Copy Your Competitors For Small Business Marketing Success

So you decide to set up your service business and once you are up and running you decide that you need some new clients.

So what do you do? Well, not being an expert in marketing, quite naturally you decide to take a look at what your new competition are doing to promote their business. Is this the right thing to do?

I have been marketing professional service businesses for over 20 years, from solicitors to accountants, consultants to coaches, and generally I have found one thing to be true. Whilst the service provider is excellent at what they do, generally they are not very good at marketing their business. So when it comes to attracting clients, they look to see what their competition does and then copy them. They look at their competitor’s website and think that a five page brochure website, with no clear calls to action on any page, no easy ways of contacting the business and no other ways of interaction is the way to go, so they get a website that looks the same. When thinking how to attract traffic to the website they ask their website designer if he can ‘throw in some Search Engine Marketing’ as he or she builds the website, not realising that a decent Search Engine Marketing company will attract enough visitors to your website to provide you with all of the new client instructions you need. However, they will generally charge over £1,000 a month for that privilege.

Once their website is underway, they might decide to advertise their new business to obtain some instant instructions, so again they might look at what their competition are doing and do exactly the same as they do. This will usually mean an advertisement with the business name at the top, followed by a list of services with no clear and compelling reason to call the business even if a potential client does bother to read the ad.

The trouble with copying your competitors is that in nearly all occasions they do not know what they are doing when it comes to marketing their businesses. Most established service businesses generate their new enquiries from a client base developed over many years, so the other marketing they undertake is usually just to remind people that they exist. It does not generate new client enquiries for them.

What does this mean for you then? Well, I can tell you that it means you have amazing opportunities to generate new instructions both quickly and cost effectively. For example, there is next to no chance that your competitors are spending £1,000 a month on Search Engine Marketing. Whilst you might think the cost is high, it is only high if it does not bring in more work for you than the cost. If you spend £1,000 a month but that investment produces £5,000 a month in fees for you, isn’t that a good thing; especially when you are then attracting new clients who are not even finding your competitors’ website?

If you design an advertisement which has a compelling and powerful headline, a good offer and a tight deadline, it will make your telephone ring.

You can do exactly what your competition are doing, or you can be smart and do pretty much exactly the opposite of what they are doing and start to attract all of the new clients that you need. You might need to spend some time reading marketing articles (the Small Business Salt is not a bad place to start) but the investment of your time to find out the right way to market your business will reward you many times over in the future.

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