3 ways to stand out from the competition
July 22, 2021
6 minutes to read
Opinions expressed by Contractor the contributors are theirs.
We all know that in order to build a successful business, we need to stand out so that people choose us over our competition. But there is a right and a wrong way to do it, and unfortunately most entrepreneurs approach this critical task the wrong way.
Doing it right results in lower marketing costs, a shorter sales cycle, and dominance in your market. Doing it the wrong way does the opposite.
Obviously we want to avoid the latter – but how?
In this article, I’ll explain exactly how to set yourself apart from your competition in a way that positions your brand as the clear choice, both logically and emotionally.
Related: 4 Ways to Stand Out As a Small Business in a Crowded Space
1. Don’t just be better – be different
Contrary to popular opinion, the world will not knock your door down by throwing money at you just because you are building a better mousetrap.
A product or service that is better than your competition is great, but a product or service that is different is even more important. It’s because of the way the human brain works. If we actually noticed and processed all the data we came across, we would quickly go crazy.
In the real world, we filter most of the data that we encounter. What works out are things that are out of the ordinary. Unusual things. Different.
Indeed, the first human brains adapted to protect us from danger by filtering out unnecessary “noise” so that we could focus on the things we could eat and the things that could kill us. It was a survival mechanic that dates back to long before you could order pizza, ice cream, and Reece’s cups of peanut butter through Uber Eats while watching Parks and Rec in your pajamas without leaving the safety of your home. .
For early humans, there was not much benefit in noticing the intricate detail of the patterns in the bark of trees while walking in the forest. There wasn’t even a lot of benefit to noticing individual trees. But there was a huge benefit to noticing a hungry wolf lurking towards you in this forest.
Our brains still work that way today.
Similar things blend into the dark while different things stand out.
Look at Apple computers, for example. They’re no better than PCs, despite what many Apple enthusiasts think. They are priced higher than a PC with comparable specifications, and because they use a different operating system, they cannot natively run some software.
They are not better – just different.
Here are a few more examples of brands that are successful in differentiating themselves from their competition:
- Black gun coffee
- Air flow
- Dollar shave club
- You’re here
- Harley davidson
So while you may strive to deliver products or services that are as good or better than those offered by your competition, it is even more important to be different so that your brand will stand out and be memorable. This will give you a huge advantage over your competition.
2. Maintain a strong, multi-channel presence
Have you ever followed up with a potential customer, only to find that since the last time you spoke to them, they bought from one of your competitors for you? This is usually because your competition was more successful in staying ahead of potential customers, meaning they were there when the customer was ready to make a buying decision.
While some brands do it well, most don’t.
Most fall into one of three categories: either they misuse multiple channels, use one channel well enough, and a few others poorly, or rely entirely on one channel.
Related: 6 Ways Your Brand Can Stand Out From The Competition
Effective marketing today requires your brand to be present in more places than ever before, because the media is hyper fragmented. We have to deal with TV, streaming services, social media, newspapers, radio, podcasts, YouTube, magazines, email – and many more that I failed to mention here. You need to be where your customers are to maintain brand awareness as a priority.
This may include:
- Facebook ads
- Google Ads
- Organic social networks
- Search engine optimization
- Email advertising
- Public relations
- TV advertising
- Phone calls
- Advertisment display
- Direct mail
- Podcasts (as guest and / or host)
- Video Marketing
The list is huge, so we have to be careful not to take more than we can realistically handle.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of trying to do everything at once, but usually it just leads to doing a lot of different things wrong. The right approach is to add one new channel at a time and work to achieve it before adding another.
Ideally, you should aim for a minimum of three to five channels.
It’s also important to note that while social media should be one of those channels, it should include three to five social networks. You have to follow the same approach here as with the marketing channels. Start with a social network and once you’ve gotten significant traction, add another.
3. Provide evidence of satisfied clients / customers
Obviously, every brand and the people behind it are biased and act in their own best interests when they say they’re the best, even if they really believe them. And maybe they’re the best, but customers will reject a company’s claims unless they can be proven.
This is where your customers or clients come in. You need to leverage them as part of your marketing strategy because they provide social proof.
Their satisfaction is proof that future customers can also expect to be satisfied with your products or services. The key is to first guide them in crafting the perfect testimony. The good news is that there is a formula for this.
A good testimonial begins when your client or client explains the problem they are facing before they come to you and how that problem has affected them. Then they should explain why they chose to work with you rather than your competition. They should spend some time talking about their experience working with you before moving on to explain how they have benefited from your product or service. And finally, they should directly recommend your business.
It’s a simple formula that covers both the logical and emotional elements of a buying decision.
Ideally, you should try to get them to provide this testimonial on video. I explained in a previous article the role video plays in personal branding because of the way it improves confidence. The same goes for testimonials.