Competition. Like it or not, when it comes to marketing, you are always competing with someone for the valuable dollar in your target market’s pocket. You may be blessed to have little, even no direct competition, but what else are you competing against? Moreover, you can be in a highly competitive field or industry. In any rate, you still need to stand out above the crowd. There are various ways to do that in today’s digital marketing age and I’ll highlight some here. First let me give you some examples of clients of mine with low, medium and high competition.

No or Low Competition

First, I’ll tell you about one of my clients, Simply Smashging Rage Release Room, who opened the very first Rage Room in Tempe — in fact the whole state of Arizona. (Simply Smashing also happens to be a SCORE Success Story!) Being the first, he had no competition. He enjoyed being on the first page of Google search for “rage room Phoenix” and “anger room Tempe” among other phrases. Even if the searcher didn’t know the name of the company, he was found by searching for what it is. Most importantly, that’s one of the first things to remember when it comes to search engine optimization…

What is your target market going to enter into the search box to find what you are offering if they don’t know your name?

I’ll let that question sink in for a bit.

For almost 2 years my client enjoyed being the only one in the Phoenix Valley till another rage room opened nearby in the East Valley. My client can’t afford to become complacent. Above all,hHe has to continue his marketing efforts or he’s going to lose the coveted first page of Google.

Medium Competition

segmenting your target marketsAnother one of my clients is my chiropractor. Specifically, he’s a Gonstead Chiropractor — that’s a particular method of chiropractic medicine. Some people search for that and there are only a few in the Phoenix Valley. On top of that, he also practices holistic and functional medicine, which tries to find the source of the pain or issue rather than treating the symptoms. Besides that, he offers several weight-loss programs. Now, with that he has a lot of competition.

He told me he liked working with older people, helping them with “healthy aging”.  That gave me the idea for him to offer a “healthy aging screening” which would get folks into the office then he, depending on their medical problem, offer various treatments. That helped him stand out and reach a specific target. We focus on sharing articles on healthy aging and we’ve built a following with that strategy.

High Competition

I just started doing research for a new client who has a faith-based clothing line in an ecommerce store. His competition is national if not global. I knew it was a competitive field going in, but I didn’t realize how competitive till I started doing searches online. All of a sudden on my personal Instagram, I started seeing ads for faith-based clothing stores. Every day a new one would pop up. Yikes! I first listed for him the top 8 that came up on Google search and then I found 3 more significant ones from the Instagram ads. If he wants to be successful, he’s going to have to budget some dollars for paid ads.

Competing for Your Target’s Attention

stand out among competitionBack in the day of 3 TV networks and a morning or maybe an evening newspaper, the bolder headline and the snazzier commercial got your attention. A business tested ads with coupons to see if they were effective. They looked for ROI.

Furthermore, you’re not just competing against your business competition. Additionally, you’re up against everyone else that your target follows online and on social media which includes and is not limited to:

  • family
  • friends
  • celebrities
  • entertainment
  • major brands
  • politics
  • the latest news or trends

So what’s a Small Business Owner Supposed to do?

  1. First and foremost — clearly define your target market personas. You can have more than one. 
  2. Research the target(s). Get to know your target. Where are they hanging out online? Do generations factor in? What are their pain points? What are their other interests? (That’s who else you’ll be competing with for their attention online.)
  3. What keywords are they going to enter into the search engine to find you? The keyword list will tell you which phrases are most searched for each month. It will also give you variations of keywords and phrases. You can get a list by location and try several different phrases. This list will help you write the copy for your website, social media network profile pages as well as give you ideas for blog articles. Think about it — nothing better than to write about or do a video on the most-search-for topics in your field!
  4. Who’s your direct competition? Do a Google search for your major keyword phrases and questions. Who comes up on the first page? Start with the 3 at the bottom of the page. Visit their websites. How often are they blogging if they even have a blog? Are they on social media? Which networks? How many followers do they have? How often are they posting? What are they posting? Is location a factor? If they’re not blogging weekly, then you need to blog weekly, if not daily, to bump them off the first page. If they’re not active on the social networks, then the more active you are, the faster you’ll grab their spot on page one. This becomes part of your strategic and tactical plans in steps 7 and 8 below.
  5. Set up your website and social media networks optimized for search. Branding must be consistent throughout.
  6. Set SMART Goals. Pick the right metrics.
  7. Plan your strategic efforts for getting your target market’s attention and meeting your goals. If competition is low, then organic (non-paid) marketing should be sufficient until more competitors show up — and they will. If location is a factor, you may also get away with just doing organic marketing. Ecommerce sites or local businesses with high competition will have to budget in paid advertising.
  8. Then comes the tactical plan to implement the strategy. How many blog articles or videos will you do a week? How many posts to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn per day?
  9. Then just do it.
  10. Monitor and measure at the end of each month to see what worked and what didn’t work and plan for the next month.

A Lot More Involved than You Thought, Right?

Take a lesson from Master Chef:

Do your best. Just hope that your competition does a lesser job or makes a mistake.

As you can see, it’s not as simple as putting up a website and doing a few posts on Facebook. Furthermore, it’s complicated. But it doesn’t have to be overwhelming if you take it one step at a time.

Wherever you get help, no one can guarantee specific numbers. And anyone that does is fooling you. There are no short-cuts.  

This article first appeared on the AZ Social Media Wiz Blog

About the Author(s)

Giselle Aguiar, AZ Social Media Wiz

Giselle Aguiar, founder of AZ Social Media Wiz is a social media, content & digital marketing consultant & trainer. She specializes in market research, strategic planning, search engine optimization (SEO), social media and marketing automation setups, training and coaching.

Social Media Marketing Strategist, Trainer and Coach, AZ Social Media Wiz
What You Need to Know to Beat the Competition Online