On The Internet, Can You Compete With The Big Boys?


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If you are trying to compete with the big Internet firms, is it safe to say that the Internet presents you with a level playing field?

In point of fact, the Internet can be a level playing field for competing businesses, given all things technological were the same. That is to say, if your servers were equally reliable, you should be able to compete with anyone out there. Isn’t that true?

Yes and no. The Internet is a level playing field if you think it as something endlessly vast and available. No one’s location (and nobody’s view) is better than anyone else.

But the field is not exactly level, because the Internet favors those who got their first. If you want to sell shoes, take it from me, you aren’t going to get a Web address of shoes.com, unless you pay for it with an arm and a leg. And, sure enough, just to check myself here, Shoes.com, does exist. It was founded in 1996 and has a handsome Web site to show for itself.

Brand and Message

Companies have been competing since the dawn of man and even then establishing a brand was a key to success. Your brand is your image, reputation and product all rolled into one. If you can say, “I stand for one thing – and that’s great service,” and say the exact same thing by simply saying the name of your company, then you have clearly established a brand.

The message you send to others is different. Think of it this way: “It’s not what you do or say, but how you make people feel when you leave the room.” That’s your message. If you sell pens, but you come across as untrustworthy, you might be talking about pens to your customers, but you are sending the wrong message.

Start with a niche market

Unless you have corporate dollars behind you, start with a niche market. Business is not about instant success; it’s about growth. For example, you could never just take over Amazon overnight, but if you grow your business organically, your skills and your organization grow at the same time. You don’t start with Facebook and a billion users. You start with an idea and work your way up from that.

SEO Messaging

If you want to be a player, you need traffic. Main Street on the Internet can bring you tons of traffic. But you have to work to keep that going, because traffic can fade pretty quickly – unless you are Walmart or Target with a presence that lives beyond the Internet.

Long-tail keyword strategies helps corner a specific market. What that means on the ground is that you should aim for a high concentration of a specialized market, which means selling something that will appeal to a very specific customer.

Know Your Strengths And Limits

Can you design the perfect website? Maybe you can. Or maybe your strength is in customer relations. Maybe your strength is in marketing. Just remember, you don’t have to do it all probably you shouldn’t, because every task you do that isn’t your strong suit takes away from where you can make the most impact.

Bundling

Bundling is the modern world for the old expression “killing two birds with one stone.” And it works both ways. If you hire a worker, you could assign him or her three or four tasks. That’s one way to bundle your workload. You can also bundle your Web services through hosting companies that provide guidance and options for design, domain maintenance, service, script installs and the like.

Develop And Work On Relationships

In part, this is code for social media, which works by forming a massive “daisy-chain” of connections. The more people lined indirectly to your site, the more buzz you will generate and the more traffic you will get.

Relationships tie all the above together. But you have to work on relationships. They don’t maintain themselves. One tactic, says the HostGator web hosting company, is to “grow your email list.” This is one way to preserve relationships with dedicated, specified customers.

Be The Expert

You are looking for specific customers and they will need to trust your company and see you as the expert. It just comes with the territory. When someone pays for a service, there is the expectation — realistic or not – for you to be the best at what you do.

Experts, by extension, establish themselves by sharing information. Start a company blog as soon as you have a spare moment. Be the expert. Start a newsletter and send it out through social media and simple email on your growing email lists.

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