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Find your niche: 11 strategies for differentiating your business from the competition

Every company wants to stand out — but how do you stand out when the market is already oversaturated? The key to success is finding what makes you different and using it to your advantage. 

Photo via Pexels
Photo via Pexels

Opinions expressed by Digital Journal contributors are their own.

Every company wants to stand out — but how do you stand out when the market is already oversaturated? The key to success is finding what makes you different and using it to your advantage. 

Try out some of these strategies if you want to differentiate yourself from the competition. 

1. Learn About Your Competitors

If you want to stand out compared to your competitors, you need to get to know them. In fact, you should become an expert on them. You can’t beat the competition if you don’t know who you are competing against. Thankfully, your competition isn’t hard to find in the age of the Internet. 

“It’s important to remember your competitor is only one mouse click away,” explains Douglas Warner III, Former CEO of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.

Find their target audience, learn their niches, and use them to your advantage. If you can identify an issue with a competitor’s product, try and solve that issue with your product. Don’t be afraid to take full advantage of their weaknesses.

2. Find What Makes You Different 

What makes you stand out from the competition? Maybe your product is the only of its kind to have a certain feature, or maybe you offer something more inclusive than other brands. Play to your strengths by finding what makes your brand different.

“You started your company for a reason. Was something missing in the market? Does your product fill that gap? Whatever the market was lacking before you arrived is what will make your brand stand out,” advises Matt Masiello, Chief Marketing Officer of BabyBuddha.

Once you identify the qualities that make your brand unique, use them in your marketing. Let your target audience know why they should choose your brand over others of its kind. This is a popular marketing tactic that has been successful for ages. 

3. Know Your Target Audience

A key aspect of marketing is knowing your target audience. This is a trait that you will have in common with your competition, which is what makes them competitors. If you don’t know who to target, just look at who similar brands are targeting. 

“Your marketing efforts should be targeted, especially in the early stages of your business. Figure out who your audience is and where to find them, then focus on those areas,” says Alex Song, VP of Finance at Ramp, a company that offers business credit cards with EIN only.

Identifying your target audience is one task, but you also have to know who they are. What are their interests and hobbies? What is their age range? Where do they live? The answers to these questions will help you market your product or service appropriately. 

4. Be Innovative

It’s hard to stand out when you are trying to sell a product that already exists. If you want a fighting chance against any competition, you have to be innovative

“Without innovation, a majority of the brands you know and love wouldn’t exist today. Innovation breeds success, and success breeds innovation,” says Patricio Paucar, Co-Founder and Chief Customer Officer of Navi.

Innovation does not just relate to your product or service. You can be innovative in several different areas of your business. There are possibilities for innovation in customer service, sales processes, company culture, and so many more. 

5. Purposeful Branding

Unique and well-designed branding is one of the best ways to stand out visually. Consumers with no brand loyalty will often make purchasing decisions based on packaging or branding alone. If you take the time to learn about your target audience, you can design your branding to best appeal to that demographic.

“You cannot overestimate the importance of branding. Your brand is how people will perceive you. It’s the face you show to the world,” explains Nick Allen, Founder and CEO of SportsLingo.

If your product was lined up with others of its kind, would it stand out? If the answer is no, then it may be time for a redesign. Don’t give consumers a chance to choose a competitor’s product based on poor design choices. 

6. Become Unavoidable 

When it comes to marketing, you want to become unavoidable to your target audience. This means advertising in all the right places in addition to being present on all the major social media platforms. An unavoidable marketing presence will help with brand recognition, which will instill consumer trust in your brand. 

“It is not enough to just be on social media as a business. Your presence has to be purposeful, it needs to be curated, and it needs to be consistent across all platforms,” says Brandon Adcock, Co-Founder and CEO of Nugenix.

While you need to be present on all the social media platforms, you should also know which ones to put your time and energy into. Find where your audience spends the most time, and put the majority of your focus there. 

7. Harness the Power of Influencer Marketing

Photo by Ivan Samkov on Pexels

Influencer marketing is one of the most effective advertising tools at our disposal. Influencers have a built-in audience who trusts them. If that audience sees their favorite influencer raving about your product, they are more likely to make a purchase without any further research. 

“Influencers are one of the greatest marketing tools to come from social media. There is no better way to gain the trust of consumers than through influencer marketing. Influencers are incredibly powerful individuals,” advises Max Schwartzapfel, CMO of Fighting For You.

Influencers have been able to sell out entire inventories of products in seconds. All it takes is a simple mention by the right influencer to change the trajectory of a business forever. Don’t make the mistake of underestimating the marketing power of influencers. They can truly make your business stand out from the crowd. 

8. Use Real Testimonials 

Testimonials from real people are another great way to make yourself stand out. Audiences will be able to tell if your website is filled with fake product reviews, which can seriously damage consumer trust. 

“People don’t trust companies, people trust people. If you know that people are loving your products, use their reviews in your marketing,” describes Nabiha Akhtar, Founder and CEO of Lil Deenies.

A real testimonial will go a lot further than an obviously fake product review. This is another reason to use influencer marketing. Even if they are being paid to review your product, their audience sees them as a peer who is giving their genuine opinion of your product. 

9. Use Loyalty Rewards 

Once someone has purchased your product, you want to keep them from straying the next time they need to make a similar purchase. This is where loyalty rewards come in. Consumers are far more likely to return to your shop if they are enticed with a discount code or a free product with purchase. 

“Customer retention is just as important as gaining those customers in the first place. Whether or not your customers come back will be the deciding factor in your success,” says Ryan Rottman, Co-Founder and CEO of OSDB.

A popular type of loyalty program uses a point system that unlocks different rewards as you spend more money. This system is effective because it has the ability to bring customers back time and time again. 

10. Have a Dedicated Customer Service Team

Having a dedicated team to address customer concerns is an effective way to stand out from your competitors. People have almost unrealistic expectations when it comes to customer support. They are going to expect you to be fast and responsive when they reach out with concerns. If you are able to meet these high expectations, you are sure to keep them coming back. 

“Consumers want to feel important, seen, and heard. If they cannot come to you with their concerns, they will find another way to be heard. This could be through social media or google  reviews. Either way, if they have to resort to these methods, don’t expect the feedback to be positive,” explains Max Ade, CEO of Pickleheads.

Imagine a customer has a question about your product. Let’s say they send their question to two companies. If one takes two minutes to respond, and the other takes two hours, where do you think they’re going to shop?

11. Social Responsibility 

In 2023, social responsibility is more important than ever. In fact, some consumers rank social responsibility as the number one factor when choosing which brands to purchase from. If you can’t compete with other brands in this way, you are going to turn an entire demographic away. 

“Consumers, now more than ever, are choosing to vote with their dollar. If you don’t uphold the same ethical code that they do, don’t expect to get any of their dollars,” says Trina Johnson, CEO of Blue Forest Farms.

If you do engage in socially responsible practices, make sure this information is easy to find. Make a dedicated section for it on your website and post about it on social media. Also, include it on your product packaging for people who are shopping in-person. 

Finding Your Niche

If you want to stand out from the crowd and find your niche as a business, you need to employ some of these tactics. When you are up against products that are similar to yours, it becomes more important than ever to find ways to stand out. 

Don’t give up if your product isn’t performing well; just change your tactics and try again. All it takes is finding that one special niche to set you apart and send your sales through the roof. So, get to work, and find that niche!

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Written By

Jon Stojan is a professional writer based in Wisconsin. He guides editorial teams consisting of writers across the US to help them become more skilled and diverse writers. In his free time he enjoys spending time with his wife and children.

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