How to Stand Out From The Competition
┐by: Julie Martin
We have all seen the numerous ┐clones┐ of websites out there. Each one promises ridiculous profits and each one is nearly identical. Is it possible to sell the same things these sites offer and retain your individuality? Yes!
For an example, let┐s step outside and take a look at a typical mini-mall. These stores all look the same. Many of them sell the same items, and somehow they manage to stay afloat. How? One of the easiest ways to stand out from the competition is to offer something that customers can┐t find anywhere else.
The old adage, ┐the grass is always greener on the other side,┐ can apply very heavily to an E-Business. More and more businesses pop up every day and chances are, someone else will be selling the exact same item. The only way to stand out from the competition is to research the competition.
By using popular search engines, such as www.google.com and typing in keywords similar to your own keywords, you can get a very good idea of who exactly is out there. Visit their websites, see what they offer and see if you can improve the service, offer something different or make your site more appealing. You can use Alexa, www.alexa.com, an internet ranking site, to see which one of these competitors is pulling in the most visitors. Once you have got an idea about the competition, you can start taking steps to plan your site around them.
The best way to get an edge on your competition is to offer something for free. You can do this without any cost to your business if you offer free information.
E-books are an excellent way to accomplish this. There are several free e-books available on many different subjects. You can offer a free download with the purchase of your product. This means there is absolutely no expense to you, and your customer feels that they are getting more value for their dollar. In today┐s economy, that can mean everything in keeping your business afloat.
When offering free information, try to tailor it to the product you are selling. For example, if your e-business sells plant seeds, you can offer a free e-book on planting methods and care of the plants. If you can┐t find an e-book out there that is right for your product, it is very simple to create your own. All you need is an idea and you are well on your way.
You can offer other free products as well, such as screensavers, a subscription to an e-zine, or coupons towards the customer┐s next purchase. Your options are pretty endless when it comes to offering something for free.
The next step in standing out from the competition is seeing what they do and finding out how you can do it better. Customer service is the most important facet of running an e-business. If the competition doesn┐t offer a toll-free number for customer questions and support, you can easily add one to your existing phone line. There are numerous answering services you can employ to handle this for you as well. You can use autoresponders to answer customer┐s questions about your products almost instantly, which can give you a definite leg-up on the competition.
Building an online community is a fantastic way to increase your customers and keep them coming back. You can install a message board on your site very easily with little or no cost. Message boards give you a very easy way to keep in personal touch with your customers and allow them to interact with one another. Each time they come back to check for more messages, they will be visiting your site and seeing your products. It is only a matter of time before these visits convert into more sales and increased revenue for your site.
It is possible to run a successful e-business, even one that is identical to several others. You will need to take the time to research the competition and tailor your business accordingly. The small investment of time spent doing this will increase your returns dramatically.
About The Author
Julie Martin is the publisher of ┐The Iscaweb eZine┐ a weekly eZine dedicated to increasing your online profits, no matter what you are selling. Julie also uses the ┐Plug-In-Profit┐ system to GREAT effect!
To subscribe to the eZine, or to learn more about the Plug-In-Profit system visit: http://www.iscaweb.com