Starting a small business can be a walk in the park but remaining operational and let alone standing out can be rocket science. Today’s crowded market is truly a dog-eat-dog environment that demands clever planning and some fancy footwork. Consumers have hundreds of choices for just about everything. It comes as no surprise that small business owners must deal with the same old conundrum: how to outwit ravenous rivals and claim the lion’s share in the big leagues.
Although it may seem impossible, the reality is that most consumers are looking for businesses that offer something beyond what’s expected. Market openings reward those who dare to think out of the box and cater for obscured but vital consumer needs. To stand out, take advantage of opportunities that lie in the blind spots of big businesses. Exceeding expectations in delivering service to customers creates value. This in turn generates positive association that leads to brand loyalty and customer referrals.
1. Break the Rules
For a truly unique brand identity that improves the visibility of your enterprise, start by doing the opposite of what your competitors are doing. For this approach to be effective, ditch the notion of conventional wisdom by rewriting the rules. When brainstorming, opt for the road less traveled. Average people have two things in common; they follow the crowds or dots and are too timorous to challenge conventional wisdom. Instead, strive to become the business mogul that makes your rivals say, ’’Why didn’t we think of that."
2. Become an Expert at Something Really Difficult
Earning credibility as an expert in a complex field builds customer trust, which yields tons of referrals to your business. Offering a distinguished service in an extremely difficult industry transforms your company into a super-entity. To develop an X-factor for your business, provide quicker turnaround time while maintaining high-quality standards.
3. Think Big and Small
In most cases, claiming a vantage point in a market does not necessitate altering your entire marketing strategy. To gain a competitive advantage, infuse maximum flexibility into your approach by finding practical solutions for both big and small challenges. The little things can have greater transformative power. Taking advantage of seemingly trivial competitors’ weaknesses can produce surprising benefits. On the other hand, bigger challenges also provide viable ways to become popular with consumers. Try experimenting with something the competition is doing, but do it better.
4. Plan Your Attack
To formulate an effective strategy, develop a deeper understanding of the market. Conduct thorough research on your competitors, consumer needs and the general market dynamics. Use insights from your reconnaissance missions to identify competitors’ strong and weak points. Critically assess the potential spinoffs of attempting to outmaneuver your rivals in their strongest areas. If they are too advanced and the approach is an impossible mission then explore their weakest points.
5. Be an Early Bird
Small businesses often face time-critical situations where a quick hand determines who takes the cake. Speed of execution allows you to become the pioneer of groundbreaking products or services. Quick implementation of game-changing ideas creates new market opportunities. Flexibility eliminates unwanted bottlenecks, which allows a small enterprise to rise to the occasion timeously. While big companies may spend months or years evaluating innovative ideas and channeling them through several departments, a small business can simply cut the bureaucracy. Fast action helps the entity stand out as an innovator and force its competitors to play catch up. Such swift decisions are critical to the growth of small companies.
6. Provide Lightning-Fast Responses to Customer Queries
Offering superior customer service that is punctuated by speedy responses to queries, comes naturally to smaller companies – exploit this capacity fully. Consumers have a clear preference for a personalized approach; it makes them feel valued. One way to make your customers feel like a million bucks is responding to email queries within moments. People with adequate information at their disposal must handle the queries. Although it is not always possible to respond to email queries within minutes, strive to stick to standard response times (preferably within one or two hours). By doing so, you paint a caring and professional picture that helps entrench your brand in consumers’ minds.
7. Use the Velvet Rope
There are countless examples of firms that employ the invitation-only marketing strategy to great effect. However, the approach does not work for every company; it is well suited to brands offering high-end services or products that attract fewer but loaded customers. To be effective, your enterprise must introduce new services or products in a grand style by rolling out limited VIP invitations to the launches. This follows a lively promotional campaign aimed at generating buzz. When properly originated and executed, the approach yields an instant demand for the product. If you succeed in giving potential customers a reason to care, they will do amazing things for your brand.
8. Get Personal
One of the most powerful motivators of customer acquisition and brand loyalty is self-interest. Consumers yearn to see themselves in your offerings. A good example is the Visually Smart campaign by Intel; it gave prospects the opportunity to experience the power of second-generation core processors. Intel delivered a visual demonstration through a Facebook app that focused on the images of users. The Museum of Me app tapped into users’ Facebook accounts to create a gallery comprising their photos and other content that was all about them. In the end, Intel succeeded in educating consumers about a complex product. The campaign became a viral success thanks to the personalized approach.
9. Be a Winner
Make an effort to exploit any situation that portrays your firm in good light. If your entity wins any business-related awards for doing something right (anything), capitalize on the accolade by flaunting it. Turn the awards into a marketing tool that distinguishes you from competitors.
10. Convert Detractors into Brand Evangelists
Word of mouth is a powerful force in brand exposure; it is priceless. Oftentimes, companies receive both positive and negative feedback from customers. Dissatisfaction may crop up along the way, thus giving rise to an army of brand detractors. Undoing the damage through customer engagement can turn bad mouthers into useful influencers. You must regularly monitor consumer reviews that your brand receives across various social media and consumer review sites.
See Also: 5 Marketing Tips for Startups
It’s important to note that the battle for market supremacy has the capacity to plunge your business into a whirlpool of distractive activities. Overly focusing on improving your products and services could make you lose the presence of mind to keep tracking your rivals. Monitoring the competition plays a key role in creating a viable working plan. On the other hand, getting your organization involved in community projects is a practical way to achieve visibility. For instance, your entity can help renovate a community center or church, sponsor sports clubs or get involved in charitable organizations.
Creativity is central in creating a powerful distinction between your organization and competitors. To originate unique ideas, be prepared to experiment a lot. You may experience failure but keep refining your efforts until you hit the jackpot. One of the most basic but effective ways to stand out is choosing a unique yet memorable brand name. It should be supported by attractive brand colors and an eye-catching logo. These visual elements help establish a powerful presence in the minds of prospects.