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As our dear Snappy rings in his 13th birthday, it’s a time of great joy and merryment at Hostgator offices across the world. Celebrating his birthday the team looks back at the last 13 years and ponders over all the great things we’ve learnt along the way
It seems like only yesterday, Snappy was just a little hatchling learning the ropes in Brent Oxley’s basement. Growing to the gynormous size, him and with the whole team have picked up a few key learnings along the way. These are our yardsticks, our lessons, things that keep us grounded, things that allow us to grow, to look beyond and to continue Eating the competition.
Let’s take a look at 13 Lessons we’ve got to share:
1. Strive for Happy Customers: At the core, we believe in truly caring about the customer’s experience. This probably is our biggest driving factor. Starting from our revamped Support Center to Interactive Guides in the control Panel, a significant amount of time is allocated in figuring out processes & products that will help make our customers HAPPY!
2. Be Available: One of the things about providing good support and making customers happy is just being there for them. It’s really that simple (or that difficult). We learnt a long time ago, we’ve got to be there for our customers, at all times.
3. Become a True Site-Kick: Ok, we admit it. We just had to get Site-Kick in there. 🙂 but in all honesty, that’s where the idea comes from. We had to be more than just a hosting provider to our customers, we wanted become their Hosting partners, a Site-Kick if you will.
4. Work Hard, Play Hard(er): Work Hard, Play Hard this adage holds true for Snappy and the team here. It’s critical to stay focused and that much more important to take time to blow off steam – All work and no play, does make Jack a dull boy
5. Be Humble: We couldn’t agree more with the folks at Zappos on this one. Despite all the awards and accomplishments under Snappy’s belt we see the need to stay grounded. Success is great but being Humble is the way to go.
6. Progress, not Perfection: Learning never stops for us at Hostgator and there’s always room for improvement. With that in mind, we say, forget about perfection, aim at bettering yourself everyday.
7. Change is the Only Constant: Things change. We learn, that’s pretty much how we sum it up.
8. Honesty is Indeed the best Policy: Sure, it’s easier said than done. But in the long run, honesty does get rewarded. Our customers deserve the truth and we believe in giving it to them. Non Sugar-coated.
9. Have your Ear to the Ground: Adding Value to your customers begins with first understanding what they need. We believe in having our ear to the ground, listening to what customers are talking about. If Support needs to be fixed, fix it. If a new product is needed, add it. Listening to customers ranks fairly high in our books.
10. Evolve: Snappy sure has evolved over the years and he’s made sure everything else did too. Keeping up with the times, we’ve made our business to add products that support the ever-growing needs of our customers. This has been one of our core strengths and an area we actively focus on.
11. Connect with the Customers: We believe in truly connecting with your customers. We learnt about their challenges, we experienced their hurdles and then we developed solutions that helped them overcome those challenges.
12. Stay Local, Stay Focused: We wanted to be where our customers are, we are a global brand in the we are so much more local. We are where are our customers are.
13. K.I.S.S. We want to make Going Online, Simple. That’s what it all comes down to in the end, everything we create, we do is with a clear intention of helping customers go online.
Having a consistent and clear brand will help you build a business that lasts for the long-term. At the core of your branding should be a connection between you and your customer. The role of your brand is to communicate your value to your customer in the clearest manner possible.
Only by understanding your customer can you truly create a brand that lasts. Most companies go about branding from the opposite approach and end up with a brand that speaks to no one. Below you’ll find some of the most common branding mistakes and what you can do to fix them.
1. Trusting Instinct Alone
It’s easy to fall in love with your business idea. But, if it isn’t serving anyone, or no one is going to buy what you’re offering. Then it’s better left as a hobby than an actual business.
Instead of focusing on building your brand identity and other activities to solidify your brand you should be talking with actual customers to verify your idea and uncover their needs. Only then does it make sense to invest more time into your project.
After all, by going of instinct alone you’re essentially flying blind and will have no idea if anyone even wants what you’re offering until it hits the market.
2. Little To No Engagement or Feedback
Like we mentioned above, if you’re relying directly on the assumptions you have about your target market you’re going to have a difficult time nurturing a brand over the long-run.
The best brands speak directly to their target market’s needs and nothing more. Acting on instinct alone puts you at risk for attempting to raise awareness around your brand for years, with nothing to show for it.
A better route is to find people in your target market, or people who already interact with your company and ask them some of the following questions:
- How would you feel if your product or service ceased to exist?
- What alternatives to your product or service would you use instead?
- Why do you choose to work with us over our competitors?
- How can we improve our offerings to serve you in deeper ways?
By working with these answers you’ll be able to better refine your brand (if you have an existing company), and figure out how to position your offers to your fans in a more compelling and attractive manner.
3. Being Consistent
When you have a stable brand it can be tempting to change up subtle elements of your brand just for fun.
Although most brands go through design overhauls and image shifts over time they’re usually structured and thought out.
However, even subtle inconsistencies within your logo, colors, and messaging can throw off your users and start to erode your trust. Make sure you keep an eye on brand consistency, once you’ve developed a strong brand and don’t stray from what you’ve created.
Brands aren’t built overnight. The take consistent time, effort, work and refinement. However, by taking the time to incorporate feedback, and consistently engineering your brand towards service you’ll build a brand that works for you, instead of against you.
Steve Jobs believed everyone should learn how to program a computer.
Luckily for the less technically savvy entrepreneurs, there are easier ways to survive in a coder-saturated startup world.
Make sure you’ve got these things nailed:
1. Ability to analyze:To grow your biz, you need to understand the data behind it. Google Analytics is free and tracks metrics around customer churn. Know exactly what the data reflects, and you’ll make smarter decisions about goals and how to keep improving.
2. Basic HTML: Knowing a bit of HTML not only helps in getting ideas across to developers and designers but also makes simple online editing a breeze. Codecademy is a great site for learning the basics, and the Udacity app offers on-demand courses for HTML newbies who work in tech.
3. Smart SEO execution: Good SEO practices help you dominate the first page of search results. Make sure your site ranks #1 for your brand name, and your social channels—Facebook, Twitter—should follow.
Just master these three essential tech skills, and you can leave the hardcore programming to your team of experts.