Imagine toppling the king of them all!
Envision your competitors mingling in one room. Picture the face or logo to go with the title “Biggest Competitor.” Do you have one in mind?
- Maybe it’s a local (or virtual) big shot who gets all the sales (or so it seems).
- Maybe you are thinking of a mega store or brand that outsells, outproduces, outdelivers every time — even though their service can’t hold a candle to your white-glove attention.
- Maybe you are thinking of a business that sells what you sell, only with a slightly different quality (or in a different location, using a different method, with a different technique or system). You’re neck and neck. The casual customer wouldn’t even know the difference between you unless he paid attention. Truth be told, he’s not motivated to comb through the differences. To him, you’re all the same. You can’t think of a way to stand out, even though you racked your brain trying to figure out a way to put distance between you and this competitor.
- Maybe you don’t even know who your competitors are…you just know you lack sales. You scrape by…even though you advertise, and stretch to market yourself in the time and budget you can afford.
- Or maybe you don’t think you have any competitors. Your uniqueness attracts plenty of qualified clients, but you know you want more. You just don’t know where they are, or why they are not sniffing around.
The truth is, every business battles one powerful competitor who turns your ideal client’s head in the opposite direction. You want to shout, “Hey, don’t you realize I’m perfect for you? Can’t you see I can help you?” But this gargantuan competitor consumes your customer’s attention and resources. Your voice is barely a whisper.
Your customer’s radar doesn’t even detect your efforts to get her attention.
Even stranger, this competitor beats up every business, in every industry! Health and wellness tribes, foodies, fahionistas, software companies, crafters, beauty suppliers, butchers, bakers, candlestick makers… they all compete with one, universal, monstrous force.
This gorilla-competitor is a huge problem for you, too. Only you can’t see it because it is invisible. Your customer doesn’t even know she’s doing business with your #1 competitor, the King Kong of all forces stealing your business.
This powerhouse of a trickster, always “cheating” you out the sales that are rightfully yours, and effortlessly pulling your customer off your scent, is simply:
Anything and everything else your customer spends money on…that’s your #1 competitor!
Before you dismiss the category as too broad, I’m the first to agree. “Everything else” is too big to fail. People are natural consumers. Sure, some people get by on a lot less, but most people search for experiences, products, gadgets, ideas that make them feel good! Everyone wants to feel good. And there’s always a bright, shiny thing that generates excitement and sends your customer running off in that direction…instead of toward you!
How you get your idea customer to run toward you with their wallets wide open?
If you’re doing what you’ve always done to generate sales, don’t assume anything will ever change. Decide first to alter your marketing strategy, and remember the sequence that stirs the “feel-good” pot and results in a sale…
A-I-D-A: the classic sales and marketing tenet.
As you read through each letter in the acronym, keep in mind your tenacious, invisible competitor — everything ELSE your customers desire — instead of you!
A – Attention. If they don’t know that gap exists in their lives… they will choose the competitor. Get their attention.
I- Interest. If your customers don’t see the gap between what is and what could be if they worked with you… they will choose your invisible competitor every time. Make them interested in how they would feel if the gap were closed.
D – Desire. If they are unaware of the pain, discomfort, hardship, inconvenience, dull and uninspired situation they are in now, then they will never know the ease, enjoyment, convenience, prestige, enlightenment, and fun associated with closing the gap…and they will choose instead the invisible competitor that holds that promise for them. Create desire for your offer.
A – Action. If they never receive a compelling and specific invitation to do business with you… they will choose to spend their money with your invisible competitor. Make an offer that inspires action.
Can you do this in one fell swoop? Indeed! Direct response copywriters (the good ones) can achieve all of these components in one long page of copy. You still see this a lot. All the elements of A-I-D-A unfold in a single, smooth, structured form. This kind of writing is tight as a drum. In fact, think of it like thumping on different points of the surface of a drum. Over one tightly stretched surface of hide, you get different sounds and tones depending on where you strike it. At any point in the copy of a long form sales page, you will hear a pitch-perfect copywriting element that either gets attention, increases interest, creates desire, or causes action. Copywriters and salespeople are trained in the A-I-D-A structure. While it takes years to perfect this kind of writing, long sales pages are worth studying!
You can achieve a similar result affect another way.
A content strategy that follows A-I-D-A rules
Less intense, but equally disarming; content you float across targeted social sites strings together a powerful and unique value proposition. Organized, well-placed, smart content persuades buyers at every point along the sales funnel. Content marketing at its best now follows this same structure great copywriters have always knows and used.
But you don’t have to be an A-list copywriter. All you need is a structured strategy and the determination to stay consistent in providing it. Effective content touches real people at different stages of the buying cycle. Words, and secondarily, images move them along from a state of casual oblivion to the point where they are frantically pulling out their credit card at the thought of working with you, or buying your product.
You don’t have to be in their face with the full-out frontal assault of a hard-hitting sales pitch. Social networks, email, and blogs now function together to present a case to your customers and enfold them in your story. Valuable content attracts and entices over time, in little bitty parts, so that by the time your customer actually calls you, clicks to order from you, or visits your bricks and mortar shop; your “Invisible Competitor” has withered away to nothing…
Your customer has already made a decision to buy from you.
Flickr CC photo: Wing_Clipper