If you’re hopping into the exact same market with the exact same value proposition as your competitors, then you’re giving yourself an uphill battle from the start. Isolating and tackling a slightly different market can immediately give you better chances at success. For instance, is there a particular aspect of your business that you can focus on that your competitors don’t? Is there an audience that you’re equipped to tackle better than them? You can even focus on something as seemingly arbitrary as geographical location. Sometimes, just being closer to clients and customers can be enough of a selling point for them to try you. Find your niche and make sure that you have at least some sliver of the market to yourself.
How is the consumer going to see the business? That’s what the brand is all about. If your competition doesn’t have the strongest marketing, then you can lend yourself an immediate advantage with a digital agency helping your brand maintain a professional appeal. A different, distinct logo, aesthetic style, and personal content writing style are going to help you stand out much more, too. You might feel like going for the safer options to make sure your business fits in the market, but customers are tired of hearing the same cliché terms and seeing the same generic website design. When they can’t decide between differences in service, they look for difference in branding.
Your business’s story isn’t just dictated by what it offers to customers. Nowadays, people care more about social and environmental issues as well. Some can be divisive, but others are a way to demonstrate real human character in the business. For instance, you can make gender equality in hiring practices or environmental sustainability in business processes a focus. Consumers have proven time and time again they’re even willing to pay more to a business that they believe is doing a public good. For the same reason, cause marketing, like pairing up with a non-profit organization for a cross-promotion, can turn product fans into your brand’s most hardcore followers. Every business should have some focus on their corporate social responsibility.
If you manage to get up and running, there’s one thing you have that your competitors don’t your customers. The two communities that set up around two competing businesses can create as much difference between them as a different brand or set of stated values. So, treat your customers like they’re the best customers you could have. Work on your customer service and support. Engage them on social media and retweet or reply when they message you directly in a post. If they feel they’re appreciated, they’re a lot easier to keep around. And on social media or online reviews, that can work as proof positive to possible brand converts. There’s always a little more you can do to focus on your acquired market than your competitors are willing to do.
The personality behind the brand can make a big difference, too. Especially if you manage to get the lofty title of “expert” in your industry. The best way to do that over a competitor with as much claim to that title is to share it as widely as possible. Talk to people at trade shows about the industry. Market and share your insight with other business leaders. Find what opportunities you can to inflate your brand through networking. Write content and provide advice that shows you’re the expert you claim to be. With enough PR opportunities and enough informative content, people will start to believe you are the “go to” when trying to find an expert in the industry.
Differentiating yourself is key, but don’t make the differences the core of the business. If you spend time making comparisons to your competitors, your customers are going to wonder whether your focus is really on them or on beating the others in your industry. Keep your focus customer-centric and genuine.