It’s Valentine’s Day, the time for love, romance…and just that bit of healthy competition.
Whether you’re eying the person who stole your boyfriend or the organisation who stole your customers, competition can be necessary. Competing with something or someone encourages us to evolve. And in an industry that is ever evolving, change is vital if you don’t want to fall behind.
To help you get a leg up, here’s some tips for coming out on top:
1. Know yourself
Before you can possibly claim to understand your customers, you first need to understand who you are and what you stand for as a business.
The clearer you can be about your values and purpose, the more efficiently you can communicate with your audience. Businesses that haven’t defined their value and competitive advantages risk sending vague, generic messages.
Consider what you want to achieve through your brand and whether you’re trying to educate customers on a specific subject or cause. If, for example, you are a company selling eco-friendly products, crafting organic or sponsored content around sustainability could be a great way to target like-minded audiences, or convert other audiences.
Building a strong brand is incredibly important and a great way to show customers and prospects what you’re all about.
2. Know your competition
Now on the flip side, it’s also important you know who your rivals are, what they’re doing and – most importantly – how you can do it better.
This doesn’t just mean researching what’s already out there, but also keeping an eye out for new competition. Search for similar businesses and products on the internet, local business directories, customer reviews and even those marketing flyers that come under your door.
Knowing what your competitors are offering can help you make your products, services and marketing stand out. It will enable you to set your prices competitively and help you understand which platforms are worth investing in.
Here’s the top marketing trends of 2021. Which platforms are your competitors using? And which ones would give your business that competitive advantage.
3. Understand your audience
Knowing your audience is central to any marketing strategy. If you don’t do enough research, you won’t know what messages will reach them or how to treat them once they become full-fledged customers.
Start with your own product. What are you selling? Consider the types of people who would benefit most and whether your current tactics are adequately reaching them. If you’re a fashion brand targeting 17-25 year olds, for example, try and align the tone of your website and advertising copy with what would best suit this demographic.
Next, let’s run the numbers. Pay close attention to your social media followers, reader comments and engagements. Consider what topics and campaigns your audience values or what types of messages don’t appeal to them. Run a Twitter or Linkedin poll and ask your followers themselves what they like about your company and what they would like to see more of.
Taking the time to understand your audience better will help you nudge them towards making a purchase.
4. Get involved
Investing in your community not only feels good, but is also a strong way to boost exposure and business visibility while you contribute your services and resources.
While big or small outdoor events may be out of the question right now, you can still keep in touch with your local community virtually via webinars, live streams and even online expos or fairs.
Whether your doors are currently open or not, it’s still vital you interact with your customers. Events of any size or type are opportunities for sharing your expertise outside the walls of your establishment.
With the pandemic still threatening individuals and organisations alike, hosting or attending a community program or event is a great way to show people you care, while also edging out the competition.
Contact our events team for help on hosting your own event.
5. Show your conscience
These days, people are expecting more and more from their favourite companies. It’s now not enough to have a great product, you must have a social conscience too.
The first step is to stop selling and start helping. With many of your customers stuck at home, they will be looking to their favorite companies for support and understanding as well as the usual sales pitch. By not showing the human face of your company you could miss out on key sales, with 89% of customers switching to brands associated with a good cause.
6. Provide exceptional customer service
When you provide great service, it helps you stand out from your competition. It also increases trust, loyalty, and the likelihood that customers will recommend you.
When purchasing a product or service we all have an expectation of great service. Many, if not all, customers will not put up with waiting in long lines or receiving poor responses from representatives, with 8 in 10 customers saying they’d switch to a competitor due to poor customer service. So always be courteous, understanding and patient. Especially right now, something small as extending return deadlines will go a long way.
With this in mind, why not include them in your marketing? A great way to showcase your customer relationships is to tell others about it. Sharing positive quotes, product photos and experiences across your social channels will help attract new customers while promoting your products and services.
7. Be unique
Probably the most direct way to win against competitors is by trying something new. Don’t just follow the crowd but stand out from within it.
Continue to reinvent your company by adopting emerging technologies and introducing new processes, products and solutions. For example, make use of trending platforms such as automation, social media and mobile.
You don’t have to have a large marketing budget to be unique. Organise regular workshops and meetings with staff to brainstorm ideas. You can even start this in lockdown using video platforms such as Zoom and Skype.
UK businesses have already changed so much, with 90% of companies believing that the COVID-19 crisis will fundamentally change the way they do business over the next 5 years. Therefore, this might be the perfect time to shake things up.
Steal your customers’ hearts
Standing out in a crowd of competitors is no easy task, and with businesses like yours still locked down it’s getting more difficult.
But with customers interacting with brands more during holidays like Valentine’s, now is the time to push ahead. This competition could mean like minded businesses, rising start-ups or even new products or services that you need to sell before somebody else takes it up.
Choose one or more of these tactics to give your business a great advantage. Contact our experts for advice on getting those competitors jealous today.