As every small business owner knows, it’s a tough market out there. You can give 200% and make sure your product is the very best and it still might not be enough. Competition is higher than ever: in the age of internet anyone and everyone can try their luck, which means you’re up against a whole lot of other businesses going after the exact same clientele. The only solution is to try and stand out - try to make your business have its own brand and value, one which people will recognize and connect to easily. There’s no one trick to being special (just like with cool, if you’re trying too hard you’re probably only getting further from it…), but once you do figure out the brand image you want to promote, here are seven ways to help it shine.
#1 Create a great website
Your biggest business card in our online times is the website. This is where people will find themselves if they look you up - say if they ran into your ad - and you have to make sure they are hooked from first sight. Some companies go to designers to create their site but the truth is you can do an amazing job yourself, without having to code at all, if you use tools like Webydo. Webydo has a really friendly and simple interface but at the same time can create gorgeous sites, fully responsive for mobile too, that as professional as can be. The company launched recently an entirely revamped product and website, with major improvements to the studio performance and stability.
#2 Develop a social media presence
Social media - with Facebook and Twitter most of all but true for the rest of them as well - is just like a high-school party: if you’re not there, you’re nobody. Customers will look for your name, they will want to know more about you, get your updates and keep in touch if they have requests or questions. Social media has made business into a two-way street and presence on it is now mandatory if you want to grow your business and make sure you’re memorable.
#3 Be a thought leader
Besides a website and a Facebook page, you should really consider maintaining your own blog. There you can share weekly thoughts about your business, success stories, tips and more - whichever type of content goes well with the product or service you are providing. A blog is a way for you to introduce yourself to your clients; not only the business but the face (and mind) behind it. It will humanize you and help people connect to you and your message.
#4 Emphasize your edge
In your site, on your Twitter account, in your blog, and even more so on advertisements, you have to always keep in mind your brand and what makes it different. Find your niche and stick to it. The wider you go, the less professional you might seem. The one thing that can really keep you ahead of your competition is to know exactly what it is your providing that’s special and let the customers know that too. Sometimes all it takes to grab a large share of the market is just a little edge in the right direction.
#5 Solve a problem
Remember that your product - and your online presence too - exist to help clients with a certain need or problem they might have. Don’t focus too much on yourself or on glorifying the business. Instead, try and get in the mindset of the customer. What do they want? What could you help them achieve today? This is particularly true with any tips you might be handing out in order to draw attention. Don’t think about the business, think about the client.
#6 Give them a customer service they won’t forget
This means both in good times and bad. If a client comes to you with a problem - if they’re unhappy and have taken the time to address their concern - don’t take it lightly. Do whatever you can to demonstrate that you care deeply about their satisfaction. Be available, reply quickly, replace what is needed and compensate them when needed. But if they’re not complaining, it doesn’t mean you can just sit and relax! Go the extra mile to give them special offers, added value and more - show them you’re more than yet another business asking for their money.
#8 Know your competition
This one rounds the topic up well because it relates to every single point mentioned earlier. Always be on the lookout to see what your competitors are doing and how. Analyze their work: where they are strong, follow suit and try to excel (or find your own way that’s different and better) and where they are weak, use that to stress your own value. Knowing your competition is the best way to get a clue on what you should be doing, so use it wisely.
Nir Barlev is the product manager at Webydo, a cloud-based platform that allows designers to create professional websites.