It seems like I'm always playing catch up to my main competitors who have been around longer than I have been.
I offer better services at better pricing but it seems like they have such a big overall lead on me in terms of brand awareness, more backlinks, bigger advertising budgets, better keyword rankings, etc. that I will never be able to make a dent into gaining more market share.
How can I close the gap between my main competitors that seem to have gained a good market share over the years of being in business compared to my recent startup business?
Personally, I think you should be focusing heavily on your current users that are loyal to your brand currently and worry less on trying to buy users and get more brand awareness. To be frank you should be letting your strongest customers do all the promotion for you organically. "K-factor" This is how why you see businesses that get super big out of nowhere with practically nil paid marketing budgets.
One of the differences of the David v Goliath mentality is companies believe they need to take on Goliath. The truth is, however, your company can operate at a high level by offering your customers the best services, prices, quality, etc that you can and be focused completely on the customer experience.
The problem is by trying to compete with your competitors you are wasting all your money/time trying to beat or get market share vs. building a high quality business.
Focus on acquiring the customers you can through traditional paid, organic channels however stop focusing on trying to compete for market share. Focus on your product/business and ensuring that you have high retention %/ repeat users/payers, etc.
I worked at Lyft and to be honest we had that mentality vs. Uber who are essentially monsters compared to us. "Oh how will Lyft ever make a dent in Uber's market share" They have more money, resources, etc. The difference, however, was the customer experience with Lyft. Lyft, overall, is friendlier, and a better experience IMHO. Thus, you now see Lyft making major strides in market share in the ride-sharing economy.
At the end of the day, IMHO eventually the customer experience, product etc. will help you organically eat into enough market share.
Specific tactics depends on the business, but usually you should try to go for the niches for which your product is much better. There, are probably much more incline to switch (they usually feel neglected by the incumbent player)
The other thing that works well is optimizing what you do today in order to be more effective at acquiring customers and converting them - bigger efficiency can compensate to some extent for lower budget / resources.
The last group of actions is finding a way around the current information distribution system so you can bent the rules in your favour (this really depends on the nature of your business, segments targeted and the way the information flows). The usuall suspects are: getting refferal system for happy customers you can spread the world around (i.e Dropbox), affiliate programs, getting influential evangelist (i.e. Canva and Guy Kawasaki) or tones of small but with some coverage bloggers / local opinion leaders (i.e. Buffer)
Hope it helps
Disclaimer: This advice will only apply in certain cases.
Sometimes a domain upgrade will provide an instant credibility boost for your brand. A natural, authoritative domain name such as Apartments.com can reduce friction for word-of-mouth growth and also render SEM more cost-efficient.
That's one way to gain an advantage and level the playing field between yourself and more established players.
Maybe that isn't possible in your case. Impossible to say without knowing the circumstances.
In recent years, a growing number of business practitioners and theorists have postulated that one way for a company to increase its return is by increasing its market share, and studies appear to have confirmed this relationship. Given this direct link between profit and risk, it behooves companies to manage their market shares with the same diligence as they would manage any other facet of their businesses. This concept of managing market shares leads to some intriguing possibilities. Although most companies can profit by attempting to increase their market shares, some may conclude that they are at the point at which expected costs and risks outweigh expected gains. Capturing a dominant share of a market is likely to mean enjoying the highest profits of any of the companies serving that market. But high market share can also mean headaches. Companies possessing it are tempting targets for actual and potential competitors, consumer organizations, and government agencies. These companies cannot aggressively seek larger shares because further gains may break the dam and let the waters of antitrust action pour in. In some cases, these companies may even have to give up some share to stem the tide. The company that acquires an extremely high market share exposes itself to several risks that its smaller competitors do not encounter. Competitors, consumers, and governmental authorities are more likely to take certain actions against high-share companies than against small-share ones. Smaller competitors, for example, can direct certain types of attack against larger organizations, attacks that would not work as well against companies of equal or smaller size. Potential competitors also present problems because they may see the company with the largest share as the only competitor stopping them from capturing a portion of the profits being earned in a particular industry. Clearly, some large multiproduct companies have had considerable success in entering lucrative markets previously dominated by one or a few organizations. The high market-share company also must cope with antitrust initiatives taken by the government. Rather than wait for conclusive evidence that the conduct within an industry has been anticompetitive, these agencies have acted primarily because non-competitive market structures have allegedly existed. One might say that these companies are now being penalized for their success. More high market-share companies can expect antitrust suits when the FTC begins to exercise its newly won authority to require line-of-business reporting from major corporations. With such attention focused on their daily operations, multiproduct companies will find it harder to disguise their dominance of a particular market, although they may be able to disguise its profitability through arbitrary allocations of fixed overhead. Congressional pressure to fight inflation through stepped-up enforcement of the existing antitrust laws will also cause severe headaches for many high market-share companies. The degree of risk depends on how the company has obtained its high market share. To the extent that its success is based on continuous innovation and/or lowering of costs and prices to buyers, consumers and the government may feel less hostile to the company, and competitors may feel less able to attack it. Both economic theory and empirical evidence suggest that profitability increases with market share. Consider the case of a company with a fixed plant size. Beyond the breakeven point, the company’s profits increase with its sales volume. Now consider the company that can expand its plant and market size. A larger company can afford better equipment or more automation that lowers unit costs. One of the best and most recent is the Marketing Science Institute’s “Profit Impact of Market Strategies” project. The PIMS study shows that businesses with market shares above 40% earn an average ROI of 30%, or three times that of those with shares under 10%. However, the PIMS study does not reveal whether profitability eventually turns down at extremely high market-share levels.
Besides if you do have any questions give me a call: https://clarity.fm/joy-brotonath