for 2010 by Microsoft.

If you’re a Fasthosts Reseller or you are looking to become one and want to know how to market this brilliant product to the emerging market then there are three key areas you must cover:

  • What? – What is a virtual server and cloud computing?
  • Why? – Why does my business need it?
  • How? – How easy it is to move my current services to the cloud?
WHAT?

When marketing any product it is always important to put yourself in the customers shoes but a mistake many marketers make is failing to research what their customers “actually” want. The problem can be referred to as the Curse of Knowledge, you know what cloud computing is and what a virtual server can do for your potential customers but it can be difficult to simplify the marketing message because you have too much knowledge of the product.

Let’s say your potential customer market is soliciting firms. It is highly likely that the customer knows nothing about virtual servers, the latest technology, operating systems etc. It is also highly likely that they do not want to know about these things or care about them.

When explaining WHAT a virtual server and cloud computing is to these people you need to come at it from the viewpoint that they know absolutely nothing about computers and you need to explain it to them in 2 or 3 sentences.

This is not an easy task. The Curse of Knowledge makes it easy to slip into the habit of saying “A virtual machine environment for Windows servers from Microsoft that supports most x86 operating systems as guests. It is used to run multiple copies of Windows as well as Linux in a virtualized server environment.”

You may as well be speaking a foreign language to your potential customer. Instead try to compare it to something people can relate to “A virtual server is like self storage. It is off site and you can store your most prized possessions there. You can upgrade the amount of space whenever you want and they have the latest security features. They keep everything clean and updated without you needing to do anything.”

Although we haven’t spoken about all the features and benefits of cloud computing we have given them a clear and simple way of understanding virtual servers and cloud computing.

WHY?

Ok so the customer knows what a virtual server (VPS) is but why on earth would they want it? This is where you market research becomes really valuable. You have to find the need in the market. Take our soliciting firm example, what do they need?

Is it cheaper hosting? Security? Scalability? Speed? You need to find out what the most critical factor is and exploit it. For a Soliciting Firm it may be that they need to store their website database in a very secure off-site location. This is your selling point. Market to the firm by focussing on the fact that a virtual server provides offsite storage for their databases in an environment that is extremely secure. Focus on the fact that the server will always have the latest security and security updates and upgrades will be done for them, this is a major advantage over a dedicated server.

HOW?

Another key selling point is how your customers will move their services in a quick, simple and secure manner to the new VPS they have just purchased from you. Failure to address this issue can lead to the loss of many sales.

Moving to a Fasthosts Virtual Server could not be easier thanks to the Plesk Parallels control panel that is available for our VPS’s. With this you can manage the server simply and easily and also give you client access details to a restricted area of Plesk. They can then only see their domain on the control panel and make the changes they want (FTP, Databases, DNS etc.).

When marketing to you customers it is key to make it clear just how simple it is to move their services to the VPS you hope to sell to them.

Summary

The Fasthosts Virtual Servers are a fantastic cloud computing product that resellers can market to their target audience. Cloud computing is still seen as a “new” technology and because of this your marketing strategy needs to educate customers as well and advertise the product. If you focus on the WHAT, WHY and HOW during your marketing campaigns, you can ensure the best chance of having a successful campaign.

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