Your biggest challenge, apart from building your email marketing list, is the company just in front of you. You have to target them. There are two main ways of going about this: 1/ copy them, and 2/ be different. The best way forward is a combination of the two.
It might be that their business model is superior to yours and if so you should consider changing it to one better than theirs. Some advantages, like geographical location, are more difficult to combat and you might have to look for other ways to improve.
There are a number of minor modification you can make to, for instance, your email marketing strategy, that will improve your competitiveness. Here are some suggestions.
1/ Put your best foot forward
Ask yourself what feature of your product is superior to that of your nearest competitor. What if you are a small company in catering trying to make your mark? What advantages does size, or lack of it, afford you?
If you can describe your meals as ‘home made’ then make this a feature. Put it in the Subject Line of the email. Big it up. Show some cakes being removed from an oven by an individual with an oven glove anyone might buy.
Small can be exclusive. ‘Only available from us’ suggests that the product is more desirable. You can also add ‘Order soon’ genuinely. Subscribers might even believe you.
2/ Be clear
Many marketing emails contain woolly words, such as best, nice and good. Tell them, although only if you have evidence to support it, that you are the only company in the sector to provide trunnions to BS 195(a) in blue. Even if the subscriber wants the green everyone can supply, the fact that you have an ‘only’ to boast of puts you a little ahead.
3/ Become the expert
I remember one company deriding a competitor they regarded as an upstart because it was ‘giving stuff away’, the stuff being information. Whilst some was distributed in their e-newsletter, to which the first company subscribed, it also provided a phone help-line for those whose knowledge dried at a vital moment.
The odd thing is was that they were a service, tuning and maintaining high performance cars. By giving out free information, they allowed the keen and experienced to ‘do it themselves’, not a bright business model. However . . .
Before long the smaller company became the ‘must go to’, and not only phone, for all things that they were gradually specialising in. Suddenly the name that no one had heard was on everyone’s lips. Their reasoning, which sounded a bit hopeful I thought, was proved spot on.
4/ Make friends
People want to put material onto social media such as Facebook. A coffee morning at your offices one Saturday (bacon sarnies help) where you show something photogenic to previous and potential customers will be broadcast far and wide. You next email marketing campaign could usefully refer to it in the segmented list which contains those who attended.
Don’t just settle back when you have leapfrogged your target. The company that was in front of you is now behind because of that reason.