4 Ways To Market Yourself And Crush The Competition

Anyone who has started a successful business or risen to the top of a competitive field can attest to the fact that a good work ethic alone won’t guarantee success. Standing out from a sea of competition first requires formulating a strategy to differentiate yourself from the competition, and then throwing the full weight of your work ethic behind that plan.

Differentiating yourself from competition is a different task than simply “being the best.” Trying to “be the best” is an amorphous goal that misses one crucial insight: you can only be the best at a particular thing. Differentiating yourself from competition means spending time considering precisely what sort of market you want to corner, and then being the best at addressing that particular market need.

The success of cooking show guru Rachel Ray offers a perfect example of the utility of defining your market’s needs. Before her big break, Ray was a small-time chef doing the cooking demos at local gourmet markets in Albany that professional chefs spurned as being beneath them. Ray was only televised after a snow storm spurred a spate of guest cancellations on the Today Show, making the producer turn to the author of a self-published cookbook someone had given him. The author of the cookbook? Rachel Ray. Ray’s success might seem bizarre if evaluated using the metric “Is Rachel Ray the best chef?” After all, the thought of a personal TV show would have many talented and trained chefs’ mouths watering. But if we ask “Is Rachel Ray the best at what she does?” our answer is resoundingly affirmative. Ray realized that the market for professional chefs was already glutted, and while the market for a non-intimidating cook that housewives could relate to was begging for personalities and products. Ray’s insight was simple: crushing the competition is about envisioning new markets, not about contesting already established giants in existing markets.

This insight should be the core of your strategy of differentiating yourself from the competition. Once you’ve tailored this insight to your own circumstances, you can begin implementing these additional insights.

1. Provide exceptional service. Word of mouth referrals are the most powerful way you can grow your business. Make sure every customer has a fantastic experience.

2. Incentivize your customers to refer your business. By providing discounts or free services to customers who bring in other business, you can access cheap and effective advertising. Also, you only pay if a new customer comes in!

3. Work with channel partners to find new clients. Channel partners are other businesses, people, or nonprofits who interact with your customers and may be willing to sell your product to them. Potential channel partners aren’t your competition, but they are one of the best ways to reach new customers.

4. Get your business written up in the news. Reporters are stressed out, underpaid, and dying for a good story. By preparing a compelling story and sharing it with a local reporter, there is a good chance you can get into their paper for free!