Most online businesses do not have the luxury of owning their vertical.
Unless you patented the Chia Pet or work for Google, chances are you have competitors. They are always breathing down your neck, and you need to learn how to beat the competition by outranking, outselling, and outdoing them.
Below are a few tried and true tips for outshining your online competition:
1. Be Unique
This does not mean you need to do or sell something that nobody else does; it means you need to do or sell something differently.
For many marketers in the B2B world, this can seem difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, many B2B brands today are showcasing their uniqueness by injecting humor and storytelling into their online marketing.
CB Insights is a perfect example. Their business provides valuable data and insights about technology, venture capital, and emerging companies. Not exactly topics known for sass.
But their newsletter stands out because it is always funny, engaging, and tells a great story while giving their readers world class information.
Another way to focus on where your brand can stand out is to look at what your competitors are doing. Competitor analysis tools can show you areas where your competition is lacking, allowing you to jump in and grab more attention for your brand.
Here are a few examples of good competitor analysis tools:
SpyFu is a tool that helps you find out what keywords your competitors are using and is especially useful for tracking profitable keywords in paid ad campaigns.
SimilarWeb is a fantastic competitor analysis tool that helps you benchmark against competitors, reveal competitor analytics, and discover new opportunities.
Kompyte is a tool that helps automate your competitor tracking and research. You can see all the changes they make to their sites, marketing campaigns, and even products, all in one place.
iSpionage is a tool that helps you uncover your competitors traffic strategies allowing you to generate more leads and increase conversion rates by driving targeted traffic.
2. Focus On Needs And Pain Points
Buyer personas are representations of your ideal customers. They don’t have to be perfect, but they should help you understand the needs, pains, goals, and challenges of your target audience.
If you’ve been wondering how to beat the competition online, this is a key factor. Way too many B2B brands don’t take the time needed to invest in creating good buyer personas.
You can pull the information you need to create personas from the data you have in your CRM tool or from calling up a few customers and asking questions or getting feedback. Any information you can gather, no matter how small it might seem, can play a big role in better understanding your target customers and how to speak to them.
Let’s take a look at something LinkedIn did, for example.
LinkedIn is primarily thought of as a professional social media tool. However, it’s an incredible tool for B2B marketers, as well.
LinkedIn understood that B2B marketers could see huge ROI — a common business goal — by investing time and energy into marketing on the platform.
So, they produced a content offer geared towards their target audience of savvy marketers who already knew the value of their site but didn’t know how to use it, and created a guide called The Sophisticated Marketers Guide to LinkedIn.
This guide showed people who already saw the value of LinkedIn how to get even more out of it.
3. Be Customer-Centric
If you think being customer-centric doesn’t apply to B2B brands, think again.
In fact, studies show that great overall customer experiences are going to be more important than even price or products when it comes to choosing a vendor.
An excellent customer experience starts with creating content from the first touch that is aimed at buyer personas and keeps them educated and engaged, both on blogs and other marketing channels like social media. Your content should be valuable and informative, and it should actually help your audience.
Customer-centricity also means understanding exactly how the product or service you’ve created is going to be the perfect fit for your customer, how it will solve pain points, and how it will bring them a return on their investment. It is not about telling your audience how great your product/service is, but rather about the benefits that they can experience.
Finally, brands also need to embrace customer service. That includes both listening to your customers and understanding the data they generate to provide them with highly personalized service and content.
4. Track Your Competitors’ Online Activities
Setting yourself apart from your competitors by being unique does not mean that you should forget they are there.
Monitoring their activities online is just one part of a sound B2B SEO strategy. This should include doing competitor keyword research and SEO competitor analysis.
When it comes to competitor keyword research, the first thing to look for is what keywords your competitors are using.
You can start by putting your main keywords into any search tool and seeing who else is ranking for them.
You can also look at the top performing pages of your competitors and see what keywords they are ranking for there as well. These might give you a few keyword ideas and opportunities you hadn’t known about previously.
Here are a few other ways to beat the competition:
- Backlinks: See where your competitors are getting backlinks and create an outreach program to add these (and others) to your site, too
- Content calendar: Check how often they are posting and what style of content they are putting out. Are there topics you can cover in more depth?
- Technical SEO: Always make sure your website is optimized so search engines can easily crawl and index it
- Domain authority: Where are your competitors ranking in domain authority and what are steps you can take to improve yours?
- Attractive referral programs: Is this something you could offer to your customers that could have a real ROI?
5. Become An Expert
Investing in a long-term strategy to become a trusted expert in your industry is a wise move in the chess game that is online competition. When you brand yourself as a trusted advisor, by providing valuable content, knowledge, and advice, you build a following while building your credibility, which can be a huge advantage in the B2B world.
Create content even though each piece may not lead to a sale. Answer questions on forums and social networks without a “hard sell” of your product. Engage with your audience and build your network. Though these actions may not pay the bills at first, they are sowing the seeds for a fruitful strategy.
You should also consider using influencer marketing as a strategy to beat the competition and establish yourself as an expert. When a trusted industry influencer vouches for you, it gives you more credibility. Plus, those with large social followings can instantly give your brand exposure to a wider audience in a short amount of time.
Find those who are relevant in your niche or industry and team up. Some partnership ideas include:
- Content exchange
- Joint webinar
- Interviews and/or podcasts
- Publishing a mutual study
Now You Know How to Beat the Competition
Online competitors will likely always be around. And it’s not going to get any easier to shine over time, so by investing in these strategies right now, you’re setting the stage to help your brand stand out.
Keep testing these strategies and invest in others in order to stay a step ahead. For assistance in your marketing and branding strategy, contact KeyScouts today.