Everybody else aims for the leader in their category. In Carol’s recent post on the Nextiva blog, “How Your Business Can Become – and Stay – Successful,” Carol shares some strategies that can help you keep your business on top. Carol begins:

Once your business has clawed its way to the top, no other position in the pack will do. But, getting there and staying there are not the same thing. Your competitors are watching your every move, imitating your winning ways — and trying to figure out how to do the job just a little bit better.

When you’re at the top of the pack, you still have to continuously differentiate your company from the competition, while looking for ways to do it faster, cheaper and better. Even as you continue to amass more customers, you can’t let your competitors steal the customers that you already have.

The competition is trying to take your customers away through offensive marketing campaigns that attack your weaknesses. But, as a market leader, you can prevail with a good defensive marketing campaign and outstanding customer service, while proving that you do it better. Here are three suggestions that can help keep your business at the top of the pack.

1. Weigh price against profitability

One way that competitors attack your business is by pricing their products or services just slightly below your prices. Of course, as the market leader, you can probably afford to undercut competitor prices, even if it means that you have to surrender some profitability. This does not mean that you should readily take a loss, unless you’re taking the loss-leader approach, where you sell certain products or services at little or no profit to attract customers to spend lavishly on other offerings.

The pack leader may, however, have a different option: charge higher prices than the competition. As the leader, your marketing campaign can sell higher-priced goods or services because they are the best, and they represent higher value. But, tread carefully. If you don’t convince customers of your company’s exceptional value, this approach can potentially backfire by allowing your competitors to charge more, while still undercutting your prices

2. Develop true loyalty programs

If you’re about to run out to your local print shop to order “buy-10-and-get-1-free cards”, stop the presses right now. Traditional “loyalty” programs aren’t effective for customers, as they do not build loyalty to your business, but rather, to the eventual freebie.

You can read the rest of the post here.