Let’s face it: the web is overwhelmed. Overwhelmed with poorly written content, junky websites and… yes, advertisement.
With their competitive rush and marketing aspirations flying high, businesses often fall into the so-called black hole of inefficient online strategies.. Then the reality checks in and crashes their poorly built sailing boat of high aspirations against the rocky shores of Internet Marketing.
There are several inherent issues with certain online marketing strategies widely utilized today that lead to these boat wrecks:
- Obsession with what their competitors do often leads businesses into the trap of mimicking their competitors’ Internet Marketing strategies without any proof that they actually work. Yes, it is important to know what your competitors are doing, but it is even more important to be authentic rather than a copycat.
- Fear to stand out by experimenting with creative originality limits marketing options that can be employed to create a buzz. Take video content, for example: it is a common belief in the corporate meeting rooms that a corporate video has to have an outstanding studio quality and be serious in the way it portrays the company. However, how often have we seen a professional and serious video go viral?
- The word “Blog” is portrayed as an uneducated monster that has the power of making a business look amateur. But what a better way is there than creating a corporate blog for sharing interesting information with your buyers and using blog pages as the first step in the buying cycle’s purchase funnel towards that ultimate conversion point that is located directly on your website?
- Businesses do not like to give out information for free. “We’ve got to make money, and if we give that ebook away for free, what is the use, right?” Wrong. Free giveaways generate hundreds of times more hits and buzz than asking for something in return. And there are ways to use your free whitepaper or ebook as a logical step in that buying cycle in order to bring in more customers!
It pays off to stand out from the crowd, especially in markets saturated with competing businesses that offer similar products or services.
What can organizations do to position themselves as trusted advisors, as authentic companies whose values are shared with their buyers, as thought leaders who set trends and are viewed as experts in the marketplace?
The answer is Thought Leadership. This means taking off the marketing shoes and putting on the buyers’ shoes and trying to understand what it is like to be your own buyer. What needs does this product solve for me as its buyer? What would I like to know more about the buying process? Etc. Design your Internet Marketing Strategy in the way that will be in line with what your buyers expect to read/hear/find out from your business. Offer advice, dissolve uncertainties, destroy fears, provide solutions and educate your audience.
Thought Leadership can be exercised in a multitude of ways, each of which is unique and has its own dynamics. Below, are some of the ways that your business can exercise Thought Leadership:
- If your competition is using their website to showcase and sell their products, design your website to instead educate visitors, provide comparison data, answer questions, ask for feedback. This will make your website appeal to your audience more which will increase readership and conversions.
- If your competitor is offering an e-book in return for a subscription or an email, offer yours for free! Design it the way that it would unfold a problem and offer a solution, and then, directly on the e-book, offer a way to connect with you – this will be your conversion! While your competitors are getting 50 e-book downloads and collect 50 emails for each, your e-book will be downloaded 2,500 times and if 10% of people will contact you directly from it, this will equip you with 250 leads!
- Write a useful whitepaper. Whitepapers are a powerful Internet Marketing tool that’s written for business audience and helps decision makers justify implementation of their solutions. It normally defines a problem and offers a solution, but it does not talk about any particular product.
- Create a Blog. Yes, you have a website, but guess what: all of your competitors have it too. Having a blog can be a great way of positioning your company as an industry leader. Sharing engaging articles with your audience means increasing authority level and expertise in their eyes. This, in turn, builds trust and relationships. What a better way to increase a customer base overtime!
These are just some of the ways that your business thought leadership can be exercised in order to create competitive positioning in the market. There are plenty more that we did not cover in this article, and they include webinars, wikis, surveys and reports, graphs, charts, podcasts, etc.
Be different from your competition. Don’t just sell. Educate, share, build trust, engage, and see the benefits through an increase customer base – overtime.