6 ways to make your small business stand out from the competition
It is rare to find a unique business. Having said that, every business is unique.
“That doesn’t make sense”, you cry. “How can businesses be unique whilst not being unique?” Let’s explain what we mean and why the power of different is important to you, as part of your marketing strategy.
Few Businesses are unique.
Doing some research as part of a proposal the other day, we found out that there are:
- 9955 hotels in the UK (2020 figures)
- 17,600 care homes
- LinkedIn lists around 20,000 marketing agencies in the UK, and
- 39,000 IT support companies
Developing, launching and making a success of a truly unique business is hard work. Every one of these businesses has customers. Some will have a lot, with others having very few. The difference between them having lots of customers and having very few is how they make themselves stand out. How they make use of their uniqueness and the differences between them and their competition.
Every Business is unique
You do things differently to your competitors. The people and their skillsets will be different too. The reasons why you set up your business will not be the same as others in your sector. Perhaps most importantly, the results you get for your clients will be different. The question is: are you using that uniqueness and those differences effectively?
There’s lots of competition out there.
The FSB says there are 1.4 million businesses in the UK with staff. Let’s, for a moment, imagine that every one of them needs help with their tech and is looking for an IT support company. How does any one of the 39,000 we mentioned earlier make themselves stand out and be chosen by some of those 1.4 million? Let’s look at what can make you stand out and appear different (unique)…
Don’t tell them what you are
If you’re an accountant, don’t tell them you are an accountant. If you do, they will picture you in the same way they think of all accountants. If you tell them you reduce their tax bill, or help them build their business through better financial planning, you are far more likely to get people asking for more information.Think about what they want – not what they have to do.
Talk to and about them
Talking about yourself is never attractive. People want to see that you know them, or want to get to know them. If your website has a “look at me! Aren’t I great” vibe about it, you may get lots of hits, but you will also have a very high bounce rate. People who leave your website quickly don’t buy from you – and you cannot pay the bills with Google Analytics statistics.
If all your marketing shows you understand your target audience(s) and how you can help them achieve what they want to achieve, your next visit to your Google Analytics will show high engagement levels, lots of returning visitors and great conversion rates.
Don’t make outrageous claims
You are not [insert region name]’s leading provider of [insert what you do]. Even if you are, nobody will believe you unless you can prove it. A survey of IT support companies in London (done admittedly quite some time ago) found 53 companies who all claimed to be “London’s leading IT support company”. Who can you think of that makes outrageous claims?
Show the proof
Talking the talk is good – if you can prove you can walk the walk too!
You will have lots of stories (blogs and case studies) about how you have solved issues for clients. You will have lots of emails from clients thanking you for helping them (testimonials). Share them with your pipeline and your target audiences.
The e-commerce world has proved that testimonials/reviews/ratings are highly important in the decision making process. Your proof will show people that their peers use you – if you’re doing good work for their peers, they are much more like to believe you can do a good job for them.
Stick to your specialisms
Too many companies start to provide services, or products, that they get asked for, without thinking things through properly. A client asks if you know someone who does X. As it is slightly related to what you do, you may be tempted to say “we can do that”. If you do it, and do it badly, you run the risk of losing that client. Far better to protect your reputation and refer them to someone you know who really is an expert.
We wouldn’t dream of building a website for our clients, but we know a number of people we can highly recommend. We’ll help to get the user experience and the messaging right, but wouldn’t dream of even trying to do the tech stuff!
Share your knowledge
People want to use experts. You have a huge amount of knowledge and expertise within your business, so why not share some of that. Blogs, PR articles, webinars and speaking engagements are all opportunities for you to share your knowledge. You aren’t giving away the crown jewels when you do this; you are attracting new clients.
When you are in a highly competitive industry sector (aren’t they all!), you need to stand out from your competition and that’s where the power of different comes into play. Following these six suggestions will make you stand out and generate the leads you need to grow your business.
If you would like some help getting these right, give us a call or click here and we will give you a call.