Every business owner does due diligence on the competitive market before launching the business. While looking at others in your space is informative, some entrepreneurs get obsessed with the counterparts in their industry and lose sight of their own offering.
As a coach in the fast-growing personal development industry, if you don't stand out you become a commodity. Due to lack of regulation, the barrier to entry is relatively low and this floods the market with a lot of coaches who are clamoring to build their databases, followers, and fans to establish market share.
Whether you are a coach or in another industry, you can remember three main rules to stand out from the competition.
1. Avoid Appealing to the Lowest Common Denominator
The biggest mistake that I made (and I am sure almost every new entrepreneur makes) is to try to please everyone. Instead of focusing on my ideal customer, I would spend just as much time trying to capture leads from anyone who would need help with the solution I provided.
In the beginning, I was looking at my competitors and seeing how they were marketing to get ideas. This led to "dumbing down" the copy, pricing, and offerings to compete with theirs. By doing this we were trying to appeal to the lowest common denominator rather than our ideal customer. We were targeting a mass consumer audience when our product was actually highly-specialized. No one knew how unique we were because we sounded just like everyone else.
Instead of the lowest common denominator, we shifted our copy and programs to appeal to the outliers which were a smaller, but more affluent market. Our lead conversion from sales calls went from 25 percent to 90 percent which reduced ad spending and required less staff time to make more revenue.
2. Don't Obsess Over Your Competition
Get informed but do not obsess over your competition. When you are trying to find your ideal target market, watching your competition can confuse your mind as to what your true audience really wants.
I used to subscribe to dozens of newsletters from consumer-branded coaches to get ideas of what the successful coaches were doing. This caused me to get sidetracked, question my offerings and what I assumed was a successful strategy. I would test out what they were doing since they seemed to be more successful. This did not help our bottom line as they were not targeting the same market. We ended up with a huge list of unqualified leads and lower conversion rates.
I unsubscribed from all of those newsletters, avoided following them on social media and I was able to reclaim focus on our brand and company vision.
3. There s No Competition
Even in a crowded marketplace with tons of people who are offering the same exact thing, there is no one like you or your company. Instead of trying to mimic your competition, create your own unique voice, your own style and find your own people.
When you try to be the best for everyone, you end up just being mediocre. Identify what is unique about your offering and make that a part of your brand so your ideal customer can recognize you as you rise above all of the noise.
When we provided content and marketing that appealed to our ideal audience, they were so happy to have found us. They tell us that we stood out from the others and our work is exactly what they were looking for in personal development. Our work isn't for everyone, but that's the point. We have no competition.