We are all aware that in order to develop a successful business, we must stand out so that customers would choose us over our competition. However, there is a right and wrong way to do this, and regrettably, most entrepreneurs approach this crucial task incorrectly.
Doing it correctly results in cheaper marketing expenditures, a shorter sales cycle, and market supremacy. When done incorrectly, the consequence is the inverse.
Obviously, we want to avoid the latter, but how can we do so?
In this essay, I'll explain how to differentiate yourself from your competition in a way that puts your brand as the obvious choice, both logically and emotionally.
1. Don't just be better; be unique; be a WINNER
Despite common belief, the world will not come knocking on your door and flinging money at you simply because you built a better mousetrap.
A better product or service than your competition is fantastic, but a product or service that is unique is even better. This is due to the way the human brain functions. We'd go nuts if we paid attention to and digested every piece of info we came across.
In the real world, we filter out the majority of the information we come across. What makes it through are the things that are out of the norm. Unusual circumstances. Different.
This is due to the fact that early human brains evolved to shield us from danger by filtering out superfluous "noise" so we could focus on what we could eat and what may kill us. It was a survival tactic from a time before you could order a pizza, ice cream, and Reece's peanut butter cups through Uber Eats while binge-watching Parks and Recreation in your pjs without leaving the comfort of your own home.
Walking through the forest provided little value to early humans in terms of recognizing the delicate complexity of the patterns in the bark on the trees. There was little point in noticing individual trees. However, there was a huge advantage to detecting a hungry wolf roaming towards you in that forest.
That is how our minds still work today.
Things that are alike fade into obscurity, whilst things that are unique stand out.
Take a look at Apple computers. Despite what many Apple aficionados believe, they are not superior than PCs. They are more expensive than a PC with comparable specs, and since they utilize a separate operating system, they cannot run some software natively.
They're not better; they're simply different.
Here are a few more instances of brands that successfully differentiate themselves from competition by being unique:
- Black Rifle Coffee
- Dollar Shave Club
- Harley Davidson
So, while you should endeavor to produce products or services that are as good as or better than those offered by your competitors, it is even more crucial to be unique so that your brand stands out and is memorable. This will provide you with a significant advantage over your competitors.
2. Keep a strong multi-channel presence.
Have you ever followed up with a potential customer only to discover that they had purchased from one of your competitors instead of you since the last time you spoke with them? This is frequently due to your competitors doing a better job of keeping in front of potential customers, which means they were present when the buyer was ready to make a purchasing choice.
While some brands excel at this, the majority do not.
Most fall into one of three categories: they use numerous channels ineffectively, use one channel well and a few others ineffectively, or rely solely on one channel.
Because media is so fragmented these days, effective marketing necessitates having your brand in more locations than ever before. We have to deal with television, streaming services, social media, newspapers, radio, podcasts, YouTube, magazines, email, and a slew of other things that I haven't mentioned yet. To be top-of-mind with your customers, you must be present where they are.
This might include:
- Facebook ads
- Google ads
- Organic social media
- Search engine optimization
- Email marketing
- Public relations
- Television advertising
- Phone calls
- Display advertising
- Direct mail
- Podcasts (as a guest and/or host)
- Video marketing
The list is lengthy, therefore we must exercise caution not to take on more than we can realistically handle.
It's easy to fall into the trap of attempting to accomplish everything at once, but this usually results in doing a number of different things poorly. The ideal method is to add one new channel at a time and focus on gaining sufficient traction in that channel before adding another.
Ideally, you should aim for at least three to five channels.
It's also worth noting that, while social media should be one of those channels, it should be one of three to five. You should take the same technique as you did with the marketing channels. Begin with one social network and then add another once you've gained traction.
3. Show examples of satisfied customers/clients.
When a brand and its supporters claim to be the best, they are obviously prejudiced and working in their own self-interest, even if they really believe it. And, even if they are the finest, customers will disregard a company's promises unless they can be substantiated.
This is when your customers or clients enter the picture. Because they provide social evidence, you should include them in your marketing approach.
Their pleasure demonstrates that future customers or clients can expect to be satisfied with your products or services as well. The trick is to first walk them through the process of generating the perfect testimonial. The good news is that a formula exists for this.
A fantastic testimonial begins with your customer or client detailing the problem they were experiencing before to coming to you and how that problem affected them. Then they should explain why they opted to cooperate with you rather than your competition. They should spend some time discussing their experience working with you before explaining how they profited from your product or service. Finally, they should directly suggest your business.
It's a straightforward formula that addresses both the intellectual and emotional aspects of a purchasing decision.
Ideally, you should try to get them to record this testimony. In a previous piece, I discussed the importance of video in personal branding and how it boosts trust. The same can be said for testimonials.