Are you spending too much time focussed on your competition? Do you run advertising campaigns that are remarkably similar to your competition? Your competitor has an ad in the local newspaper, so next week you do too. Your competitor launches a brand new website, so you get one built just like it. If your competitor sends out eight email notifications each month, next month you do the same.
Unfortunately, relying solely on a copycat marketing strategy at the expense of your own creativity may be doing your online presence and business reputation more harm than good.
Why you need to stop focussing on a copycat marketing strategy
Copying another company’s marketing strategies may end up being a costly exercise that still doesn’t get you any closer to achieving your own business goals. There are several reasons why it is a bad idea to base your marketing strategy solely on copying what your competition is doing. Some of the problems with a copycat strategy are that it:
- makes it hard to establish a unique brand because your content is based on someone else’s ideas and messaging
- forces you to follow your competitors while never inspiring you to actually beat them
- makes it difficult for your customer to understand the key distinctions between you and your competition
Develop your own marketing strategy
Some business owners have developed really great ideas, products, or services, but you would never know it because everything they do is based upon someone else’s marketing efforts – they have yet to develop their own creativity.
By all means look at what your competition is doing – you might be able to enhance an idea or make it on your own by taking something they have done and creating your own value proposition. Just avoid direct imitation.
An important part of developing your own marketing strategy is to ensure that it is working in conjunction with your overall business strategy. I also want to encourage you to include some thinking about what your measurable goals will be – so that you will be able to directly measure how well your marketing strategy is working.
Write in your customers’ language
In your choice of words, you cannot just assume that the words that you use in your marketing material will be the same as the words your customers are searching for or will be persuaded by. Gerry McGovern uses this example to highlight the importance of using customer focussed language: Airlines have often used the phrase ‘low fares’ in their marketing, but his research showed that, for customers in the United States there were 80 times more searches for ‘cheap flights’ than for ‘low fares’. So you may not even get your marketing copy in front of your customers if you are using the wrong words in the first instance.
Are you creating a unique and memorable impression?
Your web visitors do value high-quality content – and research has shown that it’s one of the factors that will encourage them to return to your website. So find out what your customers want from your website using web analytics – or maybe even by asking them directly through your social media presences. You need to find out why they keep coming back so that you can focus your content marketing efforts on your unique point of difference in order to grow a loyal and strong customer base.
Be compelling and offer a unique reason for your customers to follow your voice amongst all the other voices out there. You will also need to check that your social media presences and website are working together as part of an overall coordinated marketing strategy.
It is always better to be a market leader rather than one who simply follows the whims and movement of the market. You cannot afford for your marketing efforts to be weak and ineffective. Your website visitors will always have choices on who they decide they will buy from. Remember that a clearly focussed message will enable you to draw in more traffic from the search engines, deliver a better experience for your customers and give you a better chance of success in reaching your goals.