If your company doesn’t have any competition, you’re one lucky entrepreneur in an extremely niche market. If you’re part of the other 99.9% of business owners, you understand that almost any sort of edge is generally worth chasing. There any many ways in which you can do this, but many of them probably take time, effort and money well beyond what you originally bargained for. Luckily, there are a few simple ways to build an edge that will fit nicely into your current business model with minimal extra outlay.
Have a Presence
This applies both physically and metaphorically. You want to be the kind of owner who sees and is seen at all the relevant events and gatherings, but you also want to find a way to be the first business someone thinks of when they need something within your domain.
Branded corporate gifts are a great way to do this because it takes, on average, seven points of contact with a customer before they make a purchase. If your brand becomes part of their daily life, in the form of the mug they drink from or the pen they write with, for example, they will subconsciously align their purchasing habits with your offerings.
Another super simple way to give your business an edge is by building a community around your brand. The best way to do this by actively engaging with your customers through various channels, but if you don’t have the time or staff capacity to be present at relevant trade shows and community events, you should at least be maintaining a strong presence on social media. Make sure you post content that interests your audience rather than using your social accounts purely as advertising platforms. This will provoke far more interaction than a write up about your latest product.
Once you have a solid base to work from and have established trust with those who follow you, the engagement you receive on these channels will be one of your greatest marketing tools and if you can keep people talking, the platforms’ algorithms and your witty responses to comments will help you get ahead of the competition.
Badges of Honor
As the saying goes, if you’ve got it, flaunt it. Any publicity is good publicity if you address it correctly. All awards that your business has received should feature on your sites and profiles where possible, but your golden nugget here is customer feedback. The benefit of displaying positive feedback is obvious, but many companies will attempt to hide or ignore criticism. This is actually the worst thing you can do as it builds animosity and destroys trust in your brand. It also reduces the credibility of any good comments left as no-one believes a squeaky clean report card.
Instead, have an open conversation with whoever has left a negative response and rectify the issue. This shows that you can take responsibility for your mistakes and highlights your focus on providing excellent customer service. Just remember to take a conversation private if someone is being deliberately malicious rather than providing honest feedback.
There are, of course, many other ways to get an edge in your industry but these three are by far some of the easiest. Consumers no longer care about fancy marketing campaigns as much as they once did, the focus now has shifted to aligning their purchases with businesses that share their values or those who they feel they have a personal connection with. Provide this, and you’ll be well on your way to getting ahead of the game.