The beginning of a new year is a great time to ask yourself some important questions about your business.
What are our goals this year? What will be our biggest challenges? What resources do we need to be successful? How can we stand out from the competition?
We would like to address that last question. After all, one of the most important objectives of marketing is to make your business stand out. Some might even argue that standing out is the most important objective.
Let examine how you can use your marketing efforts to make your business stand apart from your competitors.
Have A Plan
The first thing that you need to do is have a plan. This means developing a marketing strategy.
Why is this so important?
Because a strategy serves as a roadmap for your marketing efforts. With a well-defined marketing strategy you will be able to promote your business much more effectively and efficiently. Your customers will see you as organized and always there with what they need, while your competitors appear to be in constant scramble mode.
Focus On Your Customers
Speaking of your customers, they are the lifeblood of your business. While it makes sense that every business will put their customers’ needs at the center of their marketing efforts, that is just not the case.
Too often small business owners put out content they like without considering the pain points of their target audience. Or they distribute their marketing content on channels that their target audience may not use on a regular basis.
As you promote your business make sure that you have the needs of your target audience in mind. This will ensure that you are making them the center of your marketing efforts, which in turn will help you stand out from your competition.
Know Your UVP
What does your business provide to your customers that they cannot get anywhere else?
This is an important question to be able to answer, because this is your UVP, or unique value proposition.
Your UVP is important because it is the service, product, add-on, amenity, accoutrement, or thing that you provide that your target audience cannot get anywhere else. This inherently makes your business unique, but not necessarily stand out.
To stand out, you must know your UVP and understand how to use it in your marketing efforts.
Understand Who Your Competitors Are
“Know thy enemy” is a quote derived from Sun Tzu’s Art of War. While we are not advocating for mobilizing against your competitors, a little research goes a long way.
Analyze the websites and social media accounts of your local and national competitors. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What products/services are they promoting?
- Who do they appear to be targeting?
- Are they doing anything that we should or should not be doing?
- Is there an opportunity to target an underserved market?
Answering these questions will give you insight into how your competitors are promoting themselves which will help you position your business in a manner that stands out from them.
Always Look To Improve
It does not matter if you are just starting out, in the middle of the pack, or at the top of the mountain, you should always look to improve how you operate and promote your business. The day you stop is the day that you begin to lose ground. It sounds harsh, but that is the reality in a fiercely competitive space – which most small- and medium-sized business owners find themselves in.
The good news is that improvements do not always have to be big things, especially when it comes to marketing. It could be something as simple as responding to customer inquiries a little quicker or adding an extra three emails a week to your email list. Those list improvements compound over times and the results will have a lasting positive impact on your business.
If you cannot stand out from your competitors, then you have very little chance to find long-term success. The above steps will help you better define your business and create a more compelling marketing message. Through your marketing efforts, you can use this message to stand out from the competition and attract the customers you need to grow your business.