As a business owner on the Internet it can sometimes seem like everyone has decided to become your competition, not only that each day more and more competitors seem to appear and grow stronger. The truth however is that competition is good, I know because when I started to sell websites in the nineties, I first had to educate clients as to what the Internet was, now many years later and with millions of competitors around it’s certainly a lot easier to sell websites. This is because the more competition you have, the more opportunity you have to prove your worth and give value. Because the more competition, the more your services are in demand.
Understand Your Audience
In almost every article I write on marketing I mention knowing and understand your audience, it is the key to marketing success yet many of the people reading this, will simply ignore this or they will determine that their audience is so large that it is worthless knowing. You need to Laser focus on who exactly your ideal client is by getting to know your audience better. What concerns and problems do they have and how can you solve them? Can you create a typical audience persona that you direct all marketing toward? If not, you really should focus on understanding your audience better, so that you can.
Establish Yourself as an Expert
When you have a lot of competitors doing what you do, the best way to set yourself apart is to perceived as the go to expert. They say it can take seven years of reading about your topic one hour per day to become an expert. This also means that you can move that forward exponentially by studying, interviewing, writing and publishing as often as possible to escalate yourself as an expert. Remember experts have no formal certification declaring them as experts, it’s purely based on their knowledge and expertise as perceived by their audience.
Be a Problem Solver
When you run a business, first and foremost you must be a problem solver for your audience. Whoever your ideal client is, they have problems and concerns and it’s your job to have answers and solutions to these problems and concerns.
Study your competition, buy what they’re selling, read their blogs, listen to their interviews, join their email lists, get to know them. Steep yourself in knowledge of your competition so that you can identify gaps in their offerings that you can fill, making yourself that much better and different and therefore giving your audience better value.
Be Your Own Best Client
Whatever you say you can do well for your clients, you need to be doing well for yourself too. I understand that it can be difficult at times, especially if you’ve filled your client roster, but if you have not filled it, use that time to perform the work for yourself as if you’re a client and experience the results your clients experience. So many businesses fail at this, especially many so called online marketing businesses that have to resort to spam or telesales type activities to try and drive sales. If you’re selling an SEO service with the promise of being on the first page of Google, then your own website should be on the first page of Google and it should be driving sales … not spam emails or telesales, personal rant over.
Create a Cohesive Brand via Your Online Presence
From your website to your social media accounts and everything else, you need to create a cohesive online presence so that when someone sees your picture, your name, or your words they know exactly who you are and who they are dealing with.
Create a Professional Website that speaks to your audience
Not all websites are created equal with approximately eighty percent of websites failing to deliver a meaningful return on investment and so many businesses buy poor performing good looking websites that are launched and expected to start generating results.
This is a reactive form of marketing in that you are waiting for people to find you from those mystical Google searches or the thousands of business cards you have handed out, instead make your online presence proactive so that it actively brings in leads and converts them into customers, this form of marketing will generate a return on investment. (speak to me if you need help)
Have a Professional Logo Designed
You can use a graphic designer to help you design a logo for your business, or at least a professional header for your websites to use as a button on other websites and social media sites. If you cannot afford too much expense, look through Fiverr.com to find someone who has good recommendations to design something for you. I’ve personally used fiverr.com and given the cost I’ve experienced some great results, and others I just toss away and start again, it’s that cheap that you can do this, until you get exactly what you want.
Blogging regularly should be the foundation of your online success, I personally post at least one article per day to website-designs.com and I think I have about six hundred posts on the site. This level of activity helps generate 25-30,000 unique visitors per month and over 350,000 page views per month. Additionally this content is also promoted via social media and has helped me to establish a following on Twitter of over 60,000 followers and over 2,000 people on LinkedIn… with leads and then customers being generated weekly.
I know how to replicate this for almost any business and the foundation of everything is content marketing which means blogging regularly if you want to be successful online.
Build an Active Email List
Not many businesses maintain an active email list, backed with regular updates, newsletters, etc…. its hard work but the rewards are tremendous as you can easily stand out from your competitors. Incentivize people to sign up for your list, add clients to a special insider’s list, and remember to market to them on a regular basis and remember to give them value.
Standing out is not that difficult when you realize that most people are really bad at it and to be honest lazy. You may have a lot of competitors but few will have the gumption and the follow through type attitude behind them that you do. No one can do what you do in the way you do it. You just had to actually do it.