Top 5 Ways to Help Your Small Business Stand Out
Updated: Sep 17, 2020
You love what you do and you believe in your business. Keep that passion alive by building a brand that will highlight who you are and help you stand out among your competitors.
Define Your Brand
A brand definition should be the first step for any new business. Defining your brand should take place before your business is officially open. Brand definition is also a crucial step in creating your overall marketing plan. Defining your brand involves creating a story that explains how your business came to be and why customers should care.
Your brand should be pieced together through several design aspects and marketing tactics. These steps can include sitting down with a graphic designer to create your brand guidelines, working with a web design team to create a solid user journey, and researching who your target market is and how they will be reached.
Create an Experience
Customer experience is one of THE most important parts of building a strong brand. All the beautiful graphics and social media influencers in the world won't help you or your brand if your customers are turned off by their experiences while interacting with your business.
Companies that prioritized and effectively managed customer experience were three times more likely than their peers to have significantly exceeded their top business goals in 2019. (Source: Adobe/Econsultancy)
Keeping this in mind, everything you do within your business should be centered around creating positive customer experiences. What exactly do I mean by this? I'll give you a short example:
A new boutique shop has opened in your area. They are selling custom furniture items that are made by local artisans. Hearing about the shop from a friend during lunch, you check to see if they have a Facebook page you can follow yet, you can't find one. No big deal. You take note of the name and remind yourself to check later. Several weeks later, you meet with the same friend that asks you if you've checked out the new shop. No, you'd completely forgotten but pull up the website while you're chatting. The website pulls up but doesn't load right on your phone. Not only that, but there is also no address, and there is no information about the furniture, just photos. Put off by the lack of information, you shrug it off and think about eventually visiting, if you have the time. Months go by, and you've forgotten about the shop until you end up driving by one day. You head in and are blown away by what you see. The furniture is what you've been looking for to furnish your new home. Walking around, you don't see any employees, nor do you hear a greeting. Ten minutes go by, you hear people in what must be the back of the store, but so far, no one has checked on you. Seeing a table you love but want to know more about, you head towards the register and speak with the employee. Unfortunately, she doesn't know much about the furniture since she's just part-time, etc.
I think you get the point. This scenario may sound like an extreme example, but throughout the years, I've had this exact situation happen to me with several types of businesses. Imagine if, in this example, all the pieces had been correct. The company had a Facebook page that showcases new inventory, along with several videos every month talking about how the pieces of furniture were designed and who the artists are that made them. The website was clear and clean and easy to use, reflecting the same style of information found on Facebook but in an extended format. The minute new customers walked into the showroom, they are greeted by the staff, and all employees know in-depth information about the furniture and the artists involved. Again, you get my point.
Creating a customer experience involves developing several moving pieces that consistently change but reflect your brand in a positive light. The customer should know from their first interaction with you that you are there for them and are eager to share the reasons why your business matters.
Cultivate Solid Relationships
As a business owner, no matter what industry you are in, relationships matter. What I mean by that is invest in the relationships of those around you. From your customers to your employees (if you have any) to other business owners and leaders within the community, the relationships you build should be honest and transparent. Building solid relationships with your customers lets them know they can trust you and your brand. Being there for your employees and having an open and honest dialogue creates an atmosphere of positivity. Meeting with other business owners and leaders within the community puts you and your brand front and center.
You may have heard before that content is king. Maybe you haven't. Either way, my take on it may be a little different from your average social media marketer or blogger. Pushing content out for the sake of digital or social media marketing is a tactic. When it comes to customer experience and a strong brand, content plays a different role.
Communication during every step of the process with your customers is imperative. From start to finish, it should be clear what your business is, how you can help your customer solve their problem, and why they should trust you and your business. Communication can be accomplished by setting clear goals in your marketing plan about how you will reach your customers, the content you will convey, and how you will stay in touch once you've made contact or a sale.
Old Fashioned Customer Service
Good ole customer service can go a long way. Like in my example of customer experience, customer service should be present during every interaction with your customer. The more you do for your customers, the more they will trust and respect you as a business owner and the business you've created. Saying hi with a smile, answering the phone in an upbeat tone, meeting new clients on-time, responding to reviews and questions online as quickly and efficiently as possible, the list goes on and on.
When it comes down to it, remember that your business is there to serve your customers, and meeting them with basic customer service oriented actions will help you stand out against the crowd. It will help your customers see you in a positive light, they are more willing to refer you to their friends/associates/loved ones. Word of mouth, after all, is one of the strongest forms of business referrals.
Chances are you've heard of many of these tips, but are you using them? Whether you are building a business from the ground up or you're a veteran in your industry, there is never a wrong time to take a long hard look at what you want to achieve. Start by taking the steps to build a strong brand, positive customer experience, solid relationships, and a robust plan for staying in communication with your customers.