There is some ancient wisdom about not trying to keep up with the Joneses. Nothing good ever comes of it. The idea behind the saying is to never let greed and envy of others get the better of you. That red Corvette your neighbor just drove home should not be the catalyst for you to run off and bring back an even redder Ferrari. That sort of thing never ends well. Some people never learn that lesson at their peril. Walk away from that mid-life crisis and get back on track.
You will find that the Joneses are also in business. There are even more of them. And they are much harder to ignore. They are your competition. The need to keep up is existential. Fail to keep up and you're out of the game. But simply aping the moves of your competitors who have better strategies and are better funded is a recipe for disaster. As tempting as it is to be a fast follower, it tends to not be such a good thing for your business. There are a few reasons for this that might not be obvious at first. Here are three:
The Joneses Are also Broke
The California Joneses in their California McMansions are as California broke as it gets. There is a more than excellent chance that the competitors you are chasing are even more desperate to stay alive than you. Everyone is one bad quarter away from bankruptcy. Chase the Joneses and you will fly headlong off the cliff right behind them. It makes sense. You are desperately trying to keep up with appearances so that people think you are more successful than you are. That is a part of the game. It stands to reason that you will be fooled by the outward appearances of someone else's success as well.
That is why when you are at one of those uniquely California crisis points, you need to access one of those California loans that can keep your small business moving forward. You don't always need a second mortgage. Sometimes, it is a matter of your meat freezer burning out. You can lose $20,000 in inventory. Or you can get another one delivered by morning. You might not have the cash flow for that. A small loan can come in handy. That kind of financial setback doesn't have to ruin you. The kind that ruins you is the kind brought on by trying to keep up with the competition in expensive ways that really don't help your bottom line.
Your Strategy Has to Suit You, Not the Joneses
Creating a content marketing strategy can be tricky. One of the easiest and biggest mistakes you can make is blindly copying what your competitors are doing just because it seems to be working for them. First, you have no idea how well it is actually working for them. Second, you are not them. Your needs are different. Your solutions must be tailored to your needs.
Don't just hire an agency because that is what the competition did. Don't just run a pay per click campaign because your competitor across the street is getting more calls than you. And don't change your website just because your neighbor has one that looks better. You need to understand your own situation and how it differs from your competitor's. Simply doing whatever the Joneses do is not a good strategy when it comes to content marketing.
The Joneses Have a Different Niche
It could be that you are mistaken about who your competition is. The person who seems like a competitor might have a completely different niche that means you can both coexist and even be potential partners down the road. You might also be in HVAC. But you might have an entirely different niche market that doesn't overlap the other companies in the area. Perhaps you speak a language fluently that none of the other companies speak. That is enough separation so that you don't have to reflexively worry about every little thing they do in their business.
The Joneses are also broke. You have different needs. And you might have a niche that means other companies in the area are not necessarily your rivals. If you do it just right, the Joneses will want to keep up with you.