How to Differentiate Your Brand in a Crowded Marketplace
Let’s start with a story (read on, you’ll thank me later).
Imagine that you’re at the mall.
You’ve just been hit by hunger– that insatiable, ‘must-eat-now’, God please don’t let me pass out in public kind of hunger. So you’re reluctantly heading to the food court, thinking about how you’ve done so well this week with your meal planning so of course you deserve a cheat day.
But then you look up at the signs and see a ton of options. Something needs to happen NOW! How do you choose?
Let’s pause right here and think about your customer. At some point in their journey they might come across one of your competitors and think “maybe I should get this instead”.
As the business owner, you have to wonder “am I selling a commodity? Or is there something different here?”
Remember, it’s all a matter of preference–your customer is looking for something specific. But the great thing about being online is that you can do things to make customers prefer you.
Now back to your imaginary hunger.
Your eyes are racing across the boards– should you try something new or stick to an old favorite? Maybe you like fries from one place and a burger from another but there are lines at both places so you can only commit to one.
You start to walk toward option A. Then you see that promotion by the entrance of option C. They have a better value meal, even though it’s forty feet in the opposite direction. The question rings in your head “do you really think you can make it?”
But you turn and start walking anyway, at least you’ll burn some calories on your way to fast food.
So what happened here? There was a need, there were multiple solutions, but only one winner. And it’s because one company made the best offer at the right time.
That’s the key to differentiate your brand online, especially in a crowded marketplace.
As the hungry one in the example, you were bound to eat. That’s what led you to the food court.
(Sidebar: think about what leads your customer to your online store)
You want to be able to anticipate what your customers reactions will be to what you offer and the first step to being able to harness that insight is to know why they’ve traveled the Internet to get to you.
But you also have to account for one potential barrier: options. And options mean competition.
With over a billion sites on the web (and growing every single day) how do you position your brand and product as the most compelling choice? You have to know your customer!
You have to meet them with the most important thing that makes you different.
The owners of Option C are aware of their competitors. And they chose to appeal to the customer looking for the most value– more food at a lower price.
How does your business stand out from the competition online? What is your customer looking for?
Maybe it’s exclusivity, being able to get one of a small batch of specially crafted items. Or what if your product is the fastest, or safest, or smartest. Make sure you’re putting that value proposition right where the customer can see it! And, of course, speak their language while doing so.