Warning... This post can seriously increase your online sales.

The issue

Trying to sell online amongst a sea of cheaper competitors!

Continually reducing prices and fighting with suppliers for better discounts is a lazy way to do business and it’s simply a race to the bottom. This post will show you another way to beat your competitors to those all-important sales, but it will require some effort from you.

It can’t have escaped your notice just how competitive the internet has become these days. There seem to be more and more businesses competing against each other, so it’s not easy to define new ways of standing out from the crowd. Although If you’re selling a service then you might arguably have a slight advantage when it comes to highlighting your unique selling points and features.

The well known solutions

If you’re in the business of selling products and commodities, you can still put yourself ahead of your competitors. You might all be selling the same cutting tool brands for example, but you can still be ahead of the crowd with a bit of forward planning. One way of doing this is to spend a lot of money on your marketing, getting to the top of the search results and hoping that people will click on your website first. Another option is to look at being the cheapest supplier of that product. Or perhaps you could offer the cheapest delivery? How about the fastest delivery?

A better solution

The ideas listed above are valid and should not be ignored, but there’s another really good way for eCommerce companies and distributors to sell products that other distributors are also selling. And that’s to build a community.

By that I mean you need to start providing a lot of useful information about your products and how they fit in within your sector. So going back to our example of cutting tools, the chances are that prospective buyers will already be in the business of cutting metal. They may be in the aerospace sector cutting exotic materials, or perhaps they’re in the plastics sector machining injection mould tools.

Drill Bits

Product reviews and testing

Producing informative posts on those subjects and product tests can help you to tap into the community of people who are most likely to be interested in those cutting tools. They may even be already using the product that you’re selling. So you don’t need to be the cheapest supplier, or spend lots of marketing money trying to reach the top of Google. Instead you work your way towards becoming an authority on that product and how those products work within the specific sectors. Video reviews shared through social media can be particularly effective for this, then you can generate a community of people around you that contribute to the information you’re providing. The members of that community will then begin talking with each other on social media about certain subjects, with you at the centre, holding that community together. When they require those products, they’ll tend to come to you instead of shopping around.

Study the product for them

Let’s go back to our cutting tools again. Your potential customer knows that you’ve been out there and thoroughly tested them for yourself. They can see that you’ve been answering questions about them, studied them in microscopic detail, explained the various features of them, gone through what you do and don’t like about them and their USP. So the people within your community, and visitors who come to your store, will feel reassured that you know what you’re talking about. And this is helped by the fact that there are so many people talking about you, your services, your business and the products that you sell. You’ll be seen as a safe and reputable business, and customers will want to purchase from you.

Man Holding Shoes

What could you do right now?

So ask yourself, what could you be doing to build an online community? What knowledge and insights can you provide about your products and services that will add extra value for your customers? How can you best encourage people to engage with you so that you can promote your brand to the best effect? Perhaps you could start the ball rolling with a Facebook group and take it from there?

If you’re stuck for ideas on getting started with building an online community, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We have a wealth of experience in getting brands noticed, and we’d be delighted to help your business reach new heights.

The Engineers Guide To Marketing - Part 1
Richard Stinson

For more information on marketing your engineering business get in touch with Richard, he has over 15 years marketing experience, many of those gained within the engineering sector itself.