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Differentiate Your Small Business from Competitors by Making Yourself the Go-To Authority in Your Field

by: Geoff Ficke

Differentiate Your Small Business from Competitors by Making Yourself the Go-To Authority in Your Field

A question I am often asked by entrepreneurs starting a new business operation is, “How do I stand out from my competition”. There are a number of options that can be
chosen to accomplish this goal. Resources and actual experience go far in determining which route to take.

If financial resources are not an issue, and it almost universally is, smothering your target market with advertising is the most commonly chosen method to make you and your enterprise stand out from the pack. But there are better paths for those working with minimal assets. Here are a few to consider.

Write a Blog

Let’s assume that you are an insurance agency owner. I live in a very tiny community and even here we have at least six insurance agents in the county. Insurance agents are ubiquitous. By writing a Blog, and constantly updating the content, an agent can become identified as a purveyor of tips and information that makes the purchase of insurance less painful. Whatever the field of endeavor try to impart knowledge that is of value to consumers. Do not overtly attempt to sell a product or service.

Perfect the Advertorial

An Advertorial is an advertisement that looks and reads like an editorial. A question is posed that pertains to your particular business entity. You answer the question with clarity and an air of studied knowledge. This subtly reinforces your bona fides as an expert in your field.

We have used Advertorials successfully for years to build our clients reputations as experts. People love to receive information and tips. They do not like to be sold. The Advertorial, if properly written and executed, will not only build a professional reputation they will be a driver of sales and traffic to your business.

We have used the Advertorial strategy to promote Wellness and Weight Loss Clinic owners, Beauty Salon and Day Spa businesses, Gourmet Food and Beverage marketers, Cosmetic, Skin Care, Fashion, Perfumers, Pet Products, Hunting and Fishing, Sporting Goods, DIY, and Jewelry start-ups, local merchants and service providers. This technique can be made to work to fit almost any Sales Promotion budget.

Public Relations

If you hire a new employee announce the appointment in a Publicity Release. If you launch a new product, open a branch office, add an account, attend a Trade Show, take a continuing education course, or experience any positive activity relating to your business write and circulate a Publicity Release.

The local media in your trading area loves these types of notices and publication is FREE! There are numerous FREE on-line services which publish PR Releases. Trade journals are awash in industry specific announcements that are generated by PR Releases and are published for FREE! Build a data base of clients, past customers and send them PR Releases announcing positive news. Visit my web-site www.DuquesaMarketing.com and click on the Public Relations tab. The format we utilize for the Releases that you can view is the standard PR industry template which you should use for your PR’s.

Public Speaking

Offer to speak to local service clubs such as the Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, Lions, Forrester’s, etc. The announcement that you will be speaking on a topic that is in your professional wheelhouse reinforces that you are the “pro from Dover” in this space. Church, civic and philanthropic groups are always seeking knowledgeable speakers to enrich their meetings.

Network

In order to speak to groups as described above, join them. The best advertisement and strategy to make you and your business known is to participate in local and industry specific groups and boards.

Have a Fresh Web-site

I am a believer that way too many people have web-sites. If content is not exciting a site can actually signify that your business is poorly run. People with new business concepts, but no ability to conduct commerce, put up sites that only serve to tip off competitors about their intentions before they are market ready.

A bright, contemporary, well managed web-site does not have to cost a fortune or be cumbersome for even the smallest Micro-Business to handle. There are numerous service firms that can build sites inexpensively and will constantly add blog and PR updates. Search engines will crawl web-site pages every few weeks and if a site is key search term enriched it will move higher in page rankings.

Write Articles

Let’s assume you operate a Prototype Design facility. There is a good bit of mystery to creating working, production quality Prototypes. These units are essential in  discovering manufacturing logistics, engineering quirks, cost of goods, and much more. If an Industrial or Design Engineer wishes to distinguish themselves there is no better way than to regularly publish 400 or more word articles on topics germane to modeling Prototypes.

Article Submission firms abound on the web-site. Many publish for FREE. Some charge a small publishing fee. A few can be utilized for targeting specific demographic groups or industries. When you publish an article you will be perceived as a person with a level of expertise in your field of work.

These are only a few of the many strategies that can be employed to separate you and your business from a swarm of competitors. As you execute these types of self-promotional elements you will discover that they become easier as you perfect your skill sets. There is an old adage among writers: “Writers write”. There is a similar maxim for entrepreneurs: “Successful businesses self-promote”.