Single Throw's Internet Marketing Post

Single Throw is an Internet Marketing firm that helps businesses with sales lead generation by making sure your message is in the right place at the right time - when a customer is searching and has need - when they are most likely to make a buying decision. We call this "From Search to Success." In this blog, Single Throw's experts will share their insights on the state of business and marketing, both online and offline, as well explore new areas of Internet Marketing.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Riding on Internet Marketing Coattails

As Internet marketers, we have a role to advise our customers of the many marketing opportunities available to them. As a service business, we too, have to market ourselves. It's a constant, infinite, never-ending journey for both sides. It's actually a very exciting time to be on both sides. You're saying, "Caryl, you are way too hung up on this stuff." And you're probably right. But that's my job. It's a lot of reading, testing, observing, trying, failing, and try-try-trying again.

Marketing is not cut and dry. The Internet has made marketing both a thousand times easier and a million times more difficult. There is no secret formula that will work for all businesses in all scenarios. There are some basics that, as a business, you should be including in your plans. The first of which should be understanding your customer and their needs. The second is targeted exposure.

Often clients will say to me, "Our competitor is doing this, so we should too." Just then, the game show buzzer goes off in my head and I cringe at the thought, and the mentally conjured sound. While your competitor may certainly successful, riding on what you perceive to be their Technicolor coattails does not guarantee success for your company. What you may be observing is simply one small fraction of their carefully crafted marketing plan in action. And it may not even be the part that IS working for them.

So where does one start? Again, let's refer to the basics:
  • Who is your customer?
  • What do they need?

Without establishing their needs and intent, you can't even consider what might make for a successful marketing effort.

Next: stop playing "me too" with your competition. It is highly unlikely that they have covered every single avenue to reach what you feel is the overlap of your customer base. Look more towards what they are not doing and consider how to impact those areas. Let's look at this another way...

The Internet now affords us with tools to better understand what our customers are searching for. Nine times out of ten a client will say to us, "Competitor A shows up in Google for that so we should, too." Yet, research indicates their customers aren't using that terminology, it's more of a phrase used by people in the business, not by the customer. So while it might be nice to show up there as well - it's nice for ego, I imagine - it's not necessarily going to help attract new customers, which is the real goal, the one that will grow your business. And now you both showing up for something no one is searching for. Doesn't sound like a good investment of resources, does it?

Here's the tip: look to avenues your competitor has not penetrated. Offer your potential clients a UNIQUE value proposition, not a "me too" proposition. Find out what they need and target your efforts to that need. Be a little bold. It's scary, but rewarding.

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