Archives for March 2012

5 Easy Ways to Differentiate Yourself From Your Competitors

The most important thing you can do to grow your sales is to differentiate yourself from your competitors. Differentiation isn’t just about what you deliver as a product or service. It starts before that and involves positioning your brand as a thought leader and trusted resource. Foster the perception that your company has the most skill and knowledge regarding the products and services you offer.

A few quick things that can help you achieve this:

Communicate often. Utilize a series of high-value content related to the services you provide and that is directly attributed to your company. As Rio Longacre says, “It’s selling without really selling.”

Be unique. Sending out the same materials or having websites that are similar to your competitors helps to commoditize your services. You’ll end up selling on price.

Avoid the “old school” image. Talk about and offer services that are perceived as being leading edge. For example, services such as make it easy and inexpensive to offer mobile services to your clients.

Embrace social media. Regardless of what you think about it, utilizing social media properly has a huge impact on how your company is perceived.

Keep you website up to date. Having old, dated content on your website is a brand killer. Nothing shouts, “Mayberry RFD” like the use of the term “print shop” on your site.

Don’t Stop the Marketing!

It’s a constant refrain in marketing circles—don’t stop marketing! Times are tough, but keep your marketing program strong.

Your brand is determined by what the marketplace perceives it to be. Not by what you want it to be. If you’re trying to establish your brand as that of a marketing services provider, you had better be proficient at marketing your own services.

Ideally, you want to make sure you are communicating with your customers as much or more than your competitors are. Clients are hearing from the competition more than ever. At the least, you want to neutralize most of this.

Quality matters. Relevant communications help your brand to stand out among the competition. Non-relevant communications help you blend in.

Top of mind is more important than most people give it credit for. I guarantee that a certain percentage of business you gain or lose is simply due to being or not being in front of the contact at the right time.

People notice companies cutting back. It creates a perception that you’re in trouble and makes it easier for your customers to justify listening to your competition’s value proposition. At our core, we all want to be associated with winners, and people want to do business with companies that they perceive as stable, progressive, and successful.

Contraction in the print industry continues. Sad, but true. Recessions always create a redistribution of market share. Seize the opportunity. Top of mind gives you an edge for getting that business.

Bottom line—market smarter. There are a host of methods that companies can employ that cost little or even no money. Email newsletters, blogs, social media postcard/bulletin mailings, and more. You can often outsource this for less than what it costs to do yourself. My company can provide a lot of these services for you. I’m happy to discuss them with you.