If you’ve just started a small business, the chances are that you’re not the only business owner selling a particular product, and you have a lot of competition. Even if you’re the only business in your field in your area, there are other businesses all over the world similar to yours. This may not mean anything now, but it will later if you want to expand your business. Standing out from the competition allows your target market (which is also your competitors’ target market) to immediately think of your brand when it comes to what they’re looking for. But how do you become the brand that everyone thinks of when it comes to your products?
It all starts with habitual, excellent customer service practices. Customers remember when they aren’t treated fairly, and this news can spread like wildfire. At the same time, providing excellent customer service makes a lasting impression on your customers, and they’re likely to spread the word about this too. Always strive to provide the best customer service possible, even if your business operates entirely online— which may be even more important than providing great customer service in person because your face isn’t seen online. Customers tend to be less trusting of online-only businesses because they can’t see a face.
Part of providing good customer service, both online and in-person, is admitting your mistakes. No business is perfect, and mistakes will happen naturally throughout the company’s lifespan. Most customers will appreciate being heard and knowing that any wrongs are being corrected. This helps build customer loyalty because they know that they can trust your brand, even if a mistake is made.
Whether you realize it or not, you will have competitors: any other business selling the same, or very similar, product(s) as you. You may be familiar with some of the more well-known examples of competition among larger corporations, and there can be rivalries among small businesses as well. This is where competitive research comes in. Study your competitors to find out what they’re doing right (take inspiration from this), and find out where they’re lacking and what can be done better (do this within your own business). Also, study their prices to determine if you’re charging too much, and aim to charge less (but not considerably less) than what they charge.
While researching your competition, you’ll also want to research more about the products you’re offering to become an expert. There’s something to learn about everything, whether you’re selling T-shirts or skincare products. You’ll want to have credible research on why your product is the best and what it can offer to your target market that your competitors can’t.
There are many benefits of having an online presence for your business, such as having more visibility, creating brand awareness, and taking advantage of different digital marketing strategies that are proven effective when it comes to business growth. Just about everything can be done online, so the first step is to create a business website. More people view businesses as being more professional if they have a website in addition to a physical location. If your business operates entirely online, then you’re already set. The next step would be to add a blog section to your website, where you can go into further detail about your products and their benefits.
Finally, use social media to your advantage and create business pages on at least one platform. This is also going to require some research, to determine which platform will yield the most success based on the demographics of your target audience. Your website, blog, and social media will help construct your brand identity (how your target audience views your business), further differentiating you from your competitors.
An honorable mention, but also goes without saying, is to make sure you’re offering quality products. Don’t make claims about your product when you can’t back it up by research. If you know you have a quality product to offer to the world and you’ve done your research, then focus on these three tips above to stand out among the competition.