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Today as I was planning my day a thought crossed my mind.

Most people think of Google, Yahoo and Bing as the big dogs, and the place to be seen on the web.  Optimize for those search engines, and you’ll have all the traffic you can handle.  Well that’s only 1/3 right.  Google is the big dog of the search engine world, but you have to factor in Facebook and YouTube into optimization plans, they’re the other most used/searched sites.  This explains why social marketing, and video marketing are so important to maximize your SEO efforts.

Your website needs to be visible to your target market.  Plan to be where the visitors are surfing.  Facebook and YouTube aren’t just for the 20 somethings.  Seems like everyone is joining the social global conversation.  With the smart phone revolution it’s only a matter of time before mobile phone marketing becomes another segment of your marketing mix.

You can’t just set it and forget your social marketing.  Facebook purges information quickly.  YouTube has an equally short shelf life.  People don’t have 15 minutes of fame anymore – now they have a minute and a half video clip. (Anyone remember the Golden Voice guy…Ted Williams?)

Has our attention span gotten shorter?  I’m sorry – what did you say – I forgot what we were talking about.

So thoughts of FREE advice went though my head.

Yesterday I posted a tweet about the one-eyed website designer.  This thought stemmed from a recent email exchange.  A family member asked me to evaluate his  website.  Hey we’re an Italian family so you don’t blow off a family request…so I took a look as the site.

The site was average, lacking HTML keywords, and stuffed with slick graphic elements.  Funny thing about the website – big promise -  he was an SEO expert.  He claimed he would put together websites for his clients that “reached the first page of Google.”  Why would he want a second opinion from a fellow marketer like me?

Because he wasn’t a website designer, nor an SEO expert.  He was a business person who purchase a franchise in a box, and really didn’t know what he was doing.

I’m all for new business opportunities, but you should probably know something about the industry you’re planning to join.  Especially if you’re going to call yourself an “expert.”  That’s a title bestowed upon you, not something you put on yourself.  Heck you’re not Napoleon, you can’t crown yourself emperor.  When you get a gut reaction your adviser is full of BS…run for the hills.

As my grandfather said – free advice is worth the money you’ve paid for it.

Have a good week and market well-
Christine

P.S. – Keep those comments coming, and as I said before if you have a project you want me to evaluate please contact me. I’m evaluating a few new social marketing products and services to launch soon.

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Strange statement, huh?  Shouldn’t I tell you to be the #1.  Look at any of your favorite companies.  They are always telling everyone how amazing they are.  Entrepreneurs rarely lack confidence, and telling them to be less than #1 must sting.  They expect to be the top dog in everything they do.  Well I’m here to offer a different perspective.  A perspective which takes some of the color out of your rose colored glasses.  Success happens when entrepreneurs strive to be #5.

Here’s a fact in business – unless you’ve created something totally original, you’re starting off #2…or worse.  The more established and mature the market is – the lower down the list you start.  So in the grand scheme of things, by default, new companies are the last dog in the dogsled team.  I don’t have to tell you the view is terrible!  What is a confirmed alpha dog supposed to do?

First – relax & accept you’re not going to be #1 the first day you open the doors.  I would endeavor to say – you may never be #1.  Still being #5 is good enough when you can watch your business grow, and dominate your marketplace.

Second – Don’t take on the world.  The worst mistake is to be everything to everyone.  Be that master of one or two things – when you have a devoted customer base add something new.  Keep your eye on the prize (your customer), and cherish  them at all costs.

Third – Be better than your closest competitor.  The leader in your marketplace, or industry, isn’t your rival.  Your business does not have enough anything to take them on head-to-head.  They can sit back, and outlast any offensive move you make.  Your sole focus should be on the competition which offers similar products and services.  By default they might have the same geographic area, the same number of customers, or a similar product.  This is the person you’re going head-to-head with.  Once you’ve smoked them, time to plan on taking on the next business that’s in your way.

Last – Listen to your prospects, and get feedback from your customers.  Find out what services they expect, how you are better than the competition, and what you need to improve.  Don’t be so headstrong not to listen to constructive criticism.

Now let’s examine how a business creates a plan to become the best #5 in your marketplace?  First job is get to know everything about your competitors, and create a competitive intelligence information plan.

  1. Create a chart of the closest 5 competitors in your marketplace, and develop a SWOT analysis for each direct competitor.
  2. Be diligent about capturing your customer’s personal information:  name, address, phone and email.  This is your diamond mine.
  3. Competitive intelligence: subscribe to the local business news, PR, watch websites, subscribe to their newsletter, etc.
  4. Enlist the help of an “impartial observer”

I hope my strategic brain dump is helpful.  Still if you’re confused, or want an impartial marketing plan, consider working with a company (such as mine).  Our job is to act as an impartial observer who can help you develop your #5 plan.

Here’s to being the best # 5 you can be.

Christine

As always – Tell your friends about my business site – sign up for the RSS feed – join and like my page on Facebook – contact me about reprinting this article – follow my tweets on Twitter @ladyinredonline.  I also encourage you to add your comments (good, bad or indifferent – tell me what you’re thinking)

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