How to Differentiate Yourself From Your Competitors and Attract More Customers

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This is the first in a series of guest posts by copywriter + business storyteller Alyssa Martin.

You work hard at what you do. You want to be successful. But how do you do that when there are dozens of people trying to achieve the same thing? Competition is stiff (no matter how good you are at what you do).

Luckily, there are plenty of things you can do to set yourself apart from the crowd. It can be time consuming, but your bank balance will thank you.

Today, you’re going to learn how to clearly communicate to customers how you’re different, better, and worth working with. Taking the time to invest in your business basics this way is how you grow your business.

Define who you serve

Do you know who your target market is?

Hopefully your answer wasn’t “anyone interested in my services.” You’ll appeal to no one if you try to appeal to everyone.

Your business will thank you for investing time to get to know your target market. Knowing your target market lets you focus your marketing efforts (and money) on the people who are most likely to buy from you.

When you become known as the go-to person for your target market, your clients will start to refer you to their friends. It will cost you less money to attract new clients. Your business will grow organically.

Imagine that you’re a family who recycles, rides to work and values living in a green community surrounded by likeminded people.

There are two real estate agents with houses for your to look at: Joe, who specializes in finding sustainable housing solutions for growing families; or Mary, who is a general, unspecialized agent who works with anybody.

Who would you rather work with?

It’s a safe bet that you’re most likely to work with Joe because he recognizes and validates your values. He quickly shows that he understands your needs. He has the biggest selection of houses that suit your lifestyle.

Rather than having less clients because he’s so specialized, Joe actually has more. Environmentally conscious families know that they’ve found the right person as soon as they hear about Joe. Clients start coming to him without the need for him to market to them.

The point is that your clients want to feel valued, understood and important. You can only make that happen if you focus on a small subset of the population.

Read this article for practical tips on how to find out more about your target market without spending a fortune on market research.

Know why clients choose you over others

Why do your current clients choose to work with you instead of your competitors? What results do you get them that others don’t? How do they benefit from working with you instead of others?

Here we’re talking about the difference between features and benefits. There’s a subtle, but important difference.

Features are a factual statement about what your product or service has or does. Features are great. But your clients don’t care that much about your features. They care about the value of those features. In other words, they care about the benefits.

The benefit is the value your client gets from your feature. A benefit answers the question “What’s in it for me?” Benefits are what draw your clients in. They’re why people choose to work with you and not someone else – because you provide the benefits they need.

Let’s say that you have a streamlined process that makes buying a home simpler and less stressful for your clients. The streamlined process is a feature of your service. But the benefit for the client is being able to relax and trust the process will run smoothly.

  1. Make a list of all the features of your service.
  2. Note whether each of them is unique to you or shared with your competitors.
  3. Write down the customer pain solved for each feature.
  4. Write down the benefit derived from each feature.

Every benefit to working with you is one worth sharing. These are the kind of things that your potential clients want to hear when deciding if they should work with you. They’re how you differentiate yourself from everyone else.

Tie it all together with a strong value proposition.

Now you know who your target market is, features of your product/service and the benefits and the value you offer them. These are the key pieces of information that you need to clearly and confidently share with your potential clients when persuading them to work with you.

How do you do that? With your unique value proposition.

Your value proposition is a short, memorable sentence about what you do and why your audience should care. It’s equal parts art and science. It’s how you say “this is why you should work with me” to your potential clients.

You now have all the pieces to the puzzle. Give me 5 minutes and I’ll show you how to write your value proposition using an easy and effective formula.

amartin Alyssa Martin is a copywriter and business storyteller. She helps women entrepreneurs who desperately want web copy that both attracts their dream clients and sounds like their real, offline selves. Her free Effortless Copywriting Guide gets released later this month. Get yours here.

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