Out-teach your competition
You can advertise. You can hire salespeople. You can sponsor events. But your competitors are doing the same things. How does that help you stand out?
Instead of trying to outspend, outsell, or outsponsor competitors, try co out-teach them. Teaching probably isn’t something your competitors are even thinking about. Most businesses focus on selling or servicing, but teaching never even occurs to them.
The Hoefler Type Foundry teaches designers about type at Typography.com. Etsy, an online store for things handmade, holds entrepreneurial workshops that explain “best practices” and promotional ideas co people who sell at the site. Gary Vaynerchuk, who owns a large wine shop, teaches people about wine online at Wine LibraryTV, and tens of thousands of people watch every day.
Teach and you’ll form a bond you just don’t get from traditional marketing tactics. Buying people’s attention with a magazine or online banner ad is one thing. Earning their loyalty by teaching them forms a whole different connection. They’ll trust you more. They’ll respect you more. Even if they don’t use your product, they can still be your fans.
Teaching is something individuals and small companies can do that bigger competitors can’t. Big companies can afford a Super Bowl ad; you can’t. But you can afford to teach, and that’s something they’ll never do, because big companies are obsessed with secrecy. Everything at those places has to get filtered through a lawyer and go through layers of red tape. Teaching is your chance to outmaneuver them.