I have a pet peeve. It’s when different company websites and communications in the same industry all look alike and sound alike. They all use the exact same words, in the exact same way. They’re the same. And there’s no way to tell one from the other. Either they all used the same copywriter, or they all copied each other.
In a world where most markets are over saturated, how do you stand out from the crowd? How do you get your ideal clients to pick you over the competition? I’ll tell you what you don’t do, you don’t look and sound just like everyone else!
Here’s a process to create a message that will stand out from the crowd.
Step One: Start by getting really, really clear about who your ideal client is. And when I say ideal client, I really mean one client. That one person (even if she’s really a conglomeration of multiple people) who represents the best client you could ever have. She loves you and she loves everything your company does. She buys from you, refers business to you, and talks about you on social media. You love working with her or selling to her. She actually make your job easy. The more you know about this ideal client, what she (or he) wants and needs, the better chance you have to stand out from the masses.
Why do I say one person, and not two or three or four? Because as you start expanding who your ideal client is, you also start diluting your message. For example, if I say I serve accountants, rock stars and landscape designers, I will have a hard time creating a message that appeals to all of them. It becomes watered down. It starts to look like everyone else’s message…..you get the picture.
Step Two: Get over your Niche Phobia. Choose a niche that encompasses your ideal client. Get super specific about the niche you serve. The more specific you are, the more your words will jump out to the people they are intended for. They might alienate everyone else, but so what? They’re not your ideal clients.
Step Three: Talk to your ideal clients. Ask them questions about what their biggest challenges are, what they wish your industry would do for them or do differently, what they would change about the product that you sell, what additional products would solve their problems or meet their needs. Ask them WHY they purchase your product or service. And write down their answers verbatim. Word for word (or as close as you can get). This is key. Because when you write emails, and website copy, and blog posts, and social media posts, you want to describe their problems and hopes and desires the same way they do. In their words. Not your jargon-y industry words, but the real words that your customers use. Because if you speak their language, you will automatically catch their ears and their eyes.
Step Four: Take stock of your own strengths and skills, and do the same for your business. What natural strengths and talents do you have that you can apply to something that your ideal customer wants? For example, maybe you and your company work really fast. You’re super-efficient. And you found out during your interviews that your clients like fast and efficient. So exploit it! Talk about it. Talk about the extra benefit that fast and efficient gives them. Work to become the fastest, most efficient provider in your industry. Stand out. You don’t have to stand out in every area, just pick one, and go to town with it.
Step Five: Infuse your unique personality into your business. Are you quirky, conservative, warm and fuzzy, funny, serious, intense, high energy, mellow…..? Use your own combination of personality characteristics to create a personality for your business. Give your prospective clients an idea of what it’s like to do business with your company. Create a brand around it. If you do this you will never look the same as everybody else, because there’s only one unique you!
Step Six: Give yourself a new label. This is something we recommend to all of our clients. If you call yourself a doctor, lawyer, investment adviser, business consultant, yoga instructor, etc., then you get lumped in with all the other people who fall under that category. And if the person you’re speaking with has a preconceived notion about what you do, then they might dismiss you before ever really learning what you do. When I first started coaching, I was speaking with someone that I met at a party, and I told her I was a business coach. And she said to me, “well I know another business coach. But that’s weird, you’re nothing like her. I don’t like her at all, I find her very abrasive. But you’re lovely.” And then she called her husband over to marvel about how different I was from the other business coach they know. No joke! They had met one other business coach, and formed an opinion of all business coaches based on that one person.
But let’s say I call myself a “Business Grower” instead. It’s not so obtuse that someone would scratch their head and walk away. But it’s not entirely clear, either. Which is what you want, because the next question is usually something like “what does a Business Grower do?” And then you have your chance to show them how you’re different!