Their product or service isn’t better than yours. Neither are their hours of operation, their price points, their industry standing, or any other criteria you use for comparing your business to the competition.
So why are your competitors gaining a larger customer base?
Could it be because they’re simply communicating better?
Consumers are changing
No matter how well media like direct mail, radio spots and outdoor boards have worked in the past, today’s consumers are taking a different path to their purchase decision. According to the inbound marketing authority HubSpot, fully half of today’s shoppers spend 75 percent of their time online – searching for businesses, reviews, pricing and other details before they initiate contact with a potential B2C or B2B vendor.
You have a website, but that’s only a start. Websites are the cost of entry into the age of digital marketing.
The challenge is use the Internet to narrow the field of countless users into just those who are the most likely to respond to your message.
The goal is to have people seek out your website – not stumble upon it.
Ahead of the curve
If your competitors already know this, and are putting that knowledge into action as part of their target market strategy, they’re in a position to realize some significant advantages:
Job one in the digital marketplace? Get found. When you truly know your target market – who they are, what they want, and how to reach them – you will have a much easier time getting in front of their eyes. Your competitors may have already done this research; if they learn that Twitter is a better forum than Facebook, for instance, they’re tweeting. If their target market is not comfortable with social media, they’re going the print route instead. In any case, they’re getting found.
From traditional “outbound” marketing to today’s inbound strategy, every form of communication represents a commitment of time, budget and resources. Your competitors may be using customer personas, surveys or other analytical methods to identify the kinds of people they most want to reach. In doing so, they’re setting themselves up for maximum ROI with minimum risk.
By understanding their customers’ likes, dislikes, habits and expectations, your competitors are not just in a position to gain revenue, they’re getting the opportunity to net some valuable feedback. What they learn from their target market’s surveys, social media comments and landing-page activity can help your competitors improve their existing service, introduce new products, or enhance the customer experience as a whole.
Creating outstanding content and making it widely available via social media goes a long way toward enhancing credibility – which, by the way, looms large in Google’s algorithm when it comes to ranking sites to the tops of their pages. Inbound marketing lets small businesses compete on an equal footing with industry leaders by virtue of the value of the content.
What can you do?
It’s never too late to create a better target market strategy. In fact, the essence of inbound marketing is based on continual measurement and modification to find the best way to get found, generate interest, and turn that interest into qualified leads.
If you want to erase your competitors’ advantage, fish in the same pond – but use better bait!