Are you looking for ways to differentiate your small business? Here are 7 ways to look at standing out from the competition.

Many small businesses struggle to stand out in the crowd. Because of this struggle, the customers they want to attract don’t see them or hear them. Here are 7 lenses that you can use to view your business through and start to tackle the branding challenges you face.

1. Repel the bad attract the good

Strong brands repel the wrong people and attract the right people. The more intentional your brand is, the more people will self select whether or not they should work with you. The words you use will resonate with your potential customer if done correctly. When you’re getting the wrong type of customer, you’re communicating the wrong message.

How do you repel the wrong customers to attract the right ones?

2. Defy Visual Homogeny

In every industry, many companies look the same. If you have seen one website for one company in any industry, you’ve probably seen what the other 99% are going to look like too. This happens because companies look at their competition and then take inspiration from what they are doing. If your brand colors, images, and design are the same as your competition, how do you expect to be a memorable brand?

How can you buck the trend of your industry by presenting the visual aspects of your brand differently?

3. Tell a Story

Storytelling is an often overlooked aspect of a brand. Instead, companies try to use data through facts and figures to tell a story. Facts and figures are helpful but often disconnected from the consumer because there isn’t an emotional connection formed through numbers. Who is the villain, what are the stakes to your customer succeeding or failing, and what is the transformation they want? How do your customers feel about their problems, and can you speak to that? Customers want a story about themselves, not your company. If you can message to a few of these basic aspects, you’re on your way to telling a better story.

How can you tell a better story to engage your customer?

4. Differentiate Services

You may provide web design, roofing, consulting, accounting, or some other service neat! So do thousands of other people and companies out there. There are literally thousands of ways to offer services.You can specialize, productize, position, and innovate, just to name a few.If you don’t differentiate your services, then customers default to price as the deciding factor.

What new services can you provide that are different from what your competition offers?

5. Have a Personality

This is a big one, so many company websites are all the same, they talk nice, say the same boring crap and have absolutely zero personality. Their marketing drones on about the company but not about the customer’s problem and how they can solve it. Can you imagine meeting someone for the first time, and all they do is talk about themselves and how great they are? You’d probably stop paying attention after a while. Yet this is what a lot of brands have done to the market they serve.

How can you message in a way that makes people realize there are humans behind your marketing instead of robots?

6. Stand Against Something

Strong brands stand for or against something. Most companies do neither. Taking a stand is the easiest way to make your company memorable and to unify people around you. What’s your mission? What’s your purpose? What’s your raison d’être? You have to communicate these aspects to your customers.

What do you stand against and for?

7. Don’t just say you’re different, act differently

There’s a lot of blah blah blah in marketing. People talk about how they are creative, unique, experts, and yet their products, services, websites are all the same, sort of like bland oatmeal. Saying your different doesn’t make you different. You have to act differently, and so does your brand.

How can you start acting differently in your business to make it clear you are different?

So we can talk about improving your website.​