"Look at me!"
I'm pretty sure that was one of the first things I ever learned to say as a child. Being the middle child made me feel like I always had to compete for attention with my siblings. Especially my baby sister. She was born on Leap Year, which made her special, according to my mom. And her hair fell into ringlets just like Shirley Temple, which made her special, too - according to my grandmother.
How was I supposed to compete with that?
Yeah, I know that's not the best question in the world, but when you're six years old, all you want is to be seen and loved for who you are.
Funny thing is... that doesn't change when you're older - or when you become a business owner.
Instead of singing and dancing to "Good Shop Lollipop" (thankfully, video was not a thing back then!), let's look at a few ways you can get the attention your creative business deserves.
If you want your business to stand out from other options available in your market, then you need to uncover your USP (unique selling proposition). This is the key reason people buy from you, instead of someone else. The tricky thing about your USP is that it could be anything. It could even be something you don't realize makes you unique.
When I started coaching, I was the first (and only) certified online marketing coach for direct sales professionals. At first, that was what drew people to me - trying to figure out how to grow their business using this new-fangled Internet thing. But over time, something shifted. People started coming to me for the way I created a safe space for them to actually be themselves, want what they want, and go after their real dreams and desires in a way that worked for them.
So my USP wasn't my marketing skills... even though I thought they were. Instead, it was the way people felt safe enough with me to build their own courage muscles, set better boundaries, and make more confident decisions in a way that nobody else ever did for them!
Sometimes you'll find what makes you unique by looking at what other people do in your market. If you're doing something different (like telling people you DON'T need to shoe-horn yourself into someone else's blueprint or mold at a time when EVERY online marketer was selling a blueprint or formula), chances are good you've found your USP. If people actively comment about that difference, it's a pretty sure bet. Asking for assistance from professionals may be a huge difference-maker in helping you stand out from the rest of the competition.
Philanthropy and cause marketing are becoming more popular with the rise of B Corps as well as other activist and social justice efforts inside businesses. According to some advocates, it is essential for businesses to do their part to help consumers in need. As culture shifts, consumers are expecting more from the businesses they deal with. Many of today's younger consumers believe that buying from from you says something about who they are. Social responsibility is part of that. Supporting a worthy cause can also be a great way to attract attention from the media and get your business a different kind of positive exposure.
Talk about the culture behind your company and the key ideas or messages behind your business brand. Social media is a great way to tell those stories and connect more deeply with your audience. But it's only one way. Let your other marketing (email, in-person, etc.) incorporate these origin stories, too.
A lot of business owners assume that the end of the transaction is when you deliver your offer to your buyer.
A little service after the sale shows them you care - and it’s easy to do! Shoot them a quick email, or a short phone message to follow up and make sure they got everything okay or if they have any questions. It also provides you with the option of asking for a quick review. Reviews are vital for your business, particularly when you consider that 80% of customers won’t buy a product online without checking out reviews first.
You can use a business mobile phone to call your customers and do a follow-up with them. This way you are almost guaranteed a positive review. Adding a personal touch can go a long way, in making customers happy. If you make it a dedicated line, then they can leave a message any time without tying up your regular business line.
No need to throw your hair up in ringlets, unless that's your thing. There are plenty of ways to help your business stand out. These are just a few that can work for almost any business. You don't need to do them all, and I encourage you to really look at how each one does or doesn't align with how you want to do business.
If social justice isn't a core value for you, don't pretend that it is. The only thing people hate more than not being socially conscious is people who pretend they are. Don't be that guy!
Instead, choose visibility options that work for who you are, what matters most to you, and how you want to be known in the world. Not everyone will agree with you, and that's okay, because they're not your right audience anyway. The people who do will love you all the more!
Want help? We've helped clients create unique marketing campaigns, build their financial accessibility statements, and align with causes that are dear to their hearts. That's just a fraction of the kinds of things we do inside our business incubator for creative entrepreneurs. The Creative Freedom Incubator is open for enrollment and we'd love to have you join us!