In Mastermind groups and client meetings I’ve noticed two things.
First, most companies (by the time we actually meet them) acknowledge and embrace the changing marketing landscape. They get it…and are eager to learn how to adapt before competitors. Second, the first instinct is to use old techniques in a new paradigm. I see it because I sometimes do it myself.
Seth Godin blogged about the need to “change hammers” based on the situation. We all tend to go to the same old tools based on training, comfort or experience. This new normal of marketing requires a new kind of professionalism. This is about customer focus, flexibility, dedication, insight and smarts. Out-shouting your competitors does not necessarily work, and can in fact do more harm than good.
Taking old school tools and putting them into a new paradigm will not work either. Instead of interrupting prospects and outshouting competitors, focus on education with your prospects. Give them something really valuable, your unique knowledge about how to solve a problem they have. Instead of continually washing the same message over prospects, get into a relationship where you nurture, build trust and authority.
The cool thing about this new normal is that technology makes it possible to automate most of the tasks so you can focus on the marketing.
Trust me, if you do this right you will not only get more leads and customers, but your business will gain a huge economic advantage. More on that later…
What if your competitors already achieved top search engine rankings, developed hundreds of pages of content, built massive email lists and dominate the social marketing space…
How can you possibly compete with that?
You can approach competition with two mindsets: fight or flight! You either give up quickly and move on to another niche (or less competitive keywords) or you decide you are going to take them head on and beat them in the SERP’s using every SEO and social media tool you know.
Either of those positions may end up cheating you of the profits that can be yours. You’re giving your competition entirely too much credit. If you are intimidated, they will win.
The truth is saturated, competitive markets generally offer huge opportunities….that’s why so may competitors are in it. In addition to high demand, there are other advantages to working in competitive markets:
- Higher Ad Revenue
- Higher Adsense Payout
- More Affiliates/Partners to Recruit
- More Affiliate Programs
- More Quality Linking Partners
Let’s take a high level view of seven simple ways you can strategically use competition to your advantage in practically any market or niche…
- Don’t make the common mistake of looking at the total number of search results for any given keyword phrase as your competitive framework. You are only ever competing with the top 10 pages that show up in the search results. Period! The trick, instead of trying to get your link on the top ten results (SERP’s) for that keyword or phrase, think about trying to get a link on some, all, or any of the 10 pages already displayed in the results. Getting a link from these pages will give your website great traffic and high PR value. Many of them will not be direct competitors, so if you have the right approach, you can work with them.
- Locate the top bloggers in your niche…study them carefully. Get their feed and a feeling for the style of writing they like. Once you get a feeling for what they like, write a quality guest post and offer it to them exclusively. Give them a time frame, like 72 hours to respond. If they don’t respond or turn you down, go to the next blogger. Some may feel it makes no sense to add your credibility to another blogger in your nice, Seth Godin had a good post about guest blogging you can check out.
- Trackbacks are another great way to funnel targeted traffic out of more popular or established blogs to your niche. You need your own blog of course to employ this strategy. Most blog platforms automatically publish a link in a preset trackback area, or in the comments area when a link is created from another blog post. So, if you link to my blog post from your blog post, a link to your blog post will show up on mine. Keep an eye on those blogs, specifically for hot topics that you can contribute to the discussion. Create a post on your own blog and link to their post as a reference.
- The money is in the list but it does not just have to be your own list. Identify quality publishers in your market or niche and keep track of all their publications, subscribe to them (and all their feeds). Identify what content they like and write something for them and see if they will publish it. Case studies, interviews and product reviews are always a good place to start.
- Identify non-competitive businesses in your market and find ways to partner with them. Offer their customers a special coupon code and make the code unique to that audience so they feel like it is a special opporutnity.
- Friend your competitors in their social networks and get involved in their communities. Don’t be obnoxious, just get visibility to your target audience. You will also become known to your competitive friends and perhaps think about partnering for future products or services.
- Many niches and markets have aggressive affiliates. Identify who they are and leverage thier networks to jump start your business and break though the crowd.
Competitive markets are more of a challenge but the rewards are also bigger if you succeed. Create a process, have patience and don’t give up!
Media and marketing is changed forever in this “new normal”. Driven by technology, new web 2.0 applications and consumer behavior, we must adjust our marketing strategies quickly to survive and hopefully thrive. Make no mistake, this is an unusual period of disruption where opportunities are great and businesses are won and lost.
Why? Simply put, the new marketing world offers huge economic advantages to those businesses that embrace and implement these new strategies. As businesses move from “renting eyeballs” to building channels or platforms that are based on relationships with customers, they develop huge marketing leverage in two significant ways:
- Costs per lead will go down significantly as you are able to implement social media and web 2.0 based marketing programs because most of these new sites are no or low cost to participate. Your biggest costs will be time, commitment and the cost of creating relevant, valuable content. But you will also have a more trusting, authoritative (subject matter) relationship with your customer that will pay huge dividends.
- With this new “relationship” you will have an opporutnity to know your customers much better that you ever have. In fact, if you work the relationship right, you will find out other products and services you can sell your to your customers that meet needs they have in your niche. Imagine if you can increase the average lifetime value of your customers from one purchase to two or three. The net increase in margins to your bottom line will be significant.
This is not a magic bullet…no easy button here. But if you are able to thoughtfully and strategically put in place a new marketing plan incorporating social media and web 2.0 applications, you can gain a huge economic opportunity on your competition. That means better margins to re-invest in your business, to continue to dominate your market.
Welcome to the new normal!
Business it tough these days.
New technologies, social media apps, web 2.0 sites…all combine to making it even harder to effectively market your products and services. We talk a lot about this new technology and how to make it work for your advantage. This is a time of disruption where winners and losers will emerge in this “new normal” of marketing. But…
Truth be told, I get many executives and entrepreneurs that tell me that this new marketing and social media stuff is too hard. They try blogging or publishing articles or participating in forums but don’t seem to get traction. We find that you need two things to be successful in this new marketing environment:
- You need to approach marketing planning (in this new normal) strategically, incorporating all the new tools you have to work with. I often work with companies that have been flailing from one social media tactic to the other based on the latest fad or email course they received. This is not a strategy. Develop a system that is based on accountable objectives and incorporate it into your business work flow.
- Be determined to be consistent and persistent. What makes this tough with social media marketing is you can’t just develop a print or TV campaign, build a media plan and then just run it. You need to be involved and nurture your relationships. The cost of implementing these programs are very small but you need to experiment and “dial in” what your target audience in interested in and provide support and information through your expertise. Hey, imagine that, you actually need to get close to your customers!
The rewards for those business that take advantage of the new marketing opportunities and persistently and consistently pursue them are huge. But it takes a different level of commitment, professionalism and persistence that we are used to. Seth Godin calls it “the dip”, but if you are the business in your niche that breaks through, congratulations! It’s called market domination!
Business Marketing: How to get more clients and bigger profits using new technology and applications to dominate your market.
Good news for the internet newbie: To the swift go the spoils. Master social marketing, and you’ll dominate your niche.
Entrepreneur hopefuls who are seeking for ways to succeed in online business may finally have a more level playing field thanks to social media. Reduced costs involved with social marketing and the ability to interact with customers easily through new technology and social media applications, make it possible for newbies to jump in and quickly become a trusted authority in a certain niche. This translates to more customers and increased profits in less time.
There was once a time when new business owners had to fight their way to the top and take a beating from competitors, but social media has changed all of that. It is a new game now, and if you can learn the ins and outs of successful social marketing, you can dominate your market.
Attract and convert customers
One word can describe the best philosophy for getting clients: relationship. If you can connect with your prospective customers, engage them and create loyalty, you are in an excellent position to convert prospects into paying customers.
But how do you build these valuable relationships? The answer is to go where your customers are. Use simple online research to identify a number of social media sites where your customers hang out. Search for forums, message boards, blogs and social networks where these people are asking questions, posting reviews and building relationships. Once you have found these sites, join in on the discussions. By posting thoughtful questions and valuable information to help others, you can become a part of the community.
It only takes a handful of quality communications with a group to become a valued member. When you become known as the person who brings something worthwhile to the table, you begin to establish yourself as a person of authority on the topic or niche. Then, and only then, can you begin to share your business subtly—through a signature link or a product mention.
Rather than approaching these social communities from a seller’s perspective, you approach them from a relationship perspective, which allows you to earn the right to present your products and services in time.
Create bigger profits
In order to increase your business profits, it is important to get past the mind-set of doing anything and everything for one sale. Instead, your focus should be on the repeat customer. After all, it takes a lot of effort, communication and sometimes money to convert that one customer, so why not make it worth your while?
The way to maintain the connection with the customer is to communicate continually. Consider sending out a monthly e-newsletter to stay in touch with customers in order to keep you fresh in their minds. That way, when they think of something they need, they will come to you instead of the competitor.
Make your marketing communications more than just a sell message. Offer something of value—a whitepaper, special report, e-book or video—to build rapport with your customer list. By sharing with customers information they desire, you are further solidifying yourself as the authority on the subject in their minds. This way, they click on your link and visit your site when they are looking for solutions.
Business marketing is so much more than it used to be. Rather than pumping money into ads that may or may not work, social media technology and applications now provide you with low-cost methods that in many cases are far more effective in reaching customers and increasing business profits.
Chris Marentis is a serial entrepreneur and recognized Internet Marketing expert having served as SVP at AOL and CEO of Clearspring Technologies. For more information on Business Marketing, go to http://www.gennextmedia.com today.
If gaining market share were as easy as switching from traditional marketing methods to more modern marketing techniques, we’d all be instant experts. In reality, the most successful marketing campaigns are a careful blend of the old and new.
The key lies in knowing how to combine the two successfully. Starbucks is an excellent example of an organization that pays attention to its marketing mix. In addition to having a strong presence in more traditional media outlets like print advertising, Starbucks has a Twitter page with more than 180,000 followers and a Facebook page with close to 2 million fans. In an effort to marry offline and online marketing techniques, Starbucks introduced a contest in which the first person to post an online photograph of one of the company’s newest marketing posters will win a prize. Contests such as these attract thousands of posts that help to reinforce the offline campaign.
More organizations are embracing the concept that a mix of traditional and modern marketing components—print, television, video, Internet, mobile phone—are key to customer outreach. As a matter of fact, a study of senior executives done by Heidrick and Struggles showed that when it comes to strategies designed to achieve their company’s growth objectives, optimizing the efficiency of the marketing mix across the business came out in front. Of course, understanding a concept and understanding how to put that concept into play so that your organizations emerges a winner are two separate things.
That’s right. Going forward there are going to be winners, and there are going to be losers. How is your organization going to fare? That depends upon your ability to successfully:
- Establish authority and a relationship with potential customers more effectively than the competition
- Offset the high cost of customer acquisitions by maximizing lifetime customer value
- Establish multiple sources of customer touch points for lead generation, customer service, and cross sell/upsell
- Leverage new technology to better understand your customer and competition
- Create an organization structure, and technology infrastructure, to take advantage of new, dynamic marketing capabilities in the distributed web
The key establishing a system to create new habits within your organization. The sooner you start that process, the more likely it is your business ends up in the win column.
We created a free ebook with this title because I know so many of the business managers we talk with feel like “Disrupted” is the state of their business right now. The bad economy, combined with new technology and interactive marketing techniques, has changed the way business marketing will work effectively in the future. Call it the new normal.
What to do? Education, training and experimenting is the key. The companies and executives that stay ahead of this curve will benefit greatly. Winners and losers will emerge out of this Disruption. Anyone know who the largest soap company in the US was before radio? It was not P&G. Companies that adapt to the new normal will win new customers and influence the market in unprecedented ways. And guess what, anyone can play in this new normal regardless of the size of your organization. Because everyone has an equal playing field in terms of access to customers and leveraging great content. Creativity and serving customers better than anyone else in the market will win in the new normal.
Welcome to the new normal! Join us in the fun and excitement of winning in this new Disrupted marketing and media environment.
Check out our free ebook at GenNext Media LLC.