When you’re the owner of a business, you’ve got a lot on your plate.
First and foremost, you’ve got your product. Handling every aspect of your product is your priority, and, unsurprisingly, takes up most of your time.
But there’s so much more, beyond the reason your business even exists, that you’re expected to focus on. Namely, marketing is key. People need to know that you’re out there. And if you have even the slightest online presence – which you definitely should do, by the way – that’s a whole different ballgame.
Standing out online can feel like a near-impossible feat. Actually, if you’re honest with yourself, it’s a little disheartening trying to even get in line with your competition, let alone ahead of it. You might be the only niche knitting store or halal butcher’s in your local town, but online, you’re one tiny dot in a sea of many.
That’s why SEO is so important.
SEO can help you get seen to the people that matter. That might be those at your target age range, in the appropriate location, or with the right needs or values for your business to appeal to. SEO is all about standing out in your industry specialism, no matter how overpopulated or crowded it may seem.
If you don’t already work with an SEO expert to implement strategies to get you in front of your target audience, that would be a good place to start. But in the meantime, take a look at these 7 sure-fire solutions for standing out online:
Know your market
The truth of the matter is this: you might be doing all the right things to stand out online, but if you’re doing it in the wrong place, you’re going to reap very little reward from it. Make sure you have a clear focus on your market when it comes to selling yourself and your services.
What does your audience expect of you? What are their habits personality points? What would pleasantly surprise them? What would turn them off? Keep all of this in mind when you’re concentrating on your marketing.
Keep it basic
Overcomplicating things for yourself is never going to bring you any extra success. In fact, it’ll most likely do the opposite, potentially even repelling your target audience. Fancy fonts, image overuse and general website clutter can all have the power to scare away your customers for aesthetic purposes alone.
Website design aside, make sure you’re sticking to a basic brand consistency across all of your online platforms. There’s no reason to keep bumping out new content or products if they just don’t work for you. Which leads us nicely onto point number three…
Stay true to what you stand for
Don’t run an ad campaign that doesn’t fit who you are just because it worked for somebody else. In fact, ignore all trends that don’t align with your values. It’ll be embarrassingly clear to your audience if you’re ever working something simply for the publicity you’re hoping it brings you. Learn to turn down the opportunities that may potentially paint your brand in a bad light.
Know when to reign it in
There’s nothing worse than coming across as overly eager on the internet. In short, it can look a little… desperate.
Excessively promoting your content quickly goes from acceptable marketing to spam, and that’s a difficult perception to rid yourself of. Make sure your online promotion and communication is aimed at appealing to your customer rather than straight-out selling your product.
Offer value wherever you can
People love value. It makes them feel special. And if you can find a way to offer your customers value through every interaction they have with you, you might just have found yourself a winning formula.
Value doesn’t have to equate to too-good-to-be-true discount codes or even – gulp – freebies, by the way. This might actually lower the customer interpretation of your brand over time. Value can be anything from an entertaining blog post, to a genuinely helpful email campaign, a free webinar, or even just the sharing of a bit of wisdom.
Don’t overcrowd your focus
Maybe you do offer more than one product or service, but if you want your branding to make sense online, you need to find a core value and stick to it. Find that one little thing that you do well, and use it in every way you can to your advantage. Don’t try to please everybody. Please yourself, and the right audience will come to you.
Care about your audience
If you created your business to solve a problem for your audience, chances are, you care about giving them the best possible experience with your product you can offer them. But all of this can get lost in the haze of trying to juggle all aspects of your business.
Try to dedicate a small amount of time each day to your audience. Communicate with them, surprise them, give them a reason to want to keep coming back to you – and they will do.