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March 14, 2016
Marketing  |  6 min read

3 Ways to Pummel the Online Competition

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be the first criminal to experience the effects of a stun gun? Imagine you’re a 6'5," 287-pound outlaw about to take on a 5'7", slightly overweight local patrolman. You're pretty confident—but suddenly the police officer calmly pulls out this strange looking thing, points it at you, and all of a sudden…Bzzzzzttttt! Before you even know what happened, 50,000 volts of electric current stop you in your tracks! You might call that a great equalizer.

Now, ask yourself this: What if you could stun your bigger competition with a website that’s the equivalent of a “stop you right where you stand” stun gun? That's the beauty of the internet—you can! 

The internet has leveled the business playing field for everyone. Small businesses can appear much larger than they are. Mid-sized companies can look downright huge, and on occasion, industry veterans can do something so foolish they end up coming across as trivial or irrelevant. 

I’ve been in the marketing business for about a quarter century; I've seen it all, and I’m sure you’ve experienced quite a bit yourself. It’s time your company maximizes and leverages the power of the internet. Today, more than any other time in the past, you have unprecedented opportunities to make your company look bigger, better, and stronger than the competition. And you can do this in an arena where people are eliminating your competitors. Here are three ways to build a better website and leverage the great equalizer we call the internet:

1. Don’t underestimate the power of design 

Because people decide to eliminate you or your competitor online, what they see is a huge factor. Truth is that your website can be designed just as well as any national competitor, and often for much less. RULE #1 – Do not hire your nephew unless he is an experienced web designer and understands your business. We can’t tell you how to design a website here, but a couple critical keys are color use, photography, and intuitive design. 

  • Color use is simple. Your designer must understand the power of colors and how to use them and how not to. For example, red type vibrates and soft blue backgrounds are calming. 
  • Only great photography sells. Poor photography hurts you. Invest in a great photographer for your website images. Although you can occasionally find stock photos that may help, it is rare. You won’t need 50 images. Even just five amazing images will really help. Here’s a bonus hint: Try to show people enjoying your product whenever possible rather than just bland pictures of the product. Our mirror neurons kick in when we see people enjoying the product, not when we see the product.
  • Intuitive design is crucial. If a web visitor has to think for more than three seconds to make his next move on your website, they are frustrated and you risk being eliminated. Intuitive design understands the visitor’s needs and gets them to the desired destination immediately. We call it “Give the Gorilla the Bananna!” No one wants to frustrate the gorilla.

Just a few decades ago it was nearly impossible for a small business to compete with a national or large regional competitor. Newspaper, print, and broadcast ad placement were the primary marketing tools, but back then the big boys wore bigger pants, which meant they had deeper pockets. That type of media buying power made it difficult to compete, even if the smaller company had a better product. Today, a small company with a powerfully designed website can compete successfully with their larger competition.

2. Local reach is powerful 

Do you know that Google actually cares about local businesses? They do! When you set up your Google local page, your local address plays a big role in who finds your company. Now it is possible—although not guaranteed—for your small company to be found in a Google search before the large multinational guy who competes with you but isn’t local. Here’s how you do it:

  • Start here: Google Local
  • When you fill in your Google local page, do it very thoroughly. Leave no blanks, especially your address specifics.
  • Research and determine which keywords (keywords are one- to five- word phrases that your target audience may type in when looking for you. See a typical Google result for “commercial cleaning Boston, MA.” For instance, if you sell commercial cleaning a few great keywords may be:
    • Commercial cleaning Boston
    • Office cleaning Boston
    • Commercial cleaning services
    • Cleaning company

3. Focus on not being eliminated 

Imagine you are your own customer. You know what you are looking for. You know roughly how much you want to spend. You know there are three companies that you are considering. So how do you keep your company off the chopping block of internet urgency?

For instance: In the past, homebuyers shopped for new homes by driving to a builder’s model home, taking the tour, remembering their experience, then moving on to the next builder’s model home. This process of elimination would continue until they made a decision. 

Today, it is much easier to qualify or eliminate one builder over another, and that’s in large part due to the convenience of the internet. It’s for this precise reason your website is so important!

Humans don’t enjoy choosing—eliminating is much easier. Since choosing is much harder, the key is to build your website so your customer cannot help but choose you. 

Remember, people searching online expect your website to provide everything: colors, prices, choices, locations, phone numbers, emails, photos, and more. When they encounter something missing that the competition shows, you are at risk of being eliminated and click! You’re gone.

You have to make certain your website is designed and programmed by someone who really understands just how to leverage the internet to actually make sales. Your website is your most important sales and marketing tool. Invest here and you will see rewards.

Brian Flook, MIRM, is the President of Power Marketing and is a published author. He is a leader within the Institute of Residential Marketing, and the National Sales & Marketing Council. His book, Master What Matters, is in its third printing.

With over 25 years of marketing experience, Brian offers a wealth of experience into the marketing needs of business. His firm, Power Marketing, provides full-service marketing to clients across the country.   

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