Here at Swoop Digital we like to analyse why some businesses are more successful at getting results than others.
We've been looking at two competing businesses - one that has been quite successful in selling its products and is a market leader in their field and one of their competitors who has been a lot less successful.
So the key question is what separates the successful company from the unsuccessful one? How does one company outperform the competition while another struggles to get traction?
Using this case study, here are 5 things you can do to outperform your competition:
- Think long term versus short term
The successful company did not achieve success overnight. It spent two years getting traction and building authority in its market. It had a consistent plan and invested for the long term. This has helped them build authority and get sales. They understood that an investment in their time was required to successfully market their business.
Success did not happen overnight - it took time to get traction and took consistent effort on their part to get to the point where they are today.
Compare this to the other company who wanted instant sales. While they were prepared to invest some level of money, they were not in it for the long term and the moment they did not get sales, they abandoned what they were doing and sacrificed long term gain when they had short term pain.
The key here is to know what you are doing and why you are doing it. Understand that success does not happen overnight - it requires a consistent investment in time or money.
- Have a strategy
The successful company had a strategy. Their main aim was to widen their distribution network. They did this by gathering names and email addresses and building a relationship with end users.
They were clear who their target market was and never veered of that course. They understood the key issues of their market and matched their messages accordingly.
Some of the tactics used in their strategy included Email Marketing, Google AdWords, SEO and Content to pull people to their business. They had a strategy for each of these tactics. They conducted weekly webinars, wrote blog posts every couple of days and regularly posted news on their Facebook page. The content provided value to readers to help them make an informed decision.
Compare this to the other business who changed both their strategy and who they were targeting several times. By focusing on too many diverse markets they diluted their focus and marketing efforts and did not achieve success in any market. Focusing their efforts and achieving success for one vertical would have helped them develop a process that was scaleable and repeatable in other markets.
They were also unwilling to invest time and money to research and understand the market and were therefore in a poor position to communicate effectively with any of their markets.
Finally, they had no SEO or content marketing strategy. They did not understand which keywords were valuable to them and invested in cheap overseas link building services rather than take a strategic approach. The unfortunate thing with this is that SEO has moved way beyond simple link building. Because of the many changes that have happened in the SEO landscape over the past 12 months, focusing on this alone may mean their business is put at risk.
The takeout is to have a strategy in place and stay focused on it. The acronym for FOCUS is Follow One Course Until Successful. While you need to change your strategy sometimes, changing it too quickly can also be detrimental and mean you are sending mixed messages to the market.
- Stick to a plan
Lets face it, plans can be boring. But sticking to your plan can pay dividends. The successful company had a plan around developing content. This required them to have an ongoing investment in time, money and resources. It regularly wrote blog posts, conducted webinars and sent emails aimed at giving product updates and helping businesses market their product better.
The other company wrote blog posts intermittently. It was less prepared to invest either time or money to develop content let alone a content strategy. The earlier posts did not add any value to end users and then stopped. This approach was attempted again and while the posts provided the end user with better information they were not very frequent.
Plans are important - not only to outline what you are going to do but also to ensure that you stick to the times. If you are continually not meeting the deadlines in your plan, you need to work out why and what resources you need to put in to fix it.
- Build assets
The successful company made a wise decision and built assets in the form of an email marketing list. They used permission based email marketing to collect the names and email addresses of potential partners who had visited their website and regularly communicated to them by way of emails & webinars.
The other company decided not to collect this information. This meant that they lost the ability to communicate directly to people who had previously visited their website and were potentially interested in the product they offered. Instead they collected names and email addresses by scraping them from industry specific websites and social media.
The issue here is that the quality of the list was compromised and they also lost the ability to communicate key product improvements and help guide prospects in the decision making process.
The key takeout is to make sure you build assets. Just because someone has visited your website, it does not mean that they will come back again. We have short attention spans. It is human to forget things. Set up a process and start building assets. Your biggest asset is your database. Protect it, nurture it and use it to build strong relationships. Sales may not come instantly. But they will come from the relationships you build.
- Provide regular communication
The successful company provided regular and consistent information to people on their database. The information they provided was valuable and provided content rich information to help users make a decision to use their service. They acknowledged the competition but attempted to differentiate themselves by giving people valuable information first and then providing information about why they should choose them.
The unsuccessful company was less committed to building a database. They used an in house email marketing system that was difficult to use and made it harder to communicate effectively with their market.
The key concept here is to ensure your business is not forgotten about. Provide regular, helpful information that will guide someone into deciding to pick you.
Remember that while marketing is about making a profit consistently. It is not just about making an immediate sale, it requires you to take a long term view.
Contact us if you need help to develop a digital marketing plan. Once you have your plan, make sure you consistently implement it. If you lack the time to implement it, make sure you have funds set aside and outsource implementation.