If you’ve been running your business for a few years, you’ll have discovered that it’s very hard to compete in the oversaturated world of marketing. With all your competitors applying similar messages and tactics, you may be wondering how you can make your brand stand out from the crowd. Crafting a more unique marketing strategy is certainly difficult, but it’s far from impossible. Every day, new messaging ideas and repurposed forms of content are being created and applied by entrepreneurs and marketers from a range of niches. In this post, we’ll look at some of the most effective ways to make your marketing more unique.
Hone in on Solutions
One of the most rudimentary things you need to know about marketing is that your customer base really isn’t interested in your business, the processes you follow at the office, or even how your product or service is produced. All they want to know is how you can solve a problem that they’re facing. When there’s a high demand for a certain product or service, these will be noticed earlier and more frequently. Whoever your target market is, you need to give them something that they genuinely want, or some information that they’re genuinely interested in. Put out marketing material that screams “I’m the solution you’re looking for”, and it’s sure to get noticed.
Identify a Narrower Target Market
Marketing that fails to hook its intended target market is inefficient waste. This is where the term “junk mail” comes from. Marketing that does hit its target, on the other hand, is efficient, interesting and effective. You probably established a loose target market when you first started your business, but is this concept really serving you like it could be? These days, you need to have a much narrower target market compared to what was acceptable in the past. One of the quickest and most effective ways to form a narrower target market is coming up with a buyer persona. If you weren’t already aware, a buyer persona is essentially an imaginary character, who represents your business’s ideal customer. This covers their age, gender, educational level, salary, living conditions, geographical location, religious views, political leanings, psychological traits and all kinds of other factors. Come up with a specific buyer persona, get to know them as well as anyone in your family, and you’ll be able to come up with marketing materials that will appeal to them and only them.
Leverage Different Formats
Another great way to make your marketing efforts stand out from the crowd is creating something that takes on a different format to what’s typical for your industry. Publish materials that are a unique size, take on a different tone, or otherwise break the mould. Examples include sending out strangely-shaped direct mail materials, using a magazine maker to come up with a company publication, or simply choosing unusual times to dangle content in front of your target market. Flash mobs were once a good example of this, until every brand in the world started using them! Obviously, different formats are going to work better for different businesses, and hitting the nail on the head can take some very creative thinking. However, using unexpected and quirky formats to get your message across is a great way to ensure your marketing stands out from the crowd.
Make your Message Crystal-Clear
Flashy, colorful graphics can grab people’s attention, but they should never overwhelm your marketing strategy to the point where your message is getting lost! David Ogilvy, one of the greatest marketing geniuses of all time, once said “I do not regard advertising as an entertainment or an art form, but as a medium for information”. This is just one of his many quotes focussing on how marketing should always be informative before it’s creative. Apparently, a lot of modern marketers haven’t read much Ogilvy, and we’re constantly seeing materials that try too hard to be creative and outside-the-box, and don’t spend enough resources getting a clear message across. Watch pretty much any perfume or aftershave advert, and you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about! Yes, you should be taking steps to make your branding stand out from the crowd, but don’t sacrifice a clear message for inefficient quirkiness.
Have a Great Hook
This is another basic staple of good marketing, which a surprising amount of business owners manage to overlook. If you’re running a start-up in a niche that’s full of start-ups, then simply incentivising your prospects into some follow-up contact could put you in a great position of power. No one wants to sign up to another newsletter with nothing to gain from it, so a hook is an essential first step in convincing prospects how much better you are than the competition. Whether it’s a free eBook, access to a useful program, or a tangible gift, be sure to dangle some kind of bait in front of your target market, and draw them into a more open two-way communication. If you feel your marketing is lacking attention and response rates, then this could be the best way to solve the issue.
Try Extreme Headlines
If you ask a cross section of content marketing professionals about extreme headlines, you’ll probably get mixed responses. However, it’s been found time and time again that these headlines work. Content that focusses on the negative, major mistakes, and tales of hardship will generally get a better response than anything that’s strictly positive. Some good examples are “How One Mistake Levelled a Family Home”, “How to Drive Your Business Into the Ground in a Week”, “Stop Alienating your Co-Workers!”. We’re constantly bombarded with headlines that take a more positive tone, and concentrate on the brighter side of things. With this in mind, putting a more negative spin on at least some of your content can be a fantastic way to make your brand stand out. Hints at conflict and struggles will instantly grab a reader’s attention, and make them want to find out more.