I realized early on that marketing is a lot like fighting a war-- its not simply a matter of getting people to visit the site. Instead, I felt that marketing has a lot to do with competition. We are constantly competing for people's attention-- If I can get them looking my direction for long enough, there is a chance they'll be interested in visiting my site. It occurred to me that the best way to get attention is to get under someone's foot. I needed to attack some well-established service in order to draw attention toward my own. Below are the three things I plan to concentrate on:
Choose one target at a time
This is important to me because my site is so small. I'm the only one doing maintenance and it would be unwise to go picking fights with everyone. By only having one target at a time, I can concentrate all of my energy on what I'm doing without having to divide my efforts among multiple targets.
Choose one narrow point of attack and surprise attack it
This point brings to mind the theory of guerilla warfare. Instead of going all out and claiming my site trumps my competitor in all areas, it is easier for me to identify my site's strength (search and in-site-messaging) and attack a competitor that is weak in those areas. This gives me a valid point with which to argue and adds weight to my position. This tactic seems like it would work best if my target were much larger than me; they might not even pay attention to such a small site attacking one of its many (albeit average) features.
Leverage blogging for indirect attacks
This strategy involves making use of the viral nature of blogs. If my site is discussed in blogs as being a competitor to a larger site (even if the validity is stretched somewhat) I will be able to ride THEIR popularity to obtain more popularity. Getting compared to any larger competitor would automatically grab people's attention and make them interested in trying the site out for themselves. The interesting part is, any article that is read by enough people could have this effect-- not necessarily big news sites. This is why personal blogs and press releases are an indispensable tool for helping to market a small site.
Marketing involves careful planning-- there is a good chance I will change some of my strategy before I give it a trial run. However, it is always good to have a plan. Just because a site is small and not well known doesn't mean it doesn't have the potential to become large and in charge.