In high school, standing out was the last thing most people wanted to do, for in doing so meant risking getting made fun of; or worse, getting hung upside down from the flag poll. In business, it is the exact opposite. Everyone is trying to stand out in order to capture new business opportunities.
So, how do you cut through the noise and make your unique brand voice heard in this highly competitive space?
Here are five hi-level ways to make your business stand out. Although you can work on these in any order, it has been our experience to focus on making the initial efforts in the order these are presented. Throughout the business lifecycle, you will need to consistently work on these areas, but in starting a business, it is important to get these done in order since they are dependent on each other in sequence. For example, it is hard to do good content marketing without a compelling brand identity, so you need that first:
1. Build a Compelling Brand Identity. (Not just a logo)
Your brand identity is your “purple cow effect,” the visual and interactive experience that separates your business from every other digital company out there.
Your choice of colors, design, fonts, images all works together to create a visual image of your business in the minds of buyers.
In the literal sense, over 80% of consumers think that color is a big part of brand recognition.
The same also goes for your brand name.
A recent study showed that 77% of customers make their purchases based on a brand’s name.
Your brand name should be short (preferably one phrase), easy to remember, and most importantly, whip up a strong visual image. Your digital business is more like a living entity, and as such, perception matters a lot.
Take a look at some of the world’s most powerful digital businesses. For example, when you think of Facebook, the color “blue” and the image of a chat book with faces pops up in your mind.
Think Amazon, and you see a mighty forest with rushing rivers.
Another way to build a strong brand identity is to create a unique customer experience. Customer service is a big deal because people don’t forget in a hurry. A fast customer service response will endear your digital business in the hearts of your customers and ultimately give you an edge over other competitors.
2. Optimize Your Website.
While there are over 4,208,571,287 internet users, with Google hitting over 1.2 trillion searches worldwide per year, 46% of small businesses do not even have a web presence, according to a study in 2018.
The typical business-owner response:
“Oh, my business is just starting; Facebook and a store on Instagram should be enough.”
But guess what?
These businesses are leaving a ton of money on the table every year. They are also losing out on their chance to make their voices heard in the global market.
While social media (more on that in a moment) should be an essential component of your marketing and sales efforts, it should never replace the need for a website. A website not only allows you to bond with your customers and give them a unique experience, but it also allows you to communicate your business uniqueness away from the storm on social media.
That said, let’s get to optimizing your website. Always remember this: Don’t take any chances.
Invest in a web designer or a digital agency to help you create a unique web experience for customers. Also, make sure your site is super-fast! Slow loading is an immediate turnoff for many users and may sentence your digital business to the “just another website” hell.
Trust me; you don’t want to be there.
3. Leverage Content Marketing (Especially Videos)
Content marketing goes beyond sharing a few half-hearted blog posts and random snippets on social media. This powerful marketing approach took Investopedia from a few thousand visitors per month to earning more than $70 million per month in traffic value.
And it’s all organic.
What exactly is content marketing?
We can define content marketing as a strategic marketing approach that involves creating and sharing valuable, relevant, and consistent content.
Attract and keep a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, get them to take profitable customer actions.
Content marketing helps you connect with your customers at a deeper emotional level and address their problems before eventually selling them a solution.
Unfortunately, many digital businesses skip this process and jump straight into trying to sell immediately to customers.
A bounce rate that’s off the roof!
Video content is a pretty good way to interact and engage with your customers. 82% of customers would rather watch live videos than read social media posts.
And while you don’t have to dump other forms of content, incorporating videos as part of your content marketing strategy will go a long way in distinguishing your brand.
(A little caveat though, customers have little or patience for slow-loading videos or extremely long streams. Short, sweet and simple is the principle to go by when content marketing using videos.)
4. Unleash Your Email Marketing Genius.
An email list gives you the dual advantage of building relationships with your customers and selling to them.
Right in their inbox.
While advertising on social platforms like Facebook is getting trickier by the day (no thanks to Apple), Email Marketing is opening up a gold mine of opportunities.
And the return on investment (ROI) is entirely impressive, up to $24 per every $1 invested.
But isn’t email marketing dead?
A lot of emails end up in the spam or promotion folder because…
They are only spammy and promotional!
Email marketing can transform your business and make it stand out when you offer value to your customers and optimize your campaigns for mobile devices.
To build your email marketing list, you can put on your website a “Join our email newsletter for updates.” button on your website and a data collection window to get name and email address. You would be surprised how many people will sign-up.
5. Dominate Social Media.
Social media remains one of your most potent allies in making your digital business unique and distinct from others.
Social media has it all. From creating trends or hopping on an existing one to answering your customer’s questions on the go and staying in the spotlight.
How do you maximize social media for your digital business?
+ Identify the most suitable social media platform(s) for your businesses.
+ Identify the most popular type of content for the social media platform you’re using.
+ Create engaging content.
+ Share, promote and collaborate with key players on the platform.
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