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Low Competition, You Need to Educate – High Competition, You Need to Differentiate

A plumber working on a sink - rearview.
Differentiate Your Business - "No tracks and no cracks!"

Sometimes when I talk to a new or budding entrepreneur, they will say something like, “this idea is great because there is no competition!” When my marketing brain hears that, I think, if there is no competition, people don’t know about it. There is no built-in demand. You will need to spend a significant amount of time and money to educate or inspire people to want or need your product.

On the other hand, if you are starting or running a high-competition business, there is a built-in demand, but because there are lots of competitors, you will need to spend a significant amount of money getting attention and establishing your authority in the market, so buyers will pick you.

So often businesses just don’t get noticed in a busy marketplace because they don’t have the resources to get the word out. When analysis is done about why more than 95% of small businesses don’t make it, the overwhelming statistic noted is that they don’t have enough funding. Sure there are bad ideas, bad locations, and bad customer service, but even the good ideas fail more than they succeed because they don’t have enough money. And, because they don’t have enough money, they simply don’t spend enough on marketing.

Don’t underestimate your marketing budget. You will feel like you are throwing money at a wall but you must spend, and you must also be prepared to continue spending. That is, unless you don’t want growth. If you’re happy where you are you can take it easy, but you then run the risk of attrition. 

Low Competition – Educate

In markets where competition is sparse, your potential customers might not even be aware of the solutions your product or service offers. This ignorance isn't bliss; it's a barrier to entry for both you and them. Here, education is your best tool. Think about lighting a path to guide your buyers. Show them why what you offer is desirable.

Content Creation

Content that is relevant to your WHO (target audience) will establish your authority. This focused content will help people find you during the research phase of their buying journey. It can also help people discover you if you are in a low-competition, low-awareness business.  

Case Studies and Testimonials

Nothing speaks louder than a success story or a story of discovery that tells your WHO they need and want you. Share case studies and testimonials from happy customers. This not only educates your potential customers on the use and benefits of your product or service, but also starts to build trust. Search engines look at these too, so use them on your website.

Engage and Enlighten

Use social media, webinars, and workshops as platforms to engage with your audience. These interactions allow for real-time education and provide a forum for questions and answers, giving people insight into your business and why it applies to them. Most importantly, it makes your efforts public, which again gives you ammunition for when a buyer is researching you. Nowadays, organic social media posts are more for the research phase than for the advertising phase of a buyer's journey. 

High Competition: Stand Out from the Crowd

Now let's talk about when your market is crowded. The worst way to get attention is through conformity, or just doing the same thing that all of your competitors are doing. You will just blend into the crowd unless you push by sheer force to be seen everywhere in mass amounts. In the marketing world, that means you just outspend everyone by a large margin. That can work, but it is expensive. You need to stand out, establishing yourself as a leading authority in your field and a desirable choice among many. Do things that are closer to the edge of controversy vs. just being the same.

If you are a plumber, you can say “I drain toilets”, to which people will say “Yeah, no crap!” (pun intended) Or you can make a statement that stands out. For example: “We show up on time, we wear booties to keep from soiling your floors, and we wear overalls so you don’t have to see something you don’t want to see. On-time Plumbing: No tracks and no cracks!” This isn't about being the loudest, it’s about being the most trusted and standing out from the crowd.

Edge of Controversy and Authority

You have two jobs. You still need to establish authority, so people believe you are the expert you say you are, plus you need to stand out from the crowd. Focus on creating content that showcases your unique insights and experiences. This could be free guides, deep dives into industry trends, or thought-leader pieces that challenge the status quo. Your goal is to provide value that no one else can or is willing to do.

Social Proof and Partnerships

Leverage the power of social proof through influencer collaborations, expert endorsements, product proof of concept studies, and industry awards. Additionally, partnerships with reputable brands can elevate your authority by association. Whatever you do, make sure you shout about it from the rooftops. Remember, people aren’t paying as close of attention to you as you think they are. Repeat, repeat, repeat yourself and your message. If you follow me closely, you will know I talk about this repeatedly, along with several other items. Say it again, they didn’t hear you last time.

Consistent Brand Messaging

Ensure that every touchpoint with your audience, from your website to your social media profiles, communicates your expert status or communicates effectively what you do well, and why it matters. For example, I write blog posts every week. I tell stories and I teach about marketing. Those are the things I am good at. Consistent messaging reinforces your position as a leader in your field.

What type of business do you have? Are there lots of competitors? Does everyone know about what you do? Do you need to focus your efforts on educating, or on differentiating?

Get clear on which type of marketing your business needs. Remember, marketing is not a one-size-fits-all discipline. You need to be able to customize your marketing based on knowing your WHO and WHY they should do business with you over your competitors. If you don’t know your WHO and WHY, you can use these tools to help you define them. We are always here to help. To book an appointment for a strategy session, click here


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