We’re suffering information overload. (That’s an understatement.) It’s a big world out there, and standing out from the crowd becomes a serious challenge. Especially since your business is not the only one in your industry.
What doesn’t help is the fact that (some) marketers are willing to forsake people in favour of income and profit. This leads to millions of well-known marketing tactics bombarding everyday people every single day. It’s tiring.
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There’s only so much one customer can keep in their minds in this age of distraction.
Think about it like this: you and your competitors are in a line-up. One customer has to choose which one to do business with. If everyone looks and acts similar, how do you make sure the customer chooses you?
An Ugly Face Will Kill You
Websites are our “faces” to visitors. Much like people judge our looks and appearances in a few seconds, visitors either love or are revolted by ugly-designed websites. (A harsh fact of life.)
So, how does your website look?
Does it look like Apple’s? What about Entrepreneur’s website? Or is your site a plain-ol’ WordPress-themed snore fest?
Look at Amazon.com – one of the largest e-commerce stores in the world. It’s worth studying and analysing the efficiency of their site.
This doesn’t mean displaying gorgeous scenery pictures everywhere. It doesn’t even mean paying design expert hundreds of dollars to design fancy logos and headers for you.
What all these sites have in common is ease. They’re easy to browse, you can find what you want almost immediately, and are extremely pared down. They were designed with visitors in mind – not what the webmaster finds pretty. Hire a web design agency to build a user-efficient experience.
Having an optimized website also makes the payment-process flow easier, and gives customers a secure form of payment. If you want to sell products and information-books (e-books) on your site, definitely go with electronic checks.
These “virtual payments” (such as PayPal) are amazing for ensuring financial transactions happen as swiftly and painlessly as possible. This makes it easier for customers to choose which products they purchase, and speeds the process along by using QR codes at point-of-service (POS).
Have The Guts to Be Unique
It’s crucial to admit that we’re not the only “players” in our industry. There are a lot of “miners searching for gold” in every niche and industry. That’s why positioning yourself differently makes you stick out in the eyes of customers. It’s a big world out there, and everybody is vying for the all-mighty dollar.
How you position yourself makes all the difference. This is called the unique selling proposition (USP), and it’s all about what angle you’re going with. Developing a strong USP in your marketing campaigns puts you leagues above your competitors.
Once you do – your marketing campaigns will be more selected towards other customers who are looking for you. You’ll also “paint” yourself as the prime authority in your industry – while your competitors are left behind, putting out generic “one-size-fits-all” campaigns.
A classic “new” example of this is NerdFitness While NF is a run of the mill fitness website, its’ USP focuses on nerds, geeks and weirdos. Regular people who don’t fit in to the “big league” workout sites businesses (Men’s Health, Fitness Mag, Bodybuilding.com, etc.) – model-perfect athletes with ripping six-pack abs and enough body oil to start a grease fire.
NerdFitness’ USP is for the average gamer culture geek who wants to “upgrade their life.” They don’t position themselves as anything else.
Don’t Do What Everyone Else Is Doing
A common theme in marketing is to “copy” what works. This means emulating formulas and content/marketing strategies that are profitable and increase traffic. It makes sense, right?
This successful strategy, of course, also means there are a lot of copycats. It’s a big world out there. By following what other, larger businesses are doing – you’ve transformed yourself into a fish. Because there are a lot of fish in the sea, standing out is problematic.
A perfect example of this comes from lazy copywriters; copywriters who plaster “We’re the best!” on every billboard and sign in town.
No. You’re not the best in town. How do I know? 5 other businesses say they’re the best, too. The same idea applies to online small businesses.
Think about it. When customers/visitors see that you’ve implemented the same strategies, and produced similar content to other businesses in town or on the web… You aren’t unique. People get tired of copycats.
Steve Jobs is a perfect example. During Apple’s early years, Jobs dreamed up creative and imaginative innovations. (Do we need to talk about what those are? Mac and iPods.) Instead of building on what everybody else was doing, he took huge leaps of controversial faith because he believed in his “radical” ideas.
Fast forward to today, and Apple one of the most successful companies the world.
One of the hardest struggles we face isn’t grabbing attention – it’s keeping attention. It’s no secret that a lot of consumers (and myself included) have short attention spans. Nearly everybody has reported that we have an 8-second attention span.
Anybody can grab attention these days. What separates one-time visitors into loyal customers is being able to hold on to their attention day after day, week after week and year after year.
This is because consumers don’t buy products from businesses, and they aren’t loyal to slogans and marketing tactics. They buy from people they trust. Improving your trust factor increases chances that prospects will stick around for the long-haul.
Establishing trust retains attention. Fortunately, building trust isn’t hard if you’re an ethical business-person. Simply provide content and products that genuinely solve peoples’ problems, for their sake and NOT to build a profit.
People are savvier (and more skeptical) to business “grab” tactics than ever before. We’re ingrained with the belief that all businesses are trying to rob us blind. Disarm that belief by inspiring joy in customers and interacting with them as a decent human being.
Look at your competitors’ sites and how they operate their business. Do they treat customers like human beings, or dollar signs?
Above all, business should be for the benefit of people – not bottom-line profits. To ensure you stand out amongst the crowd, focus on solving problems and helping lives. Not fattening your pockets and cash registers.