Warning: I’m gonna get a little “sneaky” in this post.
I don’t subscribe to the notion that it’s not enough for me to succeed, my “enemies” must also fail. And I do believe in showing mutual respect and taking the high road when dealing with people.
But I’m also playing to win, to dominate the market. I plan on remaining number one for the search term “blog consultant” for a long time.
How about you?
Want to dominate your market?
Not all of the tips below are “sneaky” but a few of them definitely are. Why? Because it’s good to win battles without ever fighting. Leading is better than following. By the way, some of the links below are affiliate links (because, you know: beer money.)
So, here we go:
- Know your customer better than anyone else does, and use the right tools to arm yourself with that data, such as Quantcast, encouraging replies to your marketing emails, blog comments, hanging out in forums and Facebook timelines, and searching for keywords on Twitter. The more you interact with them, the better you will be able to get inside their heads and create content which will seem to talk to them like the voice of God.
- Use your products as lifestyle triggers. Sure, people certainly covet products, but it’s a mistake to focus the energy on the product itself. What does that product signify for the customer? What meaning does it give them to have the product? Focus on the meaning and use the product as the “trigger” for that meaning.
- Understand how your customers really search for information. Use tools like Wordtracker, SEMRush and Google’s keywords tools to see what keywords people are truly searching for. If you really want to go big guns, give Market Samurai software a try.
- Let your customers create your content for you. Use product reviews, interview your own customers (use video for this if you can) and use customer Q&A and FAQs and help desk inquiries as material for blog posts. When your customers know you regularly and publicly answer questions, they’ll send in more. You get free content and insights into your customers. Your customers get relevant content and feel cared for.
- Engage your customers outside the blog to drive traffic back to the blog. This means having an active presence wherever your customer spends her time online, be it Email, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest or even real life locations (depending on your business).
- Check your analytics against your goals on a regular basis and act on what you find. Make sure you have analytics for web, email marketing and social media. At first it’s easy to spend too much time poring over the data as you learn the ropes of the software. But once you’ve got the hang of it, figure out what you need to know on a weekly and monthly basis. Then create those reports to go out automatically (or schedule it in your calendar). Make sure you are proactive, not reactive. If the data show you’re not reaching your goals, don’t move the goal posts. Change what you’re doing in order to try and hit your targets.
- Subscribe to your competitor’s blogs and email lists so you know how they’re marketing. Use a fake email address that doesn’t give you away as a spy. Don’t do this in order to copy what they’re doing, do it in order to see what they’re missing and fill in that gap. Zig when they zag. How are they talking to their customers? How are their customers taking it? What is the level of engagement for comments and social media?
- Audit your competition’s site design. How is their home page designed in comparison to content marketing pages (blog posts and other pages) and product/service pages? Does their design indicate they’re gunning for the same crowd as you? Whether yes or no, what differences can you capitalize on with your design?
Don’t assume your competition is more successful than you, but if it’s obvious they are, then you can learn from them: where do they place conversion elements in their page designs and what do they look like? You want to steal these ideas like a great artist, not copy them like an ignorant fool. Know the difference.
- Figure out where you can be bold, and hit that sucker head on like a truck. Boldness stands out and attracts attention. Also-rans and “me too” copycat approaches do not. You’re not a leader if you’re following so-called “best practices.” Best practices are the opiate of the mediocre business masses.
Do not confuse boldness with loudness or rudeness. Boldness can be found in the decisions you make, not just in how you carry yourself. For example, simply standing up for what you believe is right in your industry, and standing against what you believe is wrong is a very bold thing to do. Do not be afraid to turn people off and polarize them, because you will be filtering out people who are a waste of your time and you will be bringing “the faithful” closer to you.
- Be strong where your competition is weak. This can apply in so many ways it would be impossible to list them here, but just as an example let’s take a look at general freelance services. What sins are most freelancers guilty of? Not getting work done on time. Not finishing projects at all. Having a snotty elitist attitude and making the customer feel ignorant and small.
If you wanted to differentiate yourself as a freelancer, you could easily do it by simply being reliable and delivering excellent customer service. This will come out in your marketing content if you follow the previous tips in this list and you’ll stand out as a bastion of reliability in a sea of inconsistent flakes.
Another way to think of this: don’t just be better than your competition. Be something else, entirely.
- Educate the hell out of your customers and provide more information than anyone else in your market. This is what content marketing is for, people! Whether you’re blogging to sell products or services, the best content marketing is educational and an educated customer is the best customer. Customers are going to trust their educators, so you want to be the educator, the leader, and get the most sales. Hell, you can even beat Wal-Mart if you put your mind (and blog) to it.
- If you’re gonna use online advertising, use “remarketing.” Remarketing is when people visit your site and tracking cookies are placed on their computers (this is perfectly normal, by the way, in case you’re a tech noob and didn’t know this already). As these folks go about their days surfing the web, ads for the products they looked at on your site keep showing up wherever they go.
Overstock uses remarketing like it’s going out of style, so if you want to see an example, just go look at a product there, and then go about your online day as usual. Don’t be surprised if you see ads for the exact product you looked at showing up in the sites you visit.
While this may seem sneaky, it’s definitely not illegal or even unethical. It’s a service provided by Google and they explain everything you need to know about it.
What Are You Doing?
Are you doing any of these now? How’s that working out for you? Do you find any of these intriguing? Gonna try them? Let me know in the comments!