Welcome to the Machine, Now It’s Time to Step Out of Line

I understand the urge to go with what everyone is doing. That’s to say, if you need to find another strategy for your marketing, and it’s on you specifically, doesn’t it feel a whole lot safer to move with the herd? After all, if everybody else is doing it, it must work, and if it’s not going to be blockbuster, at least it won’t fail miserably, right? Right?!

A couple of years ago, that was fine. Especially online. There was still a good chance, depending on your niche, that you could be leading edge if you got serious about your search & online initiatives. Here’s the catch to the idea of “everybody’s doing it”, everybody’s doing it. There’s nothing unique or special to being found in a search anymore. Sure, you’re there when customers are looking, but so are all of your competitors.

It might be time to spread your wings a little bit.

In no way would I suggest you move away from search initiatives, it’s just that SEO and PPC are now pretty much foundational pieces of a marketing strategy (or they should be). You’ve got to find what’s going to get you up above all the other noise in your corner of the world. So here’s the $25,000 question to ask: what’s next?

You tell me.

That’s no dodge. It’s time to take a serious look at where you, as a provider, fit in your customers’ world. And don’t look at how you want to fit, that’s different.

Now, figure out how you make that fit easier and more comfortable.

There are more and more tools becoming available every single day. Don’t use them all though. Your customers are already probably tip-toeing to the edge of information overload. Remember, attention is finite. Instead, pick the best tool to do the best job for your customers. The easier it is for them to make you an indispensable part of their lives, the better off you’ll be.

When you really get to thinking about it, maybe marketing to new customers isn’t where you need to be marketing at all. Maybe, just maybe, you should market to your existing customers. Maybe you market what you’ve always had, but they’ve never known about. Maybe you have the best support staff in the industry. How about your lead engineers? Maybe they are innovating every single day, but none of your customers know that. Could it be, that just being there to answer your phones instead of using call-centers is enough to keep customers coming back to you over and over?

Once your customers realize how important you are to them, once they know – beyond a shadow of a doubt – that no one else can provide what you do in the way that you do it, those customers will start bringing you new ones.

There’s a lot of ways to make life better for your customers. Just take a step back and think about what it might be. Maybe you cut a deal with your website team and invest part of your marketing budget into a Usability Audit. If your site performs better than everyone else’s, you’ve just made life better for your customers. Think about setting up a social network, just for your customers. Chances are good they are sharing the same struggles and if you can get them together and then get out of the way, you’ve just made their life easier. How about a Twitter stream full of tips, tricks, and solutions. Solve problems before they even know they have them. Not only are you going to keep folks happy by solving problems, they might even think you can see the future.

The possibilities are almost limitless, just take the first step. There are a lot of great ways to make a small investment pay huge dividends, and you don’t have to follow anybody else’s formula.