How to outshine your competitors

How to outshine your competitors (even if they are bigger than you)

I hear it from our clients time and time again, "oh but they are big, they are known, I can't look, feel and run campaigns like them". So my question to you is, well why not? Why can't you get a piece of the pie? Why can't you look just as professional? Why can't your marketing bring in higher paying clients than the chains?

In this article I'm going to give you a step by step guide as to how you can outshine your competitors with your marketing material, and be regarded as the ultimate expert in the field.

Build trust with your brand

Every successful brand starts with a solid foundation. You will want to know and understand the goals, values and mission of your business as well as what matters to your clients. Consider what sort of a personality your brand may have, and how you want your business to be perceived. Pay attention to every little detail including fonts, colours and even what type of imagery to use.

Establish an emotional connection with your client

What's one big advantage people instantly imagine when they think of a smaller, independent business? Typically it's the level of service, the care, the trust. People often think of smaller independently owned businesses as having a level of care that larger chains simply don't offer. Use this as your advantage. When you develop your brand, or marketing campaign, it should directly address the problems, fears and passions of your target market.

Keep it professional

People love professionalism. Especially if you are offering a high end service or product, people want to feel like they are safe in your hands whilst still understanding their wants and needs. What does this mean exactly? It means creating marketing materials thats connect emotionally, but are still professional. Don't go over the top with your marketing, dress your clients needs whilst keeping materials clean, concise and easy to digest.

Use relatable imagery

These days everyone has access to stock photography which is amazing - it means you don't necessarily need to hire a photographer for every new little ad or campaign. But here's the downside - everyone can now spot stock photography from a mile away, so there is a need to put more thought into what type of images we use. Whist in the past there may have been some forgiveness for the type of imagery used, these days it is imperative that your imagery directly relates to your audience.My two biggest tips for using stock photography are as follows:

Use age appropriate images
There is nothing more off-putting than a 65 year old needing to engage services that are marketed to an 85 year old. It does not feel good! Use images that actually reflect the age of your audience. 

Use natural, candid photography
Todays market is saturated with advertising, so whats the best way to get your message across? Show some authenticity, and this extends to he type of photography we use. The blonde girl with the big white teeth giving a thumbs up in an overly lit room will look like a cheap sales tactic. Instead, select images with more natural lighting, where people aren't necessarily looking at the camera.

Apply image treatments for additional brand awareness
I say time and time again, a brand is so much more than just your logo. A good brand should always be visible, even if your logo is not. A great way to do this is to create a custom effect, or treatment to be used on your imagery. This not only makes you images unique and memorable, but also makes them appear customised to your brand, and therefore also more authentic.

Humanise your imagery
Although this can vary from business to business, whilst it's amazing to showcase products you stock, its' also great to have a human or emotional feel to it. Add photography of someone using your product, or of someone experiencing the results the product gives them. This is especially important if you stock products where others may have the same photography. You need to give yourself the feeling of a point of difference to prevent people simply jumping online and looking for the best deal on that particular model.

Don't settle for "just good enough"

This is one of the big ones, I simply can not tell you how many times we speak to clients who believe their brand is "just good enough". If I'm hiring a professional service, I don't want "just good enough", I would want excellence. As a SME you likely deliver excellent results, so why let your brand and marketing materials be delivered as anything less. The reality is a well known competitor is unlikely to 

Be authentic

One of the biggest advantages you will have as an SME or independent business owner is that you already hold a degree of authenticity, why tarnish this by using a run of the mill brand to promote your services? Don't be afraid to promote your customer centric business as a positive. Showcase your professionalism and service and allow your authentic voice to shine through.

Do you need some help standing out against the competition?

If you feel like your brand and marketing is not quite as good as where it could be contact us today to see how we can help you.