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It should go without saying, but some markets are more difficult to compete in than others.
While low-competition markets are easy to break into and even a beginner can establish an audience without any serious marketing efforts, others are difficult to even establish an initial audience. It could take months and hundreds of hours of work before entrepreneurs in these markets experience any return at all.
Fortunately however, expensive markets tend to offer great rewards in return. After all, a market becomes competitive due to the fact that there’s so much money to be made, and competitive markets offer incredible opportunities to scale.
In this article, my goal is to shorten the time it takes you to succeed in these markets – sharing with you tactics and strategies myself and others have utilized to build our brands in competitive industries.
Over the years, I’ve competed in both small, refined niches, as well as major markets like business and parenting.
These are markets that have insane amounts of brand loyalty, and getting a consumer to make regular visits and purchases is very tough, and often quite expensive.
There is a healthy degree of skepticism to newcomers, and establishing any sort of name for yourself, let alone growing an engaged audience, can be difficult.
While my baby product brand is far from being a household name, we’ve managed to carve out our own niche market, and our blog audience and customer base is growing every day. I only mention this to show that what I’m about to share with you actually works, and can be applied to your business regardless of the market. I’ve used these strategies to build my personal brand here as well.
So, without any further ado, let’s begin.
1. Draw Out What Makes You Unique – Make Yourself Memorable
When possible, play out whatever it is that makes you unique.
No business is going to be the best at everything that they do. What’s important is that you are remembered as being the go-to choice for something specific.
Therefore, putting some sort of spin on both your products, as well as the content you put out is extremely important.
After all, the absolute worst thing you can do in a competitive market is ‘blend in’. This guarantees you will be quickly forgotten, especially if you don’t have the budget to retarget old visitors.
If you aren’t sure about what makes you unique, don’t worry. Here are a few things you can do to differentiate your products and content to help you stand out:
- Utilize different types of content than what is standard – video, audio, interactive quizzes, etc.
- Niche down further – become the true expert on a more specific sub-niche, before branching out further.
- Structure your content in a different way – doing things your competitors aren’t.
- Developing product features that aren’t in existing products, utilizing data you’ve collected online.
- Drawing out your personal tone of voice in your content, or writing in a more approachable, natural way.
As you can see, it’s not always about having something unique to say. Sometimes, this simply isn’t possible.
In these cases, differentiating your brand based on its presentation can help you to become more memorable, and carve out a space in these competitive markets.
2. Focus On Retention
This, more than anything, will ensure that your brand grows steadily over the long-term.
Even if you are only getting a handful of new visitors each day, if you are able to retain them, your audience is guaranteed to grow over time.
It will be clear that over months or years, that you actually will emerge as one of the future ‘big players’ in your niche market.
So what does it mean to retain your visitors? It doesn’t necessarily mean that they need to consume all of your content upon finding you, as nice as this may be. Rather, you need them to engage with you further after visiting your site, giving you some opportunity to get your brand in front of their eyeballs once again.
One of the most common ways brands do this now a days is by encouraging visitors to follow them on their social media pages. This is great, and certainly better than nothing. However, most professionals will recommend you take it one step further, and ask for their email instead.
This is because email offers a few key benefits over social. Not only do 100% of your messages actually reach 100% of your subscribers (unlike Facebook, where your reach may be 1-2%), but you are actually in control of your email list. It can’t be taken away from you due to networks shutting down, random algorithm updates, or unjustified account bans. It’s an asset that you can actually depend on.
One of the greatest aspects of email marketing however, is data collection, combined with automation.
It’s possible for you to set up a series of emails that move subscribers towards a goal (such as purchasing a product) all on autopilot. You write the emails in advance, and they are delivered to subscribers at pre-set intervals.
At the same time, you’ll be collecting data on what’s working – what types of subscribers are becoming buyers, what emails headlines are being opened, and what emails are driving action.
You can then run continuous tests on your autoresponder sequence, optimizing it to improve all of these metrics over time.
After all, it’s not like you can’t get these people following you on social media anyway – but when you only have one shot to retain a first-time visitor, email is definitely the way to go.
If you want to learn more about how you can utilize email marketing to succeed inside of competitive markets, I highly recommend checking out my course on this very topic. If you’re new to email marketing, it will show you everything that you need to know. If you’re already experienced in email marketing, but want to learn some of the more advanced techniques to maximize the value of each subscriber, it will show you how to do exactly that.
3. Explore Audience Building Platforms, Outside Of Your Primary Domain
In competitive markets, you need to be proactive about actually getting your content in front of people.
Many people believe that if you put out great content, people will find it in time. Unfortunately, there is no longer much truth to this.
Many of the world’s best content creators, artists, musicians, etc. will never attain any sort of success. While they’re great at their craft, it unfortunately doesn’t matter much if nobody knows about it.
When building your brand, it makes sense to have one platform be the primary place you produce content. For example, a blog, YouTube channel, or podcast. However, producing content for other platforms – either platforms with less competition, or different sets of people your competitors aren’t catering to, can do wonders for building an initial following.
This can be as simple as repurposing your content for different platforms, or putting out unique, valuable content on your social media pages. In the case of social media, actually going out and interacting with other people’s posts will help you gain some initial visibility.
In my post, “Build Your Brand’s First 10,000 Fans With These Free Strategies“, I share a relatively unsurprising fact – most people dislike the idea of going around people’s posts, leaving comments one-at-a-time. This is because it is tedious, slow, and unscaleable.
However, when you’re just starting out, you don’t have the luxury of each piece of content being spread far and wide. Early on, every audience member matters. If you can build even one engaged fan for every 10 comments you leave, you at least have something to work with, and get the ball rolling.
4. Leverage Others – Network
Networking is perhaps the most powerful way to skyrocket your own growth, allowing you to increase your authority in leaps and bounds. Extremely quickly, I must add.
This is because networking allows you to leverage the work other people have done in building an audience. When you’re able to tap into that through the form of a shoutout, guest post, or more extensive collaboration, you get to take some of that audience back with you, building yourself up in ways that would otherwise not be possible.
Of course, all networking is built in a fair exchange of value, and this means that the other person is benefiting from the connection as well.
After all, networking for strictly selfish purposes never works out for anyone involved, and will actually hurt your credibility in the long run.
Still, don’t be afraid to reach out to others in your market – particularly if you don’t offer competing products. Most content creators online are friendly people, openly looking to collaborate as well. Give up the idea that other content creators are your enemy – they may be competing with you, but most markets aren’t a zero-sum game. You can both with, and you’ll both do better by working together.
5. Don’t Be Afraid To Invest A Little Money
Entrepreneurs working in competitive niches are more likely to succeed when they invest in the right tools, and building up the right knowledge.
A small investment can have very large effects, especially in the long-term – cutting out months or years of time trying to get by without spending any money.
In competitive markets, advertising is expensive because there is typically a lot of money to be made from each customer. While you’re certainly welcome to do this if you wish, most of us just starting out can’t afford a large advertising budget.
Therefore, it’s a much smarter strategy to invest in things we can utilize over longer periods of time, to attract eventual customers at a more consistent rate.
I’d strongly urge you to look over my recommended resources page, where you can learn more about all the various tools I use to grow my businesses. This is because not every tool I utilize will be applicable to every business, although many will.
You’ll also discover a lot of free tools as well, that you’re sure to benefit from.
However, one paid tool I recommend for all entrepreneurs working in competitive niche markets is called SEMrush.
It’s primarily built for website owners looking to improve their search engine rankings, but is also quite useful for YouTubers as well.
SEMrush has dozens of features to aid with this, but one feature I’m fond of in particular is their keyword research tool. Because you’re working in a competitive market, it’s important to ensure you’re targeting keywords that have a search volume worth pursuing, and are also easy enough to actually stand a chance of ranking for.
Sometimes, this isn’t so obvious.
SEMRush has a feature called keyword difficulty, which is a scale of 1-100 on how difficult it is to rank that particular keyword. Keeping that in mind, it will give you an opportunity to actually establish some initial rankings.
This is important, because unfortunately backlinks are sort of a catch-22 – you need backlinks to rank, but getting organic backlinks is difficult without actually ranking for anything.
The higher you rank, the more people see you, and link out to your content naturally – which further improves your rankings.
Therefore, getting some initial traffic from search engines will help things grow down the line.
The second thing I’d recommend investing in straight away is my blogging course.
In order to succeed in a competitive market, you can’t just work hard. Again, many people are exceptional at what they do, and work very hard, but never go anywhere. You need the right work ethic, combined with the right strategy if you want to make it to the top.
My blogging course will take you by the hand and show you exactly how each piece of your strategy comes together. Not just the creating of the content, but building targeted traffic to that content, which will make you money through a carefully thought-out and well executed monetization strategy.
It’s 61 lectures of my best advice and with thousands of students, it’s likely one of your top competitors is already utilizing the information to pull themselves further ahead.
With an investment of $97, it won’t be long before you’re not only appearing alongside them, but even surpassing your top competitors if you’re willing to work longer and harder than they are.
Despite the difficulty of working in a competitive market, it can be extremely rewarding once you manage to break through.
The possibilities are potentially endless as there is always a large pool of willing buyers, that you’ll be able to sell to over and over again as new products are released.
Therefore, it really is worth it if you’re able to stick through with it to success.
I’d love to hear more about the niche you’re working in, and what’s been working for you so far. What you’re hoping to try out, and what goals you’re hoping to accomplish this year.
Again, with the right strategy, they can all be done!
To your success,
– James McAllister
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