How Smaller Clients Can Beat Their Largest Competitors, One Digital Analysis At A Time
If you own a local restaurant, how are you going to compete with Chili’s when placing SEM? How will a small coffee house gain any reasonable traction using social media when it’s competing with 46 Starbucks within 10 miles of its one location? And the same goes for display, web site analytics, and any other digital platform.
Large businesses certainly have an advantage in that they can share the cost of the best experts in any discipline across a larger base of sales and profits. Small businesses have a huge advantage, though, in that decisions can take seconds, not weeks, and execution is up to one or two people rather than a team that needs to coordinate over time. As Gordon Eubanks, a pioneer in the software industry once said, “Strategy gets you on the playing field, but execution pays the bills.” To execute, we have to start somewhere. Here’s how.
First you want to prioritize our digital channels in terms of impact. Do your social channels have a greater reach than your web site? Maybe it’s your email database? Whatever it is, start there. Next, it’s on to testing. In social and email, copywriting is a major factor. “Should we have $5 drink specials this Friday?” may get you triple the viral reach of “$5 drink specials this Friday!” on Facebook or Twitter. Even if you can’t afford to work with an expert, become that expert yourself by copy testing and finding patterns. With web sites, the placement of your nav bar, the types of photos you use, and the colors you pick all influence your success. Again, even if you can’t afford an expert, test multiple iterations over time and keep what works while tossing what doesn’t. This kind of science applies to every aspect of digital media. So, if you’re simply posting, emailing, or hosting a web site without treating it like a true science experiment, you’re missing out.
Also, remember only 500 companies are in the Fortune 500 but there are hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of companies in the U.S. The very large majority cannot afford a Madison Avenue agency, so it’s up to entrepreneurs and regional ad agencies to bring expertise in analytics to these other companies’ marketing efforts. What’s wonderful about digital media is you don’t need the most expensive SEM platform or web site analytics company to get 75% of the way there in your testing and analytics efforts. And, 75% well executed will get you a whole lot further than many companies who have the fanciest tools but only execute at 50%!
In the end, it’s not about size or money. It’s about smarts and discipline. Committing to excellence, developing analytical systems, and following through over and over and over will help you outperform the competition every time.
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