To stand out in a sea of other businesses, you need to find a way to differentiate from the competition. When your brand is differentiated, you can better attract the right new customers for your business. 

What could you do to put your brand in a category of its own? Here are five ways you might differentiate your business: 

 

1. Offer something unique. 

Is there something you could offer that none of your competitors can? Perhaps it’s a proprietary design you created, an exclusive supplier you work with, or a product made from local ingredients. 

 

2. Offer something superior. 

Are there attributes of your product or service that, if amplified, would make your offering the top performer in some way? For example, could you make a change to become the fastest, yummiest, longest-lasting, or deliver the greatest results for your customers? 

This is the “better mousetrap” method of differentiation, relying on massive improvement of a single attribute of your offering. Just make sure it’s an attribute your would-be customers find especially appealing!

 

3. Provide outstanding customer support. 

Could you become known for providing:

  • Particularly generous return policies or guarantees?
  • Especially competent, courteous, and helpful customer service? 
  • Free training?
  • Easy installation? 
  • Exceptional levels of responsiveness?

 

4. Sell in a new way. 

Are there other distribution channels you could consider? If you’ve been selling your products or services directly to would-be customers, could you work with a partner who bundled your offering with theirs? Could you sell in new places? 

An example here is Warby Parker, the eyewear retailer. Originally selling online only, they eventually opened their own direct-to-consumer retail outlets to appeal to another segment of their target market. 

If no one in your industry reveals their pricing on their website, could you take a transparent approach and make it visible to all? Is there any other way you could make it easier for would-be customers to work with you? 

 

5. Change the value equation.

You currently offer a certain product or service for a certain price. What if you rethought the way you priced? 

Could you change what you offer (and the price at which you offer it) for a specific segment of your target market? Could you create bundles that have more value for your would-be customers — and adapt your pricing accordingly?

 

6. Tell your story. 

Your story can attract others to you. Consider: 

  • Is there something about the journey you’ve taken, as a business owner, that can attract others to you? 
  • Do you have a compelling mission you could share? 
  • Could you align with a nonprofit and let everyone know how working with your business has a larger impact? 

For some great examples of how aligning with nonprofits can grow revenue for your small business, check out the latest episode of Marketing Made Easy, our video series and podcast

We interview Sheryl Green, author of Do Good to Do Better: The Small Business Guide to Growing your Business by Helping Nonprofits and co-founder of The Cause Marketing Chamber of Commerce. The episode comes out this week, so be sure to subscribe to our YouTube or podcast channels so you don’t miss it!