I’ve got some great news for you no matter what industry you’re in — your competitors are lazy. How are they lazy? You can choose any industry, go to Google right now and search for services/products related to that industry. Here is what you’ll find, 9/10 times the websites at the top will be poor.

Here are some of the mistakes they are making costing them hundreds of thousands or even millions of rands every year and how you can take advantage of that…

1. Poor Content Marketing Strategy

First up, check out their blog. An overwhelming majority of small businesses either don’t have one or rarely use it. Why? Maybe they don’t see the business value in it. Or maybe they just think it’s a fad that will past.

They are wrong.

Having a lot of free helpful content on your website increases the perceived trust in your company by your potential clients or customers.

Not only that, Google and other search engines will show more and more love to your website if you have a lot of helpful content by promoting you to more and more of your prospects every single month.

More exposure, often means more leads and clients assuming your website Is good enough which leads us to the next mistake your competitors are making.

2. Bad Website Design

Most of your competitors often don’t invest much in their business website. As a result, they never get to see the true value of a great website. In fact, this is an epidemic with most small business websites such that your website could be just as bad as your competitors.

Why?

The most common reason I see is small business owners not waiting to invest good money for a really good website designer and developer. They would rather hire some cheat mediocre designer or developer not understanding that you get what you pay for. Then they go a year or two without ever getting clients from their website and they are surprised.

What are some of the signs of a bad website? They’re easy to spot.

Thin Content

If their pages are short, then this is a clear sign of laziness. Also, do they just have a generic ‘services’ page? Google loves content and so do your visitors. While visitors may not read everything on your website pages, more content increases their perceived trust in your brand. Most of your pages (not all) should have 600+ words.

Slow Website

Two important audiences want fast websites: Google and your visitors. Think about it, do you want a faster loading website or slower loading website as a user of other websites? Test the current loading time of your website and consult with your webmaster for ways to increase your website page loading speed.

No Live Chat

Most of your competitors say “chat isn’t right for us. Our customers don’t like chat”. That’ll be the same customers who are on WhatsApp or texting all day long will it? If you have significant traffic to your website, then live chat will give you an ROI in minutes.

No SSL Certificate

Using a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate is not just for payment pages nowadays. SSL is a stated Google ranking factor but surprisingly few small businesses especially here in South Africa have made the switch.

I published a blog post about the importance of SSL certificate here.

Being Average and Below

Most of your competitors have average websites and below. They don’t aim to stand out and be perceived as the best in the industry. That is good news for people like you and me who want to win.

What can you do to take advantage of that? Well, simple, make sure your website is the best in your industry. I can hear you already saying to me, what about budget, what about restraints on costs and things like that?

Well first of, a business website is an investment that can literally make you hundreds of thousands, millions and even billions depending on what industry you’re in. Heard of Amazon.com? An e-commerce website that has created the richest man on planet earth?

No Branding

I’ve seen so many sucky branding out there for small businesses. It’s unbelievable why your competitors don’t take advantage of this, because think about it, a brand makes you memorable and different. Things like pictures of you the founder, your team, office or storefront, consistent colours, consistent font(s) and etc.

3. Lazy Follow Up

Contact your competitors with an enquiry. Maybe by email or even by phone. What happens next? You might receive some kind of ‘we value your enquiry’ reply. But what next? Do they follow up with you quickly and/or on a regular basis if necessary?

Do they phone you quickly and ask about your requirements? Do they send a predefined sequence of emails with useful information to help guide your purchasing decision? If they’re lazy, then the answers will be no.

But follow up is what sets the “A-Graders” apart from the rest. And it doesn’t have to be complex or expensive. There are loads of off the shelf Customer Relationship Management Tools (CRM) that have all of the above baked in.

Get new enquiries texted to you. Come to work every day and see a list of calls for you or your sales team to follow up with. See a list of prioritized leads with scores against them based on their browsing action.

4. Lazy Review Collection Strategy

Getting genuine customer reviews needs to become second nature to you. In an increasingly connected world, prospective customers need to be reassured. Reviews are one of the best ways you can achieve this.

Nowadays you can check up your competitor’s reviews in Google, TrustPilot and loads of other review websites. If you’re a local business, then you should also consider that businesses with most Google reviews tend to get the highest rank in the local search results.

Imagine that for a low-cost way to get targeted traffic day in, day out. The businesses at the top are just cleaning up. You need to make sure that you are one of them.

So how do you do it? Just ask. That’s all you have to do – just start asking. Run a Pareto analysis (the 80/20 rule) and identify your best clients. The chances are high that they’ll be happy to give you a review.

A word of warning. This is an ongoing approach. Don’t go from zero to 100 reviews overnight or that could start alarm bells ringing at Google. Just build in reviews as an everyday part of your business.

5. Poor Marketing Strategy

Having a good website is awesome. But you must have a strategy to get your prospective customers to notice you and visit your website.

Most of your competitors just have websites that are like a ghost town. No one visits. The only people who ever visit their website are themselves and maybe some friends and family.

You don’t want your website to be a ghost time, do you? Start investing in your marketing especially online marketing, so that you get thousands of potential clients and customers to visit your website every single month.

Conclusion

Many of your competitors will have many lazy habits including others that are not mentioned here in this blog post. Make a commitment to be better than them in these key areas and you’ll get a massive advantage for the long term.

If you’re like me, you want to be at the top of your industry. You should know the weaknesses of your competitors and their strengths to know how to beat all of them. So #StartDoing the work necessary to be at the top.