Differentiation is essential when it comes to dominating a market. When you are an apple compared against another apple you are always going to find it hard to acquire a large proportion of the market.
This is even harder when you are competing in a saturated market - and here’s some news - nowadays every market is saturated and there will always be someone doing something similar to you. There are no true blue oceans anymore.
Creating your own blue ocean is imperative if you want to dominate a market and so below I have written seven ways that you are able to differentiate yourself from your competitors.
This isn’t about picking one and running with it; it’s imperative to differentiate in as many ways as possible, as it’s the cocktail of different ingredients that make you truly unique.
In this article I outline ONE key differentiating factor that will not only pull you apart from your competition but it’ll be the key deciding factor as to why people will choose your business over others and will have the potential to be truly groundbreaking for your industry.
For those of you who have been in the coaching industry for a while now you may have heard of the personal branding expert - Kimra Luna. She made a huge splash in the market not so long ago, with her distinctive personality and very strong visual brand. She appeals to a particular niche market who share her love of punk rock and alternative lifestyles.
By putting a focus on the things that make you - YOU... it can bring a 3rd dimension to your brand that will attract 'your tribe'.
A word of caution though - when it comes to having a personal brand, you want to be relatable (to the person you are targeting). Knowing who you want to attract will help identify the parts of your personality you want to leverage.
Whilst using your personality can supercharge attracting a certain audience, unfortunately, YOU are unique just like everyone else. Which means although this is something you should look to define and leverage it's just not strong enough to fully pull yourself apart from the competition & dominate a market on its own.
The next way to differentiate is by using your story. Your story will be completely unique to you however, again; it will have elements that people can relate to and feel inspired by. Storytelling in your business can be extremely powerful. The author Hal Elrod, founder of Miracle Mornings, famously leveraged his story to help him create his success. He told the story of his horrific car crash and how coming back from it changed his life. This story inspired people to take action and really utilise his Miracle Morning principle.
Not everyone has that prize story to tell, like myself, but I do still use storytelling in my business. Although your story may not be as dramatic and may feel ‘smaller’ in comparison, it doesn’t mean your story won’t have as much impact. Having a relatively ‘normal’ story makes you more relatable and therefore ‘just like them’ [just like your target audience] - meaning that if you can achieve what they want to achieve, they will have far more self belief that they too can do it. The more ‘micro momentous’ your stories are the better in terms of hitting hard with people and meaning something to them.
Bring in stories from everyday life to show people what you’re doing, how it's impacting your life and how it can ultimately help theirs is another great way to be relatable for your tribe.
Leverage your story(s) - sell your solution.
Customer Service is a much underused differentiator but can make a really powerful impact. Finding personalised ways of interacting with customers can be very effective. For example, in our emails we embed personalised videos to each customer using a system called ‘Bomb Bomb’. Using these personalised email videos has landed us several five star reviews on Google as people have been so blown away with receiving such a personal email- personalised being the key word here.
Using technology to mass market is a good approach also. The balance between making it personal and automated is important. Technology is able to do both for us - we are able to personalise emails & printed materials etc and send these out in mass with one click of a button.
However people nowadays are very aware of the automated personalisation available and so genuine effort to create the human touch is extremely important if you want to stand a chance in building relationships with prospects and customers. When people take the time to reach out to you personally, take the time to reply personally as well. That personal touch really makes a difference and this will really help you to stand out.
Another big one that so many try to differentiate and compete on - is Price. Continually competing on price will feel like a losing battle, you’re going to end up driving down your prices and working really hard for little profit.
It’s a sure fire way to go out of business really quickly.
For those in the coaching and consulting / expert industry, particularly if you’re offering one-to-one services, there is a time element involved in what you’re doing. If you start competing on price, you will start undervaluing your services and be at risk of looking cheap.
Have a look at your prices closely, you don’t always have to be high end, but do also make sure you are pricing yourself fairly for what it’s worth. Price competitively if you want to, but don’t use it as the main differentiator.
One of the biggest ways you’re going to make an impact and dominate the market is by micro-niching. By doing this you remain relevant and relevance is the key to your future in your business.
These days people want to hire specialists not generalists - because they can. Back in the day they only really had what was available locally and if a generalist is all they had then that was their only option. Now you can tap into a specialist all the way across the globe.
Not only that but by micro-niching and being very specific in who you help and the problem/goal you help them with your marketing becomes laser sharp and 100% more effective in articulating that your target market should buy from you.
It also becomes ‘the thing’ you become known for. A generalist will go under the radar but a specialist becomes well known for being worth knowing.
However - it doesn’t matter how much you micro-niche, most markets are saturated- there will always be someone else doing a similar thing to you. So whilst it is one of the more powerful differentiation factors and whilst it’s important to niche right down, there’s something else that will seriously help you to amplify your specialist status - keep reading...
The next way that you can differentiate is using a business model. Delivering what your industry delivers but in a different way.
Membership models in a lot of industries have become increasingly popular to use, so this business model is not a big differentiator because everybody’s using it and for a lot of industries and niches the reason is because it works really well.
However, if you can define a particular ideal client where the membership model isn’t suiting them and you’re able to create a different way of delivering your services to that market that would be of benefit to them then this will be another way you can stand apart from your competition.
I don’t advise changing your business model entirely to suit the market if it doesn’t suit you and the way you want to work, but if you can really define a model that works for you in a more beneficial way and is different to how the industry is currently serving the market then go for it.
This way of differentiating will trump everything else I’ve stated in this article. If you want to become a market leader and really stand out, then creating your Unique Magic Bullet will not only be a truly unique selling point that your market can only get from you but it will be the key deciding factor as to why you are the number one choice in the market.
A Unique Magic Bullet (UMB) is a productised USP. It is the unique way in which you help your market and your ideal clients. No one can copy this because it’s intellectual property - your aim is to get it named and trademarked.
However, it’s important to note that this is not your signature program or system. Your UMB is your unique mechanism that is the science behind why that system/ signature program works. We need to be able to give this science a name, make it tangible and make it a key reason as to why people will get the results they want to get.
A few examples of some great UMB’s that you’ll probably know - the MAC Operating System (MacOS) in the Apple MacBook Pro, Marisa Peer’s RTT, The Alter Ego Effect by Todd Herman.
Some of my clients UMB’s -
Sally Keyhoe (Specialist Mortgage Consultant for self employed business owners) created the ‘Trusted Chasing & Liaison Service’ where you don’t lift a finger in chasing solicitors, estate agents or breaking your back over numbers with your accountant - her company does it all for you.
Lynne White (Mat & Parental Leave Specialist for organisations) created the ‘Mat Leave Talent Retainer Model’ that helps organisations retain their female talent and support their staff so that they do lose thousands on retraining / rehiring and positioning themselves as a people focused employer.
Steven Bolschweiller of Insight Video Marketing Ltd developed a new style of creating videos that enables you to promote your business using a non salesy technique that appeals to the emotions and human connection - he calls them PromoDocumentaries and has helped organisations gain contracts of up to £4million off the back of a single PromoDocumentary.
Coming up with these truly unique concrete USP’s stands you apart completely and creates waves in your industry. It grabs the attention of other market leaders, your industry partners, the key persons of influence and most importantly the attention from your market - the people who want to buy from you.
In a service based industry, we need to start productising as much as possible and making it tangible. 90% of service based business owners are not doing it which is great for the 10% that are - because they stand out.
Creating your Unique Magic Bullet is what I want you to focus on most in 2020 as it will be your key differentiator. Create a new solution for your market and articulate the science behind why it works better than anything else out there and market leader status won’t be far behind.
If you’d like help in creating your Unique Magic Bullet and positioning yourself as a Market Leader then make sure you book a call with Jen Hall from Market Leader League to discuss how she can help you make that happen.
In this guide I reveal -
Jen Hall is Business Clarity Coach for Coaches, Consultants & Experts who want to become Unrivalled Go-To Experts. Jen not only gets you clear on your micro-niche, message and what makes you unique and desirable, but she helps you to define what makes you an irrefutable offer to the market so you can position yourself as a high-end 'must have' option for your prospects. She is a Multi-Award Winning Speaker and Best Selling Author of Expert Unrivalled.