Avoid the Race to the Bottom

When people find you do you look like everyone else?

One of the reasons your great looking site is not getting the traffic or rave you are hoping for is that the internet is vast. When I drive through small country towns in the middle of nowhere, I often think about how indifferent their access is to what a connected, digital, urban person has. As long as they are connected to the internet, they can shop for anything anywhere. They can even have UPS deliver it next day or connect with a service provider in Brazil.

There are billions of web pages, and anyone can get online and start engaging. The hardest part is getting people to pay attention and tune in. It is the same problem that cable TV and advertising have. There are so many choices and an ease for us to pick what we want that we can instantly shop a product in a few minutes.

The game of getting attention is getting harder, and there are always cheaper alternatives. So, how can you compete in a world where someone can get what they want at the cheapest price?

One of the best strategies for ensuring losses over time is to compete on price. If you are that comparable to others then you are not special you are a commodity. Being compared is a death nail. It means there is nothing unique about what you do. It means that capitalism will push you to the lowest cost.

This type of commoditization is what Wal-Mart depends on and consumers love so they can get more for their money. However, the race to the bottom is not going to ensure long-term success.

It takes a lot more work, but going up river against the tide and figuring out how to bring more value and raise your prices gets you out of that game. You don’t want to be compared to others, or at least make it difficult.

Furthermore, the game is more rewarding. You may have a smaller audience size or number of eyeballs on your site, but it is more profitable.

Of course this means you have to lead. You have to position with something people want and crave. It’s not an easy game. But given the alternative of obsolescence over time, this is a more sane strategy to consider.

We work with companies to help them go up river all the time. It takes time to build an audience, help them buy in and tell other people about it. But it creates a continuous pipeline of business, and you don’t have to price slash. You can command the respect of a healthy price because you are not in the bottom feeder game.

So, while the consumer has this infinite convenience and access, think long and hard about how you fit in their world. Be special and let others race to the bottom.

How could you go up river in your journey?

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