We are preparing to launch the marketing campaign for remotely hosting portal solution and because it's pretty new, we'd like to know how to go about it. The business plan is still a little sketchy. We are not sure if we are going to offer free services that are upgradeable to paid packages or only offer paid packages. Though I think it's better to give people a little taste of it and if they want more or tech support, then get on a paid plan.
On the marketing side of things, there's lots of remotely hosted services out there though they are committed to just one thing such as bulletin boards. I'm not sure if it's worth publicizing it on Free sites as it's not really attempting to capture folks who want a portal solution for free. More rather offer it to hosting companies perhaps or maybe an affiliate program which could be sold?
The thing that I'm not sure if it's better to focus people who want this as a free service and once they are registered, push them to get on a paid plan or not do a free service and only attract those who are going to pay.
If I were you, I'd market it to the non-free, business group rather than the people who want free only. Why? Because you are only going to disappoint people if you offer only a limited service or something that isn't permanent. I think if you market it to people willing to pay, they will be just as likely to try the program and then pay for it.
Good point. I had recently stumbled across a PHP encoder called PHPGuardian which is cheaper than Zend Encoder which allows distribution of the application. I'm considering of distributing the multi-owner branding portal to hosting companies in an encoded fashion.
Even though that generates more competition for us, it's probably best to distribute to a few hosting companies to get the name out there in the open.
Would that be a logical step to take?
I'm also thinking a trial version possibly, one in which hosting companies can install for a 30 day trial and see whether it would be useful or not, and those who want to setup portals on our managed solutions for a 30 day trial.
Though I'm thinking trial versions will offer too much for competitors who have larger finacial backend and more programmers to look at our application and make a better one.
Companies like Vignette and Interwoven I do not believe offers trial versions until the company expresses interest and perhaps signs off some documents before getting access to their system.