I recently had a discovery call with a potential coaching client who asked a really good question. She was a jewelry designer by trade and she specialized in holistic jewelry (think crystals, life coaching, and energy healing). Her concern was figuring how she was supposed to stand out online when there are so many similar businesses out there.
The first thing I explained was that seeing similar businesses isn't necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it's a great thing because it means there's money to be made in the market. If you were hearing crickets, then it would be more worrisome because a concept may not have proven to be profitable yet.
Once that mindset shift takes place, then it's a matter of implementing ways to stand out online. This can seem really overwhelming in a noisy online world, but the good news is it's not really a difficult feat to accomplish.
Two businesses could have similar products but be working with completely different audiences. That's one of the reasons why I always encourage business owners to do everything with their audience in mind.
In fact, not taking my audience into account was one of the biggest mistakes when I started out online. I was too concerned with what I wanted to do and hadn't realized that if I wanted to make money that I had to provide value to an audience.
It's also a common issue I see with small business owners. Usually, they start a business because they are passionate about something. While there's nothing wrong with that, you need to figure out who your tribe is and what they are passionate about.
Fortunately, market research isn't hard in the world of social media. I frequently crowd source my social media followers and I can get a lot of information from discovery calls in my business.
While your business isn't all about you, your story still plays a role in helping you stand out.
I'd actually argue that your story is the only thing that will outlast marketing and sales fads. In fact, your story can enhance things like sales funnels, Facebook ads and social media posts.
Most business owners have their story down, it's just a matter of figuring out how to make it media friendly. That's where the market research comes in.
For example, my personal business story is going on seven years now. By doing my market research, I can determine which parts of my story my audience actually wants to hear.
We're also living in a time where people want to know who is behind the business and a brand. At the end of the day, people buy from people so don't shy away from sharing the only thing that really makes your business unique - you.
A public relations strategy.
One sure-fire way to stand out online is to make sure that your business is mentioned in as many publications as possible.
You can start with your own content and social media posts. From there, you can move on to writing about your expertise for other publications. Over time, this actually snowballs to a point where media starts to see you as an expert.
For example, I wrote a story for one of my content marketing clients about an adventure a friend and I had trying to flip free stuff we found on Craigslist. A few months later, I get an email from a major women's magazine wanting to interview me about it.
While getting your business mentioned everywhere is a slow game, it is well worth it. The more you can get your name out, the more you can stand out from the crowd online.
By mixing your market with your story, and then learning how to get the word out there, you'll ensure that you always stand out in a crowded space. Not only that, but this strategy gives your business longevity.