Online marketing is a lot more measurable when compared to most forms of traditional marketing. Yet not everything in online marketing has a formula.
When it comes to business, every company is unique and has its own specific requirements. Although the same process might work for developing brands of businesses that are in the same field, the formulas are never the same.
For instance, let us take two businesses that sell fashionable garments. One of these has established its brand in the online world. It also has a strong social media presence. It gets most of its sales from its ecommerce site. The rival brand however garners more sales from its brick-and-mortar stores.
Both these brands are no doubt from the same industry; but will the same content marketing formula work for both? No, it won’t. Unfortunately most brands do not understand this. They are bent upon following some pre-set formulas in order to achieve success through content marketing. The result is obviously failure, which sometimes happens even before the brand is done implementing its strategy.
Everyone is into copying their competitors these days. It is not necessary. Businesses only have to be aware of the moves their competitors are making in the market. They don’t have to follow them although it might seem tempting enough to do so.
The strategies that you implement should be based on your goals.
What works for them may not necessarily work for you.
Branding is a customized experience and that’s the way it has always been. There is no single success formula here that will work for everyone.
Many newcomers who enter the market, copy the website designs (and maybe even the content) of their market leaders. If they have ecommerce websites, the designs of those websites will be that of their biggest competitors. This is definitely not a wise move on their part.
Website design (or content) may have little or nothing to do with their success as a brand. It could be about the quality of their products or the kind of support they provide.
No two companies are the same, even if they belong to the same industry. There is a different story behind each company. Every organization has its own vision, culture and objectives. So how then can a single strategy or formula work for all companies?
This kind of cloning does not lead a company towards achieving its desired results. It only kills the faith people have in marketing. This is what you need to realize when you come across a marketer saying….”Oh, that formula? It doesn’t work anymore. We can tell you because we have tried it out.”
Copying web copy, web design style, sign up flow, packaging designs or service flow is not the same as copying the formula for success. Even if you copy what you think is their formula for success, there are little chances that it might work for you. You cannot assert someone else’s strategy into YOUR brand mix and expect the same results that they have achieved. You will only end up diluting the power of your brand. Not just yours; you will end up eroding everyone’s market share. This might sound harsh to you; but that’s the reality.
It is not a bad thing to be aware of your competitors’ strategies. In fact it is a part of your market research. What is bad is your laziness that makes you repeat someone else’s copy so as to market your own business. You can definitely do much better than that.
Your competitor might have a better conversion rate than you. But can you pinpoint the actual reason behind this? It could be anything…better traffic sources…better client relationships….or more targeted ads. It may not have anything to do with his website at all. Without understanding the factors that have led to the success of your competitor, don’t just follow their moves blindly. You are running an experiment here. There is no use in copying a hypothesis without actually testing it out.
Every brand has its own personality…its own approach to communicate with its customers…its own way of doing things. Find out what yours is and make it evident through your content.
Here is what you can do…
Look at things from the customers’ perspective
Your customers do a lot of research to find out the best solutions for their problems. They shortlist a few providers and pick one who might seem as the best of the best.
If you have ripped off the website of someone else’s what are you telling your customers?
It doesn’t identify your personality… doesn’t give them a reason to choose you over the rest….doesn’t make you stand out. You will only disappear from their view. Selling may not require too much of efforts; but if you want to build a long-term relationship with your customer, you will have to provide a personalized customer experience.
If you need to establish your uniqueness, you will have to break away from the herd. Whether you are a design company, an accountant, a law firm, a financial services provider or a retailer, it is good to be different from the norm.
You can use a different language… a different format… or a different approach altogether to engage with your customers. Be bold and conversational. Show your individuality. It is your brand purpose and values that matter. Stake out your own claim in the market and make your company the best.
Lead; don’t follow
It is your purpose that you need to serve; not someone else’s. So be a peacock instead of being a chameleon. Be brave. Stand out proudly in the market. Don’t just blend into the background. Identify the pain point of your customers that your competitors are not addressing. Instead of following your competitors, find out what they are not doing. Focus on what you can do best to stand out from the crowd.
It is always good to be different in the world of marketing. This is not a time to stick to your childhood hang-ups. It is the time to embrace your individuality and show the world what you actually are.