The Internet is kind to entrepreneurs. Anyone with a dream, an expertise, and a connection to the web can start their own online business. But there's a flipside - if it's easy for you to set up shop online, it's also easy for your competitors.
Just about all young online entrepreneurswind up jockeying for position with a herd of other young online entrepreneurs. Even if your chosen field is uncrowded at first, it's unlikely to stay that way. Good ideas spread quickly, and success often brings a tide of me-toos and lookalikes.
So how's an entrepreneur to stay ahead of the race? Responsiveness, product or service quality, personnel - they're all incredibly important, but today, we'll be focusing on marketing. Marketing offers limitless possibilities for distinguishing your company from the horde, try thinking about these three things while setting up your next campaign.
Information is key to any conflict. And while I'm not suggesting you sneak spies into your competitors' offices, I am suggesting that you do just about everything else you can in order to keep tabs on them. Tiny shifts in an opponent's game plan can tell you which moves to take next.
Standing out from the crowd is key. Case in point: look at the disaster that was the recent launch of Tidal. The online streaming service hit a packed field, and did a poor job of finding exploitable pieces of market share.
Tidal's only unique selling points were greater kickbacks to artists and hi-fi streaming music - even on paper, neither one looks particularly enticing to the garden-variety user. Not only that, but the service looks aesthetically similar to existing giant Spotify. Avoid costly similar mistakes by thoroughly vetting both potential audience members and potential competitors.
Craft a Unique Personality
Even if you're surrounded by companies selling similar goods, you still have a chance to distinguish yourself by creating an effective online persona. The internet in general - social media in particular - has given brands the chance to engage with audiences at a much more intimate level than before.
Take advantage of this. Communicate and converse with your customers. Make friends - there's no advertising more effective than word-of-mouth praise from a devoted fan. But more than that, develop a consistent voice on the web, no matter what medium you're using to advertise.
SEO magnate Moz has done an incredible job of this. Moz is very, very far from the only company to sell marketing software, but they've still prospered nonetheless.
Check through their posts and website, and you'll notice a few things immediately. They're friendly, personable, and a little off-beat. Blog posts prominently display author photos under colorful graphics. Humorous copy and a bug-eyed robot mascot drive the point home: this a company that makes SEO fun.
Don't Limit Yourself to Online Marketing
Yes, you're a net-based business, but that doesn't mean you have to exclusively advertise online. Hitting the streets can work wonders for your struggle toward success, largely because so few companies ever bother doing it.
And I'm not talking about hiring giant street teams or setting up concert series a la Red Bull. Guerrilla marketing has a long and storied track record of success for small businesses. Look at how Tinder got its start. The two creators behind it would infiltrate college parties, then directly talk their app up to popular, attractive students. The result? A vibrant, highly marketable base of avid app users.
Guerrilla marketing isn't for everyone though. For every success story, I can probably name a campaign that backfired horrifically. Take Cartoon Network. Their infamous 2007 attempt at guerrilla marketing involved placing a load of mysterious, beeping electronic devices around Boston. They police were called, the bomb squads were brought in, and heads rolled at Cartoon Network.
If you do decide to try a campaign, then you have my admiration and my best wishes. Don't feel like you need to shock or surprise anyone - rather, an awful lot of the best guerrilla marketing drives were subtle and friendly (FourSquare picked up user after user just by playing, well, foursquare with them). Think about a way to physically express your brand, then execute with impunity.
Don't Give Up
Sometimes, persistence is the only unique quality you need. The net is kind to entrepreneurs, but it also has a nasty habit of chewing some up and spitting them out. While I'm all about knowing when to cut your losses, it's also important not to do so too soon. Realize that your competitors are in the same place, and whoever manages to build through those tough early years is often going to be in the best spot to keep growing.
Original Source: patientsites.com