Starting a business is hard enough as it is without the added pressure of doing it in an oversaturated marketplace. Now more than ever, it’s seemingly impossible to come up with a business idea that hasn’t already been ventured. You have to be prepared to fight your way amongst your competitors to get to the front of the crowd, to be recognised and loved by your target audience. However, having to fight your way to the top isn’t necessarily a bad thing; it means that there is a demand for your service or your product. You just have to work out how to make your brand the go-to in that particular market.
So, let’s get to it: how do you make your brand stand out in an extremely crowded market?
1. Know your niche
One of the surefire ways to compete within an already crowded market is to know your niche. Even if you are offering a service or product that a few or even hundreds and thousands of companies have already tackled, you can shine amongst a sea of similar businesses by knowing and owning your niche. Your business won’t be the right fit for everyone, and that’s totally okay – in fact it’s completely normal that there will be a large portion of people in the world who won’t benefit from what you offer. This is only an advantage; it means you can really focus on the audience that will get the most out of your business, and who’s problems you can solve with your product or service. Your marketing can then be completely focussed too, specifically targeting a certain type of individual.
How can you define your niche? We’ve listed a few ways that you can really narrow down how your business is different, and what kind of audience group in particular you want to target:
- Sustainability – We’re at a time in our lives where we’re finally attempting to take action to repair the ongoing damage we’re causing to our climate, and so choosing sustainable and environmentally-aware companies are more favourable options for consumers. Does your business pride itself on its ability to make sustainable choices? If so, make that central to your marketing campaigns to attract the right kind of customers that will appreciate this, and choose you over competitors lacking in this area.
- Pricing – Is your pricing affordable, discounted and perfect for businesses with a smaller budget without compromising on quality? Or, is it more expensive, offering a more luxurious customer experience?
- Demographics – Demographics include a variety of things: age, gender, budget/income level, education and marital status, to name just a few. Defining your ideal customer persona, and knowing your niche market, will be much easier when considering their key traits.
2. Step up your customer service game
It’s a well known fact that some businesses overlook the power of excellent customer service, and the ability it has to make your audience choose your brand over your competition. They dedicate a lot of time, effort and money into various departments within the business, but customer service always seems to pull the short straw. To put into perspective how important good customer service is, customers are four times more likely to buy from one of your competitors due to bad customer service.
If you really want to make your business stand out, you have to prioritise providing your customers with the best possible experience. If your customer runs into a problem using your service or product, make it easy and painless to solve for them. Make it easy for them to get in touch with you, and make sure you reply promptly with a solution. Any negative situations should be diffused quickly with a genuine apology and with incentives, such as discounts, to avoid the loss of a customer. If you go above and beyond for your customers, it will be recognised and will be rewarded by their loyalty.
3. Don’t sleep on brand identity development
Branding encompasses a whole range of components that help to create a well-rounded business. One of those many important components includes brand identity, which focusses on design: logo design, typography choice and colour palette. All of the choices you make when it comes to your brand identity will impact the first impression that you give to your target audience. Therefore, your design should be professional, high quality and visually appealing. Even if you offer the same service as your competition, your logos certainly shouldn’t look the same; ensure that your brand has a unique and memorable look and doesn’t appear as though it’s been copied.
ClickUp, a project management software, is a great example of a business that has done brand identity right. Their homepage and their social media makes consistent use of their core brand colours, and it looks clean and neat. This lends to the idea that their platform will also offer a clean and neat workspace for customers, which is desirable when it comes to finding the ideal project management software.
4. Put a face to your name
Another way to make your business stand out is by humanising your brand and revealing the team, or a few team members, behind your company name. Wade through that air of mystery and show your customers that you’re just a few humans working together to offer a service/product that will help make their lives easier. People are more likely to remember a face, meaning that your brand will be more memorable to your audience over your competitors. ClickUp humanise their brand well by adding photos, videos and boomerangs of their team on one of their “highlights” on Instagram. It doesn’t look as though it’s been staged, and it comes across as very genuine: