When you think about how many competitors your business has, you might feel daunted. But, as my husband always says: having competition means your idea is validated. There’s a market for what you’re trying to sell. The key is knowing how you’re different from the competition and using that to market yourself. Here’s how.
Who Are Your Competitors?
The first step in knowing how to stand out is to identify your main competitors. If you’re a local bakery, for example, your primary competitors will be other bakeries. If you’re a global consulting company, your competitors will be a little harder to identify. Focus on the ones you keep hearing about to start.
Also, look at your indirect competitors. For that local bakery, that would include the bakery departments at local grocery stores, as well as online bakeries. Indirect competitors fill the same need, even if it’s in a different way.
What’s Special About Them?
Once you’ve made a list of a handful of your competitors, spend time analyzing them. What do customers like about them? What do they dislike? (Yelp is a great resource to help with what customers really think) In what ways are you different from your competitors?
If you’re just starting your business, seeing the areas your competitors could stand to improve in provides you ample opportunity to expand into these areas yourself. For example, if your biggest bakery competitor makes the best cinnamon rolls in town, but doesn’t even touch pet treats, this could be a great product for you to add to your line.
List What You Do Best
You can’t be all things to all people. Instead, identify a few things your brand does really well. That might be stellar customer service. Or products that outlast the competitors’. Whatever it is, focus on a few you want to be known for and that you can continue to build your product and promise around.
Be Specific in Your Boasts
It’s too easy to say you’re the best in town or have the lowest prices. Your customers are impervious to these claims. Instead, build your marketing message around those things that you identified in the last step. Be consistent in your messaging: if you say your products work more efficiently than other brands on Facebook, say it on your site, on email, on your blog, et cetera.
Once you really zero in on what you’re great at, and you let customers know what those things are, it’s your competitors that now have to worry about you taking market share!
Once you incorporate your brand or file as an LLC, you’ll also stand out from your competition. Simply by having “Inc.” or “LLC” after your company name makes customers take you more seriously. CorpNet is happy to help you: sign up for a free business consultation to get started.
Photo: OneEighteen on Flickr