Standing out among a sea of competitors is no easy task, especially when you are a small business still trying to get off the ground. As tempting as it may be to chase passing fads or embrace cheap gimmicks, stick to the basics – the following guide will help.
Showcase your specialties
While it is hard to be the biggest or the best known player in your industry, there are sure to be plenty of qualities that make your business unique. Whether you are the fastest, the friendliest or have the most knowledgeable staff, identify those things that set you apart, highlight them and look for ways to improve. Updating your tools and equipment can help, as will investing in extra training and development for your staff. Showcase client testimonials that support your claims of supremacy and keep an eye on your competition so you can stay one step ahead.
Know your audience
The better you know your target audience the easier it will be to give them what they want, how and when they want it. Your website analytics can reveal how and when customers are connecting with you, as well as which parts of your site they like best, while social media tools such as Topsy and Ice Rocket make it easy to monitor mentions of your business online. Use your brand voice to mirror the style, tone and language of your customers and keep it consistent throughout every tweet, blog and touchpoint.
Offer an amazing deal
Few people can pass up a truly great deal, so while you shouldn’t ever sell a product or service at a loss, offer something that is simply too good to refuse. Be very clear on exactly what you are offering to avoid confusion and restrict the deal to a limited time only to encourage people to act now. Advertise in places where your target audience are likely to notice and prepare to get busy, because you won’t want that much needed rush to undermine quality or service.
Blow people away with your customer service
Go above and beyond with your customer service and you will have no problem encouraging repeat business. Allow people to customize their orders if they wish, provide a rock solid guarantee on everything you sell and make it easy for people to contact you the way they are most comfortable, whether it be via email, phone, twitter, Live Chat or in person. Ensure that your website contains all of the information a potential customer could need and take every customer complaint seriously, regardless of how small it may be.
Shake things up
Trying something new can be rather lucrative, especially if you can find a new way to deal with a common want, need or problem. Startups Uber and Airbnb have made a fortune by taking a new approach to the simple tasks of hailing a taxi and booking accommodation, while shoe company, TOMS, has sold over 10 million pairs of shoes by agreeing to donate a pair for every one sold. Whether you offer your products or services on a pay-what-you-can basis or allow your customers to make their own bookings online, trying something different is a fantastic way to turn a few heads.
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