In the increasingly crowded world of digital commerce, brands old and new must compete fiercely for the attention of an increasingly fragmented and attention-challenged online audience. For small businesses and start-ups, claiming a place in that busy global marketplace can seem daunting – but uniqueness and a commitment to real engagement can help any brand stand out from the crowd of competitors.
Focus on Uniqueness
Even in a crowded niche where products and services are similar, a company can stand out by focusing on its unique qualities – unusual, quirky or intriguing aspects of its philosophy, history or strategies.
Highlighting distinctive features not shared by the competition helps a brand “speak” to its audience on emotional levels that go beyond transactions for goods and services. Strategies such as showcasing a commitment to social causes or taking a friendly, humorous approach can give like-minded visitors a reason to engage and keep coming back.
Look for ways to reveal the company’s core “self” with storytelling, visuals and the tone of content on the site. Express it in all aspects of the company’s branding, from logos to color schemes – and keep exploring new ways to share this identity in social media.
Become a Trusted Resource
A key way to build a brand’s authority and reach is to position the company as a trusted resource and educator in the relevant niche. Providing timely, useful information about issues consumers care about can help a company establish a reputation as an authority.
Develop an identity as the “go-to” expert in a particular field by offering informational blog posts, free ebooks and reports or webinars on different products and how to use them. A library of interesting and useful content can give viewers reasons to keep returning and engaging with the brand on many different levels, and can also help develop business relationships with other companies.
Create Engagement and Connection
Standing out online depends not only on doing business but also on providing an immersive experience that encourages viewers to interact with the brand. Giving users ways to become involved with the company outside of purchasing products or services can create a loyal, engaged tribe that acts as brand ambassadors.
Encourage visitors to share their experiences with products and services, or to post reviews. Share their stories on social media, or run contests and giveaways to promote new offerings. Invite comments and respond to them, and build a presence on social channels frequented by potential buyers. Use email and mobile apps to stay connected with those buyers in real time and let them know about offers designed just for them.
Leverage the Power of Social Proof
Social proof of a brand’s reliability and authenticity is a key way to stand out from the competition. Seeing the number of likes, favorites, retweets and product reviews a company has can cement its reputation as a source that people can trust. Strong social proof combined with quality content that informs and educates users can boost a company’s profile.
Encourage likes and favorites with calls to action on content and landing pages. Make building social proof a definite goal for the company’s SEO and social media strategy and stay engaged and active on relevant social media channels.
Standing out in a crowded marketplace can be a challenge for any brand. But with a commitment to authenticity, engagement, and authority, businesses large and small can rise above the rest – and keep customers coming back.
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