Online marketing is getting increasingly more competitive by the years. It has become abundantly clear to most business owners that the importance of online marketing cannot be overemphasised. In every conceivable niche, there will always be the bullies, the big businesses with unlimited marketing budgets. More budget is being allotted to internet marketing than ever before. But in the world of online marketing, strategy is more important than budget.
This article will show you how you can give your business a competitive advantage and stay ahead of the pack. Below are five essential steps to help you beat competitors and increase sales with online marketing in 2017 and beyond.
- Identify the competition. Know who your competitors really are, what they are offering and what their UPS (unique selling point) is. How is their traffic performance? What is their monthly page visit, page views, bounce rate etc? Do they have a better content strategy? Does their website load faster than yours? How many backlinks do they have? What is their digital footprint like? Do they appear before your in search engines for the same keywords? What tools are they using? This will identify the areas you need to compete in, as well as giving you an insight into how to differentiate yourself.
- Identify your target market. Who are your customers? What devices do they use? What hour of the day are they most active on your website. What other websites do they visit? What are their interests? If you have properly implemented Google Analytics on your website, you can easily access these important data. Customer expectations can be unstable especially when economic conditions are unstable. Find out what matters to your customers now. Is it lower price, more flexible service or better support? Revise your online marketing strategy accordingly.
- Be different. What sets you apart from your competitors? What is your unique selling point? It is important to give your customers good reasons to buy from you rather than from a rival. Your USP should tap into what your target market wants and should be immediately obvious and clear without anyone asking you to point them out.
- Adjust your marketing strategy. Many businesses fail by trying to adapt their customers to their product/service. This is ineffective and expensive. Instead, your marketing efforts should be created to fit your consumer needs and behaviour. Make more effort to show people who you are, what you have to offer and why they should buy from you. It doesn’t have to be expensive. That’s why no serious business owner should ever underestimate the power of professional website design.
- Always over-deliver. You will have to do more than providing another mediocre product or service to stay ahead of your competitor. You must seek to empower your customers in a way that no one else does. Find out what more you can do to make your offering even better and noteworthy. Always remember, if better is possible, good is not enough. For example, if you have a cafe you can start providing 30 minutes of free Internet access or something else that will not necessarily hurt your pocket. Now incorporate that into your marketing strategy.
- Look into the future. Businesses that see into the future are usually more successful than those that are happy to stay still. The internet is ever-evolving. Search engine Optimisation (SEO) strategy that worked three years ago can actually have a negative effect on your business today. Keep up with developments in your niche, follow consumer trends, use professional internet marketing services and invest in new technology. Have a clear picture of where you want your business to be in future and adapt accordingly.