Whatever niche your business is in, it’s almost an absolute guarantee that there are at least a dozen other businesses within the same sector.
Competition is a natural part of running any business.
If you can’t find a way to stand out, then those competitors are going to acquire the consumers that otherwise would have been your customers.
Here are six methods to help your business stand out like a diamond in the rough.
Be an Attention Seeker
Don’t be afraid to think outside the box to get noticed. This includes online and offline.
Take a page out of the book of English entrepreneur Richard Branson. This business mogul has made a name for himself doing some pretty outrageous publicity stunts.
- Driving a military tank on the streets of New York
- Traveling through the English Channel in an amphibious vehicle while donning a tuxedo
- Launching off the Bognor pier wearing a pair of wings
Offline methods like the one above can easily generate a lot of discussion given the prevalence of social media. What will you do to make your brand stick out in an outrageous but memorable way
Don’t Be a Copy-Catter
It’s tempting to emulate the success of companies that have made it big. However, by going this route, your brand risks becoming the Knock-off brand.
Your company becomes a follower rather than a pioneer that took risks and paved its own path. Also, by emulating other brands, you run the risk of losing out on consumer loyalty.
Customers will be more inclined to explore other options if they have other similar choices from competing brands.
How can you pave your own path? Look for ways to create products or services that differ in some way.
If a competitor creates a course titled “5 Vegetarian Diets for Belly Fat Loss,” for instance, then perhaps you can create a different course labelled “5 Paleo Diets for Spot Reducing.”
The course is within the same niche but approaches the topic from a different angle.
Use the Squint Test
Given that this post is all about standing out, it’s only natural that the squint test is included. The test can be done on a physical product or advertising material like a promotional banner.
Here’s how it basically works: place the product or poster in a natural environment, such as on a store shelf full of other products, or on a window full of other banners.
Squint your eyes really hard while looking at the object. Do this until your vision becomes a blur.
If your product or banner stands out among all the other objects in the background, then it’s a winner. If not, then it needs a bit tweaking.
What are some of the marketing trends right now that the competitors haven’t really capitalized on yet?
Beyond the basics like Facebook and Twitter, are your competitors reaching out through other channels like Pinterest, Snapchat, or LinkedIn?
How about email newsletters, blogs, or offline methods like flyers and printed catalogs?
Perhaps you can even one-up your competitors by hosting an event with plenty of event swag as giveaways.
Of course, an option like this has a tremendous overhead, but it can also be a huge investment that turns the tides in your favour.
Engage Directly with Your Audience
Show to your audience that behind the brand lies a team of staff that are ordinary folks just like the people they serve.
You can do this by being active engagers on social media. Respond directly to enquiries and make it personal by addressing individuals by name.
Keep the conversation casual and feel free to use text speak and emoji’s.
This shows to the audience that while you’re professional, you’re also just “one of the boys” or “one of the gals.”
You can even send individual messages to prospect followers.
This could be a quick message with a link to an exclusive feature, such as a behind-the-scenes video clip or a complimentary discount code just for being active on your company social media channel.
This one kind of rides on the last point. You not only need to engage with your audience but you also need to be responsive and fast.
Luckily, this is more feasible than ever thanks to digital and mobile technology.
There should be at least one designated personnel who answers customer questions and comments.
The response should be swift and preferably within minutes, not several hours or days after the question was posted.
If you have a large following, then obviously you won’t be able to respond to every individual enquiry.
Just use your best judgement to respond to those who you feel are more likely to stick around.
Remember, It’s a Dog-Eat-Dog World
In the business world, it’s all about competition, so you can’t always be a Mr. Nice Guy. You have to really go out there and actively make your company stand out against an ocean of competitors vying for consumer attention. What will you do to make your brand come out on top?
This is a guest contribution by Dan McCarthy, Event Manager at Venueseeker, a comprehensive online venue guide based in the UK. Dan has 5 years of event project management under his belt. He has worked on many successful events and currently he shares his knowledge by writing on the company blog. Follow him on Twitter @DanCarthy2.