Four ways to stand out without selling out

In an increasingly crowded marketplace a well thought-out strategy can help your business be the one that stands out from the competition. Here are four keys to success.

Find your unique selling point

You may be selling the same or similar products or services as hundreds of others out there, but there’s a reason you started your company in particular. Work back to how you started and find out what makes you different. Lead with that as the primary, guiding philosophy behind your business.

Maybe your product saves consumers’ time, or perhaps you have a wealth of experience and expertise in your team. Work out your strengths early on, develop and support them, and then stick with them. Once you’ve done this, assess your competitors to make sure there aren’t any ‘USP clashes’, or at least to make sure that you can communicate them better.

Bank on strong customer service

Differentiate your business from competitors with efficient and friendly customer service. A survey revealed that 45 per cent of consumers will abandon an online transaction if their questions or concerns are not addressed quickly, or if they are transferred repeatedly by customer service representatives. Make sure calls are answered within 30 seconds, and issues are addressed by the same person if possible.

As part of your customer service focus, offer something that big firms can’t compete with – the personal touch. This extends far beyond a physical location, like a shop, and includes every point at which your customers communicate with your business. Build as many connections as you can with customers. Get to know them by name and keep in regular contact. Larger companies, built to operate efficiently at scale, just can’t provide this special level of service.

Magnify positive feedback

Now you’re providing excellent customer service your customers can’t stop singing your praises – so take full advantage. Amplify positive feedback by connecting with loyal customers on social media and interacting with them. Make sure you engage in conversations, thank them for mentions, and address problems personally to let them know that their opinions matter.

If your customers agree, include quotes from them on your website, particularly if they’re well-known or from a prominent company that other prospective customers may have heard of. If you’re selling something directly to consumers then could you have a comments section on the site, or allow people to review you?

Build trust

According to recent consumer research, customers are four times more likely to purchase goods and services from businesses they trust over businesses that may offer a better deal. People only trust businesses they feel they ‘know’, so showcase the time and effort that goes into your business and give them a behind-the-scenes glimpse of your company, the team, and your workplace.

Start by setting up an “About Us” page on your website, and add a generous helping of your personality to it! Let your customers see your team as the experts they are, and as individual extensions of your business.

Take the time to think about why you started your business, you’ll likely uncover some unique elements in your business model. You don’t have to work yourself to the bone to stand out. Just remember to be inventive, focus on quality, and let your passion do the rest.

If you follow these steps you’ll up your chances of standing out from the crowd. Develop a clear, unique message for your offering; put your customers first; shout about your good work; and let your personality shine through.

For more tips on standing out from the crowd, take a look at our guide to Finding your USP.