When I first got into this internet marketing thing back in 2005,  everyone was talking about how to get traffic to their websites. And, in particular, how to get free traffic.

I found myself as a lone voice arguing that traffic isn’t the problem, conversion is.

Or, to put it another way: if you earn more from a visitor than your competitors do, you’ll never have a traffic problem.

That’s because you’ll always be able to outbid them for paid traffic. Not just with pay per click, but for banner and display ads. And, when it comes to affiliates and joint venture deals, people will want to do those deals with you, rather than your competitors because you can pay them more.

OK, so how do you become the “big dog” in your market?

We turn two two titans of business for our answer…

Ray Kroc, who built McDonalds, was once asked if he was worried about competitors knocking off their ideas. Kroc replied, “We can innovate faster than they can copy

Jack Welch, former head of General Electric, said it differently: “If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near.”

So the answer is clear: to get to the top, and stay at the top, you need to constantly improve, and improve faster than your rivals.

And that means improve…

  • Your product or service
  • Your offers
  • Your positioning
  • Your website copy
  • Your ads
  • How you follow up a sale with additional offers

And the best place to start?

Start by looking at your competitors. What does their marketing say that yours doesn’t?

If you can, buy their products and see how they follow up that initial sale. (And use their products to see in what ways they are better than yours.)

Sign up to their email lists and read the emails they send out to their customers.

Then look at businesses outside of your location. If you’re a local business, look at other British cities. Who is winning the battle there, and what are they doing?

Or, if you’re a UK-wide business, look at America, Australia, Canada. If you speak French, look at France, Belgium, Switzerland …

Back in the day (Jeez, I’m old!), I used to go to the Central Library in Edinburgh and pull out copies of the Yellow Pages from all over the UK and the world, looking for the best ads in my clients’ industries.

The internet makes it a lot easier – and gives you more information than just a YP ad.

You’ll probably find at least 5 ideas that you can co-opt and use to improve either your copy or your offer.

All the best,

Steve Gibson