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6 Of the Most Competitive Markets Online

12.28.2013
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Some businesses are not very well represented online, comparatively, but there are many industries that immediately recognized the importance of the Internet and have integrated online marketing into their conception of what it means to advertize very quickly. If you're a part of one of these industries, it's important to recognize that you have a long road ahead of you and will have to work very hard to find innovative ways to get attention when there is so much competition for every website hit. Here are some of the most competitive online markets.

1. Web Development and Design - This should be obvious, but web design companies have absolutely flooded the online market for advertizing and have both the skills and the resources to get themselves noticed. Fortunately because so many other companies are finding their way to the online market, there are still plenty of customers out there to go around, but who knows how long that will last? If you're planning to try and break into this market, make sure that you have some sort of new idea and plan to focus on local business, as counter-intuitive as they may seem.

2. Real Estate - Of the many primarily offline industries that are out there, none have embraced internet marketing like real estate. Within the industry culture, it is almost unthinkable to not have a website, a social media presence, and even somebody on your team dedicated to nothing but running your online work. Because many of them recognize the importance of hyper local focus, it's very hard to break into this market. It requires you, more than anything, to develop a distinct and likable online personality and stay on top of things.

3. Law - It seems like everywhere you go, online and off, there's a slew of legal marketing for all kinds of lawyers, from criminal to personal injury. That's because lawyers make a charge a lot, so it's no secret that just a single client can pay back dividends when it comes to their marketing. This is the biggest reason why the law market is one of the most competitive spaces to be in. However, new attorneys shouldn't fret. There's plenty of help from specialists online to help you market your practice.

4. Travel - This remains one of the biggest growth industries in the world. According to the ASTA, travel companies saw a rise in revenue for 52% of its member agencies in 2012, much of that coming from new clients found online. That being said, it's difficult to break into since websites for travel agencies, hotels, and related businesses have to be efficient and highly secure, two things that are not always easy to meld. The big names in travel websites also capture the vast, vast majority of attention just from name recognition and perceived ability to trust them.

5. Gifts - It's very nice to be able to shop for things online. Especially during the holiday season, not having to leave your home and brave the stores can be an incredible boon. However, if you're trying to break into this market, understand that most retail still happens at brick and mortar locations for things like gifts, and a lot of the most obvious gimmicks are already being employed. With sites like Etsy anybody can open up a shop to sell gifts and the like. So if you plan to try to get into this market, either find a niche that is significantly under-served or a new idea for how to make shopping even easier.

6. Insurance - This can be a double edged sword for consumers. The insurance industry has always been incredibly competitive, trying to find the best balance of rates to payouts, but online the battle has grown fierce. On one hand, this is a good thing in that it lowers prices for everybody, but in order to maintain those low prices, these companies have had to become very strict on their payout policies. Regardless, while there is still plenty of room for new businesses, they will have to be very careful to balance rates that will be competitive in such a market, payouts that can allow them to sustain themselves, and customer service that will retain current customers.

It is not impossible to break into any of these online markets, but it is very difficult and requires more than simply setting up a website and waiting for customers. It requires a certain amount of innovation, some creativity, and a whole lot of hard work, but in each of these cases you can find your way into the market and still thrive. Just be aware that you are in for a challenge and be ready to meet it when it comes along.

Published at DZone with permission of Paul Andrews, author and DZone MVB.

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