A lack of differentiation is an Achilles heel for many small creative businesses. With an ever increasing number of brands embracing digital marketing today, it’s more difficult than ever to differentiate your business from others in your industry.
Many small business owners would say they want their business to stand out from others. If you’re reading this article, there’s a good chance you’d agree with that. But before we get into the how of standing out online, we need to start with the why.
Why do you want your brand to stand out online? If you’re trying to stand out for the wrong reasons, you likely won’t get the results you want. Gaining a bunch of new followers on Instagram or having a post “go viral” can be exciting, but what’s the use of that when your new audience isn’t interested in your services, doesn’t convert, and doesn’t generate actual business for your brand? Merely wanting to become a popular brand isn’t necessarily the right reason for wanting to stand out.
Instead, we’d suggest a different approach: focusing on standing out in a way that matters. And what is it that really matters? Attracting your ideal clients and getting them to want to work with you when the time is right for them. That’s what generates tangible results for your business. It gives purpose to your marketing efforts and centers your strategy on something that’s going to help get your brand where you want it to go in the long run.
With that why in mind, let’s take a look at two things you can do to make your business stand out online in part one of this two-part blog series.
Establish a clear brand message
Without a clear message, your brand will struggle to find and convert leads. A clear message is key because it’s what communicates to your audience exactly what your business can do for them, why they should care, and what they should do about it. Clarity alone will put your brand ahead of many other businesses.
For a message to be effective, it has to have several parts. First, it needs to target a specific audience. If you try to sell to everyone, you’ll waste time and effort. You need to dial in on a specific group of consumers who are most likely to be interested in your services, then craft your brand’s entire message and marketing strategy around them.
An effective brand message also needs to identify a real problem or pain point that your target audience experiences, along with how your service resolves it. Then it needs to have a clear call to action that tells your prospect the one action they should take to get started. And finally, it needs to demonstrate the result your client will experience when they do business with you so they understand how you can help them reach their goals.
Make sure you’re communicating a clear message across all of your brand’s marketing collateral. With a clear message, you’ll stand out from other businesses that don’t make it easy for their audience to understand what they do or why anyone should care. If you’re ready to clarify your brand’s messaging, we have resources that can help. Here’s a guide to help you identify your target audience. And here’s a guide to help you focus your marketing message.
Improve your website
Your website is the cornerstone of your marketing. It’s where your audience lands when they want to learn more about what you do and why it should matter to them. Your audience might first be introduced to your brand through another medium like social media or word-of-mouth, but your website is where they go to learn about your business and, eventually, convert. If your website isn’t leading the charge for your brand, it’s underperforming.
When it comes to improving your website, start by evaluating the content it contains. A nice-looking website is great, but it’s the content that really drives conversions, so that’s where you should start. Here is a list of questions to ask yourself as you evaluate your website’s content:
- Is the content mainly focused on your client, not your business or employees?
- Do you concisely state what you offer?
- Do you clearly communicate the main problem your service(s) resolve?
- Is the content geared towards the specific audience you’re trying to reach?
- Do you make it evident what sets you apart from your competitors?
- Do the images, videos, or graphics support the message you’re trying to communicate to your audience?
- Do you have bold calls to action that are repeated often?
- Could someone who’s unfamiliar with your industry easily understand what you do?
Then move on to evaluating the design and functionality of your website. You should regularly review your site to make sure it’s up-to-date. Ensure the design (the overall look and feel) is consistent with your branding and the layout is driving traffic to where you want it to go. Check that the pages are loading promptly, your contact form is functioning, your images are displaying correctly, etc. Click around your site to see how easy it is to navigate. Make sure your site is optimized for various device sizes and browsers.
A website that consistently provides the information a person is looking for and does so in a way that’s pleasing to your target audience is a website that stands out.
Ready to see four more ways you can do to make your business stand out online for the right reasons? Read part two of this blog series.