Always thinking about your small business’ competition? Join the club. Whether you’re selling life insurance, peddling pizzas on the street corner or delivering singing telegrams dressed as a gorilla, you can bet that someone, somewhere, is doing the same thing.
What makes you stand out from the crowd? Why should a conscientious consumer choose you over the throngs of people selling the same product or service?
Discovering those answers is just how you’ll keep business flowing to your small business – and away from your competitors. Here are a few places to start:
Don’t Be a Jack of All Trades
It’s tempting to set yourself up as the one-stop shop for whatever it is you do. After all, the more people you can add to your potential market, the better … right?
In some ways, yes. But sometimes, dilution is an easy way to get lost in the fray.
It’s often better to do a couple things perfectly than to be merely OK at dozens. Focus on perfecting and promoting your core group of products or services before you consider stepping out into other areas. You might not offer everything, but those who need what you do offer will appreciate your quality and dependability — and a handful of happy customers will trump a busload of disappointed customers every time.
Offer What Your Competitors Don’t
While your offerings should be focused, it does pay to branch out when it comes to offering services and perks that your competitors don’t or can’t.
This means you’ll have to do some market research.
Learn who your closest competitors are and spend some time combing through their websites and social media pages. Learn what they offer … but more importantly, what they don’t offer. Do they have online chat? International shipping options? Free estimates?
Once you know what they don’t have, it’s easier to figure out what you should have to gain a competitive edge. It may be something as simple as staying open later on weekdays to catch traffic they’re missing out on, or offering overnight shipping when your best competitor is stuck at two days.
Create a “Personality” for Your Business
If your business were a person, who would they be? Witty and fun like a 20-something sitcom actor? Warm and inviting, like the grandma who always has freshly baked cookies on the counter? An environmentally conscious activist for world peace?
Giving your business a personality sets you apart from your competition, because your customers will know what to expect. It can feel like visiting an old friend every time they walk through your doors, click on your website or open an email from you. And when people feel connected, they’re more likely to come back.
However, once you establish a personality, you must keep it consistent across the board – that means your website, social media, marketing and more. Personality is good … but multiple personalities is confusing.
Present Yourself as an Authority in Your Industry
Customers need to see you as an expert, an authority — someone who understands their problems and can offer knowledgeable solutions. You have to convince them that you’re the real deal, not just playing a part.
Your blog is one of the best places to present yourself as an authority. Create posts that solve a problem, answer a question or show your readers how to do something.
Are you in a highly specialized industry? Consider publishing an e-book or whitepaper on a popular industry topic. Weekly Q&As on your website or social media pages also help you keep in touch with your customers and demonstrate your knowledge of the industry.
Ready to Stand Out From the Crowd?
Life insurance salesperson, pizza peddler or singing gorilla, the fact remains — your competition is out there. Differentiating yourself from others who offer the same products and services will help you become the small business that stands head and shoulders above the rest.
Mischa Communications has plenty more marketing tips at your disposal. All you have to do is ask! Pick up the phone or shoot us an email and let us know how we can help transform your small business today.