Carving out a niche for yourself is a balancing act.
You don’t want to be SO unique that no one can identify with your brand or track you down through a simple Google search … but you also don’t want to join a market that’s ridiculously oversaturated and gives you zero chance of standing out!
Many entrepreneurs find themselves wanting to follow along with what others in the industry are doing, but too much niche-centric sameness can negatively affect our brands.
On the flip side, some of us convince ourselves that we can’t be successful in our industry because there are so many other superstars hogging the spotlight.
So how do you stand out just enough, but not too much? How do you make sure that your ideal client bypasses your competitors and comes straight to you? Here are 5 foolproof strategies.
Create an influencer marketing program
You’re probably familiar with this tactic, but just to make sure we’re all on the same page, influencer marketing is a type of social media marketing that leverages endorsements and product mentions from influencers with substantial social media and online footprints.
These influencers should also be viewed as experts within their niche.
This tactic works because of the amount of trust that social influencers have cultivated with their audiences, and their recommendations serve as a form of social proof for YOUR brand’s potential customers.
The benefit of this to you, as an entrepreneur, is that you’re not the only one talking about how marvelous your work is!
You spread the word about your offerings throughout your influencers’ networks, and their stamp of approval lifts up your brand.
Along similar lines, encouraging word-of-mouth referrals allows you to leverage the trust and reputations of the folks referring you.
Think of it this way.
Your client Betsy has a friend named Sharon. If you reach out to Sharon yourself, she might be wary and mistrustful.
She has no reason to believe you’re the right coach or teacher or vendor for her needs, just because YOU claim you are!
But if you ask Betsy to recommend you to Sharon, you are banking on the trust that already exists between them; Sharon is more likely to take Betsy’s word, call you up, and hire you.
Another reason this helps you stand out?
People take in boatloads of online messages every day and forget them instantly, but the ideas and recommendations their in-person friends make remain in their memories.
Use a little taboo language
OK, friends, proceed with caution here!
I’m not recommending that you litter your web copy with curse words, and I’m CERTAINLY not asking you to promote stereotypes or prejudices.
What I’m saying here is that edgy brands and naturally rebellious entrepreneurs can and should use swear words, conversational tone, and challenging ideas to stand out.
If everyone in your space uses soft, welcoming language and your approach is more productively confrontational, flaunt it!
You’ll attract clients who understand your style and WANT to work with someone who goes against the grain.
If your style isn’t super bold to begin with, you can use taboo language when talking about the ideas or philosophies you stand against.
But if your style and persona are 100% warm and welcoming, feel free to skip this. It’s not for everyone!
Create a “mascot” for your brand
Aside from big-name brands and sports teams, we don’t see mascots terribly often. All the more reason to cultivate one for your business.
Do you have a photogenic pet? A particularly funky plant in your collection? Or even an imaginary creature like a unicorn or mermaid that resonates with your persona?
Start folding that icon into your branding.
A mascot doesn’t have to be a person inside a fuzzy monster suit who clowns for audiences; it can be a memorable and emotional symbol that will help potential customers remember your brand … and associate positive feelings with it.
Be a purpose-driven brand
The fact is that the purpose of a business is to make money.
There is nothing wrong with that, I promise you. But it doesn’t exactly give your customers the warm-fuzzies, either, and isn’t something you want to promote outwardly.
If your mission and vision have an altruistic purpose—such as helping people heal from trauma or improving mental well-being through body image—say so.
Or if you partner with, or donate to, a nonprofit or charitable organization that does work you value, highlight that.
Modern consumers are drawn to brands that support works of good.
Above all, be authentic to yourself and your brand.
Customers can tell when your marketing is “off” and that leaves them feeling disconnected and wary.
Have fun while focusing on what your clients find alluring, and make sure that everything you do to lodge your business in their minds aligns with your values!
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