The Importance of Differentiation
Vive la difference – even if it’s a tiny one.
So after a lot of hard work, your website is on the first page of Google’s search results.
Congratulations, it’s not a simple task. The problem now is that it is surrounded by your competitors. Will it stand out?
Online marketing is a unique beast. The internet can sometimes be the only time you’ll find your name sitting right alongside that of your competitors.
In the pre-search engine days, we wouldn’t have to explicitly state why we’re different, just what we do and how we do it. Now anyone searching our product or service is faced with a list of companies which present themselves as doing all the same thing.
Why it’s so difficult in today’s world
We live in an age of product and pricing parity, especially for small / medium businesses. There’s no longer a unique selling point for many companies – there are simply too many competitors doing the same thing.
You sell scented candles online? Well there’s a 99% chance your competitors sell the exact same candles. You offer a carpet cleaning service? Well there’s no reason why your vacuum does a better job than anyone else’s.
With a level playing field for everyone, it’s up to you to find the difference when it comes to your business, even if it’s a tiny one.
Ok, you and your competitors sell the same scented candles, but when it comes to packaging aesthetics, you can’t be beat. And sure, any cleaning company will do a good job, but do the others offer carpet shampoo that’s guaranteed safe for pets?
The little things will make a difference to your business, but it’s up to you to find them, focus on them, and then leverage them in your marketing.
Three ways to differentiate
So how do you stand out from the crowd? What makes your website the one a customer should click on? Depending on what your business does, there are three points of differentiation to consider.
This is the general area that most B2B marketers and consumer marketers spend the majority of their time and dollars. Simply having a better product than your competitors means you will stand out. This may take the form of the latest features, technology, performance, or efficacy.
It sounds easy, but everyone’s trying to make their product the best on the market, and even if you do manage it, your competitors will probably just copy you, so you need to let everyone know you’re the original and best.
Outstanding service isn’t just doing what you promised, it’s going above and beyond what you promised. This includes all the aspects behind the scenes too, from training to ease of ordering. Showing potential customers why your service is better than your competitors can take the form of outstanding testimonials or 5-star Google reviews. People need to see the results of your service, not just your promise that you’re better than everyone else.
There’s no point talking about how you pride yourself on your customer service – every business claims this. No one says, “Our customer service isn’t great, but our product is pretty good!”
Customers will return to you again and again if they feel valued. Taking responsibility for you clients’ overall experience will bring its own rewards, and the little things that you do which others don’t will go along way to your success.
Find Your X Factor
Whatever you choose for your point (s) of differentiation they must be both clear and easy to understand. If you can’t explain why your different from your competitors in a simple sentence, then you need to rethink your sales pitch.
Remember, there are ten results on Google’s front page, not even including the ads. The reason you’re different from the rest must be there for everyone to see, relate to and then hopefully, act upon. Good luck.