It’s true: you might be in a blue ocean. You might be the only person who sells keto recipes to a senior audience in Missoula and Jackson, or you might be the only person who sells teacher-trainer courses in the mid-Atlantic region, or you might be the only person who runs a wolf sanctuary in New Mexico.
In that sense, you’re in a blue ocean. Sure.
But that doesn’t mean you don’t have competitors.
Let me explain.
There’s always something else to do.
In other words, there’s always an opportunity cost to spending time with you.
You, as a business owner or marketer, have to convince people of two things:
- That your offering is worth their time (and money, which, for many people, represents time);
- That your offering is worth more than anything else they could be doing.
That second piece is paramount: why should I spend time on your product, in your store, getting your coaching, when I could be somewhere else, doing something else?
Who else offers a solution to the problem you solve?
These people are your competition.
Look at me: I sell SEO (search engine optimization) services. I help companies get more customers from free Google search traffic.
Do I compete with other SEO providers? You betcha.
But I also compete with other people who solve the same problem.
I compete with that girl who’s really good at running Facebook ads.
I compete with that marketing agency that’s really good at securing press releases.
I compete with the (sometimes) bad, (usually) free advice out there that fools people into thinking DIYing the solution to their problem is the most cost-effective long-term play.
But I compete with other possibilities.
I compete with the possibility of a new retail location. I compete with the possibility of hiring a new sales manager. I compete with the possibility of training a team member to do this in-house.
Your competition is similar.
You compete with the possibilities that promise to fulfill your potential client’s dream.
This extends to your marketing, too.
(You knew I was going to make this about marketing, didn’t you?)
When you write a new post on your blog, you have to compete not only with the other blog posts out there which cover the same topic, but also the blog posts that could solve the same problem.
When someone reads your blog post, you have to compete with other blog posts that promise to resolve their problem.
But you also compete with other things that request your customer’s time.
The other emails in their inbox.
The other articles sitting next to your on the Google search results.
The phone in their pocket (or on the table beside them, as mine is while I write this).
The call of Netflix or that book they’re halfway finished reading.
The social network du jour.
Why do you compete with these things?
Because they’re all asking for someone’s attention.
Attention is a currency.
And people are very conscious of how they spend their attention.
…or are they?
If we logged the number of minutes we waste on our phones each day, I’m sure we’d be surprised at how big it is.
But we’ve all had that experience of sitting in a room and wishing we could walk out, because what a waste of our time.
This is a waste of time.
Those are the last words you want your potential customer to think when they get to your company blog.
And yet I see companies produce subpar blog entries all the time.
As a marketer or business owner, you have a responsibility to respect the currency of attention.
In other words: don’t shove shit work down my throat.
Don’t try to rank it on Google.
Don’t email it to me.
Whatever you produce — and whatever you do — has to be so amazing I feel like giving you my time is a good investment.
As your customer, I need to feel I am making a good investment by spending my money with you.
That’s how you eliminate the competition.
Make me want to spend my attention on you.
Original article published here