This is another of the questions that I am asked on a regular basis, by the owners of small businesses. There are a lot of other people out there doing what you do and if you can’t show how you’re different to them, you’re going to struggle to find enough clients to keep your business going.
The biggest problem that I see people making is to assume that they don’t have any competitors. “No one does what we do,” is a phrase that I hear too often and it’s wrong. While there might not be anyone doing exactly what you do, in exactly the same way, you still have competitors. Appletree Marketing is no exception. We know that there are thousands of other marketing companies in the UK who can help you to promote your business. There are also thousands of copywriters, business advisers, virtual PAs and social media ‘experts’ who will also tell you that they can help you to find new clients and to grow your business. And that’s fine – we like a bit of competition!
The first thing to do is have a look at the other companies who your clients and prospects might turn to. Look at your direct competitors as well as the indirect competitors – other companies with whom people could spend money, instead of with you. For example, if you’re a Business Coach, your indirect competitors will include business advisers, bank managers and accountants who all offer different amounts of advice to clients. You don’t have to spend a huge amount of time looking at exactly what you’re competitors do and how much they charge, but you do need to get a feel for what you’re up against. Look at some of the most successful ones and look at how they promote their businesses. Look at what’s working for them and that will give you a good idea of what will (and won’t) work for you.
Next consider what makes your competitors different. What do they do to stand out from the crowd? Do they use lower prices or special offers? Do they have superior products and services? Do they have more LinkedIn recommendations than you?
Now decide what it is that makes your service better! Have you been doing it for much longer than anyone else? Are your prices lower – or higher? Do you get consistently high results for your clients? Do you keep finding better ways of looking after your clients and giving them the best possible customer service? Whatever it is, this is one of the things that you need to shout about in all your marketing – tell prospective clients what you can do better than anyone else and why they should trust you to help them.
Still not sure what makes you different? Have a look at this blog I wrote earlier this year for some more tips. Next week we’ll look at how to put more ‘You’ into your USP! If you can’t wait that long, get in touch for a chat about how we can help you. Call us on 01635 578 500 or click here to email us.