Today’s market is all about creating customized products and services designed to fit a select group of individual needs and tastes. There are very few generic products and services that can survive as “one size fits all” types of solution – most people want a solution that meets their unique needs. This can be a great opportunity for small business owners to create unique products/services that are tailored to fit niche markets.
The key to standing out from the competition is to determine what makes your product or service different from the competition. Answer this question and you will be sure to find success for your unique product/service. If you are uncertain as to what makes your business unique, or why this is important to your success? I recommend reading the “Purple Cow” by Seth Godin, what I consider to be a must-read for all small business owners and marketers.
Now that you have identified what makes your business unique, let’s find out how to use this to your advantage when marketing your business.
Branding is a major component to setting the tone of your business. Not only should customers be able to quickly identify what the services you offer from a glance by just seeing your packaging, collateral, or advertising, but they should also know what makes you different. With a multitude of choices available you want to make it as easy as possible for consumers to understand why your solution stands apart from the rest. Don’t try to create a generic brand that will appeal to the masses, instead focus on creating a brand that promotes your uniqueness and will easily capture the attention of your “ideal customer.” For example, if you offering house painting services that are environmentally friendly, then be sure to make the “eco-friendly” message stand out in your branding to attract customers that are looking for sustainable solutions. Don’t be shy about showcasing the benefits of your product or service.
Your unique branding and messaging should also be applied on your website. Make sure what makes you different is applied liberally throughout your website and homepage. Too often, business owners include every benefit and feature to the website – making it difficult for web visitors to decipher how the company can help. Instead, create a benefit hierarchy, with the most important benefits on the homepage so within 3 seconds, a website visitor will know the 2-3 most critical differentiators.
Promoting the unique aspects of your business, product or service will also help with your search engine ranking. Instead of competing for the more generic keyword phrases that describe your business, which for a small business can take years if ever to rank well, try targeting the more niche and long-tailed keyword phrases that describe your unique offering. Find the keyword phrases that describe your differences and are phrases that your “ideal customer” would use trying to find your product. For example, the house painting company should focus on phrases that are location based (i.e. “San Diego House Painters”) and unique target keywords such as “eco-friendly paint.” This will not only help fine tune the traffic that finds their site, but the low competition for these phrases should help them rank on page 1 or 2 within months. For more technical businesses, target keywords that are so technical only your ideal customer will be searching for them. Targeting technical keywords as part of your SEO strategy is an effective practice to only attract the most ideal clients.
Social media marketing is another way to promote your differences and build an online community of fans for your business. Online communities are a great way to find people that are passionate about what you do and products that you offer. Often the more niche and different your business, the easier it is to build engagement with prospects online. The first step is to find out the preferred social media platforms that your target market uses. Join these platforms, groups, and communities and start engaging with these followers and creating discussions. Don’t use this as a forum to pitch your product and service, instead share your thought and knowledge regarding the industry and slowly they will see what you offer. Targeting a niche group of followers who would be interested in your unique business, story, product or service will help you spread awareness quickly among other potential customers.
Decide what makes your business special and use it to your advantage by promoting it in your branding, website design, SEO and social media marketing strategy. Being successful is not about being shy – fitting into the crowd is not going to make you popular. To make your business successful, you want to amplify your unique traits to your target market.