Do you know what differentiates you from the competition? Can you clearly explain what does? If not, you’re not alone.
In a recent survey I did, only 10% of people said they could clearly explain what differentiates them from the competition. Two-thirds of people said they kind of know what differentiates them and 22% don’t even know who their competitors are.
It’s essential to know and understand your competition. After all, we don’t operate our businesses in a vacuum. You can bet that your ideal clients know who your competitors are. Shouldn’t you?
Remember also that there are three pieces to solving the Niche Puzzle: WHO (target market), WHAT (solution you provide) and WHY (why should people work with you). You have to be able to clearly explain all three pieces when you choose your niche and craft your Magical Marketing Message.
But, having said that…..
I’m going to challenge you to shift your perspective about your competition in three important ways.
1. Find your voice
Even if you and your competitors do very similar things, you will have your own twist on things. You might have a different approach, formula, message or perspective. Or you might just explain things differently. It’s amazing how two people can say the same thing and the message resonates with different people in different ways.
So part of what you need to do to differentiate yourself is to create your own voice or “language”. This is part of building your brand. Find your own words to describe what you do and the process you use. Don’t just imitate, innovate!
2. Learn from your competitors
It’s important to follow your competitors because there is a lot you can learn from them. Take a look at their approach, offerings and marketing. What do you like? What don’t you like? What can you do differently or better?
At the same time, don’t allow yourself to get overwhelmed or bogged down by what your competitors are doing. You can sign up for their lists using a different email address so you don’t get distracted. Keep a folder called “good marketing” for subject lines or emails that pique your interest. Create a swipe file for sales pages, articles, landing pages, etc. that you like. You won’t copy their work, but use it for ideas and inspiration.
Stay on top of what they’re doing but don’t get distracted by them.
3. Partner with them
You will be amazed how many of your “competitors” can actually be joint venture partners for you. It has happened to me more than once that I met one of my competitors and they ended up becoming joint venture partners. It’s just a matter of being confident about what you do and shifting your perspective from scarcity to abundance.
There is one caveat to this. You must have a clearly defined niche. When you have a clear niche, e.g. you understand your target market and solution you provide, then the competitive landscape is much smaller. If you’re a jack of all trades, then everyone becomes a competitor. You’ll see how much easier it is to partner with people when you have a clear niche because you serve the same target market but with complementary solutions. And joint ventures are by far the fastest way to build your list!© Copyright 2013 Cindy Schulson