Are you having trouble setting yourself apart from a crowded field of competitors?
Especially if you’re a new business or startup, the task of positioning your brand can be daunting, no matter how necessary it is, in order to succeed. But it really doesn’t have to be.
There are probably lots of excellent providers in your field and plenty of alternative options for your customers to choose from. Your business will always be different. That difference is your unfair advantage–it’s how or why you do what you do, the way that you do it. Customer service, superior results, and professional communication aren’t differentiators. An innovative approach, unexpected personality, or a revolutionary fee structure might be.
Discovering and leveraging your business’s unfair advantage is (and should be) easy. You know yourself and your business better than anyone else, so take a few minutes to consider what distinguishes you from your competitors and how that can be leveraged to make more sales, win more clients, and command higher prices.
Here’s what you need to ask yourself, in order to define the unfair competitive advantage for your business.
1. How do you do what you do, differently?
At first glance it might seem like you’re not offering a product or services that are too different from the rest of the market. But upon deeper reflection, there are certainly aspects to your business which distinguish yourself from others.
If you’re a life coach and you share the down-and-out moments of your struggle toward success, your message, tone, and philosophy will no doubt resonate with a crowd of people who are not interested in the polished, poised messages your other competitors might sell.
You can create an unfair advantage for your business by focusing on what makes you stand out from the competition, rather than getting tied up in ways in which you are similar. What is your process and how does it compare to others’? Find the areas in which you differ and make sure that potential customers notice.
2. How do you connect with customers, differently than your competitors?
Understanding what your customers want, especially when they go with someone else, is crucial to tailoring your message and product to the needs of your market.
When people don’t connect with you and choose your competition, what is it that drives them in that direction? Getting a read on customer behavior is crucial to winning a greater share of your market, and the best way to do that is to foster interactions on an individualized level.
Especially by tackling intimacy with customers online, there is immense potential for you to create a competitive advantage. Stream Instagram comments, re-Tweet, or re-post Facebook customer comments online in conjunction with your product page on your website—nothing sells better than positive customer feedback, and nothing keeps customers loyal like showing them that you hear and care about what they say.
Make your product less about you and more about everyone else. Find the angle that allows people to pinpoint a personal connection to your product, and encourage that.
3. What is fresh about your product compared to others in your market?
What are people not getting from other similar products which yours can deliver to them? This should be central to making your business stand out from the competition.
How are you going to Facebook the hell out of their Myspace?
In order to succeed there must be some components of your service or product that, if not revolutionary, can at least be marketed as a fresh breath of air relative to everyone around you.
Does your background (experience, education, etc) make you standout?
What was your struggle? What were the obstacles you overcame? Use your story to connect with customers. This doesn’t mean making your business about you, but it does mean that you should use the problems you faced as a common rallying cry to choose you over someone else.
What is your particular angle that makes you truly unique? Sell your personal experience dealing with and overcoming the same problems which potential customers might come to you to solve—Voilà! You’ve created an unfair advantage for your business.
I hope you’ve got a better idea now of how to set yourself apart from your competition. If you haven’t already, take the time to identify your unfair advantage. Ideally it should be in a sentence, or even one word, and focus on conveying that value proposition to your customers.
What are some other major points you focus on when you market yourself against the crowd? Let me know in the comments below!
Don’t forget to check out my class on Building a Standout Business, here on CreativeLive.