Everyone wants to be like Amazon. Or Uber. Or Apple. They all disrupted well established industries by investing in a quality experience. These companies can, should, and probably do inspire you, but let’s not forget that you started a new company to meet an under-represented need.
Now you need to build your own experience and your own business strategy. Just because a competitor appears to be successful doesn’t mean that copying the site structure or marketing mix will make you successful as well.
So, again, we challenge you: develop your own approach (and we are here to help you do that).
Step 1: Who is your customer?
Developing your own approach means starting with the basics. Who are you selling to?
It’s such a basic question that it’s often skipped. But take your time, and more importantly, be specific. It’s common knowledge that the smaller your target audience, the more likely they are to convert. Why? Because your message is specific to them. Thus, defining a specific target will only ensure that you maximize your conversions, and that’s extra important when you’re starting out because you have limited resources.
To further illustrate how important it is to be specific, think about the opposite: a company designs a business plan that’s intended to talk to multiple audiences. How does the core product need to be changed? How can you design a brand & digital experience that resonates well with more than one audience? Too often we see clients dilute their core message when they take this approach. In today’s short attention span world, it’s much more valuable to focus on one customer and be very clear.
It seems counterintuitive, but a smaller target market with a high conversion rate really is more valuable to a startup or small business than a larger target market and a low conversion rate.
Step 2: Translating the target audience into an approach
If you’ve really thought through your target audience, next you should take a moment to ensure that you know what you’re selling to them. We don’t mean this literally, although the actual product is important. What you’re selling refers to the value proposition. Are you selling relief from a pain point? Are you selling fun?
Once you know who you’re targeting with what product, then the why reveals itself. This almost becomes your mission statement, which is split into objectives, and eventually becomes a marketing plan.
How can you reach the target market online? When they get to your website, how can you convince them to complete a purchase? The how falls into place assuming that you’ve taken the time to think through who, what, and why.
Thus, they can’t do it better
Let’s recap: you are unique. You’re solving a need that someone else missed. You know your audience the best & can talk to them more directly than anyone else.
So, why does what a competitor’s approach matter? If they are spending more in paid search than on Facebook, does that mean you should, too? Sometimes, it actually is helpful to check on them, but most times, a better lens is “what does my customer need?” Bonus if you can use data or a testing strategy to inform your approach.
The bottom line is: it doesn’t matter what everyone else is doing. Looking inwards is much more valuable.