How can you differentiate your company for its competitors in an era where people shop online?

We can agree that the presence of a company on the web has become more important over the years. With the recent COVID-19 crisis, we witnessed important increase of online sales. Indeed, online sales reached “$3.9 billion in May [2020], an increase of 2.3% compared to April [2020] and an increase of 99.3% compared to February [2020]”[1]. Multiple reasons can explain that increase. One of them is that stores were closed for a big part of the year so it forced people to shop online. Also, a lot of people saved time by working from home. What did they do with that extra time? They could spend it doing something they like to do:  shopping.

 

Online Shopping

 

In response to that phenomenon, companies HAVE to be present online if they wanted to survive. Although presence important, “being there” is not enough: you have to differentiate yourself from your competitors. You also have to make sure that you actually show up in your potential customer’s research. How can you do that? Here are 3 advices on how to stand out from competitors online:

 

ADVICE #1: Google Analytics: Your Best Friend

Who could ever say no to a free tool? Google Analytics is not only free, but it is also really helpful to help you analyze your customer’s behaviour on your website. This tool will help you identify goals, targets and also help you manage multiple media campaigns. It will allow you to reach your customers more efficiently by knowing their behaviour, interests and affinities. With all that data, you will be able to create ads and adjust their position according to what your clients are looking for.

 

Google Analytics Preview

 

ADVICE #2: Do Not Rely on Organic Search Only

Organic search is when a consumer willingly clicks on your content, without the help of any digital ads. Organic traffic is nice, but if you rely just on that, it may take a while until you reach your goals. Google Ads is, in that case, really helpful because it allows you to give a little boost to your website in the Google Search Engine. It will allow your website to get higher in the search results that are linked to your themes. Plus, it also helps you analyze your relevancy by giving you a Relevancy Score. The higher that score is, the better your ads will be positioned in the search engines.

The more relevant you are, the bigger your score is going to be, the more efficient your ads will be and the more people you are going to attract! The goal here is to appear before your competitors so people click on your website before theirs.

 

ADVICE #3: Use the Right Keywords

Using the right words is always important, but when it comes to online research, it is crucial. One concept that we cannot ignore is SEM-Search Engine Marketing. By definition, “search engine marketing is a digital marketing tactic that aims to promote a website by increasing its visibility and traffic when prospects research for keywords.”[2] With that concept, we also often talk about SEO-Search Engine Optimization. SEO is basically optimizing your content so that search engines rank you higher than your competitors in the search results.

The closer you are to the top of the page, the bigger chances you have of being noticed by consumers. Practising SEO with the help of tools like SEMRUSH will help you identify the most used words in your industry. Then, you only have to use them in your website and in different ad campaigns. That way, you make sure that you appear in people’s researches that are linked to your content, products and themes.

 

SEM

 

All things considered; you should always make relevance your priority. Indeed, your customers want to see relevant content and search engines will rank you according to relevancy as well. We live in a society where we encourage entrepreneurship. That means that there will be competitors that offer products that are really similar to yours. You really have to differentiate yourself from your competitors. Be different, original and relevant!

 

[1] Free translation from the article « Les ventes en ligne des détaillants ont presque doublé pendant le confinement » from Radio-Canada, https://ici.radio-canada.ca/nouvelle/1721988/sommet-ventes-commerce-electronique-coronavirus

[2] Retrieved from notes for course Marketing 2.0 by Sylvain Amoros, HEC Montréal