Competition has never been more fierce for small businesses. Why? Well, it’s easier to set up a small business than ever. Anyone can create their own webpage at the click of the button and automatically have access to selling products and reaching out to a worldwide audience for a very small cost. But the battle comes into play when it comes to helping your business to stand out from the crowd. When the marketplace is so saturated, it can prove extremely difficult to be seen by your target demographic. If you’re not seen, you won’t make sales, and your business will quickly sink. The good news is that there are various that things you can do to separate your brand from the mainstream and truly stand out. Here are a few to consider incorporating into your business plan!
Come Up with a Niche or Truly Innovative Item
If you’re still in the early stages of setting up your business, you should really consider specializing in a product that either caters to a niche market or a product that is truly innovative. It’s hard to stand out from the crowd when you are selling the exact same product as everyone else with different branding attached. It’s possible, but it’s extremely difficult and tends to be something that businesses with a large amount of money go into. It is much easier to stand out from the crowd if you’re the only company currently offering a product! So, invest a little more time, effort, and money into market research and product development.
Engage with SEO
Chances are that you’ve heard the phrase SEO thrown about a whole lot lately. But what actually is it? After all, you need to thoroughly understand something in order to put it to good use, right? Well, SEO stands for “search engine optimization”. Now, you might be asking yourself what search engines have to do with standing out from the crowd. But bear with us. When you search for a product online, what do you do? You type some keywords into a search engine and see what it throws up. You’ll be offered hundreds or even thousands of pages of results. This reflects the saturated market place. But to stand out from these hundreds of leads and entries, you need to be ranked at the top of results – preferably on the first page. You are much more likely to get people clicking links and heading to your website if your website ranks highly in the search engine results! It’s as simple as that. But some things are easier said than done and you can’t just fill in a request form to be put to the top. You’re going to have to fight to get there. Your first, and perhaps most effective, option is to make use of an SEO agency. SEO agencies specialize in search engine optimization and know all of the tricks of the trade to boost your page in results. If you don’t want to outsource, you can undertake SEO yourself, but you’re going to have a whole lot of work on your hands. So, be prepared to research keywords, backlinks, and much more before you start seeing results.
Offer Free Promotional Material
Everyone loves something for nothing. So, if you offer consumers anything for free, they’re likely to take it. But have you ever considered why small businesses offer out free promotional material? After all, nothing ever really comes for free, so when they’re offering out free merchandise, they’re fronting the costs themselves. When it comes down to it, if you offer out free merchandise with your brand name and logo printed on it, you’re gaining advertising. People will use these products and be reminded of your brand and company every time they look at it. Each time they use these branded items, others, in turn, will also see your brand name and logo. Consider tote bags, custom air fresheners, and branded pens or pencils. People will happily take all of these functional items for free. But they will also be exposed to your brand every time they use them or get them out over time!
Protecting Your Intellectual Property
There’s no point in putting all of this effort into standing out from the crowd if you’re not going to protect your intellectual property. If you fail to protect your intellectual property, you could invest everything you have into creating unique products, creating a stand out brand, and promoting your products properly. But someone could easily swoop in and start selling a similar product under the same name or a very similar name and benefit from all of the hard work that you’ve put into your company. Customers might not be able to tell the difference and the copycats will have benefited from your investments with every sale they make. Instead, if you protect your intellectual property through trademarking, copyrighting, and patenting, people will not be able to do this. If they try to, you can send them a legal cease and desist letter, which should stop them in their tracks. If they continue regardless, you will be able to take legal action.
While it isn’t surprising that the marketplace is pretty much constantly becoming increasingly saturated, it doesn’t mean that you have to be complacent and fall victim to reduced sales due to increased competition. You just need to put some more hard work into standing out from the crowd and creating a good name and reputation for your brand. You can carve a space out for your business and you can protect this space. Hopefully, the above information will help you to achieve this! Customers will be able to better identify your brand and differentiate what you have to offer from what your competitors are serving up. You can grow a more loyal customer base, and you can see increased sales – or at least maintain the sales that you are used to! So, why wait? It’s time to give the above steps a go! You have nothing to lose from trying them out and everything to gain!