Tag Archives: marketing

LiquidWeb NPS Scores vs LiquidWeb Review Signal Rating

Yesterday (August 18, 2015), LiquidWeb [Reviews] sent out a press release announcing its NPS Score:

"...its [LiquidWeb] Net Promoter Score reached an all-time high of 74 at the end of Q2 2015. This represents a "best-in-class" rating in the consumer-driven metric. Liquid Web's score is particularly noteworthy as scores above 60 are extremely rare in the Web Hosting industry, where average scores historically hover in the single-digit realm. Regardless of industry, a score of 74 - on top of Liquid Web's confirmed 12-month rolling average of 67 - is strongly indicative of excellent customer satisfaction."

The further explain how NPS is measured:

"Net Promoter Score (or NPS®) is the result of a 3rd party study on customers' direct feedback and gauges their likelihood to recommend a business's products or services. The results calculated the percentage of Liquid Web's customers who qualify as "promoters" (rating the company 9 or 10 on a 0-to-10 point scale) minus the percentage who are "detractors" (rating 6 or lower). Scores can range from -100 to +100 with scores of +50 and higher considered a "best-in-class" customer service level."

NPS is fairly well known in the marketing and branding world as a way to measure how a company is doing. In fact, it's something I was studying while working on the technology that powers Review Signal in graduate school. The boiled down version of it is, the greater the percentage of people who speak your praises versus the percentage of people who say negative things about your company is a measurement of how well your service is perceived.

What's interesting about a company publishing their NPS score is that I can compare it to the data of people saying good and bad things publicly that I track here at Review Signal. There are some differences in how NPS is measured versus how I measure at Review Signal. Some of the bigger differences being a 1-10 scale in NPS versus the binary (Good/Bad) on Review Signal and what type of messages are being looked at. Review Signal looks at all kinds of messages people publicly post while NPS would generally be done in a survey of customers. [If you're curious how/what Review Signal measures, it's all publicly explained at https://reviewsignal.com/howitworks]

So without further ado, the numbers. LiquidWeb's all time high is 74 and their 12 month average is a 67. On Review Signal, LiquidWeb have a lifetime 70% rating. Putting them squarely within their publicly disclosed NPS rating.


A lot of people question web hosting reviews and I constantly have to question what I'm doing and how I'm doing it. It's a very rare event when I'm given an external metric that I can compare Review Signal against. So when it matches up so cleanly, it's a great validation that what I'm doing here is working.


Amazon Giveaway Marketing Results and Advice

Amazon Launched Amazon Giveaway platform one week ago. I immediately thought it would be interesting to try out as a marketing channel. I've never done a giveaway. Although multiple hosting companies have offered to give free plans if I advertise their services; which didn't seem ethical given what we do.

Here's what I learned.

What to Give Away?

The first question is what product would correlate well with the service I'm offering (web hosting reviews). I looked at web hosting books and that was about the only thing related on web hosting on Amazon. But they looked terrible and I wouldn't want one, so why would my audience? So I had to get creative. I decided the easiest thing for me would be flash drives, a very common promotional item. Maybe I could spin a message about backing up your data (I honestly don't think the product selection and message was that good). I think the more tailored the giveaway is to your company the better. If you can giveaway your own product that would be the best.

How Amazon Giveaway Works

Basically, you just browse around Amazon looking for a product that says


Then you choose how you want to run it. There are currently two options. One gives away X items to the first N people who click. The second option gives away X items to the Nth person to click. I think you would be crazy to use option 1 and I'm not sure why it's even an option. So I will pretend everyone is selecting to giveaway an item for every Nth person.

The second setting is whether it's free or you a visitor to follow you on Twitter. I think a Twitter follow should be the default setting. Otherwise you get nothing for your giveaway beyond people looking at the landing page. You have no idea who they are and have no means to contact them again otherwise.

Then you pay for the X items you are giving away (plus shipping).

The giveaway lasts for one week and you get a refund at the end of any unspent money.

The Marketing

How you market your giveaway probably has the biggest impact on how well it does. There's also probably a correlation with the quality of the giveaway and the targeting of it towards the audience you're after.

Our giveaway did the minimal marketing effort. It was posted on our Facebook page once. I also posted it on Twitter with the #AmazonGiveaway hashtag a few times. It was also posted to Reddit /r/AmazonGiveaways. I didn't use any targeted distribution for my audience, so it was the lowest common denominator of marketing.

However, I got really lucky and @Amazon retweeted me.


Which caused this:


And this:


So lots of followers, but definitely no conversions.


The Results


I configured my giveaway to be every 500 people wins and I was willing to give 20 of them away. I only gave away 3 and was refunded $244.76.

Amazon also emailed me some basic analytics (which I can't find on the dashboard)


So the net result was I spent $40.24 to get 1854 followers. Of which, 444 unfollowed me within that week. I started with 357 followers, and now have 1767. So roughly 24% of the followers I bought were worthless and I only really got 1410 real new followers. So the total cost per new follower was 2.8 cents.

I was hoping to get in early on a new product and had to guess about a lot of things without anything to go on. Marketing basics still should apply if you're doing a giveaway. You need to market it towards your audience and giveaway something that they are most likely to care about. You also can't expect great results just by doing the bare minimum. I think I got lucky because Amazon retweeted me (which was one of the hopes of jumping in early, getting early press). But it's nothing to bank on.

If I were going to do it again, I would do it very differently. I wouldn't bother with #AmazonGiveaway hashtag and create a landing page specifically for the purpose. I would highlight what I am giving away and also highlight what Review Signal does. I would probably try to capture an email address before giving someone a link to the giveaway. It's more of a barrier, but also would hopefully filter people most interested in my giveaway (which hopefully would be very targeted towards my audience).

TL;DR Lessons:

  • Choose a product relevant to your company/business
  • Market the giveaway in places where your audience/customers are (not just tweeting #AmazonGiveaway)
  • Capturing Twitter followers is a mediocre reward, you should probably build some type of landing page to convert more users before they get the link to the giveaway


For the curious, some more analytics screenshots are below

The full analytics from the Tweet Amazon RT'd.


What the whole engagement/analytics looked like over the period from Twitter Analytics:reviewsignaltwitteranalytics

Amazon VS normal tweets with #AmazonGiveaway hashtagreviewsignaltwitteranalyticsamazontweet

What a normal non-giveaway tweet looked like:reviewsignaltwitteranalyticsnonamazon

Let’s Talk About Touch

Photo Credit: Erick Pleitez

A touchpoint is the moment your company actually interacts with someone. It can be as simple as a customer picking your product up off a store shelf, seeing a super bowl ad, or a customer calling your support line. A consumers relationship with a company/brand is defined by the touchpoints they have had with it.

There are tons of explanatory diagrams if you search for touchpoints. Here's one I thought illustrated what and where they are clearly:


Source: http://b2bstories.com/?attachment_id=38/

So why am I writing about this?

Touchpoints are something I think about a lot with the web hosting industry. In fact, Review Signal is built upon one of the few touchpoints that exist between many web hosting customers and their providers. Twitter is one giant conduit for interactions.

Why I chose to write about this today specifically was an incident that was posted on reddit.

I just want to share with the community my recent hosting experience with WiredWebWork.com.

I opened my account with them on January 25th, 2014 to host my personal portfolio website and to offer temporary hosting for my clients. The site has samples of all my past work and is essentially how potential clients become actual clients.

On Friday and Saturday (Feb 1st), I sent out 9 emails to various clients and potential clients about work they needed done. All afternoon Saturday I thought it was pretty weird that I hadnt heard back from a single email. Eventually I figured it was probably just people being people on Superbowl weekend and shook it off.

Late Saturday evening or early Sunday morning, however you want to look at it, I tried to upload the changes I made to a clients website. FTP wouldnt connect. I opened up my browser and went to my site only to see cPanels "Account Suspended" page. What the hell I thought to myself. This cannot be right, so I head over to their website www.wiredwebwork.com to see if I can open a ticket. Their site shows the cPanel Maintenance page. Okay, I thought maybe they are having some technical issues, which it turns out they were. I proceeded to call them to try and see what exactly the problem is, even though I knew nobody would answer at 2am on a Saturday night. No big deal.

I head on over to Twitter to check and see if they have an account there. Sure enough, they do. Like any person familiar with social media would do, I sent the company (@wiredwebwork) a tweet asking about the down time.


To me this was completely normal behavior. Before heading to bed I hopped on my phone to check if they had a Facebook account. Maybe they posted something there I thought. Turns out they had one, but didnt post anything so figured I would send them a quick message. Got a reply there saying that they had some harddrive failure. No big deal, things happen.


This morning I wake up and check my email to find out that my account was actually being closed today. Not because I didnt pay my bill (I do) instead they close my account because I sent them a tweet. Yes, that simple tweet I posted above got my account terminated.


Im not upset so much about the closing of the account. I'm upset about the comments in the email from the owner of the company.

"This message is to serve as notification that your account will be terminated from our network on or by February 2nd 2014. You will be given a full refund as well. If you have any questions or concerns, why not take them up with twitter as opposed to trying to contact the company directly.(I hope you detect the hint of sarcasm)."

Im also upset about the fact that I had potential clients going to my website and seeing an account suspended page. Talk about a major turnoff. I wouldnt hire me if I saw that. I'm mad about the time I spent talking with those clients, writing out email after email trying to get some more work.

Sorry for the long rant. I just needed to share so that other people hopefully wouldnt run into the same problems as I did with wiredwebwork.

The story can be summed up as follows:

  1. Customer finds his website down
  2. Customer tweets dissatisfaction to web hosting provider
  3. Provider terminates account for tweeting about downtime
  4. Provider (potentially) goes into self destruct mode in public forum


While this specific case may be noteworthy, I think the bigger picture is more interesting from an industry perspective. Web hosting companies are given few direct and controlled touchpoints with their customers. There are a huge amount of uncontrolled touchpoints; for example, every time the customer/the customer's customer uses the customer's website. The opinions people form of web hosting companies relies so heavily on these few touches that it would be crazy to squander them.

This is also why Review Signal is built around monitoring one of these critical touchpoints. I believe it's an accurate pulse on what customers really think about a company. Web hosting companies often ask me, 'How can we improve our ranking?' and the answer is always provide better service. Improving your touchpoints makes customers happier. My advice is don't squander such valuable opportunities to make a customer happy, especially when the conversation is happening in public. The repercussions of failing (or going out of your way to be awful to a customer) will hurt your brand.

Interview: How to Re-Brand a Web Hosting Company with SiteGround’s Lilyana Yakimova

I recently had the chance to talk with Lilyana Yakimova, the Director of Marketing at SiteGround about their new branding. A few months ago, SiteGround underwent a major brand overhaul and I thought it would be interesting to learn how a large web hosting company, with over 250,000 domain names hosted, approaches such a challenge.

How has the web hosting market changed since SiteGround launched in 2004? How do you think it will evolve over the next 5 years?

Many things have happened during the last 10 years. We have seen many companies in the hosting industry rise and fall, we have witnessed the silent gathering of large number of previously independent companies under the ownership of a single organization, as most other businesses we also felt the growing role of the social media. But I think that the most important thing that have changed over the years and that has a huge impact on the shared hosting industry is the ease with which one can build a website today. With the rise of the free application like WordPress and Joomla, and the appearance of many affordable hosted website building solutions the number of people that are able to create their own web site is skyrocketing. I see this as a long lasting trend, which the web hosting companies will have to take into consideration while planning the next few years as well.

SG before after

SiteGround Before (Left) and After (Right) Re-Branding

What events led up to SiteGround's rebranding process? Could you walk through how you approached the rebranding problem?

During the years we have managed to gather a very cool team of enthusiastic and extremely geeky people. Thanks to them SiteGround became one of the few in the shared hosting industry to invent its own technologies. These technologies help us achieve better quality than what is possible with the massively used ready-made solutions. To give you a small example how geeky we actually are, at some point back then, when most of the competitors rarely used server monitoring system or were extremely proud when their servers were checked once each few minutes, we came up with our own solution that checks if everything is OK twice per second. At this time this was 120 time faster than the fastest possible for the others!

This approach led to the fact that we built multiple technological innovations. However, the image of our company was completely indistinguishable from the other players on the market. We had a website that looks like all the others, our own customers were not aware of the innovations we have implemented, and as a whole no one outside the company knew what we actually do and how good it is. So this growing gap between what we really were and what we presented to the world was the main reason for the rebranding decision.

The first step, to show the world who we are, was to start using actively our blog and social media (FaceBook mainly). This was the easiest way to reach our customers, make a more personal contact with them, tell them our stories and turn some of them from users into followers. We also started attending and sponsoring many events and this was a great opportunity to spread our story even further. By the reactions we have seen on these events we knew that we are on the right track. We also changed our approach to launching new technologies. Instead of silently putting in place what we have developed, we started to create advertising and informational launch campaigns. For example, when the SuperCacher was implemented, we created a blog post, an easy-to-understand inforgraphic, detailed tutorial, informational emails for the customers and more. All of the things described above were part of our re-branding effort, though they happened long before the the website and logo redesign. Now we have completed visually the process and we have a clear general message to guide all our future communication activities too.


What is the message you are trying to communicate and who is your target audience?

The main message we wanted to communicate better was that SiteGround is a cool and technologically advanced company, which has a very unusual approach to doing things that differs from what most of the other players in our segment do. We chose to build this message around the idea of being hand-crafted as opposed to being a product of the mass production.

The shared hosting, where we compete, is the most massively used service in our industry. My favorite way to describe what we wanted to achieve with the rebranding is by using a restaurant business allusion. We and our competitors were like the fast food chains. With the rebranding we did not aim to change the segment we compete at. We are not aiming to turn from a hamburger shop to a classy French restaurant; actually we are more after the image of a boutique sandwich shop. What we sell is still a sandwich, but the bread is baked in our own oven, the lettuce is grown in our garden and as a whole what we give you is much better for you than what the mass-market competitors provide. By changing the image we aim to speak better to the same audience and attract more of the people looking for shared hosting, as they will see us as something better, no as one of many. We also aim to capture some of the audience that was previously ignoring the whole segment, as being too low, but can now see something valuable in the shared hosting too.

How do you handle negative feedback on social media and other public forums?

I strongly believe that no feedback is bad if you handle it properly. Actually, we have received some negative reactions during the rebranding process. Some of them have helped us correct some issues before launching the new site and logo, other helped us learn how to communicate change more efficiently. I think that the most important rule for handling negative feedback is to ignore emotions and get to the essence. I have learned that no matter how rude someone has been in stating his or her opinion, and no matter how much you do not liked it at the beginning, if you strip away the emotions you can usually find a valid point that can be addressed to make things better.

Do you think the rebranding has been a success and how do you measure that?

The marketing strategy we currently follow is definitely successful. The measurement is easy – since we started it we see a steady and growing increase in sales volume and revenue. However, the success is not achieved by simply changing the logo, adding a new message and re-designing the website. The strategy to start communicating more effectively our strong sides has started long before the re-design. Truth is that the visual change of the website was the climax of this rebranding and definitely led to most visible results. However, if there was no solid ground for the new message and if we have not started to gradually change the perception of the people before the redesign, the rebranding would not have been so successful.

What is the luckiest thing that has happened to/at SiteGround?

The luckiest thing that has ever happened and continues to happen each day is the fact that there are so many awesome people, who choose to work at SiteGround.

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Meet The Host: SiteGround We take a picture tour through SiteGround's facilities.