So how can you do it? How can you, the little guy, see wins in the search engines, in your lead flow, and in your revenue stream when faced with these giant competitors? With dedication to consistently following these 10 tips, you’ll come out on top with the kinds of big industry wins that you might never have dreamed were possible. Ready to dream big? Got your problem-solving pants on? Saddled up with your can-do attitude? Alright, let’s get to work.
Write content consistently, backed up by an SEO strategy.
You’ve heard us tout the importance of content creation before, but blogging isn’t enough to edge out your biggest competitors. You need to be committed to creating content consistently, like clockwork, and it should be powered by a purposeful SEO strategy. You should dedicate time to researching which keywords are important to target using keyword research tools like HubSpot’s Keyword Grader or Google’s Keyword Tool. Also, focus on long tail keyword phrases , which comprise 70% of organic search traffic and are less competitive, letting you outrank your competitors for a huge amount of long tail keywords that actually drive qualified traffic instead of a small handful of head terms that will take months and months, if not years, to show results in both search engines and your bottom line.
Use PPC strategically.
That’s not to say there aren’t some incredibly competitive long tail terms for which you’d like to rank, or that there aren’t some head terms that really would make a hugely positive impact on your business. Choose the terms that you can’t win in an organic fight and that really do matter to you and your bottom line, and go after those with PPC campaigns. It costs money, yes, but if they’re revenue-generating keywords, it’s a worthwhile way to start slowly chipping away at the competition while simultaneously growing your business.
Get a good handle on your inbound marketing analytics.
This will let you make educated decisions on where to spend your time, identify which marketing and sales tactics are working, understand what goals are realistic versus far fetched (though we heartily recommend setting a few dramatic goals!), and knowing what actions you can take to meet these goals. A thorough understanding of your inbound marketing analytics is how you achieve consistently growing lead generation, learn what content people respond to, see how your keyword strategy is progressing, know how much effort it takes to get a lead and a customer, and know which leads and customers are the most valuable.
Be an agile inbound marketer.
Armed with the knowledge that comes with understanding your analytics, you’re empowered to make constant, iterative improvements. One of the advantages you have over giant corporations is being unburdened (comparatively, at least) with bureaucracy. That means you can move quickly. Use A/B testing tools to experiment with everything in your marketing, giving you the data you need to understand what works and what doesn’t with your audience, and improve bit by bit on a daily basis.
Have a social media personality.
Like we’ve already discussed, big corporations often have bureaucracy and a well-established set of rules that are hard to nudge. This results in social media policies that can sometimes make the endeavor less than, well, social. You can sidestep that hurdle and use social media the way it’s intended to be used — like a human being. Get really social. Be friendly and helpful. Talk like you would to someone in real life. Establish your online voice in a genuine, upbeat way that makes people flock to you. These are the characteristics of the most successful social media strategies, and it’s a leg up you have over the industry giants.
Recognize and fill your weak spots.
If you’re working in a small or medium sized business, you likely wear many marketing hats, not all of which are your forte. Even with all your inbound marketing knowledge, everyone has weak spots. Identify these, evaluate how much investment they are worth, and spend money to hire talent or purchase tools that will better serve that need. It’s a worthwhile investment to put your talents where they are best suited, and to let others do the same.
Invest time every day into learning something new.
This is how you’ll stay ahead of the curve and become a thought leader, regardless of the size of your business. Whether during lunch, carving out time during your workday, or listening to podcasts on your commute, invest time every single day in learning about not just inbound marketing, but your industry. It’s a fast moving world, and those that don’t stay on top of it day after day will quickly get left behind.
Spend time building your opt-in list.
There’s so much more you can do to nurture leads with a great subscriber list. This means taking the time to build killer landing pages with forms, creating remarkable content to put behind those forms, and continually fine-tuning your email marketing strategy so you understand what kind of information your leads need, and when. As your opt-in email list grows and you get better at nurturing, you’ll see a shorter sales cycle and higher revenue per customer as a result of better pre-purchase education.
Invest in the right technology.
Technology and automation help you do your job better and faster. If that isn’t enough of a selling point, know that your big competitors are probably using technology and automation in their marketing, but aren’t necessarily doing it correctly. That means you have the opportunity to implement inbound marketing software and automation tools the right way from the get-go, and can free up time to do things that require personal attention, like creating content, social interaction, and data analysis.
Have a legitimately good product and service.
Never, ever sacrifice this. We preach about quality content all the time. But quality extends to every facet of your business. Hire the smartest people. Provide the best customer service. Be honest with people about what you can and cannot do for them. If you always keep this in mind, you’ll create a loyal base of customers that market for you and stay with you forever, giving you sustainable growth that compounds over time.
How do you plan on staying competitive or pulling ahead of your biggest competitors this year?