How to stand out in a competitive market.

Online and off, competition is fierce. Consumers have never had more choice, and they are holding onto their money more carefully than ever. In order to thrive in this highly competitive market it’s important to pay attention to your competition and make sure that your edge is sharp so that you can cut through the noise.

Sharpen your Shtick.
A shtick is a Yiddish word that means your gimmick or unique talent. In the business world they call this your USP, Unique Selling Proposition. You need to know exactly what makes you different from your competition. What do you have to offer that they don’€™t?

Differentiating on speed offers a good example. A freelance writer might differentiate themselves by promising to deliver any article or blog post project in 24 hours €” the 24-Hour Article Service”€. Pizza Pizza does this with “€œ30-minutes or it’€™s Free”. If speed matters to your market, you this could be your schtick.

Narrow your Focus.
Trying to be all things to all people does one thing really well – it increases your competition! Specializing, on the other hand, narrows your competition. By becoming more targeted you become the best at what you do. Specialization can virtually eliminate your competition, and helps you get crystal clear on what your market wants and needs.

For example, instead of a Pet Supply company offering information products on how to care for your pet, they might specialize in how to care for your aging dog. Or, better yet, how to care for your aging Siamese.

Be Memorable.
You cannot be boring in this competitive market and survive. Now that doesn’t mean you have to be over the top either and make a spectacle of yourself, unless you plan to do that from now on. Capture the interest of your audience and customers by sharing your personality with them in your content, interactions, and even in your products or services.

Being memorable requires that you are consistent in how you present yourself across all of your various customer touch points. Be yourself.

Give, Give, Give some more.
When planning your business, ask yourself this single question €”what can I do to offer more value to my audience?”. Offer products, information, and resources that make you invaluable to your audience, and give away as much as you can. In a world where we are being nickel-and-dimed to death at every turn, getting something for nothing can be a pleasant surprise for potential clients, which will greatly impact their impression of you.

Of course, you have to know your audience well to answer this question, so applying this tactic requires you get up close and personal with your clients to determine what they really need. Which leads us to the next point…

Build a Community.
Connect with your audience and customers on a regular basis. Invite them to get involved with you through a number of different touch points. For example, invite them to connect with you on Facebook. Ask questions and invite comments. Let them know when you will be at specific events, and ask them to stop by. By opening up and engaging with your clients and prospects, you invite them to get to know you better. Remember: People do business with people!

Becoming the talk of your town takes a bit of effort, but the rewards are tremendous. What are you going to do to stand out from the crowd in your market?