Customers are the winners with web-o-mat: Online website builder creates strong growth for a successful young hosting company
Three young Swiss entrepreneurs have managed to increase the customer base of their Web hosting company from 36 to over 35,000, in as little as 4 years. Only 6 months after its launch, 12,000 customers are already using Hostpoint’s „web-o-mat“ to create and maintain a professional Web presence. Hostpoint has been succesful in utilizing its trendy website builder „made by CM-AG“, along with innovative advertising campaigns and promotions to attract customers.
A good hosting concept successfully implemented
At the beginning of the year 2000, three young Swiss were contemplating professional Web hosting. For them, the main issue was: “Why is there no Web hosting available which provides you with a high quality product and optimal service at a low price?”
The history of Hostpoint AG, founded a year later in Rapperswil near Zurich, makes for impressive reading on the company Web site. Beginning with 36 customers and one web server for shared hosting, emerged a company with a total of 1,000 customers after only one year. The common feature to all of them is: The standard price of 9.90 Swiss francs (just under 6 Euros or 8 US dollars) for a high-performing hosting package incl. 24 hour service. At the beginning of 2005, just 4 years after being established, Hostpoint provides over 35,000 customers with more than 45,000 domains and already employs an additional staff of 13. In addition to its successful standard rate for shared hosting, the company is now offering a professional and business package with expanded functionality.
The company’s exponential growth has been broadly supported by the introduction and marketing of the CM4all WebsiteCreator under the name of web-o-mat.
The website builder as added value for Hostpoint customers
In order to provide further incentives and added value for new and existing customers, the directors at Hostpoint decided to integrate a website builder into their product portfolio in the Spring of 2004. On the one hand, this was to enable them to target a broad, non-technical target group for hosting products and on the other hand to generate other potential sales for Hostpoint.
A further argument for using a website builder presented itself in the competitive environment in Switzerland: Since 2002 the two largest Swiss telecommunication providers, Bluewin and Sunrise; have also offered a website builder together with their hosting plans.
After extensive market research and detailed product evaluation, the three young entrepreneurs decided on - as was the case with Bluewin and Sunrise before - the CM-AG CM4all WebsiteCreator. Unique selling point of the selected product: Customers without technical knowledge can create and permanently maintain their own professional Web presence with the intuitive software.
“For us there was no alternative to the CM4all WebsiteCreator: No other product met our high technical requirements in terms of performance, scalability, intuitive use for a young, non-technical target group and in particular in terms of upgrade possibilities for our customers.”
Claudius Röllin, one of the three founders of Hostpoint AG
The trendy CM4all WebsiteCreator as web-o-mat
When integrating the CM4all WebsiteCreator in the Hostpoint portfolio, the company thoroughly defined the user interface requirements and the overall usability of the online software. The application addresses a young target group. Using the software is kept very simple and intuitive despite its multiple functionality and, needless to say, it blends in with the corporate design.
Hostpoint developed the name “web-o-mat” for the new application in collaboration with an advertising agency: The software was, analogous to Bankomat (the word for automatic teller machines in Switzerland), to be presented and marketed as an online automatic teller machine for instant Web sites.
The graphic concepts and designs were then implemented in collaboration with the graphics designers and screen designers at CM-AG. To this end, the complete CM4all WebsiteCreator user interface was graphically re-defined and adjusted to the agency’s specifications.
Finally, the application was implemented remotely by CM-AG in the Hostpoint data center. Hostpoint only had to provide a server, pre-installed with a Linux operating system and secure SSH access. The XML-based CM4all server application enables the creation and administration of up to 50,000 customer Web sites per server. Hostpoint customers can simply call the web-o-mat in their browser and are led step-by-step through the creation and processing of their Internet presence. All current browser types are thus supported by the CM4all application.
Vespa scooters, posters and television commercials: Innovative ad for web-o-mat
Hostpoint launched the new web-o-mat in June 2004. An extensive advertising campaign was launched at the same time. In order to reach a predominantly young target group, Hostpoint developed many innovative ideas in conjunction with their advertising agency on the subject of simple Web site creation. The main concept was that creating a home page with web-o-mat was basically easier than most day-to-day tasks. Eye-catchers such as lighters with directions for use, dinner sets and coasters with tips on ordering in restaurants, ads for Football European Championship 2004 attempting to explain the “offside” rule, as well as numerous billboards and posters displayed at popular events, and on public transport (trams, buses, subway etc).
A specially-designed trailer for Vespa scooters enabled on the spot advertising in the pedestrian zones of the largest Swiss cities. The illuminated vehicle plays an acoustic commercial and attracts major attention from the target audience. Thirty-second television commercials were played on Viva music channel and SAT 1 Switzerland. You can download a sample of this from the Hostpoint Web site.
Resounding success with web-o-mat: 12,000 customers in 6 months!
Launching web-o-mat with elaborate advertising campaigns and promotions paid off quickly for Hostpoint: After only 6 months, 12,000 customers had already registered for the new service and had ordered a Web hosting package with Hostpoint.
A limited edition of Web-o-mat is bundled in all hosting packages free of charge. It enables the creation and maintenance of a professional Web presence with up to 8 Web pages and contains some extras such as a Flash intro, guest books, feedback forms and counters.
Hostpoint customers, who want to create a stronger Web presence, can change from the limited edtition to one of the web-o-mat full versions offered. Hostpoint offers two alternatives here: The standard full version offers extras for the Web site in addition to the unlimited pages and additional design templates such as site maps, online photo albums, discussion forums, online voting and news tickers. The E-Commerce full version also offers the option of integrating a route planner, a relational database and an online shop with up to 500 products on the Web site.
The web-o-mat full versions are offered by Hostpoint as additional products at an extra charge, and represent another lucrative source of revenue for the young company, along with the new customer base gained with the increasing amount of Hosting products.
Continually offering something new to the customer
Since the initial launch of web-o-mat in the middle of 2004, its functionality has been doubled. Each new innovation which has been developed at CM-AG for CM4all WebsiteCreator has so far been licensed by Hostpoint and has been provided as an upgrade for the customers. These have included the integration of online photo albums, a route planner and the E-Commerce features online shop and database integration. Hostpoint is marketing the latter as part of an E-Commerce package at an extra charge.
Claudius Röllin: “Our investment in CM4all technology has already paid off in a very short space of time: With web-o-mat we have not only gained a large number of new customers, but we are also striving for a higher average revenue per user through our expanded product portfolio.“
Numerous new functions are also planned for the future, which are to be integrated as upgrades in web-o-mat.