Standing Out from the Sea of ‘Me-Too’ Competitors Online
He is the author, co-author and creator of several best-selling online marketing books and tools, including the fill-in-the-blank InstantSalesLetters.com.
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Nearly everyone I talk to wants to know the big “secret” to success online. They want the next Internet marketing tactic, strategy or quick fix. But that’s usually not the critical factor…
I’ve found tremendous success by putting a ‘spin’ on successful models. In fact, I find it better to work with 2 or 3 successful models and pull them together. If your product/service is simply a “me-too,” there is no point being in the marketplace. You have to bring some differentiation to the table. And it definitely cannot be just price.
What I’ve done.
When I created Instant Sales Letters in 2000 – there were all kinds of other sales letter templates books (real ones) out there and there were copywriting courses but there was nothing that really let you ‘cut and paste’ to create the letter easily. I’m a firm believer in giving people the “fish” anytime I can. What I mean is people would rather be handed the fish than taught how to fish. The closer you can get to the ‘magic pill,’ the better your sales will be.
Another example is my own Apprentice program (Yes, well before Trump!). There were a whole lot of mentor or protégé programs floating around but once again I decided if I was going to do something – I’d do it differently. I wanted to keep the numbers small and personal (instead of just making a mass telecoaching program like some other people who promise individual attention). I really wanted to have a big impact on the Apprentices I accepted and get people to take action or take them to new levels if they were already successful. In fact, I won a $100 gentleman’s bet with Dan Kennedy because I got the majority of my group to make a profit.
My big twist was giving Apprentices one of my ideas out of my idea journal, which they’d be allowed to promote if appropriate to my list and my affiliate list. And we’d jointly share in the profits with them, letting them keep 78% of the gross sales. This program was so good it was overbooked almost right away.
And the final example from my own business is my “Underground Online Seminar™”. Don’t you think there are more than enough Internet seminars going on all over the place? Some are good. Some are not so good. It’s really tough to create a stir in the Internet space unless you have something truly different, which is exactly why I didn’t want to do another ‘same-ole’ Internet seminar.
My big hook was to bring in “Underground” and unknown speakers who were really making it in the real world online. It wasn’t the same usual suspects you’d see at other events. I took it all the way with making the promotions ‘spy’-themed to stand out. Sure, some people emailed us and said it was silly. But a lot more people got into it because it was different. It really worked! The first two Underground Online Seminars were extremely successful and completely sold-out weeks before the events took place.
What you should do.
So your job is to stand out and give people a reason – hopefully a big one – to buy from you. One logical way of doing this is something I taught my Apprentices: It’s to make a spreadsheet of what every competitor is offering and how they are positioned in the marketplace. Look for their offers, their headline, their pricing, their guarantee, their USP, etc and then decide where you can leverage a differentiation point.
This gives you a more precise way of looking for “gaps” in your competitors’ marketing. And the bigger the gap (or the more you really show people how your offer is different) the better you’ll do.
It’s too easy to be another ‘me-too’. Why would a customer buy from you? Frankly, there aren’t too many niches where there aren’t others selling and you can be the only one. In most cases you’re going to find competitors (and that’s a good thing because it proves the marketplace spends money).
Here is a quick summary of my thoughts on how to be different and unique:
- Be first in the marketplace. Easier said than done today but still very possible if you niche. Obviously you can’t be the first site to sell flowers online but if you are BestTropicals.com, you were the first to sell Hawaiian flowers exclusively. You can cut up the marketplace and become the first at something.
- Take existing success models/products and combine together. This is one of my favorites because you’re profiting from multiple successful and proven sources.
- Take an existing successful product/service and add a twist to it. My apprentice program is a good example of that.
- Give it a new name. I’ve done this many times with products I’ve licensed that have seen better days.
- Change the location. If you see a successful business model in one place it can typically be transferred to another location, format, etc. Good example of this is Steve Pankhurst who developed www.friendsreunited.co.uk. He saw a site in the US doing very well able to track down friends, etc. (probably Classmates.com) and he couldn’t believe they hadn’t expanded it to the UK or beyond. Since it’s launch in 1999, Friends Reunited has become one of the most popular websites on the net, attracting over 10 million members.
And finally, the ‘big idea’ is simply not to think every great idea or website has already been created or done. That’s the attitude of losers! Today you’ve got even more opportunity because the Internet is an established commerce model and more and more people are getting comfortable making purchases online. It truly is the best time in the world to start or grow your online business!