There are possibly hundreds of digital marketing strategies for businesses to use, and most of them have significant potential to be profitable. Search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, social media marketing, email marketing, and other forms of online engagement are you able to boost the visibility of your brand, help you reach new people, and ultimately win more sales.
That said, entrepreneurs and marketers delving into the world of digital marketing often find that seeing these results isn’t as straightforward or easy as they first imagined. One of the biggest problems they face is competition – but why is competition such a massive roadblock in your digital marketing strategy, and what can you do about it?
Let’s start with an explanation of the competition problem in digital marketing. In business, competition is a well-known and well-studied threat; if a competing business offers a similar product for a lower price and does a better job of reaching your target audience, they could easily wick away much of your customer base.
But for our purposes, we’re going to be focusing exclusively on how competition interferes with your digital marketing strategy. Ultimately, there are three main issues:
Obviously, you can’t push a magic button and instantly remove your competitors from the market. Instead, you’ll need to find creative strategies to deal with the competition problem in the digital marketing space.
These are some of our best recommendations.
The first step to take is always to get to know your competitors better. The better you understand your competition, the better you’ll be able to handle them.
Understanding their strengths and weaknesses will give you a clear path to optimizing your offers and your presentation. Noting their most powerful marketing strategies can help you decide whether you want to avoid those specific areas or lean into them and double down.
Take note that competitive research isn’t a one-time ordeal; many entrepreneurs rate the competitive research section of their business plan, then never return to it, but this is a mistake. Your competitors are always growing and evolving, just like you are, so you need to keep researching and updating your understanding accordingly.
Possibly the best way to deal with competition in digital marketing is to differentiate yourself. Making yourself extremely different or pursuing different strategies will immediately distinguish you from your closest counterparts. In some cases, this allows you to find inexpensive alternative paths to reaching customers.
In others, it’s more about making sure there is no confusion for your target audience. In any case, differentiating yourself could help you seize control.
Think like an entrepreneur and get creative here. There are many different ways you can differentiate yourself, though these are some of the most common:
Thanks to automation and other scalable, high-tech tools, digital marketing is relatively cheap. A small business or an individual can get started with a basic digital marketing strategy for just a few hundred dollars. But if you want to compete on a national scale with some of your biggest competitors, you’re going to have to spend far more.
Many entrepreneurs and marketers are too intimidated to attempt such a bold gambit, but there are cases when outspending your competition is the wisest strategy. If a competitor spent $50,000 to reach rank one for a specific keyword, there’s probably a good reason they did – and spending $60,000 to outrank them could be the best use of your resources.
It’s natural to think of your competitors as enemies or threats, but they could also present new opportunities to you. Consider tapping into the power of your competition, rather than simply avoiding or dominating them.
You can get more value out of your current digital marketing strategies by focusing on retention. Remember, customer retention is less expensive and more effective than customer acquisition. If you’re already spending a hefty sum on your digital marketing strategies, you should maximize the value of each new customer you attract to your brand.
Offering more support, customer loyalty incentives and stronger client relationships are great places to start. Also, consider setting up a referral program, so you can naturally attract more loyal customers to your brand.
There are many ways that you can adequately address the competition problem in your digital marketing work. Some are naturally going to be more favorable for your brand than others. It’s up to you to study your competition carefully, set the right budget, and analyze your effectiveness to choose the best path forward.
Image Credit: Pixabay; Pexels; Thank you!
Timothy Carter is the Chief Revenue Officer of the Seattle digital marketing agency SEO.co, DEV.co & PPC.co. He has spent more than 20 years in the world of SEO and digital marketing leading, building and scaling sales operations, helping companies increase revenue efficiency and drive growth from websites and sales teams. When he’s not working, Tim enjoys playing a few rounds of disc golf, running, and spending time with his wife and family on the beach — preferably in Hawaii with a cup of Kona coffee. Follow him on Twitter @TimothyCarter