After a lot of work and plenty of sacrifices, you’ve finally managed to carve yourself a place in your industry. You can finally breathe a sigh of relief. It’s time to enjoy the fruits of your labor.
And then a competitor tries to move in and take over your customers.
Don’t be disheartened. There are ways to keep the competitors at bay, retain your existing customer base, and even attract new ones. Yes, you’ll need to adapt. And it’ll require a little creativity and a lot of elbow grease. But it’s possible to thrive, even in a competitive market.
Revisit Your Marketing Ideas
Competitors will try and stake their claim over your territory by going big on marketing. While you don’t necessarily need to match them on budget, it may be time to revisit and refresh some of your marketing methods:
- Leaflet Dropping is Not Dead. Small businesses tend to focus on email marketing over traditional marketing methods. But did you know that in 2020, people are more likely to open a physical snail mail brochure over a generic marketing email? Choose leaflets over MailChimp and you’ll do better than you think.
- Leverage non-standard platforms. You probably already have Facebook, Instagram, and Google Ads covered. Don’t limit yourself to the ‘Big Three’, however. For instance, Bing ads may not be as popular, but the search engine still has decent market share.
- Contests = free marketing. This is one of our favorite strategies. For example, run a contest asking customers to take creative photos with your product. The best one wins a voucher, or a free product. Ask them to share their creations on social media, boosting your presence with just a small investment.
Competitor Deep Dive
You need to get to know your competitor better than you know your own business. This will help you ensure that you have a superior proposition, a product and service that isn’t just better, but also represents good value for money.
Research the products they offer. Be critical of your own. Are theirs better in some aspects? Don’t be afraid to admit to yourself that you may need to step up your game. Consider their pricing structure. Is it fair? Try and consider how it compares to yours, even if your products are slightly different. Ask yourself: which one would you choose? Can you change up your deals to better reflect value?
Nurture Your Existing Customers
44% of companies focus on customer acquisition vs. 18% that put retention first. Be part of the 18%. It’s five times more expensive to attract a new customer than it is to retain an existing one. Small business owners are often so obsessed with customer acquisition, that they forget to nurture the ones they already have.
Look after your existing customers. When you introduce a discount to new customers, add a little something special to those that have been with you for a good while. Be attentive. Ask how they are doing. Personalize your marketing. Make them feel like they’re part of a tribe, appreciated, not forgotten in favor of new customers.
When you approach your business, think about the numbers. Use data analytics to your advantage. For example, don’t just set your Facebook Ads account to autopilot, setting and forgetting your initial configurations. You need to use data to adapt, to change and refine your strategies based on response.
Do the same thing with your website. Installing Google Analytics isn’t enough. You need to know how things really work under the hood. The Google Analytics Academy is a good place to start. It’ll ensure you’ll be able to say more than just how many people visited your website on a given day. That’s no longer enough.
Stay Calm: Use Your Brain, Not Your Heart
Lastly, we want to emphasize that you need to use your brain throughout this process. Be analytical, not emotional. Yes, you need heart to drive your business forward, that unique passion that brought you to where you are. But competitors can often draw out knee jerk reactions, a dash of panic, and decisions you may regret.
To give your business the oomph it needs to survive the competitor storm, keep your wits about you. You got this far, just remember that. Implement some of the ideas we’ve covered in this article, and we’re pretty sure you’ll do better than just survive.